(WFI) FIFA has revamped its security department in a bid to step up its fight against match-fixing, betting fraud and corruption. Top German police chief Ralf Mutschke was today unveiled as head of the unit.
The 52-year-old Mutschke will be in charge of the new-look department that is responsible for all security matters related to FIFA competitions, the global security concepts for football in general, security around FIFA headquarters in Zurich, the FIFA president and the FIFA administration, as well as for matters related to the integrity and protection of the game itself.
His appointment comes the day after FIFA launched an investigation into Bahrain’s incredible 10-0 victory over a weak Indonesia side in a Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifier amid match-fixing concerns.
“We have decided to strengthen the former security department, making it into a full division in order to continue to tackle all issues related to football security and the protection of the integrity of the game,” said FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke.
“This is another major step in our determination to ensure a clean and safe sport and to underline our commitment to the fight against match-fixing in football. We are extremely pleased that someone of the calibre of Ralf Mutschke has decided to join us and we are convinced that he has all the right qualities and expertise to lead this division successfully,” he added.
Mutschke, senior manager at the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and a former Interpol director, takes over from FIFA’s current security director Chris Eaton on June 1. Eaton announced earlier this month that he was leaving FIFA to join the International Centre for Sport Security as the organisation’s director of sport integrity.
“My tasks as director of security will be manifold. For me, the main issue will be the integrity of FIFA competitions,” Mutschke said in a statement.
“The focus here will be on match-fixing, betting fraud and corruption.
“The initiatives that FIFA has already launched are good steps in the right direction. I will now have to pursue these initiatives stringently but also build upon them and implement them consistently with the involvement of Interpol and national security authorities.
“With this in mind, I will be able to call upon more than 30 years of experience with the BKA in the fight against national and particularly international crime,” he added.
Mutschke has 33 years of experience in various roles at the BKA, where he is currently a senior manager leading the operational services subdivision and the deputy head of the central CID services division.
His previous experience at the BKA includes supervising contact with team security officers at the 2006 World Cup and last year’s Women’s World Cup, both in Germany.
Mutschke also held leading positions at Interpol, where he was the director of the regional and national police services (2000-2002) and the assistant director of the sub-directorate for crimes against persons and property (1998-2000). He has also played football for various clubs in Germany at the highest amateur level (Sportfreunde Seligenstadt, Rot-Weiss Frankfurt and SV Wiesbaden).
Asian Football Chief Dismisses Bahrain Match-fixing Claims
Meanwhile, the Asian Football Confederation’s general secretary issued a statement on Friday to calm fears over match-fixing in the Bahrain-Indonesia match.
The margin of Bahrain’s victory alerted FIFA, as the team was bidding to make up a nine-goal deficit on Qatar to book a place in the next round of Asian qualifying for Brazil 2014. But Qatar did enough to advances after drawing 2-2 with Iran.
AFC general secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay insisted the outcome of the Bahrain and Indonesia was “above suspicion”.
“I have read the media reports about suspicions of match-fixing. But I am confident that none of our teams are involved in this. Bahrain were the better team both tactically and technically,” he said.
“Moreover I have gone through the official reports of the AFC match commissioner and the match referee and they indicate nothing.”
Dato’ Alex stressed the confederation’s firm stance against match-fixing and corruption.
“AFC and its member associations are vigilant and determined to stamp out this menace,” he said.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER