By Alex Miller
at Leaders in Football, London
6 October 2011
Former top referee Pierluigi Collina has warned that the issue of match fixing was “the future of football” and that everybody associated with the sport had to act to look after the game.
On the day that Wayne Rooney’s father and uncle were arrested by police investigation into suspicious betting activities, Collina, now a member of the UEFA Referees Committee, said the matter was an issue not just for referees but for the whole game.
He added: “Match fixing is very important. We have to be careful. The day football is not trusted any more, we can all go fishing. Nobody will trust football if it is not reliable. Everyone who loves football should look after the game”.
Wayne Rooney senior, 48, was detained at his home in the West Derby area of Liverpool by Merseyside Police in a joint operation with the Gambling Commission.
The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts last December, according to Merseyside Police.
Also arrested at his Glasgow home was Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings as part of the probe into suspicious gambling patterns in the SPL fixture.
Jennings, who denies any wrongdoing, was sent off late in the game for directing foul and abusive language at the referee as his side lost 2-1.
Bookmakers reported a series of ‘suspicious’ bets, most placed in the Merseyside area, on a red card being shown in the match.
Peter Coates, Stoke City’s owner, told Sportingintelligence today: “The professional integrity of football and sport and betting industry is paramount. It [the Rooney Snr case] is an allegation but I believe integrity in UK football is at a high level.”