Integrity in sport update: Europol sign memorandum of understanding with Sportradar

Weekly Media Recap 1-7 June 2015

This has been a fairly quiet week in the media reports of match-fixing. The arrest of four people in Singapore in advance of the SEA games continues to get wide coverage as it has been reported that the four face additional charges, whilst the AFC have provisionally suspended the manager of Timor Leste.

In betting news the World Lottery Association and the European Lotteries officially launched their new Global Lottery Monitoring System to assist in the recognition of suspicious betting activities that could signal potential problems with a game or a match.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Honduras

There are reports today the Honduras under 20 national team are being investigated under suspicion of match-fixing. This after their shock 3-0 loss to Fiji at the under 20 world cup. Reports suggest the match was flagged up on FIFA’s ‘Early Warning System’ which seeks to identify suspicious matches before kick off by using a number of methods including, but not limited to, monitoring betting patterns across the world. An unnamed FIFA official in New Zealand – who wished to remain anonymous due to pending investigations confirmed after the match, that the Honduran team is being investigated and the next steps will be taken in regards to possible sanctions. Meanwhile, the Fiji under 20 football coach Frank Farina has hailed the side’s victory yesterday. Fiji shocked the football world but the side are not getting carried away with their stunning win over Honduras in Christchurch yesterday. Fiji’s 3- nil win has made headlines around the world and for good reason. It was the first time a Pacific Island nation won a game at a FIFA World Cup tournament. But former Socceroo’s boss Farina, says the job isn’t done.

Source: Irfaan Khan, "Honduras U20 national team under investigation for match fixing ", 5 June 2015, Fiji one TV, https://fijione.tv/honduras-u20-national-team-under-investigation-for-match-fixing/

Singapore

Four men charged with fixing a SEA Games football match last week faced new charges yesterday. Singaporean Rajendran R. Kurusamy, 55, and Orlando Marques Henriques Mendes, 49, a technical director of the Timor Leste Football Federation, each face two extra charges relating to Malaysia's 1-0 win over Timor Leste in their May 30 clash. Ex-Timor Leste player Moises Natalino De Jesus, 32, and Nasiruddin, 52, an Indonesian who goes by one name, face one new charge each of being a party to a criminal conspiracy by agreeing to offer bribes to Timor Leste players to throw the match. Last week, Rajendran, Moises and Nasiruddin were accused of abetting the offence by scheming to agree to give a $15,000 bribe to Orlando to arrange for Timor Leste to lose. Court papers said Rajendran met Orlando on May 28 and agreed to give him the money. Orlando was charged with corruptly agreeing to accept Rajendran's bribe. One fresh charge against Rajendran stated he conspired with the others to offer money to at least seven Timor Leste players to lose the match. The other was that he allegedly gave a $1,000 bribe to Orlando to arrange for his team to lose.

Source: Elena Chong, "New charges for four in SEA Games match-fixing case ", 7 June 2015, The straits time, https://news.asiaone.com/news/crime/new-charges-four-sea-games-match-fixing-case

Timor-Leste

The team manager of the Timor Leste football side has been provisionally suspended by the Asian Football Confederation after a match-fixing scandal broke at the Southeast Asian Games.

"Mr Orlando Marques Henriques Mendes, the team manager of the Federação Futebol Timor-Leste U-23 national team, has been provisionally suspended from all football-related activity," the AFC said in a statement on Monday (Jun 1).

Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said on Friday they had arrested an alleged local match-fixer and several "co-conspirators" of different nationalities without naming them just before the football tournament kicked off at the biennial Games.

The CPIB also said some members from the Timor Leste party were assisting them in investigations. The team played their opening match of the tournament on Saturday, losing 1-0 to Malaysia.

The AFC said Mendes' provisional ban would last 30 days after receiving a report from SEA Games organisers of the CPIB investigation.

"The AFC has opened disciplinary proceedings against Mr Mendes for alleged violations of Articles 21 (bribery) and 25 (integrity of matches and competitions) of the AFC Code of Ethics, and Articles 62 (corruption) and 69 (unlawfully influencing match results) of the AFC Disciplinary Code," the confederation said.

"The provisional suspension may be extended once for a further twenty (20) days."

Source: AP, "Football: AFC suspend Timor Leste manager in match-fixing case", 2 June 2015, Channel news Asia, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/football-afc-suspend/1886544.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Netherlands

The European Union’s law enforcement agency Europol has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sportradar, a company behind a Fraud Detection System assisting to combat match fixing in European sport.

