FIFA on Wednesday confirmed the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on 13 players by the Estonian Football Association and two players by the Slovak Football Association relating to match manipulation. The Estonian FA has been cooperating with national judicial authorities after the State Prosecutor Office opened fraud investigations in 2011 and has subsequently opened its own proceedings against several players. As the Estonian FA continues to gather evidence and information, its Disciplinary Committee has decided to ban from all football-related activities ten players (eight of whom had been sanctioned previously) until 1 March 2015 and two other players until 31 December 2014.
In these 12 cases, the Disciplinary Committee is expected to render final decisions by the end of the year once all the necessary elements have been analysed, according to the Estonian FA. Additionally, one player, Yaroslav Dmitriev, has been sanctioned with a lifetime ban from all football-related activities. The Disciplinary Committee of the Slovak FA has decided to sanction two players, Ivan Hodúr and Róbert Rák, with 11-year and 15-year suspensions respectively in connection with the manipulation of several friendly club matches in 2011.
Ivan Hodúr had already been sanctioned with a 14-year suspension on 17 December 2013 in connection with another case of match manipulation and therefore the total duration of the suspension imposed on him by the Slovak FA equates to 25 years. Earlier this year in January and February, FIFA confirmed the extension of sanctions imposed on six Slovak players, including Ivan Hodúr, who were involved in match manipulation of several matches in the Slovak Corgo? Liga (top division) in the 2013-2014 season, with suspensions ranging in length from 14 to 25 years. The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to extend all of the above-mentioned sanctions to have worldwide effect in accordance with article 78 paragraph 1(c) and article 136ff of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
The decisions by the chairman were duly notified to the respective member associations on 24 September 2014. For follow-up questions as to the substance of the decisions, media representatives are kindly requested to contact the relevant member association. FIFA continues to work closely with its member associations and the confederations to tackle match manipulation.
As part of a ten-year programme of collaboration with INTERPOL, regional workshops involving key stakeholders are being held all over the world while e-learning programmes are also helping to educate players, coaches and referees on the dangers of match manipulation to help them to avoid becoming victims of this threat to football integrity. Other initiatives include the signing of an integrity declaration by officials, the monitoring of the betting market via FIFA’s subsidiary Early Warning System (EWS) and the setting up of an e-learning ethics tool, an integrity hotline and e-mail address and a confidential reporting system.