New Spanish football anti-corruption chief Manuel Quintanar says his role will involve combatting “mafia” influence in La Liga.
Quintanar has moved from his role as head of Spain’s anti-doping agency to become director of integrity at the Liga de Futbol Profesional (LFP), which, along with the Spanish government, says it wishes to deal more forcefully with issues including fraud, match-fixing, doping, piracy and illegal betting on games.
The lawyer told Marca that organised crime elements had begun to see opportunities of making money out of football.
“At a European level from UEFA they have been informed by FIFA of the enormous worry that exists over what is taking place,” Quintanar said. “To an extent, it involves the mafia, who have found a new way to make illegal business through professional sport.
“We cannot be half-hearted in dealing with this problem 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.”
LFP president Javier Tebas has regularly issued warnings about match-fixing in Spanish football, with a number of games played in recent seasons coming under suspicion, but no serious measures have yet been taken.
Tebas’ concerns appeared to focus more on the influence of foreign betting syndicates, rather than the practice of presidents, players or coaches arranging results in end-of-season games.
Quintanar says he wanted the Spanish courts and police to deal seriously with those in football who were suspected of breaking the law.
“We need to make everyone aware, starting with the judiciary, of this issue,” he said. “The police can already work with what is laid down in the penal code, which offers very strong sanctions. 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.”
Quintanar only took up his former role as head of the Spanish anti-doping agency (AEA) last October, when he replaced Ana Munoz.
Munoz had been very vocal in that role about the need to examine evidence that emerged during the trial of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, which could possibly have included links to football.
No progress has been reported over Munoz's declared intention to identify former clients of Fuentes, despite calls from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and elsewhere for the identities of 35 unknown sportspeople who had worked with the doctor to be revealed.