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FIFA to protect match-fixing whistle blowers

FIFA promised to protect witnesses who report match-fixing plots as world football's governing body stepped up its fight against corruption by launching a year-long campaign on Tuesday, reports Sport Business. FIFA's head of security Chris Eaton stated the Federation has "anecdotal evidence" that players have been killed by crime syndicates to defend their hugely lucrative business, and is monitoring worldwide reports of intimidation to co-operate with betting scams.

A hotline and website, which will be run independently of FIFA, will launch on February 1 and will offer potential whistleblowers advice and guidance in 180 languages.

FIFA is set to offer a plea-bargaining amnesty for three months in a bid to encourage those owning up to their involvement in match-fixing.

"Players are living in fear in many countries," Eaton said, according to the Associated Press. "If they come forward and have valuable information...they will be protected. I have that commitment from FIFA."

Eaton stated FIFA has been encouraged by the example set by Simone Farina, who plays for Italian Serie B club Gubbio. The defender alerted authorities in November after he was offered Eur200,000 to fix an Italian Cup match between his club and Cesena.

Farina was appointed a FIFA fair play ambassador on Monday. "He resisted and rejected a corrupting offer, but more importantly he reported it," added Eaton.

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Dave Williams

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