Integrity in sports update: World Rugby initiates robust integrity programme for RWC 2015

Weekly media recap 14-20 September 2015

Last week INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a successful three-day Fact Finders Training workshop to develop internal investigation skills concerning competition manipulation allegations in the Nertherlands. The course is designed for individuals tasked with investigating allegations, suspicions or reports of the manipulation of a sports competition. Participants were from various sporting bodies such as football, tennis, cycling and badminton, and officials of the Dutch Court of Arbitration in Sports as well as the Nederlands Olympisch Comité*Nederlandse Sport Federatie (NOC*NSF), which hosted the training.

With the Rugby World Cup presently underway for the next few weeks it’s also encouraging to have positive stories relating to sports integrity in this week's media recap. In line with international best practice implemented by the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby has partnered with the UK Gambling Commission and UK police to establish a sophisticated integrity framework for the Rugby World Cup. This included an educational programme, on anti-corruption and betting, that all players, teams and match officials have to undergo.

Also of interest is a story of a former match-fixer in Indonesia that has decided to come 'clean' and reveal all to authorities. The revelations go beyond the borders of Indonesia implicating both local and foreign persons.

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Malaysia

A new Malaysian football body will launch a drive to stamp out match-fixing and hooliganism when it takes over the running of domestic competitions next year, its chief executive told AFP.

Malaysian soccer has been repeatedly hit by scandal, most recently last week when flare-throwing fans brought a World Cup qualifier with Saudi Arabia to a halt. But Football Malaysia's CEO Kevin Ramalingam said a reorganisation and a lucrative new TV deal could be the start of a new era, comparing it to the English Premier League's advent in 1992. Football Malaysia will operate the country's top two divisions and cup competitions from January, in a set-up similar to the Premier League and Germany's Bundesliga. The new TV rights deal with sports media company MP and Silva guarantees a minimum of RM1.26 billion (US$297 million) over 15 years - double what was previously earned. "I see it as a starting point," Mr Ramalingam said on the sidelines of the Sports Matters conference in Singapore. "I think we're at a position that's very exciting in terms of what lies ahead... This is the first year of the EPL in that sense." However, Mr Ramalingam said domestic football needed an image boost if it wants TV income to rise still further, with eradicating match-fixing high on the list. Football Malaysia will use betting tracking systems and life bans to crack down on corruption, while also warning players that games are under ever closer scrutiny. "We've come to a point where we have to make sure we're serious about kicking these kind of things out of the game," Mr Ramalingam said. "I think it's (match-fixing) a problem that's happening less now but certainly the possibility of it being there is very strong. Hopefully in the next two of three years we'll be rid of this stigma."

Source: "Football: New Malaysian body targets match-fixing, hooligans ", 17 September 2015, The Business Times, https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/life-culture/football-new-malaysian-body-targets-match-fixing-hooligans

Qatar

The UNESCO-ICSS MINEPS V follow-up meeting concluded yesterday with over 60 international experts agreeing to fulfil recommendations and commitments adopted in the Declaration of Berlin on the manipulation of sports competitions. Organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), the meeting saw experts from a diverse range of countries and sectors participate in two days of extensive discussion across topics to combat match-fixing. Key areas discussed include, national legislation to combat match-fixing; dialogue and cooperation; information and data exchange; funding and resourcing models; and prevention models against match-fixing. Further consultation at a regional level, including an Asia-Pacific Working Group, will be undertaken which will result in concrete recommendations for MINEPS VI. Following his participation at the meeting, G Kannan, Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor, Attorney General’s Chamber, Singapore, said: “Match-fixing is a problem no one country can tackle by itself. It is a problem that urgently requires best practices of countries to be shared so common priorities can be set to combat match-fixing." “We have to work together on an international level to combat the problem. This is an excellent forum in starting that process.” Speaking at the conclusion of the meeting, Ingela Melo, Director, Division for Youth Ethics and Sport, Sector for Social and Human Sciences, Unesco, said: “The last two days have provided opportunity to gather international experts from a diverse set of countries and sectors to identify a pathway to implement MINEPS V commitments on the manipulation of sport competitions."

