In an interview with SBCNoticias, Juan Baldovino, lawyer for the Association of Professional Soccer Players of Peru (Safap), warned of ‘tough penalties’ if the match between UTC and Pirata FC is confirmed to have been rigged.
The comments come off the back of a recent corruption scandal that has shaken South American Football and revolves around an incident involving two players which occurred during the 24 November final Liga 1 match of the 2019 season.
As a result, a match fixing investigation has been opened by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) due to the fact that a betting house in Cajamarca received an unusually high frequency of placed bets for amounts of up to 5,000 Soles, Peru’s national currency, on the UTC vs Pirata FC season closer.
Baldovino explained: “At this moment the internal investigation that the FPF has been carrying out, following the complaint presented by Te Apuesto (Intralot), is being headed by its Integrity Management branch.
“Following the investigation, a report will be prepared containing its final conclusions and sent to the company that specialises in integrity services, Sportradar, for review before subsequently being sent to the Justice Commission.
“The research is quite advanced and in the next few days there could be news. They are trying to determine if the two players were directly or indirectly involved in the issue of betting. If this is confirmed there will be tough penalties.”
According to Article 18 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the penalty that a player may receive for having been involved in match-fixing ranges from five years to disqualification for life from the sport and includes a minimum fine of 100,000 Swiss francs.
Baldovino added: “Safap organises two annual meetings where we raise awareness among the players of Liga 1 and Liga 2 of Peruvian professional football about the consequences of matchmaking.
“You have to educate players to understand that getting involved in betting cannot be an option. It is also important to provide them with tools so that they know how to react in case any mafia tries to contact them so that they rig the matches.
“There is a joint effort between the different sectors (Integrity Management, the FPF and the betting sector) to share data in order to quickly and efficiently identify cases of suspicious bets and other fraudulent activities related to match-fixing.”
With this being said, Baldovino stressed the need for a legal framework that regulates both online and face-to-face bets, concluding: “The absence of regulation of betting activity affects the integrity of football, not only in Peru, but in Latin America in general. Formalization is a tool that serves to strengthen the fight against match fixing.”