FIFA’s head of security and the man overseeing the attempt to combat match-fixing, Chris Eaton, believes that match-fixers are trafficking football players from the game’s poorer nations to help facilitate their scams.
The claim comes after seven Zambians and two Georgians were convicted of taking bribes to affect the outcome of games in the Finnish league, with Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean match-fixer, found guilty of bribing the nine players and sentenced to two years in prison.
The nine players were said to have accepted bribes ranging from 500 to 40,000 euros.
Eaton said that he is concerned by the increasing number of players implicated in such cases and how they come to be involved in scams that are impacting leagues in Europe, Asia, Africa and South and Central America.
"It is a form of trafficking, in my view – trafficking for criminal purposes. There are examples of players who have been abandoned because they did not perform," Eaton told The Independent.
"It is only anecdotal evidence at this stage, but it is clear. They [match-fixers] often target people from humble origins."
"They will go to junior competitions and recruit families of players basically through the attraction of cash. ‘I can get you a contract, or a game in Europe or in South America’ – they will invest in the development of players and officials and then they expect payment – they want their cut," he added.