People involved in the sport sector need to be stronger and collaborate if corruption is to be stamped out, according to the Malta Football Association integrity officer. 

With the incidence of online betting, players are more interested in playing a part in fixing a match, but betting is only part of the problem, Franz Tabone told Times Talk

"Betting is legal, but it can be abused. The irregular betting markets mainly based in Asia but operated from Europe is big. Betting is part of the problem but it's not the problem. Before online betting there was betting on a smaller scale," he said.

Mr Tabone has been at the forefront of the fight against football bribery in recent years, with the recent Prevention of Corruption in Sports law promising to come down hard on crime.

"It's ultimately down to education and enforcement," Mr Tabone told Times of Malta's online editor Herman Grech.

He said 12 matches were flagged by the so-called Betting Fraud Detection System as probably forming part of irregular betting patterns.

"It doesn't mean they were fixed but the suspicion is there," said Mr Tabone who is studying the possibility of sanctioning offenders based on betting fraud patterns.

Betting patterns may indicate there was prior knowledge of a result or incident in the match. Minor bets are now going into issues like the number of free kicks and yellow cards given during matches spanning across all tournaments and leagues.

"The players are the oxygen to the match. Without the players, there will be no match-fixer, no criminal and nobody will be successful in reaping their dividends."


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