Interpol suspends 20 mil.-euro deal with FIFA

By Fridiric Garlan, AFP

LYON, Frnace — Interpol on Friday pulled out of a multi-million-euro deal with FIFA to promote ��integrity�� in sport, as the corruption scandal engulfing the world’s soccer governing body left it increasingly isolated. The international police organization announced it was suspending a 10-year partnership deal with FIFA worth 20 million euros (US$22 million) for its ��Integrity in Sport program.�� Interpol boss Juergen Stock noted that partners in the program ��must share the fundamental values and principles of the organization.�� FIFA has been in crisis since May after 14 people connected to FIFA were charged as part of a U.S. investigation into alleged corruption. The scandal spectacularly brought down FIFA boss Sepp Blatter and has also cast doubt on the fairness of the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to be staged in Russia and Qatar respectively. FIFA hit back at Interpol, voicing disappointment at the decision to suspend the partnership agreement, which it called a ��success.�� ��Our cooperation over the past four years has been a key part of addressing the transnational problem of match fixing,�� stressed FIFA. The program itself was ��unrelated�� to the current crisis surrounding the soccer body, FIFA added, calling for it to resume as soon as possible and adding it was in contact with Interpol to resolve the issue.

The ��Integrity in Sport�� drive has coordinated global efforts to prevent match fixing and illegal gambling by criminal groups. Interpol’s decision came a day after an educational charity launched by soccer fan Pope Francis said it would no longer accept money from South American soccer confederation CONMEBOL. Scholas Occurrentes had been due to receive a US$10,000 donation from CONMEBOL for every goal and penalty kick scored during the Copa America, the South American championship which kicked off Thursday in Chile.