Soccer-Spanish football to combat organised crime

Reuters

By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The head of a new Spanish soccer anti-corruption unit, Manuel Quintanar, says his target is to fight the growing threat of organised crime in the game.

Quintanar was this week appointed director general of a new league integrity department, as the Spanish government and the football league attempt to combat the spread of bribery and illegal betting on matches.

"At a European level from UEFA they have been informed by FIFA of the enormous worry that exists over what is taking place," Quintanar told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"It involves the mafia to an extent who have found a new way to make illegal business through professional sport. Against this problem we cannot be half-hearted and we are trying to improve our attitude towards this.

"I am looking forward to the challenge and I am looking for support and collaboration so as to have success.

Quintanar wants to see perpetrators taken to court and stiff sentences imposed.

"We need to make everyone aware, starting with the judiciary, of this issue. The police already can work with what is laid down in the penal code which offers very strong sanctions," he said.

"We need to have zero tolerance with fraud in sport and my job is to inform and ensure that measures are taken quickly at each step. The machinery needs to be well oiled so that at any hint of a crime we can act." (Editing by Ossian Shine)

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