INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 6-19 March 2017

In this edition, we are following the investigation of match-fixing in Cricket, in Pakistan. Another player has now been charged and temporarily suspended. Several other investigations are ongoing at the same time regarding cases in suspicious betting, and accusations of match-fixing in Malaysian football.

One step forward towards anti match-fixing legislation: Germany recently passed a law against match-fixing and betting fraud. This will certainly encourage countries who have not yet passed laws against competition manipulation to move forward. It is also worth mentioning that the Euro Cup 2016 was one of the biggest competitions placed under surveillance at a national level to counter competition manipulation, created by Arjel, the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Sports, and other relevant bodies.

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

Cyprus

The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) has received one more red notice from European governing body Uefa regarding suspicious betting activity in a league match between AEZ Zakakiou and Doxa Katokopia, the association announced on Thursday. According to Uefa’s report, there is “strong suspicion” that the match had been fixed. The notice reported that there had been a great deal of betting on AEZ losing the game by at least a three-goal margin. Doxa won 4-0. Uefa’s notice held AEZ responsible for the fixed match. The CFA said it had forwarded the red notices to the sporting judge. Not two months ago, CFA boss Costakis Koutsokoumnis vowed that “the party is over for the betting mafia.” At the time, and under pressure from Uefa, the association approved modifications to the disciplinary code regarding matches and suspicious betting activity, with tough fines and long prison sentences for those found throwing or fixing matches.

Source: Angelos Anastasiou, "Uefa sends further red notice over match fixing", 9 March 2017, Cyprus Mai, https://cyprus-mail.com/2017/03/09/uefa-sends-red-notice-match-fixing/ 

Malaysia 

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has told its integrity department to investigate match-fixing allegations made by MISC-MIFA head coach Jacob Joseph. According to New Straits Times (NST), Joseph made stunning comments about his own players being "dishonest" after losing a Premier League match 7-2 at home to UiTM FC where MIFA conceded all the seven goals with only 15 minutes to go. Joseph has reached out to the MIFA management about some of his players involving in match-fixing but was told to get evidence first. FAM general-secretary, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin was shocked when he read about Joseph’s comments. “I read the report in the New Straits Times today (yesterday) and I am really disturbed with this. It is a statement of the coach,” Hamidin told Timesport. “I will get FAM’s integrity department to check on this tomorrow (today). They will be on a fact finding mission and will check with Joseph and the other team’s officials.” Hamidin stated that this will be taken seriously and any evidence found will be given to the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership (FMLLP) chief executive officer, Kevin Ramalingam has called upon harsher punishments to be imposed on those found guilty of match-fixing. Kevin feels more needs to be done on match-fixing if Joseph’s comments are found to be true. “Malaysian football will not move forward if such negative elements are not dealt with comprehensively,” “A more severe punishment should be imposed on fixers. Suspending players will not solve it in a holistic manner. We need a punishment that not only affects the players but also the entire line of fixers,” Kevin told NST.

Source: "FAM to investigate match-fixing allegations surrounding MISC-MIFA", 6 March 2017, Fourth Official, https://www.fourthofficial.com/2017/43941/fam-investigate-match-fixing-allegations-surrounding-misc-mifa/ 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday charged and suspended giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan over allegations of spot-fixing during a recent Twenty20 league, in a case that has so far ensnared three other current or former national stars. The widening scandal threatens to take some of the sheen off the recently completed Pakistan Super League (PSL), which was hailed as a step towards restoring international cricket in the terror-hit country after the final in Lahore passed without incident. A guilty verdict for the players would prove disastrous for Pakistan cricket, which was last rocked by a match-fixing scandal in 2010 that deprived it of three top players including paceman Mohammad Amir, who has since made a comeback. "The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in furtherance to its investigation issued a Notice of Charge and provisionally suspended Irfan under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code," the body said in a statement. It added: "Irfan has been charged with two violations of the anti-corruption code and now has 14 days to respond to the Notice of Charge," without giving further details....

