INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 20 March 2017 - 2 April 2017

In this edition, we have several interesting cases coming from all over the world ranging from sanctions and investigations to illegal betting. The ongoing case of match-fixing in Pakistan saw a player being banned for a year by the Pakistan Cricket Board for failing to report. This is a good example to those who knew of the match-fixing but did not report, which is also considered a crime. 

Following the adoption of a match-fixing bill in Germany, Cyprus has stepped up their game by approving a bill to stop competition manipulation.

Finally, it has been reported that table tennis could potentially become the new target for match-fixers. Some attempts in manipulation have already happened and generally, there is a lack of awareness about match-fixing in Table Tennis.

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

South Africa

The ABC Motsepe League has been rocked by yet another allegation of match-fixing in an ongoing corruption scandal. City Press has learnt that a club captain and a club official were arrested last weekend during the game between log leaders Maccabi FC and Vaal Professionals at Dick Fourie Stadium in Vereeniging in Gauteng. It is alleged that the club official approached an opposition player and asked him to sway the game in their favour. The visiting side, Maccabi, won 3-1. A source, who witnessed everything, said match officials from Limpopo were taken by surprise when a warrant officer appeared on the field to effect the arrest. “At this time of the season there are cross-border appointments, and the officials came all the way from Giyani. They didn’t even know which game they were going to officiate, as they were told to converge at Safa House on the morning of the game,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.

Source: "Player, official nabbed for match-fixing", 26 March 2017, Sport 24 suspect.
https://www.sport24.co.za/Soccer/South-Africa/player-official-nabbed-for-match-fixing-20170325

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Ghana

Ghanaian referee Joseph Odartei Lamptey was on Monday banned for life by world football's governing body FIFA for match fixing. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) had already slapped a three-month ban on Lamptey after he awarded South Africa a controversial penalty in its 2-1 victory over Senegal in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on November 12, 2016. "The official was found guilty of unlawfully influencing match results," FIFA said in a statement. Zurich-based FIFA said it was dismissing charges against another Ghanaian match official David Lionheart Nii Lartey Laryea, who had also been under investigation. "Further information concerning the South Africa v. Senegal match in question will be provided once the decision becomes final and binding," FIFA said. "FIFA will continue with its ongoing efforts to combat match manipulation through a variety of initiatives, which include the monitoring of international betting and a confidential reporting system with a dedicated integrity hotline and e-mail address."

Source: "FIFA bans Ghanaian referee for life for match fixing", 20 March 2017, Sport Star, 
https://www.sportstarlive.com/football/fifa-bans-ghanaian-referee-for-life-for-match-fixing/article17544184.ece 

Pakistan 

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been banned for a year by the Pakistan Cricket Board for twice failing to report approaches by bookmakers linked to spot-fixing. The 7ft 1in bowler was one of three players suspended following an anti-corruption investigation focused on the Pakistan Super League. Six months of the ban will be suspended if Irfan, 34, fulfils certain conditions imposed on him. He last played for Pakistan in 2016. In February, the PCB announced it was investigating "an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the PSL". Internationals Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, who both play for Islamabad United alongside Irfan, have been provisionally suspended. Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar (Quetta Gladiators) and opening batsman Shazaib Hassan (Karachi Kings) were also questioned by the PCB's anti-corruption unit. Irfan, who has played Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket for his country, last appeared for Pakistan in an ODI against England at Headingley in September 2016. Half of his ban will be suspended if there is no further breach and he will also be required to take part in an anti-corruption education program. He was also fined one million Pakistan rupees (£7,680). Pakistan batsman Nasir Jamshed was one of two men arrested by the National Crime Agency in Britain in February as part of an investigation into cricket corruption. A third suspect was also arrested in Sheffield and all three were released on bail.

Source: "Mohammad Irfan: Pakistan fast bowler suspended for a year by PCB", 29 March 2017, BBC Sport, 
https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/39264715 

 

MODUS OPERANDI

France

Paris Saint-Germain director of football Patrick Kluivert has allegedly been found to be in one million euros worth of gambling debts to a criminal gang who are under investigation for match fixing. Any link to the illegal activity has been stringently denied by the former Barcelona forward although he was called in to talk to police on a witness basis. That is according to Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant after authorities discovered documents linking the gang to Kluivert during an investigation. The debt, which was incurred between 2011 and 2012 on FC Twente games while he was reserve team coach and was not illegal at the time, is understood to have been largely repaid. Kluivert's lawyer, Gerard Spong, has insisted that his client is a 'victim' in the whole affair, which remains focused away from the ex-striker and on match fixing.

