Integrity in Sport Update: New Zealand pass Crime Match Fixing Amendment Bill

Weekly Media Recap 1-7 December 2014

Last week, the INTERPOL Integrity in Sport team and FIFA conducted a Train-the-Trainer course for the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup 2015 Integrity Officers. The event provided awareness sessions to 16 member associations prior to the AFC Asian Cup 2015.

The Crime Match Fixing Amendment Bill has been passed in New Zealand before the country hosts the FIFA Under 20 World Cup next year and co-hosts the ICC Cricket World Cup. The new legislation will make match-fixing a form of deception.

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Greece

A Greek special unit police investigation has brought match fixing cases against sixteen high profile members of Greek football. The Greek police have yet to publish the names of the charged members. However Greek news sources have speculated that Evangelos Marinakis President of current Super League Champions Olympiakos FC is said to be one of the sixteen charged. Evangelos Marinakis, a businessman and ship-owner who has owned Olympiakos since 2010, was previously implicated in another match-fixing scandal in 2010-11 which is still the subject to further police investigation. The special criminal investigation is centred on the fixing of football results in matches which took place between 2011 to 2013. The sixteen high ranking members have further been charged with the ‘involvement of criminal enterprise’. Greek media has stated that the other charged members include high ranking officials from the Greek Football Federation, match officials and referees. The impending criminal case against the sixteen members will likely be Greek footballs biggest match fixing investigation.

Source: Ted Menmuir, "Greek football rocked by arrest of 16 high profile members", 5 December 2014, SBC news, https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/retail/2014/12/05/greek-football-rocked-by-arrest-of-16-high-profile-members/#ixzz3LH3Jo0f1

Japan

Japan manager Javier Aguirre met with officials of the Japan Football Association and denied allegations that he was involved in match-fixing. The JFA's lead attorney Yutaka Miyoshi said Aguirre told him during a two-hour meeting that he has never been involved in match-fixing. Miyoshi questioned Aguirre and learned of nothing that could link him to the allegations. According to Spanish media reports, authorities in Spain are moving to prosecute Aguirre and some 30 others on suspicion of fixing a league game against Levante when he managed Zaragoza in May 2011. "This could become a big problem if it starts to affect his job as manager," Miyoshi said. "We are trying to see that it doesn't." He added "This is not the end of it. We will see how the investigation unfolds. If new facts come to light, we will make a judgment."

Source: "Japan coach Aguirre denies match-fixing reports", 4 December 2014, AP, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2014/12/04/jfa-backs-aguirre-amid-match-fixing-reports/19878161/

Singapore

Singapore said its detention of four men without trial last year “effectively dismantled” a syndicate that fixed soccer matches around the world. “Offenders will continue to be dealt with firmly under our laws,” the home affairs ministry said. The city state came under international scrutiny after European police body Europol said Tan’s group tried to rig 680 games from 2008 to 2011 including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers. Tan claims he was framed by Wilson Raj Perumal, another Singaporean who was jailed for two years in Finland from 2011 for fixing matches there. The two men had worked together for a sports events company and Tan claims payments he made in South Africa just before the 2010 World Cup, for betting tips on friendly matches, were on Raj’s instructions. “Tan’s relationship with Raj is irrelevant,” the attorney general’s office said in its court filing.

Source: Andrea Tan, "Singapore Busts Global Soccer-Fixing Gang With 2013 Detentions ", 5 December 2014, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-04/singapore-says-soccer-fix-suspect-rigged-games-globally.html

United Kingdom

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is set to make a court appearance after he was summoned by Spanish authorities over match-fixing claims dating from his time as a Real Zaragoza player. The United summer signing, who joined from Athletic Bilbao, will have to return to Spain to provide evidence to the court regarding allegations that a La Liga match from May 2011 was fixed. 28 players are involved in the investigation, including Herrera and Atletico Madrid captain Gabi. The investigation centres on a match between Real Zaragoza and Levante on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign. The allegations fall on then-Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias, who reportedly paid off certain players to ensure the result. He will be forced to give evidence at the investigation. Gabi and Herrera reportedly received payments from Iglesias, although the money was returned and Iglesias has claimed they were just bonuses for the season.

Source: Patrick Surlis, "Ander Herrera to make court appearance over match-fixing claims", 1 December 2014, Give me Sport, https://www.givemesport.com/526238-ander-herrera-to-make-court-appearance-over-matchfixing-claims

GOOD PRACTICE

New Zealand

People convicted of sports match-fixing in New Zealand will face up to seven years in prison under new legislation passed by the country's government on Thursday. The Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill was part of a raft of measures introduced by New Zealand's government in the past 12 months in an effort to combat corruption in sports. The timing of the Bill, which becomes effective on Dec. 15, was to coincide with New Zealand's co-hosting of the 50-over cricket World Cup with Australia next February and March and the hosting of the men's under-20 soccer World Cup next June. New Zealand's Crimes Act did not make specific reference to match-fixing and the new legislation will make it a form of deception. "The Government has worked with the sport sector and betting industry to ensure sufficient processes are in place to protect sport from match-fixing." A national match-fixing policy was also implemented in May this year with sports organisations required to comply with the code, which introduced rules to curb match-fixing and bans from participation in sport.

