Integrity in Sport update - further allegations of match-fixing in Spanish football

Weekly Media Recap 16-22 March 2015

It has been a busy week for the Integrity in Sport unit. Together with our partners from FIFA and AFC, we have conducted a dedicated training workshop for integrity officers from across Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This special fact-finders’ course is designed to prepare integrity officers tasked with establishing the facts and investigating reports of match manipulation in the world of football.

The Integrity in Sport unit has also held a Partnership Development Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, in collaboration with FIFA, AFC, VFF and the Ministry of Public Security. The meeting brought together national stakeholders to develop a coordinated strategy to protect the integrity of sport. The discussions focused on issues such as the impact of global gambling markets as a driver for match-fixing.

Meanwhile, alleged match-fixing cases are under investigation in Montenegro and Moldova. Five players from Montenegro’s first and second division clubs were arrested for arranging the results of matches and placing bets on the outcomes of those games. In Moldova, twelve players and officials were held for questioning over alleged match-fixing following a game between Dacia Chisinau and Dinamo-Auto Tiraspol.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Moldova

Twelve players and officials were held for questioning over alleged match-fixing following a game in the Moldovan championship on Friday, the Moldovan Football Federation (MFF) said. The Moldovan National Anti-Corruption Agency questioned the 12 following the conclusion of the clash between Dacia Chisinau and Dinamo-Auto Tiraspol, the MFF confirmed on Saturday. Two people were arrested on Saturday in connection with alleged match fixing, according to local media reports but that remained unconfirmed by the Moldovan Federation. The questioning came after former Moldovan champions and current league leaders Dacia had beaten Dinamo-Auto, currently bottom of the country's top division, 6-2. Among those questioned were seven Dinamo-Auto players and the team's head coach, 35-year-old Igor Negrescu as well as Dacia's vice-president Ruslan Kmit and sporting director Muhajir Polonkoev. Dinamo-Auto, who confirmed they had eight players and officials questioned, have complained that the move was illegal.

Source: "Players and officials questioned over Moldovan match-fixing allegations", 21 March 2015, Reuters, https://www.eurosport.com/football/players-and-officials-questioned-over-moldovan-match-fixing-allegations_sto4648681/story.shtml

Montenegro

Five players from Montenegro’s first and second division clubs were arrested on suspicion of match-fixing, the Balkan country’s interior ministry said. “Police have reason to believe that the arrested suspects have committed a felony of forming a criminal enterprise to arrange the outcome of competitive events,” senior police official Milovan Pavicevic told a news conference. “They have made an overall illegal profit of €75,000 for themselves and others from August 27, 2014 until the moment of their arrest by fixing the outcomes of five Montenegrin football league matches. “Having arranged the results, they also placed bets on the outcomes of those games with bookmakers in Montenegro as well as in countries in the region.” The police statement said four of the five players were formerly with first division side Berane and the other is still at the club.

Source: "Five players arrested in Montenegro as part of match-fixing investigation", 19 March 2015, Times of Malta, https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150319/football/Five-players-arrested-in-Montenegro-as-part-of-match-fixing-investigation.560519

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Vietnam

Vietnamese football matches are listed for betting by 79 international bookmakers across the world, said Julie Norris from INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport unit, at the conference on the prevention of match fixing held in Hanoi. The conference was attended by officials from Interpol, AFC, FIFA, and Vietnamese representatives from the ministries of public security, justice, finance, and sports. Ms. Norris stressed at the meeting that criminal rings often back the manipulation of football games and they have the involvement of thousands of bookmakers across the world. Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF), told the meeting that the VFF is planning to set up an integrity unit to promote transparency and prevent wrongdoings in the coming time.

Source: "Vietnam football matches listed for betting by 79 foreign firms ", 21 March 2015, Tuoi Tre, https://tuoitrenews.vn/sports/26916/vietnam-football-matches-listed-for-betting-by-79-foreign-firms

 

ODDS AND ENDS

India

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) estimates that the cricket betting racket it had unearthed on the outskirts of Baroda could be worth around Rs 4,000 crore. “Of this, Rs 1,000 crore has been bet on matches in the ongoing ICC World Cup alone,” an ED official told media persons. This could be one of the biggest betting rackets to be unearthed in the country in recent times. The ED had picked up over 10 people, including bookies Tomi Patel (real name Girish Patel) and Kiran.

They had also recovered 15 laptops, over 100 mobile phones and a few television sets in a raid. The racket is also alleged to have links with hawala operators in Dubai and Pakistan.

