INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 3-16 October 2016

published on 18 October 2016

In this edition of the bi-weekly bulletin, we give the floor to Mr. Dimitri Vlassis, Chief of the Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, Division for Treaty Affairs at the UNODC. Here, he discusses the role that UNODC plays in the fight against corruption in sports.

The upcoming weeks and months bring many events for the Integrity in Sports Unit to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports. Articles from this edition covers several match-fixing allegations from teams as young as 10 years old. In addition, there were some articles indicating good practices. In Kenya, the deputy president has announced a partnership with UNESCO to end doping. Russia's Vladimir Putin has also pledged to reform the anti-doping system.

Featured speaker Oct 18 InterpolTHE FLOOR TO...

Mr Dimitri Vlassis, Chief, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC and Secretary, Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Recent scandals, both in terms of scale and frequency, have shown the enormity of the challenges which corruption and transnational organized crime pose for the world of sport. The international community has taken note and there is a mounting urgency to start dealing with these threats in a comprehensive manner, moving away from the ad-hoc, knee-jerk responses which have been to-date resorted to. Indeed, there is now growing momentum towards supporting efforts which seek to develop systematic and institutional initiatives designed to mitigate the risks that sport faces. (see paragraph 7 of resolution 6/6, “Follow-up to the Marrakech declaration on the prevention of corruption”: https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/COSP/session6/V1508646e.pdf). UNODC as the guardian of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime has strong mandates and expertise in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as our far-reaching convening powers, have significant relevance for the world of sport as it takes on the challenges of strengthening and protecting its integrity. These competencies have led us to approach the above by focusing on supporting prevention initiatives, enhancing investigative capacities of sports organizations and the criminal justice community, as well as to raise awareness on criminal justice issues affecting sport. In concrete terms, this multipronged approach has resulted in the launch this year of two publications. The first, entitled “Model Criminal Law Provisions for the Prosecution of Competition Manipulation” was developed in partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A preventive tool, it represents an effort to assist legislators and policy makers looking at ways to stop what is a clear and present danger for integrity in sport. (See: https://www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/UNODCIOC_Model_Criminal_Law_Provisions_for_the_Prosecution _of_Competition_Manipulation_Booklet.pdf). In terms of investigation capacities, UNODC in partnership with the International Centre for Sport Security, launched a second publication in August this year entitled “Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Investigation of Match-Fixing”. As the issue of investigating match-fixing is not widely known and the skills-base to investigate the problem is relatively limited, our hope is that the guide will be an important contribution to help to overcome this increasingly important problem.

We also see our role in raising awareness about corruption and organized crime in sport as being key to supporting realistic and measured responses to these threats and to move away from the ad-hoc, knee jerk reactions referred to above. We have seen that awareness about the negative roles played by corruption and organized crime in sports by investigators and other officials seems to be limited and the issue has not been viewed as a priority. To help address this, UNODC organized a one-day meeting of over 400 delegates from 176 States parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption to discuss and exchange practices on the topic of Integrity in Sport. The report of the meeting as well as presentations and submissions of Governments are openly available and can be accessed via the following link: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/working-group4.html. At the inter-institutional level, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is proud of its long running and highly successful partnership with INTERPOL. While sport is a new area of cooperation in this relationship, much has been achieved in the last year and bodes well for future joint efforts. INTERPOL contributed its expertise during the development of the investigation tool for match-fixing and UNODC helped support a training for law enforcement officials organized by INTERPOL and the IOC in Rio, Brazil and are honored to have been asked to join the global INTERPOL’s Match-Fixing Task Force. As the international community, sports organizations and governments come to terms with their new responsibilities and mandates to strengthen and protect integrity in and of sport, it is essential that for us to have a positive impact, efforts be undertaken in a coordinated manner. It is our view that the best way of achieving this aim is for stakeholders who possess recognized legitimacy and relevant expertise to proactively work together. As evidenced by the UNODC-INTERPOL partnership, only then can credible tools be developed and effective technical assistance delivered.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

