Hunting the fixers

Investigating match-fixing is like putting together a puzzle, but clubs, associations and Fifa are not always helpful in providing the pieces, says a German police officer. In this interview, he provides a unique insight into the fight against one of the biggest threats against sporting integrity.

By Anders Dehn

Two men were preparing to meet one of the most notorious match-fixers in the world. But they didn’t know if he wanted to speak to them. They were, after all, a police officer and a public prosecutor, and he didn’t know they were coming.

The men had travelled from Germany to Oulu in Northern Finland, only a short drive south of the Arctic Circle, to interrogate the match-fixer. This could turn out to be a major breakthrough in an already big investigation into match-fixing and organised crime. Or the fixer could refuse to speak to them, rendering the entire trip pointless.

Since they had no idea what to expect they didn’t know how to approach the meeting. Sure, they had spoken about it in advance, “What could we ask him? What will make this a success or not?” But in reality, they had come all this way without a clear plan.

The police officer and the prosecutor were waiting in an almost empty room, only a table and some chairs made up the interior. Outside, the temperature was minus 25-30 degrees, but inside the room things were about to heat up. It was make or break.

The local police brought in the match-fixer, and the two Germans introduced themselves. 

The match-fixer was friendly but firm: He didn’t want to talk t...

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