Source: "Pakistan suspend Mohammad Irfan in Spot-fixing case", 14 March 2017, AFP via Daily Mail, www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4311956/Pakistan-suspends-Mohammad-Irfan-spot-fixing-case.html 

 

BETTING

United Kingdom

The world No. 3 (snooker) has been the subject of an investigation by the WPBSA’s disciplinary committee. The probe focused on allegations Bingham had used the account of a third party to place a series of bets on professional matches. There is no suggestion Bingham has been involved in match-fixing or betting against himself. But placing bets on any match is banned and with Bingham set to plead guilty he is likely to face a fine or even a ban. The revelations have cast a large cloud over Bingham’s preparations for next month’s World Championship. Alfie Burden was fined £5,000 and given a six-month suspended ban earlier this year for similar rule breaches. A WPBSA statement read: “Following an investigation into an alleged breach of the WPBSA Betting Rules by Stuart Bingham, a decision has been taken today that there is a case to answer.The matter has now been referred to the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee.” Bingham said: “I have used another account to place bets on snooker matches. “It is similar to what Alfie Burden did, but I have never bet against myself, and never been involved in any match-fixing or corruption. “It was stupid and I wasn’t aware enough of the rules, but basically I did it and must take what’s coming.” 

Source: Hector Nunns, "Stuart Bingham charged: Snooker star faces ban after admitting to breaching betting rules", 15 March 2017, Daily Star https://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/other-sports/596981/Stuart-Bingham-charged-Snooker-betting-rules 

 

DOPING

World

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has revealed a new doping violation reporting app called “Speak Up!” available for the iPhone and Android phones. The digital platform is for athletes to alert WADA to potential anti-doping rule violators. The app user can report anyone, either as an “informant” or “whistleblower,” who “detects, identifies, witnesses, knows of, or has reasonable grounds to suspect that cheating in sport has occurred,” according to Swim Swam. WADA’s Director of Intelligence and Investigations, Günter Younger said “Speak Up! answers the call made by athletes and others for a secure, confidential way to report activity that goes against clean sport.” “WADA is pleased to launch Speak Up!, which we believe will encourage more informants and whistleblowers to come forward and report suspected doping violations,” said Olivier Niggli, Director General of WADA.

Source: Kim Vandenberg, "WADA launches new ‘Speak Up!’ doping violation reporting app", 14 March 2017, Excelle Sports www.excellesports.com/news/wada-doping-app/ 

 

GOOD PRACTICES

France

Les 51 matches de l'Euro-2016 de football ont généré 62 milliards d'euros de paris à travers le monde, a-t-on appris jeudi lors de la remise du bilan de la plateforme nationale de lutte contre la manipulation des compétitions sportives. Sur cette somme, seulement 297 millions d'euros de mises ont été enregistrés en France dont 141,2 M EUR sur les sites des 12 opérateurs agréés par l'Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (Arjel) et 155,8 M EUR en dur, dans les 25.000 points de vente de la Française des Jeux. Neuf matches ont été placés sous très haut niveau de surveillance et quatre alertes jaunes (le deuxième niveau sur quatre en matière de suspicion) ont été générées, puis levées après investigation. L'Euro-2016, disputée du 10 juin au 10 juillet 2016, était la première grande compétition placée sous la surveillance de la plateforme nationale de lutte contre la manipulation des compétitions sportives, outil créé en janvier 2016 associant l'Arjel, le ministère des Sports, le Comité national olympique et sportif français (CNOSF) et la Française des Jeux, afin de partager les informations et d'accélérer les prises de décisions, notamment en ce qui concerne la suspension des prises de paris. Une plateforme connectée à onze de ses homologues européennes et associée durant l'Euro à l'UEFA et Interpol. 

Source: "Euro-2016: 62 milliards de paris enregistrés dans le monde", 16 March 2017, Le Parisien https://www.leparisien.fr/flash-actualite-sports/euro-2016-62-milliards-de-paris-enregistres-dans-le-monde-16-03-2017-6769224.php 

Germany

Germany's lower house of parliament has passed a law against match fixing and betting fraud. Both the German football association and the company that operates the Bundesliga have welcomed the move. The law passed by the Bundestag lower house of parliament late on Thursday makes it a crime to conspire to fix sporting events and sets out prison sentences of up to three years for any player, coach or referee found guilty of match fixing. In particularly serious cases, courts may hand out sentences of up to five years. "Because other measures have not worked, we have to confront such methods with the instruments available through criminal law," German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (pictured above) said in a statement to reporters. "In this way we will ensure that sports stand only for that which makes them so special; integrity and fair competition." The German football association (DFB) and the DFL, the company that operates the Bundesliga, released a joint statement praising the move. "This law is an important building block in efforts to protect the integrity of sports," DFL President Reinhard Rauball said. "Football too will continue to do everything it can to combat betting fraud and match fixing." DFB President Reinhard Grindel said the fact that the law made it possible for the authorities to order searches of premises or to conduct surveillance on suspected match fixers was a "very important step in efforts to protect the integrity of sports..."

