FOOTBALL Federation Australia has vowed to tighten up scrutiny of A-League betting in the wake of the latest match-fixing scandal as former Socceroo Robbie Slater warned Australia coul get caught up.
Europol has identified 15 countries involved in a sophisticated rigging scheme that includes up to 425 players, referees and officials across 380 matches, all allegedly controlled by an Asia-based betting syndicate.
Champions League games and World Cup qualifiers are among the fixtures being investigated.
Slater, who was playing in France when Marseille were sensationally dumped from the first division for attempted match-fixing in 1994, doubts the A-League will be implicated.
But he is not naive enough to dismiss the possibility entirely.
"You would love to think in Australia we are good sports and you'd love to think that's the case," Slater said. "We're a very new league (and) I'd be surprised if anything's gone on here.
"But when you look at the amount of competitions that have been mentioned, you can't rule anything out. I think anyone can (be caught up in it).
"What my experience in France made me realise is it can happen to anyone, so it's not exclusive to one country."
Regardless of whether Australia is involved in the scandal, Slater fears for the game's reputation.
"Australians don't like cheats," he said. "If it's that deep, it can certainly have an effect on us."
Europol director Rob Wainwright labelled the investigation the 'biggest-ever' into suspected match-fixing.
He added: "It has yielded major results which we think have uncovered a big problem for the integrity of football."
The FFA today revealed they last month signed an 18- month deal Sportradar, an independent world leading betting monitoring organisation, to create another level of deterrence to local match fixing.
Sportradar is an international gambling watchdog with more than 400 clients in 60-plus countries, including 30 state lotteries, betting operators, state authorities, law enforcement institutions and various global sports federations.
“Match fixing and sports betting are serious matters that have the potential to cause serious damage to the integrity and image of any sport,” said FFA CEO David Gallop.
“We have put significant processes in place to safeguard against betting and match fixing related issues, including ensuring athletes receive education specifically on betting and match-fixing.
“We are determined in our efforts to eliminate the potential of match fixing from football.”