INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 20 February 2017 - 5 March 2017

published on 06 March 2017

In this edition, we find several investigations of match-fixing, related to rugby, football, and cricket. The case in Italy once again proves that not just big international matches are affected by match-fixing, but also friendly matches, which are less publicized and well-known to avoid detection.

In other news, New Zealand is starting an educational programme in high schools to teach students about the dangers and risks of taking supplements containing banned substances. Education and raising awareness are the first steps in combating doping and corruptions within sports.

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.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Australia

The Tim Simona gambling allegations have taken a dramatic turn on the eve of the premiership after the person at the centre of the claims told the NRL she had been on the receiving end of death threats. Simona has until tomorrow afternoon to respond to allegations he was gambling on NRL games, including the astonishing claim that he was placing bets on opposition players to score tries against his side. The Samoan international is facing a lengthy ban from the NRL after the game’s governing body was tipped off about the allegations, prompting the integrity unit to open an investigation which is nearing its end. The integrity unit late last week provided Simona with a full brief of evidence outlining the result of their inquiries into the allegations, which were first raised late last year before they were brought back to the NRL’s attention in -recent weeks. Simona’s former partner has been interviewed by the integrity unit and yesterday the NRL confirmed she had informed the league that she had received death threats on social media in the wake of the allegations. It is understood the NRL could find no evidence of death threats when they reviewed the relevant social media. “She has advised us she has received death threats,” an NRL spokesman said. “We have urged her to report it to the police.” The alarming revelations come as ARL Commission chairman John Grant spoke about the importance of remaining vigilant in the area of gambling — the game has told betting agencies they are prohibited from framing markets on exotic bets or under-20s matches this season. “I think this game’s value is inherently wrapped up with its integrity...

Source: "Woman at centre of Tim Simona betting claims ‘gets death threats’", 2 March 2017, The Australian,
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/woman-at-centre-of-tim-simona-betting-claims-gets-death-threats/news-story/84937c1c26379dc7e230a06f88edb1c5

France

Les policiers du service central des courses et jeux ont été alertés par l'Arjel (Autorité de régulation des jeux en lignes) sur la rencontre des 32es de finale de la Coupe de France de football, entre Le Poiré-sur-Vie (Vendée, DH) et Viry-Châtillon (Essonne, CFA). Un match remporté 3-1 par les Vendéens, le 7 janvier. "La Française des jeux a signalé des éléments atypiques concernant ce match", explique l'Arjel dans un communiqué, mardi 21 février, sans faire de commentaire. Selon Mediapart, qui révèle l'affaire, 90% des paris ont été placés sur la victoire du Poiré-sur-Vie alors que le club n'était pas favori puisqu'il évolue en DH (division d'honneur), l'équivalent de la sixième division, face à Viry-Châtillon, club de CFA, deux divisions au-dessus. D'après le site d'information, les sommes étaient presques deux fois supérieures aux sommes générées habituellement pour ce type de match. Plus ennuyeux, des footballeurs de Viry-Châtillon auraient parié sur leur propre défaite. L'ancien entraîneur de l'équipe aurait même misé 1 500 euros sur l'élimination du club francilien. Joint par franceinfo, Pascal Mazeau, président de l'ES Viry-Châtillon, ne cache pas sa surprise et défend l'intégrité de ses joueurs : "Je tomberais de haut si je découvrais que mes joueurs ont parié sur notre défaite, explique-t-il. On n'a pas été bons en première mi-temps, mais je n'ai pas vu des joueurs lever le pied, même si c'est sûr qu'on a pas joué ce match à la vie, à la mort." L'équipe du Poiré-sur-Vie, qui avait réalisé, à son échelle, un véritable exploit en se qualifiant contre Viry-Châtillon, n'est pas allée plus loin dans la compétition. Les Vendéens ont été éliminés (0-1) en 16es de finale par Strasbourg (Ligue 2), le 1er février.

