Integrity in sports update: Cricket Australia pleased with results of amnesty

Weekly media recap 5-11 October 2015

In this week's media recap we have good practice story with Australian cricketers taking advantage of an amnesty to provide information on suspicious approaches in a bid to help the sport rid itself of corruption-related issues without fear of impunity. Many Australians cricketers take part in the Indian Premier League, a rich Twenty 20 competition which has been mired in corruption claims.

With regards to current investigations, a pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants, Japan's most popular baseball team, has been suspended for betting on games, including those involving his own team, which is a violation of the sporting body charter. An investigation involving all players and staff has been launched.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Japan

A pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants, Japan's most popular baseball team, has been suspended for betting on games, including those involving his own team. Satoshi Fukuda bet on 10 Nippon Professional Baseball games and 10 major league games in an attempt to win back money he lost gambling on high school baseball games in August. The NPB games included three or four involving Yomiuri. In all, Fukuda is said to have lost more than $8,000. The 32-year-old pitcher did not appear for the top team this season, so there is no suspicion that he fixed games, but gambling is a violation of NPB's charter. In light of the revelations, team president Hiroshi Kubo on Tuesday launched an investigation involving all players and staff. The Giants have also suspended pitcher Shoki Kasahara, who introduced Fukuda to an employee at a tax accounting firm who enticed him to bet on games. The suspensions come as the Giants are preparing for their first game of the postseason on Saturday. Owner Kojiro Shiraishi met with the team on Tuesday, calling the situation "disgraceful and extremely disappointing."

Source: "Yomiuri Giants pitcher Fukuda suspended for bets on baseball", 6 October 2015, NZ Herald News, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11524804

Singapore

Two Singaporeans have been charged with corruption for involvement in match-fixing in Turkey in 2013, court documents showed Wednesday. In a fresh case that highlights the global reach of football-rigging syndicates in the city-state, Rajendar Prasad Rai, 42, and Shree Manish Kalra, 22, each face three charges at a district court. Two were lodged on Monday and the other in late September. One accuses Rai of “instigating” Kalra to give 25,000 euros (US$28,185) to a Macedonian national, Marjan Stojanchevski, and two countrymen to fix the outcome of a match between SC Charleroi of Belgium and VVV Venlo of Holland on January 11, 2013 in Antalya, Turkey. Another charge says Rai asked Kalra to give 15,000 euros to the same Macedonians to fix a game between Steaua Bucuresti and Dynamo Moscow on February 3, 2013 in Antalya. The third charge alleges Rai asked Kalra to give 27,000 euros to the same people to fix a match between Sturm Graz and Steaua Bucuresti on February 1, 2013 in Antalya. Kalra allegedly handed the money to the Macedonians in all three instances. The charge sheets did not give details of the Macedonians, but a Marjan Stojanchevski is described as a linesman or referee on several football sites. Each charge is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years or a maximum fine of Sg$100,000 (US$70,315) or both. Rai is on bail of Sg$300,000. In a separate case he and another Singaporean are accused of trying to bribe three or four players of a local football team, Singapore Recreation Club, in the local S. League in July 2014.

Source: "Two Singaporeans charged for match fixing ", 7 October 2015, New Straits Times News, https://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/two-singaporeans-charged-match-fixing

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Australia

Australia's cricketers took advantage of an opportunity to provide information on suspicious approaches in a bid to help the sport rid itself of a potentially sinister underbelly. Cricket Australia introduced an amnesty through October and November last year, allowing international and state players to report any corruption-related issues without the fear of impunity. Cricketers face bans of up to five years if it's discovered they have failed to report any suspicious behaviour. CA will not provide specifics on the information provided, but a spokesman said: "Our integrity unit was pleased with the response to the amnesty. The process was confidential and therefore details of anyone that was forthcoming with information cannot be disclosed." Cricketers had self-reported any suspicious behaviour before the amnesty, detailing approaches on local and international shores. It's understood there was no suggestion any Australian player had been involved in attempting to organise any questionable behaviour. Many Australians take part in the Indian Premier League, a rich Twenty20 competition which has been mired in corruption claims. Two franchises, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, have been banned for the next two years from the IPL after officials were found guilty of betting on matches. There are estimates the sports betting market is worth about $3 trillion annually, of which cricket contributes about 10 per cent.

