Integrity in sports update: IOC meets IFSI to discuss athlete protection

Weekly Media Recap 13-19 April 2015

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) has reported suspected match-fixing to the police surrounding the possible payment of bribes to fix the outcome of second-tier games.

Meanwhile in Algeria an investigation was launched into an alleged attempt at bribing a referee and in the Netherlands a top referee was named as a suspect in an investigation into match-fixing in Germany.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Algeria

According to the Professional Football League (LFP), a corruption attempt took place in connection with the League 1 match between CSC and NAHD. The game was played on Friday April 10th.

The Federal Commission of Referees (CFA) proceeded with a last minute change of the assistant referees for the game. The change was allegedly linked to a corruption attempt of an assistant referee. An official complaint was filed and an investigation was launched by the disciplinary commission.

The assistant referees Zerhouni and Rezgane were replaced at the last minute by Yahi and Allaoua. The main referee Boukhalfa was not replaced.

Source: Elyas Nour, "Football : La LFP révèle une tentative de corruption", 13 April 2015, Algerie Focus, https://www.algerie-focus.com/blog/2015/04/football-la-lfp-revele-une-tentative-de-corruption/

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) has reported suspected match-fixing to the police surrounding the possible payment of bribes to fix the outcome of second-tier games. Officials from five clubs - Septemvri Simitli, Lokomotiv Mezdra, Vereya Stara Zagora, Botev Vratsa and Pirin Razlog - were summoned to give evidence, the BFU said in a statement. Last week, Lokomotiv Mezdra sparked the match-fixing row after accusing referee Nikolay Andreev of "blatantly influencing" the outcome of their match at Vereya. On Thursday, Vereya beat Lokomotiv 1-0 thanks to a penalty two minutes from time. Most of the games in Bulgaria's second division are included on bookmakers' betting coupons. A day after Lokomotiv's claims, Septemvri said that Andreev officiated the same way during their league game against Vereya and fulfilled his threat to award the Stara Zagora-based side a penalty. Septemvri also said in a statement that Vereya bribed Pirin Razlog players before the game between the two teams. Vereya denied any wrongdoing.

Source: Angel Krasimirov, "Bulgarian FA reports match-fixing suspicions to prosecutors", 14 April 2015, Reuters, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/04/14/uk-soccer-bulgaria-matchfixing-idUKKBN0N51PL20150414

Netherlands

Top Dutch referee Serdar Gözübüyük has been named as a suspect in an investigation into match-fixing in Germany, the Volkskrant said at the weekend. The paper said Gözübüyük is named in documents which form part of the German case against Dutch national Paul R, known as Rooie Paul, who goes on trial on Tuesday. The matches include two Jupiler League matches in 2009, which the Dutch football association KNVB has earlier described as suspicious. Gözübüyük, now 29, told the Volkskrant he had no involvement in match-fixing. ‘Let me say it one more time. I am clean,’ he said. ‘It is my role to ensure two teams play a fair and just match.’ The KNVB said in a statement that Gözübüyük’s integrity was not up for discussion, and pointed out that he had been praised by both the KNVB and UEFA for his work. Gözübüyük is refereeing Saturday night’s key Eredivisie game between PSV and Heerenveen which could give the Eindhoven club the title.

Source: "Top Dutch referee dismisses match-fixing charges", 18 April 2015, Dutch News, https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2015/04/top-dutch-referee-dismisses-match-fixing-charges/

Spain

The president of the board of directors of Osasuna, Javier Zabaleta has been indicted in the Osasuna case. Zabaleta managed the club from June to December 2014. The charges include misappropriation, corporate crime, forgery and bribery which refers to match-fixing.

Source: "Javier Zabaleta declarará como imputado en el 'caso Osasuna'", 17 April 2015, Diario de Navarra,
https://www.diariodenavarra.es/noticias/deportes/futbol/osasuna/2015/04/17/javier_zabaleta_declarara_como_imputado_caso_osasuna_203371_1027.html

United Kingdom

An Ex-Premier League footballer searched for players to help "fix" lower league matches, a court heard. Delroy Facey, 34, is accused of acting for two men who have already been convicted of match-fixing. The prosecution claims the former Bolton Wanderers striker had acted as a "middleman" for them in November 2013. Mr Facey is on trial at Birmingham Crown Court alongside former non-league player Moses Swaibu. Both deny conspiracy to commit bribery. The prosecution alleges the case surrounds an attempt to profit from rigged bets targeted at the lower leagues. The jury were told Mr Swaibu was one of the players targeted by Chann Sankaran and Krishna Ganeshan, who were both convicted of match-fixing in 2014.

