Battling clubs vulnerable to match-fixing

Darren Cartwright and Murray Wenzel

Vulnerable young players and financially struggling clubs are the most likely targets of organised crime syndicates behind match fixing, says a senior Queensland detective.

Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker has been taking part in this week's inaugural match-fixing conference on the Sunshine Coast.

The conference has been an information swap and learning session for international agencies such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Interpol and International Cricket Council, as well as national bodies like the AFL and NRL.

"When you talk about match fixing you often see the young vulnerable kid sleeping in their cars outside tournaments and mum and dad are a long way away," Insp Wacker said

"You see some of the people coming towards the end of their career who have influence on some of these kids to drop a game ... and people are making tens of thousands out out it.

"We also have to keep an eye out for the struggling football clubs because we are seeing some of these organised crime groups (in Europe) buying these clubs and once they get their foot in the door they can have an influence."

Insp Wacker said the conference was to create awareness before next year's Commonwealth Games, but there was no concern about the athletes.

"Sport is a great part of the Australian culture and its imperative we maintain integrity," he said.

NRL players Ryan Tandy and Tim Simona were both banned for match fixing, while several Australian tennis players have been charged with the crime over the past 12 months.

In 2013, four players and a coach from Melbourne club Southern Stars pleaded guilty to rigging soccer matches and last month six Manly players were cleared after an investigation into NRL match fixing.

Gold Coast NRL captain Ryan James says players need to be aware of the danger.

"You can't go off the rails, it comes down to common sense with the players and not getting mixed up with the wrong people," he said.