Source: "Kluivert pressured by criminal gang over gambling debts", 25 March 2017, Marca La Liga, 
https://www.marca.com/en/football/international-football/2017/03/25/58d68199e5fdeaf4528b4567.html 

 

GOOD PRACTICES

Cyprus

The cabinet has approved a bill to stop the manipulation of sports events, including match fixing, with provisions for imprisonment and fines up to €200,000, the justice ministry announced on Monday. The bill, which for the first time defines manipulating the outcomes of sporting events as a corruption offence, is the government’s attempt to improve investigative procedures into match fixing and to introduce more effective punitive measures. The justice ministry said the bill was necessary following “a constant flow of files concerning suspicious football matches by the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) recently, which affects the [local] championship itself and tarnishes the name of Cyprus abroad”. “This phenomenon has been particularly alarming, and may have other implications related to organised crime,” the justice ministry said. It added that the bill – that was prepared following consultations with the Cyprus Sports Organisation, the Cyprus Football Association (CFA), and the footballers’ and referees’ associations – is in line with provisions included in the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. Under the bill anyone who attempts to manipulate a sporting event directly or indirectly is guilty of an offence and is subject to up to seven years’ imprisonment and/ or a fine up to €200,000....

Source: Evie Andreou, "Cabinet approves bill to clamp down on match-fixing", 20 March 2017, Cyprus Mail, 
https://cyprus-mail.com/2017/03/20/cabinet-approves-bill-clamp-match-fixing/ 

World 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says he will stop at nothing to combat football’s most dangerous ills and will soon have an “army” of personnel to tackle the issues involved. Speaking at the annual Football Talks summit in Estoril, Portugal, Ceferin repeated many of the pledges he made on coming to power last September as he prepares to put a raft of reforms before UEFA’s 55 members at next month’s Congress in Helsinki. On the theme of "Main opportunities and threats for European Football in the next years", Ceferin highlighted the scourges of doping, match fixing, violence and corruption as the usual suspects plaguing the game for which, he cautioned, “no miracle solution has been found so far.” Focusing on a new UEFA division entitled "Protection of the Game", Ceferin told his audience that European football’s governing body “will soon have an army of people to fight this” without elaborating. Ceferin’s reform proposals have already been well chronicled and include: Introduction of term limits for the UEFA President and members of the UEFA Executive Committee; candidates for election or re-election on the UEFA Executive Committee having to hold an active office (president, vice-president, general secretary or CEO) in their respective national association; and the election of independent members to the Governance and Compliance Committee.

Source: Andrew Warshaw, "Ceferin forms an army to battle ‘doping, matchfixing, violence and corruption’", 22 March 2017, Inside World Football
https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017/03/22/ceferin-forms-army-battle-doping-matchfixing-violence-corruption/ 

World

Amid growing concern about corruption in the lower tiers of professional tennis, a global body is planning a drastic overhaul that will slash the number of world-ranked players. While the grand slam, ATP and Challenger calendars will remain the same, the International Tennis Federation will reshape its circuit from 2019 after a number of problems, including affordability and match-fixing, were identified. The ITF circuit has traditionally acted as a feeding ground for the top tier of professional ranks while also spreading the sport to all corners of the globe. But players on this circuit compete for negligible prize money as they seek to move towards higher-tier tournaments or rebuild their careers. For example, two of Australia’s brightest talents, Destanee Aiava and Lizzie Cabrera, are currently playing a $25,000 ITF tournament on the Mornington Peninsula while the world’s best compete in the $9.1 million Miami Open. Aiava, who is ranked 210 in the world, has performed well at this level after a promising Australian summer and could pocket just under $4000 for a successful week, but players beaten in qualifying for low-tier ITF tournaments can earn less than $100. The ITF study, assisted by researchers from Kingston University in London, found almost 14,000 players competed in tournaments deemed professional in 2012-13, yet barely half earned any prize money at all. It found the financial break-even ranking for athletes playing the sport was 336 for men and 253 for women. ITF president David Haggerty cited affordability issues as a reason for the overhaul. “Over 14,000 players competed at professional level last year, which is simply too many,” he said. “Radical changes are needed to address the issues of transition between the junior and professional game, playing affordability, and tournament cost.” Yet betting firms globally offer markets on some of these tournaments, with players struggling to make a living or finance travel on the tour considered vulnerable to approaches from those seeking to corrupt the outcome of matches. Of the 292 suspicious betting alerts received by the tennis integrity unit last year, 204 stemmed from matches played at ITF level. A further 80 stemmed from ATP Challenger level matches, although it is worth noting an alert does not necessarily mean a match is compromised. Oliver Anderson, the 2016 Australian Open boys champion, is facing criminal charges related to corrupting the outcome of a match in a Challenger tournament in Traralgon, Victoria last October... 

