Ceferin targets match-fixing and broadcast piracy in push to protect game

September 25 – Two separate initiatives, one targeting match-fixing, the other pirate broadcasting, are being launched by UEFA.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin made the announcement at a post-executive committee press conference on Tuesday but acknowledged that tackling matchfixing – a priority of his predecessor Michel Platini – would be a major challenge.

“We will launch a feasibility study into the creation of an independent European agency against match fixing. We start to work from now on,” Ceferin said.

“It’s a big subject. What exactly is going to happen here because obviously, in previous cases, there’s been some UEFA frustration that some national jurisdictions weren’t cooperating or didn’t do enough to help.

“Is this agency designed to get more prosecutions going, or faster action? What are the details and how will it operate?

“We don’t have all the details yet, but the most important thing is cooperation with governments, because our problem always was and always is that, even if we know many things, each has to be prosecuted.”

“The main problem is that our jurisdiction ends at football. We cannot tap phones, we cannot put people in prison, and with those servers being 10,000km from Europe, it’s also a bit of a problem.”

Amid the global outcry over Saudi Arabia’s theft of their broadcast rights by pirate broadcaster beoutQ, Ceferin also disclosed that “a new anti-piracy strategy, aiming at protecting the rights of broadcasters”  was presented to exco members, without providing further details.

UEFA also announced that the 2021 Champions League final will be played in St Petersburg, with Munich selected for 2022 and Wembley for 2023.

In awarding the venues for the next three years, UEFA has  clearly taken into account not only the likely demand for tickets but also the importance of flights and transport infrastructure following widespread complaints about staging last season’s Europa League final in far-off Baku. UEFA have also given the 2021 Europa League final to Seville which beat Georgia’s submission of Tbilisi.

And UEFA have also decided that the video assistant referee system, implemented in last season’s Champions League but still fraught with inconsistency, will be expanded to apply in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

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