Earlier this month, the Canadian Soccer Association's general secretary Peter Montopoli and president Victor Montagliani travelled to Zurich, Switzerland, to meet with FIFA officials for advice on how to proceed with handling the issue of match-fixing in Canada
For the first time since a CBC documentary
showed how an international match-fixing syndicate had set its sights on the Canadian Soccer League, the CSA is speaking out about the issue, the allegations and what it plans to do.
"These things do occur," Montagliani said. "We aren't exempt.
"This is the first time we've had to meet with FIFA on an issue like this. And as the CBC report showed, this is a bit of a spider web.
"It's not just Canada. It's all over the world.
"We're taking it very seriously. FIFA not only has this on its radar, but is front and centre in terms of making sure they deal with it."
The most recent developments don't just have implications for Canada, but the entire region. FIFA and CONCACAF will host a conference in early 2013 on match-fixing and the risks it presents to North American soccer.
"FIFA has engaged CONCACAF in the areas of prevention and education in this area," Montagliani said. "The conference will lay out how to deal with issues that, for the most part, we've been untouched by over the years.
"Unfortunately, that is no longer the case and we can't and won't be burying our heads in the sand."
The CSA has faced criticism internally and through the media for not responding more quickly to the allegations and for not taking a more active role in monitoring the CSL.
OFFICIAL TO LOOK FOR RED FLAGS
"I don't think it's fair to say we have been passing the buck on this issue," Montagliani said. "We followed proper procedure when reporting it to the authorities.
"But we want to take care of our own house. So one of the recommendations we're going to adopt after the conference will be that we bring on a domestic security advisor to monitoring fixing issues in Canada."
Montagliani expanded on what the responsibilities of the domestic security advisor will be.
"Their role will be working with our professional leagues and working with our clubs and the people involved in the game to identify allegations," he said. "And also, on the other side of that, looking at the monitoring of the game and addressing some of the areas that are red flags."
RCMP NOT INVESTIGATING
But the fact remains that the current issue, as it pertains to revelations found in the CBC documentary, remains unresolved. According to the CSA, the RCMP is not investigating anything related to match-fixing in Canada.
"As far as Canadian soccer knows, they are not investigating," Montagliani said. "We had advised the police authorities in Canada -- the RCMP and the OPP -- but they had chosen not to proceed with any further activity.
"From what I understand, they didn't have jurisdiction to make arrests based on the CBC report because they felt the actual crimes, while they took part in the CSL, were done outside of our country. I don't know if that's right, wrong or indifferent."
So does the CSA consider this a dead issue with regards to the CSL?
"We take this issue very seriously," Montagliani said. "We have done our due process.
"If the RCMP and the OPP are not willing to move on this issue, I think it makes it very difficult for us to act. So what we can do is work to ensure these types of issues don't ever come to the forefront again in Canada."
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