LONDON, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Bookmakers around the globe will be keeping a very close eye on the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil to ensure match-fixing does not hit the international headlines during the tournament.
A recent report in the New York Times claimed documents from football's governing body Fifa highlighted concerns that match-fixing could occur during this summer's World Cup competition.
The unreleased documents seen by the publisher claim matches leading up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa were allegedly fixed. There are fears teams heading to Brazil are equally as vulnerable as those in South Africa, with Fifa reportedly highlighting how susceptible global football tournaments are to falling victim to match-fixers.
The New York Times report came only days after claims a friendly match between Nigeria and Scotland was allegedly targeted by fixers. Also, Ralf Mutschke, Fifa's head of security, recently told the BBC that football's governing body had identified the matches in Brazil that carried the greatest risk of match-fixing.
The 2014 World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo on June 12 when the hosts Brazil take on Croatia. The tournament is a global phenomenon and looks set to be the biggest betting event of the year. Some 32 teams from around the world will play a total of 64 matches across Brazil, culminating in the final in Rio on July 13.
Due to the increasing controversy surrounding match-fixing, bookmakers are ensuring they are fully prepared to spot any warning signs that could indicate the possibility of match-fixing. Fifa have also been quick to ensure that every precaution has been taken to prevent corruption in any game in Brazil this summer.
In a recent interview, Eric Roberts from sportsbook aggregator Sports Betting Online, who earlier this year published an astonishing piece on the extent of match fixing in football said: "There seems to be little doubt that match-fixers could try to target the World Cup. However, Fifa have made moves to combat fixers through initiatives such as the 'integrity initiative' among players and the 'early warning system', which monitors betting patterns."
"Bookmakers are also well aware of the threat to the competition which fixers possess. We are well prepared when it comes to spotting suspicious incidents and betting patterns in the markets which can be seen as most susceptible. "
"We sincerely hope this tournament is remembered for the quality of football on show rather than something sinister like match-fixing."
The 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil is well underway and runs until July 13th.