Source: "Coupe de France de football : une enquête ouverte après des soupçons de match truqué entre amateurs", 21 February 2017, France TV Info, https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sports/foot/coupe-de-france-de-football-une-enquete-ouverte-apres-des-soupcons-de-match-truque-entre-amateurs_2067761.html 

Ireland

The Irish Football Association says it is investigating allegations of match fixing in a cup match earlier this month. According to a report in the Daily Mirror, five players from Crewe United have been suspended. The match in question is Crewe's Irish Cup sixth round tie at Warrenpoint Town which they lost 5-0. It is alleged there were attempts to bet large sums on more than four goals being scored in the game. Crewe, who play in the Mid-Ulster League, said they suspended the five players as soon as the IFA informed them of the investigation. Reaching the sixth round of the senior competition was seen as a significant achievement for the club from Glenavy near Lisburn. The team, managed by former Northern Ireland international Peter Kennedy, won five matches to get to the last 16 stage of Northern Ireland's premier cup event. There has been no suggestion that anyone from Warrenpoint was involved in any wrongdoing. The IFA said on Wednesday: "Following allegations of inappropriate betting by registered players of Crewe United around the club's Irish Cup sixth round match against Warrenpoint Town, an investigation was carried out by the Irish FA's Security and Integrity Department." A case report has been prepared and has now been submitted to the Association's Disciplinary Committee who will consider it at their next meeting on Wednesday, 8 March."

Source: "IFA to investigate Irish Cup match fixing allegations", 22 February 2017, BBC Sport, 
https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/39049928 

United Kingdom 

National Crime Agency officers have arrested a British man in connection with bribery offences linked to international cricket match spot-fixing. NCA agents detained the individual, a man in his 30s, on Thursday morning in Sheffield as part of its ongoing investigation. He is the third person to be arrested so far in relation to the case. Pakistan cricketer Nasir Jamshed was among the two other men arrested by NCA officers on February 13. Both have since been bailed. The NCA announced earlier this month that it was working on an investigation with the Pakistan Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption units. A spokesman said the Pakistan Cricket Board had launched its own investigation, which had resulted in the suspension of three players.

Source: "British man arrested as part of international cricket spot-fixing investigation", 23 February 2017, ITV News, https://www.itv.com/news/2017-02-23/british-man-arrested-as-part-of-international-cricket-spot-fixing-investigation/ 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Italy

ROME (AP) — Genoa defender Armando Izzo could be banned for six years in a match-fixing scandal. The Italian federation has asked for the suspension and a fine of 20,000 euros ($21,000) for Izzo, who was called up the Italian national team for the first time in November for the World Cup qualifying match against Liechtenstein and friendly against Germany. "It's a blow, I didn't expect it," Izzo said. "The truth will come out but at the moment I'm going through a nightmare." Two Serie B matches are under investigation: Modena's 1-0 win over Avellino on May 17, 2014, and Avellino's 3-0 victory over Reggina the following weekend. Izzo was playing for Avellino at the time, shortly before his move to Genoa. Izzo, who turned 25 on Thursday, was also called up by Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura for two training camps — in November and February. "I'm scared of losing everything, the national team, my kids," Izzo said. "I talked with Ventura for 10 minutes about it at the Italy camp, everyone supported me and are close to me.” The Italian federation has asked for the same sanctions for former Avellino captain Francesco Millesi and retired Avellino player Luca Pini. It has asked for six-month bans and 30,000 euro ($32,000) fines for other former Avellino players, including Cagliari defender Fabio Pisacane. The team could also be docked seven points. Avellino faces a possible fine of 145,000 euros ($153,000). 

Source: "Genoa defender Izzo could get 6-year ban for match-fixing", 3 March 2017, USA Today https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2017/03/03/genoa-defender-izzo-could-get-6-year-ban-for-match-fixing/98685754/ 

 

DOPING

New Zealand

Drugfree Sport NZ is rolling out the programme nationwide to educate students about the risks of taking supplements that could contain banned substances, personal responsibility, liability and how drug testing works. Ryan Martin, coach of the school's 1st XV, says the lure of professional contracts can put teens under pressure to perform. He says the programme "cleared up murky areas" for the students who attended the 45-minute presentation. Drugfree Sport NZ is rolling out the programme to Auckland high schools in the next two weeks.

