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By ESPN Staff

UEFA to set up anti-corruption unit in Europe

UEFA are planning a Europe-wide anti-corruption network aimed at tackling match-fixing and illegal betting in all football competitions on the continent.

European football's governing body announced yesterday they are to set up a six-man special investigation unit to look into corruption in their competitions.

Currently, 15 matches from last season and 10 Intertoto Cup and UEFA Cup qualifiers this season are under investigation.

UEFA general secretary David Taylor said he wanted the network to be spread across Europe.

He said: ''We will be setting up a special investigations unit to look into situations reported to us in terms of irregular betting.

''This is a danger in our game, we will not allow our sport to be destabilised by those who wish to manipulate it for their own monetary gains.

''We are employing extra people and strengthening our early warning systems to fight the war against illegal betting and corruption.''

Taylor said talks would be held with national associations with a view to forming a European system covering all football competitions.

UEFA also approved an expansion of the European Championship from 16 to 24 teams from 2016.

The decision came after a proposal from the Scottish FA and the Football Association of Ireland.

Meanwhile, UEFA president Michel Platini also warned Poland and Ukraine that they could still lose the Euro 2012 finals if their preparations fall behind schedule.

Platini said that in January work had come to a standstill and although there had been progress in the last six months, it was ''neither uniform nor constant''.

The UEFA president told a news conference in Bordeaux: ''It's not about the stadia, it's about the infrastructure, hotels and transport.

''We were promised new airports and we will not have new airports, we were promised new roads and we are still waiting.

''Both host countries must continue to make the necessary efforts as any slackening could put in doubt the organisation of this tournament in these countries.

''Warsaw and Kiev are the key issues. We cannot organise a European competition if the capitals are not participating.''

UEFA's executive committee said the Euro 2012 decision was ''final'' but this could still be challenged if progress was not made in the two cities.

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