China

Five professional footballers and a suspected bookmaker have been arrested over alleged match fixing in Hong Kong’s football league, the city’s anti-corruption watchdog said Thursday. Local media reported the five footballers played for Hong Kong Pegasus, a strong team in contention for the title, which unexpectedly lost a match last week against a Chinese Super League team made up mostly of youth players. “The five arrested players might have conspired to accept bribes from other persons, including the suspected bookmaker, as rewards for their participation in rigging four matches,” the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said in a statement late Thursday. The watchdog said the alleged bribes amounted to over HK$90,000 ($11,602) and that the investigation was started after it received a complaint during the 2015-2016 season. The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), which regulates the former British colony’s professional league, has previously admitted the league could be vulnerable to rigging as players are poorly paid. “It is disappointing to note that further allegations of misconduct have come to light,” HKFA chief executive officer Mark Sutcliffe said in a statement, adding that they have recently introduced measures to minimise the threat of corruption. In 2014, nine people were arrested for alleged match-fixing in multiple football fixtures, with one Croatian player convicted and jailed for 12 months, the South China Morning Post reported. Match-fixing is proving a chronic and growing blight on international football and can involve cross-border syndicates.

Source: "Hong Kong arrests footballers, bookmaker over match fixing", 6 October 2016, World Soccer Talk https://worldsoccertalk.com/2016/10/06/hong-kong-arrests-footballers-bookmaker-over-match-fixing/ 

United Kingdom

Tennis investigators are examining whether a match at Wimbledon this year was fixed. The London-based Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) received an alert regarding one match played at the championships, it has announced. Its alerts come from regulators and betting organisations, who can report matches if they notice suspicious betting patterns. The TIU said it received 96 alerts from July to September, of which two came in grand slams, the first at Wimbledon and the second at the US Open. Wimbledon ran from 27 June to 10 July. A TIU statement said: “Historically, grand slams receive very few match alerts and in keeping with that record, only two were received during the period; one at Wimbledon, the other at the US Open. Both are the subject of routine, confidential investigation by the TIU.” The US Open match under investigation had already been disclosed, with the TIU having announced in September it was looking at the match between Vitalia Diatchenko and Timea Bacsinszky. It has not given details of the Wimbledon match that is under scrutiny. The TIU’s guidance states: “It is important to appreciate that an alert on its own is not evidence of match-fixing.” It states that unusual gambling patterns can be explained by factors other than fixing, such as incorrect odds setting, player fitness, playing conditions and well-informed betting.

Source: "Wimbledon 2016: investigators look into potential match-fixing", 6 October 2016, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/oct/06/wimbledon-2016-investigators-potential-match-fixing 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

China

A team of schoolboy footballers in China have been convicted of ‘match-fixing’, according to mainland media reports. Two sides from Guangzhou, Tikitaka and DongShanXiaoYe, faced each other in a youth tournament for teams in the Pearl River Delta last week. DongShanXiaoYe needed a win by a big margin in the October 5 match to finish above Qingmaio, from Shunde. At half-time they were losing 2-1, yet mounted a remarkable comeback in the second 45 minutes. The final score? 25-2, with a curiously high number of own goals, ensuring the trophy stayed in Guangzhou. The Guangzhou Football Association reprimanded coaches and parents, and banned the organiser of the tournament for three years, according to reports in China. Some commenters in Chinese media asked what hope there was for the national team – who just suffered a humiliating defeat to Syria in World Cup qualifying – if even children’s tournaments were corrupt. The story is all the more embarrassing for China given the country’s current push – instigated by President Xi Jinping – to become a “football superpower”.

Source: "Starting early: Under-11 football tournament in China hit by ‘match-fixing’ as team scores 24 goals in second half", 11 October 2016, South China Morning Post
https://www.scmp.com/sport/soccer/article/2027052/starting-early-under-11-football-tournament-china-hit-match-fixing-team 

International Olympic Committee

Protecting the integrity of sport at the Olympic Games is a top priority for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). A number of sound new measures were therefore put in place during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, both in the Olympic Village and behind-the-scenes. These measures included a fully operational Joint Integrity Intelligence Unit (JIIU) implemented in collaboration with experts from the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, as well as a reinforced Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS) and, for the first time, the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions was implemented. Participants at the Olympic Games are not permitted to bet on Olympic events and are obliged to report any approach or suspicion of manipulation. The IOC today announced that three athletes have been sanctioned by IOC Disciplinary Commissions for violating the Rio 2016 Rules on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions. As there was no intent to manipulate any event, all three athletes have been issued severe reprimands and obliged to follow and contribute to various integrity educational programmes. 

