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Sep 15, 2013

Swiss started Aussie soccer fixing probe

Last December, Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive David Gallop signed an 18-month agreement with Swiss-based betting intelligence agency Sportradar.

After the arrest of 10 people involved with an alleged multi-million dollar match-fixing syndicate at Victorian Premier League (VPL) club Southern Stars FC, it ranks as arguably the greatest decision of his administration.

The original tip-off that led to Sunday's dawn raids didn't come from a VPL player, coach or official; nor were FFA's internal integrity unit, Australian betting agencies, the Australian Crime Commission or Victoria Police involved.

The only organisation to initially find anything suspicious about the form of the in-question bottom-placed VPL side was Sportradar, which monitors irregular betting patterns in markets around the world.

Sportradar, with a staff of more than 500 and clients including the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Football Associations of England, France, Germany and many other nations, raised concerns about Southern Stars FC in August.

Within 24 hours of the alarm, FFA passed the information onto police and the resultant investigation culminated in Sunday's dawn raids.

"Their detection service is something we invested in some time ago and it's led to this," Gallop said on Sunday.

"They brought this issue to our attention ... then worked closely with the investigation team.

"So that's got to be a tick for that service.

"... The detection measures that we've had in place have worked, and that is a sign we're working in the right direction.

"But we've got to stay vigilant."

Gallop noted the scandal was "alarming" and "clearly distressing", but cautioned it was a one-off incident of illegality under FFA's umbrella.

"At this stage, the police have indicated to us that they're looking at an isolated issue in Victoria," Gallop said.

"We need to be guided by the police in that regard.

"At this stage, nobody has brought that to our attention (instances of fixing in other state leagues). If they did, we'd certainly refer it to the police."

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