Source: Jon Pierik, "Australian cricketers report suspicious approaches", 7 October 2015, The Sydney Morning Herald,
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/australian-cricketers-report-suspicious-approaches-20151007-gk3bvp.html

ODDS AND ENDS

New Zealand

Chris Cairns, the former New Zealand cricket captain, persuaded a team-mate to fix matches with him and then got a friend to pressure him into lying about it during a high court libel action, a court has heard. Chris Cairns, who played 62 Tests and 215 one-day internationals for his country over 17 years, was regarded as a “hero, role model and legend” in the game, “the golden boy in the cricket world whom every cricketer wished to emulate”. His reputation was shattered after the chairman of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, accused him on Twitter in January 2010 of match-fixing while he was playing for the Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League in 2008. Cairns brought a libel action against him and successfully sued for £1.4m. But Sasha Wass QC told London’s Southwark crown court there was evidence to prove he had actually been involved in match-fixing and had lied about it under oath. She told the jury Cairns’ co-accused, his friend Andrew Fitch-Holland, a barrister and his “lead adviser”, approached the cricketer’s team-mate, Lou Vincent, to get him to lie during the libel action. Vincent not only knew Cairns had fixed matches but was involved in match-fixing himself under the direct orders of Cairns, Wass said. Wass said Riley would tell the court that she and Vincent had dinner with Cairns, his wife Mel and the former England captain Andrew Flintoff at the Manhattan Grill restaurant in Altrincham in the summer of 2008. There she was reassured by Cairns that “everything would be all right because everyone was doing it” in India. Flintoff “didn’t contribute to the conversation and spent the time drinking,” Wass said. She added that Cairns knew he had been guilty of match-fixing, he knew why he had been suspended and knew that what Modi said about him was true. Cairns was an “arrogant individual” who was “very sure of the power he held over people”, she went on, saying: “The prosecution case against Mr Cairns is that he has manipulated the legal system in this country to his advantage.” The trial, which is due to last until 20 November, continues on Monday.

Source: "Former New Zealand captain Chris Cairns hears match-fixing allegations in court", 7 October 2015, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/oct/07/chris-cairns-new-zealand-match-fixing-allegations

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Sierra Leone

Former Sierra Leone captain Ibrahim Kargbo has retired from international football with immediate effect. The 33-year-old defender, who is playing for English non-league side Thamesmead, says his decision relates to his indefinite international ban. He was suspended by the Sierra Leone Football Association over allegations of match-fixing over a year ago. "The feeling and emotion are longer there, so I'm moving on with my life," Kargbo told BBC Sport. Kargbo was banned alongside Ibrahim Koroma, Samuel Barlay and Christian Caulker - all four accused of attempting to fix a 2010 World Cup qualifier against South Africa in Pretoria in June 2008. The quartet have protested their innocence and Kargbo is angry that he has not been cleared by an investigation. Former Sierra Leone captain Ibrahim Kargbo explains why he has retired from international football. "I'm quitting because of the suspension," Kargbo told BBC Sport. "I'm no longer going to play for Sierra Leone. It's not going to happen anymore." "It's not fair because it's now 15 months since the SLFA suspended us and they have not yet started investigations." "FIFA didn't ban us from playing club football but I have lost contracts in England, China and Finland because of the match-fixing allegation. It has affected me greatly as it has stained stain my career." "I'm leaving with a bitter heart and the feeling in me for my country's national team is bitter because I have been treated unfairly. No one is standing for us to fight for justice." "I have worked for Sierra Leone, I have helped my people, so I don't deserve this. It's hard because this is not the way I wanted my career with the national team to end."

Source: Mohamed Fajah Barrie, "Sierra Leonean Ibrahim Kargbo retires from internationals", 6 October 2015, BBC Sport News, https://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/34456644

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