Source: "Ex-Premier League's Delroy Facey 'was match-fixing middleman'", 13 April 2015, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-32293731

 

ODDS AND ENDS

France

Caen Football Club President, Jean-Francois Fortin has been authorized to resume his duties with the club by the court. He still faces corruption charges in the alleged Ligue 2 match-fixing case.

Fortin has always denied any wrongdoing. No sanctions were retained against him by the Professional Football League (LFP).

Source: Valérie Luxey, "Matchs présumés truqués du Nîmes Olympique: le président de Caen autorisé à reprendre ses fonctions", 18 April 2015, France tv info, https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/languedoc-roussillon/2015/04/18/matchs-presumes-truques-du-nimes-olympique-le-president-de-caen-autorise-
reprendre-ses-fonctions-707563.html

International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) & United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

As the scourge of global match-fixing shows little sign of diminishing, fresh calls have been made for governments to introduce legislation that recognises it as a global crime. A new partnership has just been announced between the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which will see the two organisations work together to strengthen cross-border investigations and prosecutions into manipulation of sports competitions. The deal is viewed as an important step towards governments imposing criminal sanctions against those guilty of match-fixing. "Match-fixing is a transnational issue that usually involves dozens of individuals across multiple jurisdictions." Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director said law enforcement agencies and governments must not "shy away" from match-fixing and illegal betting. "They are transnational problems that affect every level of society," he said.

Source: Andrew Warshaw, "Bodies call for co-operation and tougher laws in battle against match-fixing ", 17 April 2015, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/42-news/16839-bodies-call-for-co-operation-and-tougher-laws-in-battle-against-match-fixing

International Olympic Committee (IOC) & International Forum for Sports (IFSI)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has met with the International Forum for Sports (IFSI) in Lausanne to discuss athlete protections with regards to sports integrity, as the governing bodies aim to create a Sport Integrity 2020 Agenda. The two bodies announced the launch of the Integrity & Compliance Hotline for stakeholders in professional sports, which will aim to report violations or misconducts which directly affect sports integrity. The users of the Hotline will be guaranteed 100% anonymity, and will be accessible through all communication verticals.

The Forum called on European and non-European governments to sign the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, which particularly ensures that domestic laws enable criminal investigations and sanctioning of the manipulation of sports competitions when it involves either coercive, corrupt or fraudulent practices. Along with the IOC, the IFSI wants a deeper involvement of international governments and international policing organisations to cooperate in the fight against match fixing and sports corruption. Representatives from the European Union, INTERPOL, Europol and the United Nations attended the meeting in Lausanne.

Source: Ted Menmuir, "IOC & IFSI incorporates first agenda for sports integrity", 14 April 2015, SBC, https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/featurednews/2015/04/14/ioc-ifsi-incorporates-first-agenda-for-sports-integrity/#ixzz3XoPlYaye

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Vietnam

Vietnam’s football federation today imposed a lifetime ban against six players of V-league club Dong Nai in relation to match manipulation. The players – Huu Phat, Trung Kien, Niem Tien, The Son, Duc Thien and Long Giang – are also fined between VND20 million and VND30 million each. They may lodge an appeal against the decision.

Huu Phat, as the team’s captain, was found to have got the five other players involved in fixing their away match against Than Quang Ninh on July 20, 2014, in which Dong Nai lost 5-3, according to a police investigation. They placed a VND200 million bet on the game, which would earn them VND140 million when their team lost. The police has proposed charges of gambling and organizing gambling against Phat. The other five face gambling charges. They are now in police custody.

Source: Tan Lam, "Lifetime soccer bans for 6 Vietnamese players involved in match-fixing scandal ", 15 April 2015, Thanh Nien News, https://www.thanhniennews.com/sports/lifetime-soccer-bans-for-6-vietnamese-players-involved-in-matchfixing-scandal-41203.html

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