Source: "Experts agree next steps to combat match-fixing", 18 September 2015, The Peninsula, https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/352655/experts-agree-next-steps-to-combat-match-fixing

United Kingdom

In line with international best practice and in the interests of all players, their support personnel and unions, World Rugby has implemented a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy for Rugby World Cup 2015. Interest in RWC 2015 has never been higher and, with that rise in profile, it is expected that it will attract record levels of betting compared with previous tournaments. In view of the threats to integrity experienced by other sports and in light of best practice including as implemented by the International Olympic Committee, World Rugby has proactively put in place a robust and proportionate integrity programme for RWC 2015. Its stated purpose is to protect the tournament and its participants from corrupt practices and unauthorised gambling. In addition, World Rugby has partnered with the UK Gambling Commission along with UK police to establish a sophisticated integrity framework around the event. Central to World Rugby’s integrity strategy is the delivery of education to all players, teams and match officials. All participants are required to complete the World Rugby online anti-corruption and betting education programme at https://integrity.worldrugby.org/ prior to the commencement of the tournament. The education programme, has been implemented successfully at many levels of the game since 2012 and currently has nearly 10,000 registered users. When teams and match officials arrive in England for the tournament, supplemental education is planned through the medium of an in-person briefing from World Rugby integrity officers. These officers, who are all experts in the field of sports integrity, will be present throughout the tournament to deal with any queries or issues teams or officials may have in relation to integrity and to protect the participants from any unauthorised third-party approaches. In conjunction with these partnerships, World Rugby has contracted the world’s leading betting monitoring agency, Sportradar. Using its widely trusted Fraud Detection System (FDS), it will monitor global betting markets for any suspicious betting behaviours and anomalous odds movements. In addition, the FDS will also monitor the volumes across the markets to provide a unique insight into potential infringements of the integrity code.

Source: "World Rugby takes important steps to maintain RWC’s integrity ", 14 September 2015, Law in Sport News, https://www.lawinsport.com/sports/item/world-rugby-takes-important-steps-to-maintain-rwc-s-integrity?category_id=152

MODUS OPERANDI

Indonesia

He claims he is sickened by gambling and match-fixing syndicates corrupting Indonesian football. All he wants now is to restore the reputation of his country’s favourite sport. And he intends to do this by exposing his ex-partners to the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI). Mr Bambang Suryo, a former match fixer, is helping PSSI “map out” match fixers — both foreign and local, including Singaporeans — who have had a hand in tainting Indonesian football since 2010, he tells The New Paper in an exclusive interview in late August. His act has certainly earned him the label of traitor by former colleagues in the illegal "kelong" trade. Since coming out in the open, Mr Bambang said he has received threats at home and abroad.

Source: Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, "Former 'kelong' man blows whistle on match-fixers", 14 September 2015, The New Paper, https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore-news/former-kelong-man-blows-whistle-match-fixers

 

ODDS AND ENDS

France

An inquiry into organised crime and the top football club in the French city of Marseille expanded on Thursday, when magistrates put the club's former president under investigation on suspicion of embezzlement. After an inquiry that began with police raids at Olympique de Marseille's grounds in 2013, ex-president Jean-Claude Dassier was formally put under investigation for suspected embezzlement, after six hours of questioning on Wednesday, an official in the French judiciary confirmed. The judicial investigation is focusing on more than a dozen player transfer deals and possible kickback payments to criminal gangs. It has done little for the image of Marseille, a city still trying to shake off the bandit-country reputation captured in the movie "The French Connection" in the early 1970s. Neither Dassier, the club's president from 2009 to 2011, nor his lawyers have commented on the case, and they did not return calls from Reuters on Thursday. In France's legal system, being placed under formal investigation often leads to a trial, but not automatically. The inquiry, led by magistrate Guillaume Cotelle, has involved questioning of about 20 people and centres on some 14 financial deals. They include the 2010 transfer of France international Andre-Pierre Gignac from Toulouse to Olympique Marseille for an estimated 20 million euros (£14.6 million). Cotelle and the organised crime division of the Marseille judiciary suspect that underworld figures in the city siphoned off kickbacks connected to transfer deals at Marseille, currently seventh in French football's Ligue 1 premier division. The latest inquiry is just one of myriad affairs that have plagued the club. Bernard Tapie, a multi-millionaire businessman who has spent much of his life fighting court battles to defend his riches, did jail time in the 1990s for his role in a 1993 match-fixing scandal when he was in charge of the club.