The details follow: Michael John Conlan, 24, of Ireland, competing in the sport of boxing (AIBA), in the men’s bantamweight (56kg) event, placed bets on boxing events at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Steve Gerard Donnelly, 27, of Ireland, competing in the sport of boxing (AIBA), in the men’s welterweight (69kg) event, placed bets on various boxing events at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Antony Fowler, 25, of Great Britain, competing in the sport of boxing (AIBA), in the men’s middleweight (75kg) event, placed bets on boxing events at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Source: "IOC sanctions three athletes for betting on Olympic competitions in Rio 2016", 3 October 2016, International Olympic Committee https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-sanctions-three-athletes-for-betting-on-olympic-competitions-in-rio-2016

 

DOPING

Russia

Russia is ready to reform its anti-doping system in order to better fight against drug use as the country has been caught in a whirlpool of alleged doping violations, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. Putin on Tuesday vowed to bring new formats to the country's sports management system, and stressed to keep in touch with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in making any decisions, Xinhua news agency reported. The supervision of a complex of affairs, including sports, tourism and youth policy would be united and authorized to a deputy prime minister who will be nominated by the government soon, said Putin. In July, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a report accusing Russia of running a state-wide doping program, and a number of Russian athletes were banned from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. Putin said the mistakes that Russian athletes committed had to be admitted despite the "biased attitude" towards them. Earlier this year, the WADA reported that around 40 Russian athletes failed drug tests for using Meldonium, which was prohibited by the agency from 2016. Putin said Russia would work with WADA to put an end to the "meldonium scandal". "Of course, sport must be free from doping, but we must be sure what is being done and how in this extremely important area," he said.

Source: "Russian President Vladimir Putin ready to reform anti-doping system", 12 October 2016, First Post https://www.firstpost.com/sports/russian-president-vladimir-putin-ready-to-reform-anti-doping-system-3046810.html 

 

GOOD PRACTICES

International Olympic Committee

In a show of unity after sharp divisions caused by the Russian doping scandal, Olympic leaders gave the World Anti-Doping Agency increased powers Saturday to lead the fight against drug cheats and pushed ahead with plans for a separate independent body to carry out global drug-testing. A summit of top global sports officials backed WADA to continue to oversee worldwide anti-doping efforts, upholding the agency's central role following months of strained relations caused by its call to ban Russia from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics over state-sponsored cheating. The leaders called for WADA to lead a "more robust, more efficient, more transparent, and more harmonized" anti-doping system, and promised more funding for the cash-strapped agency if it enacts reforms. "This is a clear commitment by the entire Olympic movement to an independent and harmonized worldwide fight by a stronger anti-doping agency," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a conference call after the closed-door, four-hour meeting at a Lausanne hotel. The summit also supported previously announced plans for the Court of Arbitration for Sport to take over the role of imposing sanctions on doping cheats, removing the responsibility from sports federations in order to make the system more independent. CAS handled doping sanctions during the Rio Games for the first time. But the over-arching thrust of the meeting was to give support to a reinforced WADA, which was set up by the IOC in 1999. The leaders said WADA would hold the "regulatory role" in the worldwide anti-doping fight. "I'm very happy with it," WADA President Craig Reedie said after the meeting. "We now have a clear set of principles established by the IOC. We are to be given substantial additional authority and substantial additional powers. I am perfectly happy with that." The meeting came following a spate of public attacks on WADA by several IOC members, who believed the agency was slow to respond to doping in Russia and then overstepped its remit by pushing for the country's exclusion from the Rio Games. The IOC rejected WADA's recommendation — which followed a report by investigator Richard McLaren that detailed systematic doping and cover-ups — and let international sports federations decide which individual Russian athletes could compete in Rio. A three-page statement issued after the summit made no mention of Russia or the scandal. Bach, however, said giving WADA "more authority" over national anti-doping agencies could help prevent further cases of non-compliance, citing Russia and Kenya specifically. The summit also supported the plan, first announced a year ago, for creation of a new anti-doping testing body "within the framework of WADA," that would also have intelligence gathering and investigative powers. The intention is to have the body operating in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "It is quite a complex area," Reedie said. "There's questions of who will use it and questions of finance." WADA was asked to discuss the proposals at board meetings on Nov. 19-20 in Glasgow, Scotland. The summit also called for strengthening WADA's "governance structure," and approval of a policy to encourage and protect whistleblowers.

