Integrity in sport update: South African Football Assocation asks police to investigate allegations of match-fixing

Weekly Media Recap 3-9 November 2014

Published 10 November 2014

This week, 2 players of Shabanie Mine in Zimbabwe were suspended for suspected match-fixing. Also under suspicion is the former coach of the club, Luke Macromere, who was previously involved in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

In another development, the head referee of the Greek Super League is facing a difficult task with persisting allegations of corruption and match-fixing, while there is a feeling that integrity standards have dropped rather than improved.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

China

An anti-graft team wrapping up an inspection of the sports administration said it had uncovered serious problems and senior officials would be investigated. A number of senior officials and players were sacked for match-fixing and bribery in soccer games two years ago, but the latest official statement suggests the problem of graft in the sector is more widespread. The remarks were posted on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's graft watchdog. In 2012, two former heads of the Chinese Football Association, a former national team captain, the country's top referee and at least four former national team players were convicted for taking bribes and jailed. Zhang Huawei, leader of a disciplinary inspection said match-fixing was "quite serious" in some sports events and the commercial development of games was "chaotic", lacking necessary regulations and supervision. Measures were needed to regulate sports-related business activities and punish match-fixing with severity and transparency.

Source: Stephen Chen, "Corruption said to be rampant in China’s sports sector", 3 November 2014, South China Morning Post, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1631045/corruption-said-be-rampant-chinas-sports-sector

South Africa

Following recommendations by the public protector's office, former SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe will ask police to investigate allegations of match-fixing involving the South African national team, he said in a statement on Friday. The investigation concerns Bafana Bafana matches played in May 2010, the year South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup. During his tenure at the SA Football Association (SAFA), Sedibe, who is now the CEO of Section 21 organisation Proudly South African, signed a contract with Singapore company Football 4U. According to a Fifa report into the alleged fixing, Football 4U had been linked to convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal Raj, and several pre-World Cup matches were cast under suspicion after referees were provided, and paid, by Football 4U. Sedibe denied any involvement in match-fixing.

Source: "Sedibe asks police to look into fixing", 7 November 2014, Sport 24, https://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/BafanaBafana/Sedibe-asks-police-to-look-into-fixing-20141107

Spain

Getafe and ex-Zaragoza player Ángel Lafita has insisted when giving his testimony in the anti-corruption court that the football match between Levante and Zaragoza had not been rigged. Lafita was the last and final person to declare after players from both teams and Zaragoza ex-president, Agapito Iglesias had given their version of events to the anti-corruption court, which is carrying out an investigation into the possible match-fixing whereby Levante allowed themselves to lose. All of the Zaragoza players called to declare have assured that they know nothing about such dealings. The Zaragoza players were all paid money into their accounts in the days coming up to the game, which was later withdrawn. The prosecution suspect that this money was then used to pay the Levante players. Everyone concerned, including the Levante players, insist that their hands are clean. What is undeniable is that thanks to their win 2-1 over Levante, Zaragoza picked up the three points needed to avoid relegation down to Spain's second division, meaning that Deportivo de la Coruña had to.

Source: "Lafita denies Levante-Zaragoza match-rigging", 4 November 2014, Marcahttps://www.marca.com/en/2014/11/04/en/football/spanish_football/1415125916.html

Zimbabwe

Shabanie Mine believe their 1-3 defeat at home to How Mine was fixed and the club suspects that their former coach Luke “Vahombe” Masomere masterminded it all. The club has since suspended veteran defender Zvenyika Makonese and goalkeeper Victor Twaliki. Makonese went AWOL on the eve of the match, while Twaliki conceded what the club felt were three soft goals. Coincidentally, the pair enjoys close relations with Masomere. The former coach denied the allegations. Shabanie Mine vice-chairman Fidelis Chimedza disclosed that the club decided to suspend the pair as investigations into the alleged match-fixing continue.

There is a lot of suspicion around that game. The situation is made even worse by the fact that some of the characters involved are also the ones who are alleged to have been heavily involved in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal,” said Chimedza in apparent reference to Masomere. “The problem is that such allegations are difficult to substantiate and for that reason, we have delayed lodging an official complaint with the league authorities until we finish our own investigations.

Source: Ishemunyoro Chingwere, "LOCAL SOCCER: Shabanie Mine in match-fixing storm", 9 November 2014, Sunday Mail, https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/shabanie-mine-in-match-fixing-storm/

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Football Association of Wales - Follow up

A Series of meetings have been held between the Football Association of Wales and North Wales clubs to coincide with a new initiative. FAW officials met with senior officials and players from Prestatyn Town and Rhyl to discuss the problem of match fixing within Wales, as part of a tour of all 12 WPL clubs over the coming weeks. In partnership with Sportradar Security Services, the FAW delivered a “unique and tailored” education workshop and e-learning tool to the senior team and youth teams at both clubs. Gwyn Derfel, WPL secretary, said: “This tour has been the product of a positive and focused collaboration between the WPL, The FAW and Sportradar and I am delighted to see the Tour now underway. We at the WPL are absolutely focused on ensuring that our league is honest, competitive and exciting and we will not compromise: our players and our fans rely on that.” Source: Dean Jones, "FAW visit North Wales clubs to discuss match fixing", 3 November 2014, News North Wales, https://www.newsnorthwales.co.uk/news/140167/faw-visit-north-wales-clubs-to-discuss-match-fixing.aspx

