FIFA dismayed as Interpol suspends 20 million euro 'Integrity' pact

Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:08pm EDT
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By Gregory Blachier

PARIS (Reuters) - World soccer's governing body, FIFA, expressed dismay on Friday after Interpol suspended a 20 million euro ($22 million) arrangement on fighting corruption, adding to what a former insider in both organizations called FIFA's "escalating isolation".

The international police body said it would stop using funds it gets from FIFA for the "Integrity in Sport" program in light of the investigations into corruption surrounding FIFA.

"All external partners, whether public or private, must share the fundamental values and principles of the organization, as well as those of the wider law enforcement community," said Juergen Stock, Interpol's secretary general.

FIFA agreed in 2011 to give Interpol 20 million euros to fund a 10-year program to tackle match-rigging and illegal gambling, Interpol's biggest single contribution from any private partner.

It said in a statement that it was "disappointed to learn of the decision", adding that the program "has been a key part of addressing the transnational problem of match fixing".

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation last week as U.S. and Swiss authorities widened their investigations into bribery and corruption at the Swiss-based organization.

Former Interpol officer Chris Eaton, who also served as FIFA's head of security, told Reuters that Interpol's move "further exacerbates FIFA's 'unclean' image and its escalating isolation".

"The real damage ... is the wider perception that conflicted organizations are now deserting FIFA," he said.   Continued...

A staff walks past a logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/Files