MAFIA bosses are targeting top UEFA referees with cyber-crime hits to try to fix footy matches.
Officials are offered up to £25,000 to swing matches, according to a leaked memo seen by The Sun.
Criminals are using the phishing techniques fine-tuned during the pandemic to tempt refs to throw European clashes.
The memo, which was sent to the FA and other governing bodies, warns: “The corrupters made use of cyber-crime tactics not previously seen in reported corrupter messages, possibly pointing to a bleed-over in tactics from more sophisticated groups or even the potential for collaboration with such groups.”
It talks of “incidents in which a suspected match-fixer attempted to recruit referees to manipulate matches via social media”.
It reads: “This evolution may have been accelerated by the Covid lockdown, during which cyber criminals both diversified and intensified their criminal activities, according to Europol.”
The memo adds: “We assess corrupters will likely continue to attempt contact with players, referees and other officials via social media and the use of more sophisticated messages, including personalised content and manipulation techniques.”
The messages are understood to have originated from Asian crime gangs and were sent in English — but it’s not thought British refs were targeted.