INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 12-25 December 2016

In this edition of the bi-weekly bulletin, we have quite a few articles regarding match-fixing, sentences, and doping. The McLaren report, which continues to be a hot topic has created some consequences for Russia.

As the year draws to a close and a new one starts, the Integrity in Sports Programme is still involved in many events around the world in the upcoming month to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports. More events will be announced at the beginning of next year.

The Integrity in Sports Programme at INTERPOL wishes everyone a Happy New Year!

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Malta

Club dismisses report on goalkeeper and former coach’s role in match-fixing scam as being "fraught with inaccuracies and outright lies" A Birkirkara FC player is being investigated by the competent authorities over “suspicious behaviour”, the club confirmed on Sunday. In a statement following a news report by maltawinds.com which claimed that former Birkirkara FC coach Drazen Besek and goalkeeper Miroslav Kopric were involved in match-fixing, the four-time Maltese champions issued a statement to clarify that “one of its players” was being investigated by the competent authorities after the club’s committee received information about the player’s suspicious behaviour. The club did not disclose the identity of the player currently under investigation. “The committee would like to appeal for caution, and to let the competent authorities carry out their investigations,” it said. Citing “informed sources”, maltawinds.com claimed that the Birkirkara goalkeeper was arrested for questioning on Friday evening, and that the case has been passed on to the police for investigation. The report claimed that members of the Birkirkara FC committee had caught Kopric “red handed with two mobiles in his vehicle with several betting contacts in them [sic]” and other players as well as manager Drazen Besek are involved in the operation. While insisting that the article was “fraught with inaccuracies, assumptions, speculation and outright lies,” the club’s committee said it has “utmost trust and faith in its [current] coach Nikola Jaros, and will support him fully in any legal action he deems appropriate to take in order to protect his good name.

Source: "Birkirkara player investigated following match-fixing allegations", 18 December 2016, Malta Today https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/72712/birkirkara_player_investigated_following_matchfixing_allegations#.WFuVspdOAZ3 

Malta

Malta international and Floriana midfielder Ryan Camenzuli is amongst three players recently accused of accepting bribes to fix a recent Under-21 game, in testimony given by former footballer Ronnie Mackay. The other implicated players are Balzan defender Samir Arab and Floriana midfielder Emanuel Briffa, who was in August acquitted of match-fixing charges. The accusations were made last month by former footballer Ronnie Mackay, who has been charged with fixing the Under-21 game between Malta and Montenegro in March that Malta went on to lose 1-0. Earlier this year, former Valletta player Seyble Zammit testified that he had been approached by Mackay to bribe players ahead of the Montenegro game against a reward of €6,000. He claimed that he had been under pressure to throw the game, or incur a refund of €7,000 – the travel expenses of a Chinese betting syndicate who had travelled to Malta to commission the operation. Although he approached nine players, the plan failed as only Emanuel Briffa and midfielder Kyle Cesare showed interest. Zammit, Briffa and Cesare were later all exempted from court punishment, but Mackay still faces charges of match-fixing...

Source: Matthew Agius, "Malta international amongst three footballers accused of match-fixing", 17 December 2016, Malta Today, https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/court_and_police/72677/malta_international_amongst_three_footballers_accused_of_matchfixing_#.WF0dFZdOAZ3 

Sweden

In Sweden's second best football series, it is suspected that the entire eight games can be "rigged" in 2015. A major scandal may be brewing in Swedish football, writes the Swedish news agency TT. As many as 43 players are suspected in a case of match fixing. Specifically, this case concerns eight games from 2015 in the second best Swedish football league, Superettan. The newspaper Dagens Nyheter writes, according to TT that the information came from secret documents from the Swiss Sport Radar, among other things, works to detect cheating in football. In 2015 was Superettan according to the report considered as a league where there was a "very high risk" for match-fixing. The eight matches, which is in the spotlight, is not mentioned in the report. Anders Hübinette, legal advisor at the Swedish Football Association (SVFF), told Dagens Nyheter that fiddling with matches can happen in different ways. He calls, however, that one does not judge the 43 players in advance. - It is going too far if it concludes that all these 43 players are guilty. We must be very careful to talk about these players as guilty as long as we are not entirely sure of our cause, he said. Several players who last season had prominent roles in their team in the best football league, Allsvenskan and Superettan, is on the list. Three players on the list is also associated with agents that have previously been linked to match fixing. Three others are also suspected of having participated in battles overseas, there has been "rigged".

Source: "43 fodboldspillere er mistænkt for matchfixing i Sverige", 14 December 2016, Sport Tv2 Denmark, https://sport.tv2.dk/fodbold/2016-12-14-43-fodboldspillere-er-mistaenkt-for-matchfixing-i-sverige 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Australia

Tim Cahill might have landed himself in hot water after revealing a possible breach of Football Federation Australia's strict anti-sports corruption protocols by using his mobile phone during a match. The FFA confirmed they will launch an investigation into whether Cahill was sending text messages in the middle of Melbourne City's 1-1 draw with Sydney FC last week after the marquee said during an interview he had contacted his family during the half-time interval. Speaking with Fox Sports on Friday night, Cahill ramped up his criticism of fans booing and verbally abusing players and said that he used his mobile phone to text family members during half-time at ANZ Stadium asking them to leave early due to the jeers and heckles of spectators...

