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Kuala Lumpur: AFC Acting President Zhang Jilong has called on all the stakeholders of Asian football to work together to address the mutual concerns of match-fixing.

Addressing the two-day INTERPOL International Conference – Match-fixing: The ugly side of the beautiful game – Jilong said: “It is well known that AFC has zero tolerance for match-fixing. We have been working together with FIFA and our Member Associations to tackle this serious problem for some time now.

“We need to admit that match-fixing is a real danger to football’s ethical values and needs to be eliminated to preserve the sanctity of the sport. I can assure this conference that AFC will not rest until this plague is completely stamped out in Asia.

“AFC will educate the players, officials and all stakeholders on raising awareness about this serious issue. We need to understand how match-fixing works in order to prevent it. We need more information on how crime syndicates operate.

“It is in everybody’s interests to launch a cooperative effort to save the sport’s significance. I believe this conference is the right first step in bringing together all well wishers of the game on the same platform. We have a big stake in seeing our game survive. We want the results of our matches to be beyond the shred of a doubt.”

AFC General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay asked the Member Associations to commit themselves in the fight against match-fixing.

“We look forward to embracing our 47 Member Associations in a very special way by eradicating all negative elements which has plagued our beautiful game in recent years,” he said.

“AFC will pledge to continue working along with Interpol to deliver a series of training, education and prevention workshops in 2013 and 2014 at both regional and national levels.

“I would also like to highlight to all our Member Associations of their statutory obligation as it is your responsibility to fight match-fixing and corruption. We need your cooperation and commitment to implement what you learn here in the next two days.”

INTERPOL’s Director of Capacity Building and Training, Dale Sheehan reiterated that the international police organisation is taking a holistic effort in tackling the problems in a collective manner with all the relevant parties.

“The INTERPOL is taking a holistic approach to tackling the problems of corruption and match-fixing and is having strong operational components in place for this effort,” he said.

“This matter is not only a policing problem but needs the cooperation of all parties and stakeholders and I would like to commend FIFA for playing an exemplary role in this effort.

“Everyone in this effort is like a player on the field and collectively we will take back the beautiful game of football.”

FIFA Director of Security Ralf Mutschke recommended better global collaboration between all relevant parties through prevention initiatives.

“As you know, football is facing global challenges in the way of corruption that can have social and economic impact,” he said. “Organised crime is a threat to the integrity of football that destroys the image of the game and harms the social and educational values of the game.

“I would like to recommend that there be a better global connection between the sporting industry and law enforcement agencies through which corruption problems can be eradicated through preventive initiatives such as training, education, awareness raising and therefore, we need to work together.”

Delegates from international organisations including FIFA, AFC, FIFPro, SportAccord and INTERPOL, as well as senior representatives from national football associations, players’ representatives, betting organisations and law enforcement are attending the conference.

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