Source: Greg Stutchbury, "Match-fixers to face up to seven years in prison in New Zealand", 4 December 2014, Reuters, https://in.reuters.com/article/2014/12/04/sport-zealand-corruption-idINKCN0JI09D20141204

New Zealand

New Zealand was beaten by Denmark in the list of least corrupt countries in the world. Transparency International has ranked New Zealand in second place for least perceived corruption in government. In 2013, New Zealand was at the top of the Corruption Perceptions Index together with Denmark in a tie. Transparency International ranked 175 countries based on the presence of corruption in the public sector. New Zealand continues to have a strong track record when it comes to having an open and transparent government as indicated by the recent Corruption Index. Justice Minister Amy Adams said the government has passed several anti-corruption policies within the year. The bill to prevent match-fixing in football and cricket, and the agreement to share information between the police and the Inland Revenue were among them.

Source: Reissa Su, "New Zealand Named Second in World's Least Corrupt Countries", 3 December 2014, IB Times, https://au.ibtimes.com/articles/574796/20141203/new-zealand-corrupt-country-corruption.htm#.VIV7A2fuZ0f

ODDS AND ENDS

Gambling

Professional footballers and cricketers are three times more likely to have a gambling problem than other young men - and the problem is worse if they are on lower incomes, according to new research. The findings of the research study into gambling involving professional sportsmen was announced at the Professional Players' Federation (PPF) conference in Edgbaston. The research showed 6.1% of sportsmen would be classified as "problem gamblers" compared to 1.9% of young males in the general population. It also showed that only a quarter of sportsmen had received responsible gambling education" - but 89% of these found the education helpful. PPF chairman Brendon Batson said: "There is an urgent need to break down the stigma attached to problem gambling in sport. Sportsmen are a clear 'at risk' group and the whole of professional sport has a duty of care to these young men. We all need to work together to expand and improve the good practice that exists on education and treatment for problem gambling."

Source: "Sport's gambling problems revealed in new research", 3 December 2014, ESPN, https://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/375657.html#p3ZzDHBA3fkQEFxV.99

Greece

FIFA and UEFA have reportedly sent a joint letter to the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) warning that proposed government legislation, which is aimed at tackling the serious problem of corruption and match-fixing in Greek football, constitutes an unacceptable involvement of the state in football and would lead to the country being banned from international competitions. The letter comes as the crisis over corruption and match fixing in Greece football comes to a head with the EPO, whose officials have been accused of involvement in match fixing, opposed to new legislation which would restrict the president of the EPO to two terms and introduce regulatory reforms aimed at protecting the safety and independence of referees. With Greek football in desperate need of a clean-up, which will include criminal proceedings, FIFA has the task of defending the independence of football from politics whilst also ensuring effective anti-match fixing and anti-corruption measures are put in place.

Source: Mark Baber, "Greek tragedy adds new twist with FIFA and UEFA warning to clubs ", 3 December 2014, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/europe/15952-greek-tragedy-adds-new-twist-with-fifa-and-uefa-warning-to-clubs

United Kingdom

Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Scotland chief executive, Fraser Wishart admits he’s not shocked at new figures that reveal sportsmen are three times more likely to suffer from gambling addiction than average. The PFA Scotland has been running a gamblers awareness programme for around four years. They’ve had around 50 players coming forward. “It’s a credit to these guys who have recognised they have a problem. You would be guessing as to how many players are out there but clearly there are others with problems,” said Wishart. “If you’re a young player with a large disposable income and plenty of time on your hands with access to gambling online that can be a potent mix. We try to teach players about responsible gambling. We educate them about the regulations of gambling within football and not being allowed to bet on games.

Source: Gordon Parks, "PFA Scotland chief Fraser Wishart admits latest football gambling figures are not a shock ", 4 December 2014, Daily Daily Record, https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/pfa-scotland-chief-fraser-wishart-4746103

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Chile

The Disciplinary Tribunal of the Chilean Football Federation (ANFP) sanctioned Colo Colo player, Julio Alberto Barroso for his controversial statements on November 5th in which he suggested possible arrangements and match-fixing were key to the championship. The player will be suspended for 8 matches. Colo Colo can appeal the sentence.

Source: Luis Godoy Ortiz, "Duro castigo para Julio Barroso: Ocho fechas de suspensión", 1 December 2014, La Nacion, https://www.lanacion.cl/noticias/deportes/futbol-nacional/primera-division/duro-castigo-para-julio-barroso-ocho-fechas-de-suspension/2014-12-01/121048.html 

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