Out of Bounds: identifying, disrupting and preventing the infiltration of organized crime in football

7 November 18:00 – 20:00

The infiltration of organized criminal networks in sport is a global threat that poses risks to communities, economies, and institutions. Football, the world’s most popular sport, is an attractive target for these networks. The ability to launder money and make a profit in the process through manipulation of football attracts serious and organized crime and once this money is channeled into crime groups, it can be used for various criminal activities.

Criminal organizations are difficult to monitor and target, and operate with the support of a network whose capacity and resources may equal or outweigh those of law enforcement. It is therefore necessary to identify and mobilize the “agents of change” – in law enforcement, sporting organizations, government, etc. – to prevent and disrupt the infiltration of football by organized crime.

The workshop will bring together experts from law enforcement, international regulatory bodies, and sports organizations to discuss the risks related to corruption of football by criminal organizations and will address the question of how to block the entry at all levels, from amateur local matches to major international competitions. By raising awareness of the problem, the workshop aims to empower agents of change (from fans to international regulatory bodies) to take action and identify best practice in coordinating the activities of various agencies to best identify, disrupt and prevent the criminal infiltration of the beautiful game.

Working Questions:
Which organized criminal groups are involved and why is football attractive to organized criminal infiltration?

Is organized criminal infiltration of football a risk that all competitions face equally, or are certain competitions more vulnerable and why? Are international events/competitions at greater risk?

Which aspects of football are most likely to be controlled or exploited by organized crime? Are there structural aspects that make certain aspects more attractive to organized crime?

How can the international community, as well as local communities, mobilize to identify, disrupt, and prevent corruption in football? What tools are currently available? What tools are needed?

Can international regulatory bodies be effective in combating this threat, or are national sports associations more crucial to ensuring integrity?

How can we improve cooperation between entities combating infiltration by organized criminals in football?

What is the existing legal framework surrounding international sporting events and organized crime? How can it be enhanced? What obstacles remain to its improvement and implementation?

Can governance established within football organizations be effective to combat corruption? Should, for example, this governance address whistleblowers?

Workshop Panelists:

Ellen White
INTERPOL; Policy Analyst Integrity in Sport

Rob Bonnet
Sports Broadcaster

Dimitri Vlassis
UNODC; Chief of the Corruption and Economic Crime Branch

Ralf Mutschke
FIFA; Director of Security

John Abbott

Drago Kos

Charles Johnston
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Kristen Larson
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Transnational Crime and Illicit Threats Advisor

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