Source: Brian Love, "Marseille football ex-boss in crosshairs of French underworld investigation", 17 September 2015, Reuters News, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/09/17/uk-france-marseille-probe-idUKKCN0RH1G320150917

Germany

Germany is now a decade out from a major match-fixing scandal that threatened the integrity of one of soccer’s most prestigious competitions.

But with few reforms being enacted since then, many have criticized the German government for failing to take a leading role in combating these issues, something at least one lawmaker wants to correct. Christian Democratic Unionist minister Ole Schroder spoke at a conference on match-fixing prevention organized by the German Sports Betting Association, saying that he would lead an effort to put new regulatory controls into place with the goal of detecting players who might be violating integrity rules. Schroder, who serves as the Parliamentary State Secretary for the Ministry of the Interior in Germany, said that legal measures were necessary to stop match-fixing. “Only a criminal law, which identifies the manipulators on the pitch as perpetrators, can efficiently combat match-fixing in sport,” Schroder told the conference. The German Sports Betting Association (DSWV) was formed last September, when a number of sports betting operators joined together to create a trade group that would attempt to pressure the government into creating a more stable regulatory framework. A variety of operators are part of the group, from smaller national organizations to major international firms like Betfair, Bet365, and Ladbrokes. The DSWV was among those who complained about the licensing process for online sports betting in Germany. Operators have argued that not only has the process itself been chaotic, leaving many operators in limbo while waiting to see if their licenses would be approved, but also that the cap of 20 licenses is an artificial maximum that may not reflect what the market wants. It is no surprise that the DSWV is also interested in having the government take a firm role in preventing match fixing, as the integrity of games is as important to those setting betting lines as it is for fans and gamblers. And Germany is still not particularly far removed from a major match-fixing scandal of its own, something that sports betting sites would like to protect against in the future. The 2005 scandal that embroiled the Bundesliga, the German soccer league, has become known as the Hoyzer Affair. The incident involved Robert Hoyzer, a referee who admitted to fixing matches in the second and third divisions of the German soccer system, as well as in the German Cup competition.

Source: Samantha Beckett, "German Lawmaker Wants Stronger Controls on Match-Fixing ", 14 September 2015, Casino.Org, https://www.casino.org/news/german-lawmaker-wants-stronger-controls-on-match-fixing

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Ghana

Ghana second tier side Techiman City and Wa African United have been demoted to the second division league while their respective CEOs Micky Charles and Nana Kwabena Gyamerah Yiakwan have been banned for SIX MONTHS after being found guilty of match fixing. The decision massively shakes the Zone One of the GN Bank Division One League with Real Tamale United or Berekum Arsenal set to clinch promotion to the Ghana Premier League following the decision to demote league leaders Techiman City. Techiman City were set to qualify and now that they have been relegated their closest rivals in the league will edge closer to clinching a place in the top tier. The Team Manager (Kofi Adams) and Coach (Yaw Baah Suleman) all of Wa African Utd FC and Yaw Adamu Acheampong of Techiman City were also banned for one year from all football related activities. Wa African Utd FC were ordered refund the GH¢2,000.00 to the GFA for the development of juvenile football. The Ethics Committee of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) slapped the two clubs with the heavy sanction on Monday after evidence was produced of their attempt to fix the game. “The two teams engaged in the bribery and Match Fixing i.e. WA Africa United and Techiman City F.C are demoted to the next division,” the Ethics Committee of the GFA said in its ruling on Monday. “The Chief Executive Officers of both Teams have been suspended for six (6) months in all football related activities.

Source: "Breaking News: Techiman City, Wa Africa United demoted - CEOs banned over match fixing claims ", 14 September 2015, Ghana SoccerNet, https://ghanasoccernet.com/breaking-news-techiman-city-demoted-to-second-division-over-match-fixing-claims/

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