Money Laundering through the Football Sector
In the past two decades, football has changed from a popular pastime into a global industry. With the growing economic importance of football along with other sports, the investment of money into the sector has increased exponentially, and some of this has criminal connections.
The FATF has just completed a study to determine what makes the football sector attractive to criminals. Why look at football? It is by far the largest sport in the world – more than 250 million people play – and the FIFA World Cup final in 2006, for example, attracted over 1 billion viewers. Despite the rapid growth and high visibility of the football sector, however, football’s regulatory structure has not yet caught up with some of the risks that come with these changes.
The FATF report examines the sector in economic and social terms and provides case examples identifying areas that could be exploited by those who want to invest illegal money into football. In preparing this analysis, the authors engaged with some of the major sports organisations, such as FIFA, UEFA and the International Olympic Committee, in addition to relevant experts from FATF and non-FATF member countries.
The goal of this FATF report is to draw attention to some of the risks facing the football sector in particular – and the sports industry in general – to misuse by criminals so that government policy makers, law enforcement, the financial sector and sports regulatory authorities can better understand and begin dealing with this problem.
For more information about this report, please contact the FATF Secretariat at Contact@fatf-gafi.org.