Under the terms of the MoU, both parties will actively engage in the exchange of expertise, statistical data, information and/or trends as they relate to sporting integrity. Moreover, the two parties will now begin exploring projects that they can collaborate on or support each other on.

Right after the official MoU signing, Europol’s Deputy Director, Wil van Gemert said: “In order to try and stop match fixing stakeholders from many different areas need to work closely together. I look forward to our cooperation with Sportradar, and the aim is to make it more difficult for match fixers and manipulators to hide”.

Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl had this to add: “Europol have long played an active role in discussions, projects and investigations around the issue of match-fixing. The recent Operation VETO that they led with the involvement of police teams from 13 European countries identified 425 individuals suspected of fixing 380 matches across 15 countries! Their commitment to stamping this scourge out is self-evident. The fact that we have today signed this agreement to share information and collaborate on projects is a huge distinction for our Security Services and our Fraud Detection System. We are in little doubt that working together, in the spirit of the Macolin Convention, we will start making further breakthroughs and will continue closing the net on those who would undermine the credibility of the sports we all love and follow”.

Source: AP, "Europol and Sportradar joint press release: Europol and Sportradar join forces to protect sport’s integrity ", 4 June 2015, Law in Sport, https://www.lawinsport.com/sports-law-news/item/europol-and-sportradar-joint-press-release-europol-and-sportradar-join-forces-to-protect-sport-s-integrity

United Kingdom

Match-fixing is one of the biggest threats to sports all over the world, as nothing about competition works unless players, officials and fans can be certain that the results are on the level.

Now, industry groups are launching a new system designed to help alert them to any suspicious betting activities that could signal a potential problem with a game or match.

The new global lottery monitoring system (GLMS) has been launched by the World Lottery Association and European Lotteries. The system is being powered by Sportradar, and will allow the groups using it to communicate with each other and issue alerts about any suspicious matches.

Both the EL and the WLA are absolutely committed to honest betting and sports integrity worldwide,” said Friedrich Stickler, president of European Lotteries.

According to a recent report by the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), tennis appears to be the sport most often associated with suspicious betting activities.

ESSA itself has been monitoring and issuing alerts on betting patterns, and over the first three months of 2015, they issued 27 alerts for tennis matches, 17 of which were deemed suspicious after further investigation.

That accounted for more than half of all alerts. Most of the remainder were generated by soccer, with table tennis, ice hockey and snooker also having at least one suspicious betting pattern during the quarter.

Source: Kevin Horridge, "New Monitoring System to Look For Suspicious Sports Betting Activity", 6 June 2015, Casino.org, https://www.casino.org/news/new-monitoring-system-to-look-for-suspicious-sports-betting-activity

 

LEGISLATION

Spain

The Spanish Council of Ministers approved in its meeting today the signing of the Convention of the Council of Europe to "pursue the fight against manipulation of results in sports competitions and the purpose to protect the integrity of sport and sports ethics."

The main objective of this project, in which the other major countries of the Old Continent are involved, are to "prevent, detect and punish national or transnational manipulation of sporting competitions".

It also seeks to "promote national and international cooperation against manipulation of sports competitions between public authorities and organizations active in the field of sport and sports betting", as explained by the Spanish Government today.

Source: AP, "Spain joins Europe’s fight against match fixing ", 5 June 2015, Palco 23, https://palco23.com/entorno/20150605/espana-se-suma-a-la-lucha-de-europa-contra-los-amanos-de-partidos/

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Portugal

The Portuguese Football League (LPF) has reacted angrily to allegations by Federbet, which monitors the gaming sector, and has this week singled out a Benfica match as being a possible case of match-fixing. The LPF has reportedly handed over their complaints to public prosecutors with the aim of initiating legal proceedings against Federbet.

It has also been said that the basis for Federbet’s allegations – that more than usual bets were placed on this match – was unfounded, and was rather due to Benfica supporters placing bets on their team winning the match move within a point of becoming league champions.

The report handed to the European Parliament, lists 50 more matches which Federbet says were fixed in Europe over the past 12 months.

Without releasing detailed evidence of how they uncovered the information, the group said matches had been fixed in Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Cyprus, Ukraine, Sweden, Slovenia, Hungry, Romania, and Croatia.

Source: AP, "Portugal Football League to take action over match-fixing claims", 4 June 2015, The Portugal News, https://theportugalnews.com/news/portugal-football-league-to-take-action-over-match-fixing-claims/34945

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