Source: "Gujarat betting racket worth Rs 4,000 cr, claims ED", 21 March 2015, Deccan Herald, https://www.deccanherald.com/content/466897/gujarat-betting-racket-worth-rs.html

Nigeria

Flying Eagles skipper Musa Muhammed has revealed that Cote d'Ivoire players begged him to miss the second half penalty which eventually knocked them out of the competition. The Flying Eagles of Nigeria had already qualified for the semi-finals and the U-20 FIFA World Cup and was awarded a penalty in second half of their last Group A game against Cote d'Ivoire who needed a victory to qualify. Musa Muhammed has however revealed that as he stepped up to take the penalty, Cote d'Ivoire players pleaded with him to miss the penalty so they could qualify for the next round. "The players including the goalkeeper begged me to miss the penalty, saying we are all champions and we should play for each other," Musa said according to the quote gotten from Sporting Life newspaper. Musa however ignored the pleadings to convert the penalty which earned a 2-2 draw for Nigeria.

Source: Steve Dede, "2015 African U-20 Championship Flying Eagles skipper reveals match fixing attempt", 17 March 2015, Pulse, https://pulse.ng/sports/football/2015-african-u-20-championship-flying-eagles-skipper-reveals-match-fixing-attempt-id3574599.html

Sierra Leone

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has personally intervened to stop Sierra Leone authorities trying to sweep allegations of match-fixing under the carpet. Earlier this week, it was announced that the Sierra Leone Ministry of Sport had lifted the suspensions of 15 players and officials alleged to have been caught up in match manipulation. The sports ministry said it lifted the suspensions to avoid any conflict at the forthcoming SLFA congress but Blatter has written directly to Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma calling on him to support the match-fixing probe being undertaken by Johansen's federation. The letter, seen by Insideworldfootball, urges Koroma to back the internal committee conducting the investigation and to "support your country's football association in its fight against this ill." Koroma has now officially approved the three-man committee, which it is understood will be aided by two FIFA executives, giving the green light for the inquiry to proceed.

Source: Andrew Warshaw, "FIFA step in to stop Sierra Leone match-fixing cover-up", 19 March 2015, Inside World Fotball, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/africa/16646-fifa-step-in-to-stop-sierra-leone-match-fixing-cover-up

Spain

Match-fixing allegations have appeared in the media in connection with the last two matches played by Zaragoza during the 2011/2 season. Zaragoza won both games against Racing and Getafe. According to Antena 3, players involved in the alleged manipulation of the Getafe-Zaragoza game, placed bets and won around 1 million euros.

Source: "Denuncian el supuesto amaño de los dos últimos partidos del Zaragoza en la Liga 11/12", 16 March 2015, Mundo Deportivo, https://www.mundodeportivo.com/futbol/20150316/102605918846/denuncian-el-supuesto-amano-de-los-dos-ultimos-partidos-del-zaragoza-en-la-liga.html

Spain

New match-fixing allegations have surfaced in connection with a match played between Levante and Celta during the 2012-3 season. According to Antena 3, an email indicates that 5 players from Levante allegedly received money delivered by Celta players to lose the match. The suspected players are Sergio Ballesteros, Juanfran, Pedro López, Juanlu and Vicente Iborra. According to the source, the players were reportedly unhappy with the 300,000 euros offered and asked for 500,000 euros.

Iborra has been charged in the Levante-Zaragoza match-fixing case.

Source: "Un e-mail implica a Iborra en el presunto amaño del Levante-Celta de 2013", 17 March 2015, ABC Sevilla, https://sevilla.abc.es/deportes/orgullodenervion/noticias/sevilla-fc/un-e-mail-implica-a-iborra-en-el-presunto-amano-del-levante-celta-de-2013.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

France

French Ligue 2 side Nimes will be relegated at the end of the season after the club's former president Jean-Marc Conrad was found guilty of attempted match fixing, the French League (LFP) announced.

LFP disciplinary commission president Sebastien Deneux told a news conference that Conrad, who was handed a seven-year ban, tried to fix four Ligue 2 games as his club sought to stave off relegation last season. The ruling followed a long investigation into several games played by Nimes last season but the club will now find themselves in the third tier of French football unless they successfully appeal the decision before the French federation (FFF). Nimes' main shareholder Serge Kasparian, meanwhile, was handed a 10-year ban. The only way Nimes can avoid relegation, apart from appealing, is if they win promotion by finishing in the top three but that is unlikely given the number of points they would have to make up.

Source: "Nimes sanctioned with relegation after bosses found guilty of match-fixing ", 19 March 2015, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/europe/16644-nimes-sanctioned-with-relegation-after-bosses-found-guilty-of-match-fixing

Tunisia

While awaiting the court's final decision in the case, the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) suspended players Marouane Troudi and Mahmoud Dridi. Both players were found guilty of attempted corruption during the 2012-2013 season. They were given a 3 month suspended sentence and fined 10 million dinars in connection with the JS Kairouanaise-CA Bizertin match.

Source: "La FTF suspend les joueurs Marouane Troudi et Mahmoud Dridi", 20 March 2015, Kawarji, https://www.kawarji.com/actu-23991-ftf_la_ftf_suspend_les_joueurs_marouane_troudi_et_mahmoud_dridi.html

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