Europol investigation finds suspected fixing in 689 soccer matches

With next summer’s World Cup in Brazil drawing closer, a European police intelligence agency said Monday that a 19-month investigation revealed widespread occurrences of match-fixing in recent years, with nearly 700 games globally deemed suspicious. The list of matches is staggering and encompasses about 380 games in Europe, covering World Cup and European championship qualifiers, as well as Champions League games, including one match played in England.

Officials of Europol, an agency that works with countries across the continent, offered details that strike at the sport’s core: nearly $11 million in profits and nearly $3 million in bribes were discovered during the investigation, which uncovered “match-fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before,” said Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol.

Fixers typically seek to dictate a game’s result by corrupting the players or the on-field officials, and officials said Monday that roughly 425 people were under suspicion because of the investigation, with 50 people having been arrested. The scope of the investigation covered games from 2008 to 2011.