An alliance of social workers, teachers and religious groups was formed yesterday to oppose legalising soccer betting - on the same day that Cable TV confirmed it would broadcast next year's World Cup. The union of 32 organisations said legalised soccer betting would encourage the further spread of a gambling culture. 'Even though football gambling is common, what the Government should do is to strengthen prosecution rather than legalise it,' said alliance spokesman and Education Convergence vice-chairman Ho Hon-kuen. Cable TV has won the exclusive broadcasting rights for all 64 matches in the Fifa World Cup Finals, as well as more than 340 qualifying matches. Speaking after the official announcement in Causeway Bay, Cable TV chairman and chief executive officer Stephen Ng Tin-hoi said the existence of soccer gambling was a reality which was 'not about to go away'. 'We need to recognise that there is little the Government can do to eradicate soccer pools . . . Given this reality, we need to ask ourselves whether we should regulate [the soccer betting industry],' he said. Fifa representative Charlie Charters said the existence of soccer gambling was neither a good nor bad reflection on Hong Kong. 'Each country finds its own level that it is comfortable with. Fifa does not actively encourage or discourage it.' The Government will introduce a public consultation paper on legalising soccer betting in June.