New Zealand

The new laws, which are being passed under urgency before New Zealand hosts two major sporting events, will criminalise only the manipulation of a game to influence a betting outcome. Officials have also confirmed that the "fixers" who initiate match-fixing will be captured by the new legislation, after legal experts and sporting bodies expressed concern that the masterminds behind illegal betting could evade prosecution. Law and order select committee chairman Mike Sabin said the law change was deliberately very narrow so it did not pick up other forms of manipulation, such as when a team deliberately lost a game to secure an easier match in the next round. The legislation is being passed under urgency in preparation for the Cricket World Cup in February and the under-20 Football World Cup in May. It will make match-fixing a form of deception, which means it will be punishable by a maximum of seven years' jail. New Zealand authorities will be able to prosecute if any of the match-fixing process - a discussion, a transaction, or the actual game - took place in this country.

Source: Isaac Davison, "Match-fixing law aims to catch only betting manipulators", 8 November 2014, New Zealand Herald, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11355017

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Chile

Argentine player, Julio Barroso of Chilean club Colo Colo could face sanctions for his statement regarding alleged match fixing. Barroso said that “some things are indeed strange. Titles are earned and not bought.” The National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) issued a statement claiming the Argentine could have infringed the rules governing profession football players. The ANFP took steps to present a complaint to the Disciplinary Tribunal which could sanction the player.

Source: "ANFP denunció a Barroso tras sus dichos sobre posibles arreglos", 5 November 2014, Prensa Futbol, https://www.prensafutbol.cl/29675-anfp-denuncio-barroso-tras-dichos-sobre-posibles-arreglos-de-partidos/

Greece

Appointed only in late July to the position of head referee of the Greek Super League, Hugh Dallas is already facing up to something of a mini-crisis amid scenes of public consternation. The hope had been that by appointing a foreigner to select and assess referees, Greek football would be able to finally rid itself of the persistent allegations of corruption and match-fixing that have plagued the country's football in recent years. There are already fears, however, that it may prove a challenge too great for just one man in a league where the powerful and the rich tend to hold sway. Already this season, there is a feeling that standards have dropped rather than improved. In last week's Athens derby between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, a contentious penalty was awarded in favour of the former, while the winning goal came from a controversial free kick decision. In other games there have been questionable offside flags, and debatable red cards. Such has been the level of outcry about the way the campaign has started, that Dallas will meet the Greek authorities next week to discuss it.

Source: Graeme Macpherson, "Dallas does Greece: But Scot is struggling to make difference", 4 November 2014, Herald Scotland, https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/dallas-does-greece-but-scot-is-struggling-to-make-difference.25777349

Jamaica

The President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Captain Horace Burrell, says there could be serious implications for what happened in two schoolboy football games two days ago. "The JFF is concerned and we have formally requested a response from the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) on what took place and circumstances surrounding the games. It is very unusual," Burrell said. "We are not implying anything, but we await a report from ISSA that should be on the desk of the JFF's general secretary early Monday morning," Burrell disclosed. George Forbes, Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) competitions officer described as 'farcical' the results in the two LIME-sponsored Manning Cup football second round Group I games. In one game, Jamaica College mauled Denham Town 16-0, and in the other match Excelsior swamped Holy Trinity 12-0. Subsequently, ISSA, organisers of schools sports has found the results in the games strange, especially that it is in the competition's second round.

Source: Marc Stamp, "JFF, ISSA want answers", 7 November 2014, Jamaica Star, https://jamaica-star.com/thestar/20141107/sports/sports1.html

United Kingdom

The UK Gambling Commission has written to a host of sports governing bodies to outline its position over teams displaying advertisements from non-licensed gambling websites. The number of partnerships between online gaming operators and professional sports teams has increased in recent years, with some teams entering into commercial agreements with remote gambling operators that do not have a UK licence. The Gambling Commission warned that the main risks of maintaining such partnerships when the new regulations come into force is the “risk of committing offences by virtue of an unlicensed third party sponsor failing to prevent consumers based in Great Britain from accessing its services”. The regulator also said that such partnerships could “impact on the overall effort to combat match fixing through corrupt betting of promoting unlicensed operators in foreign markets”. He noted that risks to the integrity of sport can be greater where betting occurs in markets beyond the reach of the regulator and national governing bodies.

Source: "UK regulator warns sports bodies over offshore gambling partnerships ", 5 November 2014, igaming business, https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/uk-regulator-warns-sports-bodies-over-offshore-gambling-partnerships

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