Swiss football games among those fixed

Forty-one football games in Switzerland were fixed over a period from 2008 to 2011, according to media reports of an international Europol investigation into illegal betting and corruption of players and officials.

Swiss football games among those fixed
Europol chief Rob Wainright at press conference in The Hague. Photo: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP

The finding is part of a larger probe that concluded 380 games were manipulated across Europe during the period, including World Cup and European championship qualifiers and Champions League Games.

A further 300 games were fixed outside of Europe, in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America with links to organized criminal in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, released results from The Hague in the The Netherlands on Monday of an investigation, code-named Operation VETO, carried out with police forces from 13 European countries.

Running between July 2011 and January 2013, the probe uncovered illegal activities that generated more than eight million euros in betting profits and two million euros in bribes

“This is a sad day for football and more evidence of the corrupting influence in society of organized crime,” Rob Wainwright, director of Europol said in a statement.

Illegal profits are being “being made on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game”.

The figures involve some cases that have already been prosecuted or are under investigation.

But the number of fixed games reported for Swiss football is significantly more than was previously known, the Tages Anzeiger reported on its website, citing information from Interpol.

The newspaper said 19 cases were already identified, including an affair in Bellinzona.

But details about the specific Swiss games fixed are scarce.

According to Interpol, a total of 425 players, referees, officials and criminals were involved in fixing 380 games in Europe.
“We have evidence for 150 of these cases and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to 100 000 euros paid per match,” said Fridhelm Althans, a spokesman for Operation Veto from Bochum Police, Germany.

Europol said the organized criminal group behind much of the match fixing has been betting “primarily on the Asian market” with Asian ringleaders working with “European facilitators”.

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Ticino officials ask government to reintroduce checks at Swiss-Italian border

With a number of cases of mutated coronavirus detected in a retirement home and middle school, the canton wants Swiss federal authorities to better monitor cross-border traffic.

Ticino officials ask government to reintroduce checks at Swiss-Italian border
Ticino wants better checks at the Italian border. Photo by AFP

About 70,000 workers from Italy commute each day to their jobs in Ticino, but “the significant cross-border flow appears only partially linked to professional reasons”, cantonal officials said in a statement released this week

Worried that people entering the canton from Italy will spread the new Covid variant, Ticino officials asked the Federal Council “to introduce systematic controls at the border and to close minor crossings, except for the crossings most used by health sector workers”.

The recent decree of Italy’s government limits travel between Italian regions but not towards neighbouring states.

Switzerland’s border with Italy has been open since June 15th, 2020, after being closed for three months during the first wave of the pandemic. At that time, only cross-border workers were allowed to come to Ticino.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Cross-border train service between Switzerland and Italy to continue running 

Since the re-opening, border checks have been random and sporadic.

Ticino authorities added that “it would also be desirable to systematically subject travellers returning to Switzerland from travel abroad, in particular from risk areas, to rapid coronavirus tests”.

The Federal Council has not yet responded to Ticino’s request. 

Entry into Switzerland from France, Germany and Austria is also allowed, except for the quarantine requirement that may be in place at the time of arrival.

From January 15th, travellers from Germany’s Land Sachsen and Italy’s Region Veneto must quarantine for 10 days upon entering in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland's quarantine rules?