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Friday, January 25, 2008
FIFA confident of beating football corruption

FIFA are confident their scheme to eradicate match-fixing in football will ensure the 2010 World Cup stays corruption-free.

In the wake of Thursday's match-fixing allegations at the African Nations Cup in Ghana, the world governing body revealed its Early Warning System, set up in July last year, had detected no illegal betting activities during the first phase of World Cup qualifying.

Benin coach Reinhard Fabisch claimed he had been asked to help manipulate his side's African Nations Cup opening Group B match against Mali by a man boasting that he had fixed matches across Africa.

Five preliminary qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup have already been played in the African confederation with Sierra Leone, Madagascar and Djibouti advancing to the group stage which begins in May.

FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said: 'FIFA, as the world governing body of football, takes a global approach towards betting and match manipulation.

'In this respect, FIFA founded Early Warning System. Its objective is to detect irregular activities in football betting circles and inform FIFA in advance of any possible attempts to influence matches.'

The system was tested at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and is being used again in the lead up to the next World Cup.

And, in the 96 qualifying matches which have taken place since August 2007, FIFA are confident there is no evidence to suggest they have been influenced by betting or match-fixing activity.

Maingot said: 'There were no irregular betting activities during the first phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup preliminary competition.'

He added: 'This system will be developed further in the months ahead.

'The objective is to conclude cooperation agreements with the entire bookmaking and betting industry for the Early Warning System so that those individuals who attempt to manipulate matches for betting purposes will no longer be able to do so.'

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