Source: "Tennis overhaul to slash the number of world-ranked players", 1 April 2017, The Australian, 
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/tennis/tennis-overhaul-to-slash-the-number-of-worldranked-players/news-story/49e673ed1cb086879cb706f383992e13

ODDS AND ENDS

Cyprus

European football governing body Uefa has sent the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) another report of suspicious betting activity relating to a top-flight fixture. The dossier has been conveyed to the CFA’s judge, according to daily Politis. It relates to a game taking place in early March, where Doxa beat AEZ 4-0. In its report, Uefa said there had been a great deal of betting on AEZ losing the game by at least a three-goal margin. The Uefa report features a detailed analysis of betting activity prior to and during the match, using its fraud detection system (BFDS). In close cooperation with the international company Sportradar, the Uefa betting fraud detection system highlights irregular betting movements both pre-match and in-game (live) in all the core betting markets from all major European and Asian bookmakers. The report focused in particular on the odds offered by Maltese bookmakers stoiximan.gr.

Source: Elias Hazou, "Uefa flags more suspicious betting on football matches", 27 March 2017, Cyprus Mail, 
https://cyprus-mail.com/2017/03/27/uefa-flags-suspicious-betting-football-matches/ 

France

La manipulation des compétitions - autrement dit, des matches truqués dans le cadre de paris sportifs - gangrène le sport amateur et professionnel. Pour lutter contre ce fléau, la France a mis en place il y a un an une plateforme de surveillance. Les douze pays qui utilisent ce dispositif sont réunis vendredi 31 mars à Paris pour échanger leurs informations. À cette occasion, pour tenter de mesurer la réalité de cette manipulation, franceinfo a recueilli le témoignage d'une joueuse de tennis de table qu’on a essayé de corrompre lors d'un championnat international. Cette pongiste étrangère que nous appellerons Rosalie* a aidé la police française à identifier l'homme qui lui a demandé de tricher en la contactant sur le réseau social Facebook. 2 000 euros pour perdre un set "J’ai reçu un message d’une personne que je ne connaissais pas. Il m’a envoyé : ‘Je t’ai vu en live sur un site russe, faudrait qu’on s’arrange, que tu gagnes serré un match’", raconte Rosalie. "Je me suis demandé pourquoi il m’écrivait ça à moi. Donc je lui ai écrit : ‘Tu te rends compte que je peux te dénoncer pour ce genre de message ? On n’a pas le droit de truquer les matchs’", poursuit-elle. Son interlocuteur lui répond alors : "C’est pas truquer, c’est juste gagner 4 sets à 1 au lieu de 4-0. Tu gagnes 2 000 euros juste pour perdre un set'", rapporte la pongiste, qui refuse tout net. "Même si 2 000 euros c’est énorme en tant que sportive, pas une seconde je me suis dit que j’allais les accepter", nous dit-elle. Leur échange ne s’arrêtera pourtant pas là. "Il n’a pas été menaçant, mais il m’a recontacté ensuite en me disant : ‘Tu m’as dénoncé ? C’était une blague’... Comme si j’allais culpabiliser. Mais je sais très bien que ce n’était pas une blague. Et je n’ai pas répondu", nous explique Rosalie. 

Le tennis de table, cible plus facile que le tennis ou le foot...

Source: "Le tennis de table, nouvel eldorado des parieurs tricheurs?", 31 March 2017, France Info, 
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/societe/le-tennis-de-table-nouvel-eldorado-des-parieurs-tricheurs_2122039.html

Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Despite all efforts to eradicate the scourge of match fixing in Malaysian football, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) believes it still exists. The government agency said more work was needed to ensure the integrity of the sport, ESPN reported. “Corruption involving local footballers is still prevalent in the country. We are still encountering cases involving corruption among footballers, but it is not easy to prosecute someone without any concrete evidence. “I can tell you that bookies are always looking for opportunities to get in touch with the players, and trying to get them to be on the take. The present situation is not at a worrying level, and we are trying to ensure that it does not get worse,” MACC deputy chief commissioner Azam Baki was quoted as saying by the international sports network. His comments follow allegations by the coach of Malaysian Premier League club MISC-MIFA that his players were “dishonest” in a match that the club loss 7-2, at home to UiTM FC on March 3. Players from the second-tier Malaysian league club are now under investigation by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), aside from MACC.

Source: "Match-fixing still prevalent in local football, says MACC", 30 March 2017, Free Malaysia Today news, 
https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2017/03/30/match-fixing-still-prevalent-in-local-football-says-macc/ 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS 

Thailand

INTERPOL-IOC Integrity in Sport National Workshop

26 April 2017, Bangkok, Thailand

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will host a National Workshop addressed to Law Enforcement, Sport Federations, Betting, and relevant ministries.

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