Source: "Sydney Morning Herald", 18 December 2016, Tim Cahill faces FFA fine for using mobile phone during match https://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/tim-cahill-faces-ffa-fine-for-using-mobile-phone-during-match-20161218-gtdokb.html 

Malaysia 

Asian title-holders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors could be banned from next year's AFC Champions League over a match-fixing scandal after a new eligibility body was unveiled on Friday. Jeonbuk, who lifted the Asian trophy in November, two months after they were punished for match-fixing in South Korea's K-League, face a possible one-year ban by the five-member panel. The Asian Football Confederation said the independent Entry Control Body, led by China's Liu Chi, will make decisions based on a new document setting out rules for eligibility. Any clubs involved in "arranging or influencing the outcome of a match at national or international level" will be barred from the Asian competition for one season, the document says. "The AFC has a zero tolerance towards match manipulation and has done more than many other bodies to tackle that threat to sport..."

Source: "Asian football champions facing match-fixing ban", 23 December 2016, Yahoo Sports, https://sports.yahoo.com/news/asian-football-champions-facing-match-fixing-ban-070741763.html

South Africa

Former South Africa batsman Alviro Petersen has been banned for two years after admitting he attempted to cover up match-fixing by others. But charges of match-fixing against Petersen, who has spent the past two years playing for Lancashire, were withdrawn by Cricket South Africa. It follows a lengthy investigation into South Africa's domestic Ram Slam T20 Challenge Series competition in 2015. "I accept the punishment that CSA has imposed on me," said the 36-year-old. Petersen, who played the last of his 36 Test matches in January 2015 and has spent the last two English summers playing county cricket for Lancashire, admitted 13 breaches of CSA's anti-corruption code...

Source: "Alviro Petersen: Former South Africa batsman banned for two years", 21 December 2016, BBC Sport, https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/38395511 

 

DOPING

Russia

The country gave up a World Cup biathlon meeting set to be held in March and was stripped of a speed skating meet for the same month. Britain withdrew from the biathlon event on Wednesday, citing "dishonest comments" from Russian athletes. The report claims more than 1,000 Russians benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2011 and 2015. Despite the Russian Biathlon Union saying the country should "only be punished if our guilt can be properly proved", the move was welcomed by Anders Besseberg, president of the International Biathlon Union. "This is a first important step by the RBU to show to the IBU and to the world of sport that the current situation is taken very seriously," he said. The biathlon event was scheduled to be held in Tyumen with the speed skating in Chelyabinsk.

Source: "Doping: Russia lose rights to biathlon and speed skating meet over McLaren report", 22 December 2016, BBC Sport https://www.bbc.com/sport/winter-sports/38411815 

Switzerland

On yet another doping-tainted day for Russian sport, 28 athletes now face IOC cases linked to cheating at the Sochi Winter Olympics and a major cross-country skiing event was removed from the country. The IOC said Friday it has opened 28 disciplinary proceedings against Russian athletes whose urine samples were likely tampered with at the 2014 Olympics. Six cases involve cross-country skiers who are now provisionally suspended by the International Ski Federation (FIS), which did not identify them. Six Russian men won five medals, including one gold, in cross-country skiing on home snow at Sochi. The new wave of Olympic doping cases is set to produce a flow of verdicts and disqualifications next year that could fuel calls for some or all of the Russian team to be banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea. The cases are based on evidence provided this month by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. McLaren detailed vast state-backed cheating in Russian sport that included swapping athletes’ tainted samples for clean urine through the testing laboratory at Sochi...

Source: "IOC opens 28 new doping cases for Russian Olympic athletes", 23 December 2016, Denver Post, https://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/23/russian-olympic-athlete-doping-cases/ 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Cyprus

One of the island’s biggest football clubs, Omonia, on Wednesday asked for the resignation of the football association’s (CFA) board, accusing it of corruption. Speaking at a news conference, club chairman Antonis Tzionis said Omonia had no confidence in the CFA and the referee committee, nor in the current structure of Cypriot football. “Enough is enough. We are not here today to mince our words,” Tzionis said. “Cypriot football is ailing on all levels. Unfortunately, behind the proud CFA announcements, there is filth, stench, nepotism, cronyism and corruption. Omonia is paying the cost of this corrupt situation in the worst way.” The club said it decided to take measures following three games in a row in which referee decisions cost the team points... 

Source: George Psyllides, "Omonia demands CFA resignations after match-fixing allegations", 14 December 2016, Cyprus Mail https://cyprus-mail.com/2016/12/14/omonia-demands-cfa-resignations-match-fixing-allegations/ 

Malta 

The Premier Division Standing Committee has appealed to the police to grant protection to football club officials who were voluntarily coming forward with information on match-fixing allegations. PDSC secretary Mario Debono said club officials reporting allegations of corruption were being placed in difficult situations, after threats were made to Birkirkara president Adrian Delia after he reported allegations of match-fixing. “We are expressing the clubs’ concern at the way corruption is putting Maltese football under attack and we appeal for anyone with information to take it to the police immediately. Those who don’t speak out and uncover corruption, are themselves corrupt,” Debono said. Football clubs are appealing to the police to use all its powers to arraign people involved in match-fixing to clean up the sport,” Debono said. Debono also pledged the PDSC’s support to club presidents and officials fighting football corruption, as well as MFA integrity officer Franz Tabone. 

Source: "Premier division clubs demand police protection for club officials", 22 December 2016, Malta Today https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/72859/premier_division_clubs_demand_police_protection_for_club_officials#.WGDJVJdOAZ1 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS 

INTERPOL/IOC

International Law Enforcement Workshop

26-27 January 2017 Rome, Italy

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will host an International Law Enforcement Workshop in Rome, Italy addressed to investigators. 

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