UK Match-Fixing Day II: What the FA Must Do[email protected]
The English football authorities – up to now asleep at the wheel – need to do the following things ASAP:
1) Declare an amnesty for all players, coaches, referees and officials involved in fixing. Clean out the sport properly. This means that the British game will only have to endure one massive scandal that occurs at one time. After this the game can recover. Allow the problem of fixing to fester and the credibility of British football will be killed by a steady drip-drip of scandals.
The amnesty would work in the following way:
i) It is time-limited. 90 days. No extensions. If people do not turn themselves in that time they will receive life-bans from the game. No exceptions.
ii) It must be anonymous. Players who know about fixing and corruption will be afraid to report it openly, as this would break the ‘code of the dressing room’. Give them an anonymous, non-transferable number when they come forward.
iii) People who come forward and report fixing get to keep their money and the money of anyone whom they report. This will raise the levels of distrust among the corrupt players so high that they will come flooding in like rats from a sinking ship.
iv) It should be started immediately and run until mid-February.
v) Budget approximately £250,000. Relatively small change for the English Football Association.
vi) I have a roster of Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard and other UK Law Enforcement types who cut off their left hand to help protect British football. Hire one of them to run the program. You need expertise that the average sports official simply does not have.
2) Hire one of these police officers as a permanent integrity officer with a proper salary and a well-resourced office.
3) Establish a permanent hotline that enables players, referees and officials to be able to report potential corruption anonymously.
4) Put into all contracts the capacity for players, referees and officials, if having addiction (gambling, alcohol, etc) or mental health problems to get professional help without hindering their career.
5) Ensure that all contracts are honoured. One of the keys to stopping corruption is to treat professional athletes as professionals. That means making sure they get paid their stated salaries.
Look there are any number of other measures that will reduce the spread of fixing in the British game. But if the sporting authorities do these things, it will be a very good start.