Source: "German parliament passes law against match fixing", 10 March 2017, DW, https://www.dw.com/en/german-parliament-passes-law-against-match-fixing/a-37881179

Nigeria

As Nigerian referees undergo the first FIFA fitness test of the year in Abuja, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says they are doing everything possible to take match officiating to another level. In a bid to ensure football in Nigeria is devoid of any form of match-fixing or manipulation, the NFF has mandated its Integrity Unit headed Dr. Christian Emeruwa, to lecture Nigerian referees on FIFA integrity guidelines as it relates to football. The NFF Executive Committee had last December approved the Integrity Strategy Guidelines for every aspect of the game in the country, which has seen even coaches and match commissioners being lectured on the things that violate the integrity of the game. All referees in Nigeria are expected to be lectured by Dr. Christian Emeruwa.

Source: Abiola Shodiya, "Match-Fixing: NFF to retrain Refs against menace", 7 March 2017, AOI Football, https://aoifootball.com/2017/03/07/match-fixing-nff-to-retrain-refs-against-menace/ 

World 

It is hoped that the introduction of video assistant referees (VARs) on a trial basis in next season’s FA Cup will ensure incidents such as Diego Maradona’s infamous “Hand of God” goal and player simulation will become a thing of the past, although the body behind its implementation has admitted there remain some grey areas that must be thoroughly tested before the system is ratified for next year’s World Cup. Last week the Football Association announced that VARs will be utilised from the third round of the FA Cup in 2018 after successful trials that have been organised by the International Football Association Board (Ifab) – the organisation that determines the laws of the game – in several countries over the past 12 months. The system, under which video referees and an assistant will analyse “match-changing situations” from a central location or a facility at the stadium, has been designed to adjudicate only when a clear error has been made by the match referee, including goals, penalties, straight red cards and cases of mistaken identity. “The philosophy is minimum interference for maximum benefit. This is not designed for there to be 15-20 decisions per match,” said the former Premier League referee David Elleray, who is now Ifab’s technical director. “This could change the face of football in terms of player behaviour. It’s much more difficult for them to dive or commit violent conduct. It can also be an important tool against match-fixing. There are still several grey areas but what we are aiming to do is spend 2017 to refine it and make a decision over whether this will benefit football.” Under the new protocol, which will also be implemented in several top-flight leagues including Germany’s Bundesliga next season, match referees will still be required to make a decision based on their view of an incident. If necessary, they can then stop play for an on-field review (OFR) by signalling the outline of a television screen, but only if neither side has a good attacking possibility... 

Source: Stuart James, "No more blunders? Video assistant referees 'could change football forever'", 9 March 2017, The Guardian https://amp.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/09/video-assistant-referee-stamp-out-match-fixing 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Australia

He admits he was ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ but disgraced Wests Tiger Tim Simona is adamant he is not guilty of match-fixing despite allegedly placing 65 bets on NRL games. Simona was deregistered by the NRL on Friday and has probably played his last game of rugby league. According to an exclusive report by Phil Rothfield in The Sunday Telegraph, one of the alleged bets the player made was on St George Illawarra’s Adam Quinlan – who Simona was set to mark - to score the first try in a Round 21 clash. Simona lost the bet as well as 64-of-the-65 wagers he allegedly placed. He has been widely condemned for his actions but the 25-year-old insists he never manipulated the result of a match or the outcome of one of his bets. “I know it looks bad, it was just dumb, stupid,” Simona told The Sunday Telegraph. “When you’re gambling and when you’re desperate you don’t even think about what you’re betting on.You know the consequences but you still do it. That’s the disease and the addiction.I would never let an opposition player score if I was there – never, never.Bets mean nothing when I’m on the field, I would never let my team-mates down.The Wests Tigers jersey meant everything to me and still does.” A Facebook post by Simona’s ex-girlfriend Jaya Taki signaled the beginning of the end for Simona. Tigers management spotted the post, which accused the player of betting on his own games among other alleged indiscretions, and alerted the NRL Integrity Unit who then obtained Taki’s mobile phone. “I’m just embarrassed and ashamed,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “It was so dumb and so stupid. “Importantly the players know I’d never be involved in match-fixing.They’ve all been texting me since it happened. “They know what I did was wrong but they understand I always gave 100 percent.

Source: "Simona: It wasn’t match-fixing", 11 March 2017, Sporting News, https://www.sportingnews.com/au/league/news/tim-simona-it-wasnt-match-fixing/1o23jh52j6c751s3zhlvnqihc9 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

Thailand

INTERPOL-IOC Integrity in Sports 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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