Russian runner Yulia Stepanova and her husband helped expose the widespread doping in their homeland, and are living in hiding in the United States. The IOC rejected Stepanova's bid to run as an independent athlete in Rio. Still to be determined is who has the power to sanction countries for non-compliance with WADA's rules, an issue brought to light by the Russian crisis. Bach said the issue was not discussed in detail at the summit because governments also need to be involved, again citing Russia. "The general rule is that you do not want to see the prosecutor also being the judge," Bach said, indicating that WADA should not be handling both roles. Reedie said he believed WADA would have the power to sanction federations and national anti-doping bodies. "I hope so," he said. "We have been given powers on compliance. We are going to produce a whole range of potential sanctions for different degrees of non-compliance. That is in our hands and we will do that. "If we are granted these powers ... I can assure you they will be used properly and well." Bach reiterated that the IOC has two commissions looking into the Russian case, including one dealing with possible sanctions resulting from alleged manipulation of Russian doping samples during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Bach said the IOC would not rely on McLaren's report on its own, saying the Canadian had not given the Russians the chance to respond. "You have to give a fair hearing to everybody," Bach, a German lawyer, said. "You have to make the difference between the prosecutor and the judge in order to have a legally sustainable and judicial procedure." The summit also pledged to offer increased funding to WADA, which has an annual budget of about $30 million. The budget is covered 50-50 by contributions from the Olympic movement and national governments. "The increase in financing depends on the implementation of the reforms by WADA, and is based on the results provided by WADA after the review of the anti-doping system," the IOC statement said.

Source: "IOC calls on WADA to lead unified global anti-doping system", 8 October 2016, US News https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2016-10-08/oiympic-leaders-begin-summit-on-global-anti-doping-system 

Kenya 

Deputy President William Ruto has announced a collaboration between a United Nations agency and sports officials in the country to stem doping. Mr Ruto on Monday said the training by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) will contribute in revamping and protecting the image of the industry, especially athletics. “Doping jeopardises moral and ethical basis of sport and the health of those involved and should be discouraged at all costs. We are doing everything possible to ensure that Kenya’s sporting prowess is not undermined by doping,” the DP said. Speaking during the official opening of the Kenya week in Paris, France, the DP lauded the partnership. “The partnership between Kenya and Unesco on training of trainers on anti-doping is commendable. This is a sincerely welcome development,” he said. He said Kenya attaches great importance to sporting activities, adding it will not allow the use of performance enhancing substances to ruin careers of young athletes. At the same time, the week-long event will showcase Kenyan cultures through different activities to be held within and outside the agency's headquarters in Paris.

Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova said Kenya’s cultural diversities should unify the people as opposed to dividing them. “Kenya is a good country with different cultural diversities which should be exploited for the unity of the country and not to divide them,” Ms Bokova said. Mr Ruto said promotion of cultural diversity remains key to elimination of criminal activities such as terrorism across the globe. The DP added that culture is an enabler and driver of sustainability. On his part, Prof George Godia - Kenya’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Unesco - said promotion of existing business relations and exploration of new trade and investment opportunities are at the heart of the event. Prof Godia said the main objective of the summit is to enhance Kenya's visibility and how it has contributed to Unesco for the last 50 years. Also present were Higher Education Principal Secretary Collete Suda, MP Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Governors Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Moses Akaranga (Vihiga).

Source: "Kenya, Unesco partner to end doping", 11 October 2016, Daily Nation https://www.nation.co.ke/news/partner-to-end-doping/1056-3411978-159feb1/ 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

Council of Europe

5th International Conference for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.

25-26 October 2016 Bucharest, Romania

The forth "Keep Crime Out of Sport" (KCOOS) Project Regional Seminar will take place in Bucharest, Romania in which the main actors from Europe will be invited. This seminar, organised by the Council of Europe, will address the needs for legislation, transposition, and law enforcement challenges. For more information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INTERPOL/IOC

Train the Trainer Course and National Workshop

20-21 October 2016 Buenos Aires, Argentina

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is hosting a National Workshop and a Train the Trainer Course in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Law Enforcement, Sport federations, prosecutors, and the betting industry have been invited for the National Workshop. Sport federations, sport coaches and athletes have been invited for the Train the Trainer workshop. Both events will take place on 20-21 October 2016.

International Sport Convention

Sports Integrity Conference

7-8 December 2016. Geneva, Switzerland

The International Sports Convention is hosting a sports convention on 7-8 December 2016 at the Palexpo Center, Geneva, Switzerland. This conference is supported by the World Lottery Association and European Lottery. For further information and registration, please refer to the provided link: https://iscgeneva.com/conferences-and-masterclasses/conferences/sports-integrity/

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