Canadian Soccer Association launches initiatives to help prevent match-fixing

Canada fans

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USA TODAY Sports

With match-fixing back in the headlines in the aftermath of a curious friendly between Nigeria and Scotland this week, fans of the game on these shores can take some solace in the latest announcement from the Canadian Soccer Association.

Late Thursday, the CSA revealed that it is working with CONCACAF, FIFA and Interpol to institute “coordinated prevention and education programs” in order to “safeguard the integrity of our sport,” according to a news release.

Canada was hit with its own scandal in late 2012 when the CBC reported extensively about match-fixing allegations surrounding the Canadian Soccer League, a regional league based predominantly in southern Ontario. This March, the CSA voted to remove the CSL’s sanctioning due to the league “violating the rules and regulations of the Canadian Soccer Association,” though the governing body was careful not to mention match-fixing in its decision.

“Working closely with CONCACAF, Canada Soccer will implement an integrity strategy to prevent match manipulation and protect the integrity of soccer in Canada,” CSA president Victor Montagliani said in the statement Thursday. “We will work with our members and other stakeholders to initiate training with key targets of match-fixing and continue our work towards governing the beautiful game in Canada professionally in collaboration with our partners.”

Former Toronto FC executive Earl Cochrane, who was named the CSA’s deputy general secretary in December, will serve as the CSA’s integrity officer. Part of that new role included obtaining his INTERPOL Instructor of Footballers, Referees and Coaches in the Prevention of Match-Fixing Certification earlier this month.

Cochrane will now be tasked with spearheading efforts to spread the word to players,referees and teams, and “provide these individuals with the tools and knowledge to recognize, resist and report match manipulation attempts.”

The CSA has also provided a “tip line” – or rather, a tip email address – for those involved with the game who become aware of suspicious activities: integrity@canadasoccer.com.