Source: "Kiwi teens in the sights of new anti-doping programme", 28 February 2017, TV New Zealand https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/kiwi-teens-in-sights-new-anti-doping-programme 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Russia

Two bandy teams have been ordered to replay a match in which they scored 20 own goals between them amid allegations of match-fixing. Bandy, a free-flowing sport considered a form of hockey, is a combination of field hockey, ice hockey and football and is little-known outside Scandinavia and Russia. Baikal-Energiya beat Vodnik 11-9 in their Russian Super League game, but all of the goals went in at what's normally called the 'wrong' end. With 22 minutes of the 90 remaining, Sunday's game in Arkhangelsk, northwest Russia, was locked at 0-0 when Vodnik's Oleg Pivovarov suddenly scored three own goals, putting the visitors 3-0 up. Not to be outdone, Baikal-Energiya responded with nine rapid own goals of their own, making it 9-3 to Vodnik, before Pivovarov rescued the points for the opposition by notching another eight goals, all into his own team's net. Now, the All Russian Bandy Federation has alleged the teams were fixing the match, nullified the result and ordered a replay at a neutral venue on Friday. Punishments will be decided on Tuesday, when the governing body meets the teams, who have both apologised to their fans. League officials blamed Vodnik who, had they won, would have faced the league's reigning champions Yenisey Krasnoyarsk in the upcoming play-offs, while Baikal-Energiya were already guaranteed to play a much weaker team. Federation president Boris Skrynnik accused Vodnik of starting the farce in order to "play against a convenient team". He claimed Baikal-Energiya joined in after its players "decided to have some fun". The game is played on ice by teams of 11 players each, who use sticks similar to hockey sticks to propel a small rubber ball into a goal on a large outdoor rink roughly the size of a soccer pitch. This is not the first time a sporting event has been scandalised by players allegedly trying to fix results on the pitch. Eight female badminton players from South Korea, China and Indonesia were disqualified from the 2012 Olympics after they deliberately made basic errors in group stage games in an attempt to fix the draw for the next round. But they've all got nothing on Madagascan football side Stade Olympique de l'Emyrne, who scored a record 149 own-goals in a match in 2002 as a protest against what they felt was unfair refereeing.

Source: "Russian teams ordered to replay bandy match after 20 own goals", 27 February 2017, Sky News, https://news.sky.com/story/russian-teams-ordered-to-replay-bandy-match-after-20-own-goals-10784385 

United Kingdom

Former England Under-21s midfielder Rohan Ricketts claims he played in a game where match-fixing took place. The 34-year-old, who played for both Arsenal and Tottenham, made the unbelievable revelation on The Magic Sponge podcast, which you can watch above. In the clip, Ricketts claims he witnessed match-fixing in more than one country, but goes into detail about it allegedly taking place in Hungary. The former midfielder claims he saw a teammate of his purposefully slipping over in the box twice in one game to allow the opposition to score. He adds that only after the game did he discover the man was allegedly being paid. "It was in Hungary, and Moldova, both countries, I was sitting in the changing room in Hungary and they were talking in Russian," said Ricketts. "They were saying they were trying to work out if they give their bonuses to the ref for the whole season, and the players were saying 'no we will do it for the next game'.”Anyway, we won the game, then we had a friendly the following game against a Romanian side. "And I remember our centre-back getting the ball, double step-overs in the six-yard box, slipping, and them scoring, but he did it twice.”And I was thinking what the f*** is he doing? "Then I found out after he was getting paid, and we were getting slated in the changing room.”I don't think the coach knew, the owners and stuff, it was a mess, a f***ing mess, man". 

Source: Jake Polden, "Former England Under-21s star Rohan Ricketts reveals he 'played in a game where match-fixing took place'", 2 March 2017, The Mirror https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/former-england-under-21s-star-9951382 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

South Korea

INTERPOL-IOC Partnership Development Meeting

15 March 2017 Seoul, South Korea

High level representatives from various stakeholders will meet to discuss and prepare a strategy to combat match-fixing. 

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