INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 8-21 August 2016

The Rio Olympics finished off with a magnificent closing ceremony as Brazil handed over the Olympic games to Tokyo. Among the news articles we included in this bi-weekly bulletin, some relate to the currently Olympic games while others discuss match-fixing issues in South Africa (cricket and soccer) and in Malaysia (soccer). We also draw your attention to an unusual case in the United Kingdom regarding a tennis player who was believed to have been poisoned by a gambling syndicate, or a rival player/coach to sabotage a match. The UK Police have launched a criminal investigation as the disease, transmitted by rat urine is very rare in the UK.

As an addition to our resources, the International Olympic Committee and INTERPOL have recently published a handbook on Protecting Sport from Competition Manipulation. To access this handbook, please use the following link:

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/Publications2/Leaflets-and-brochures/Joint-report-INTERPOL-IOC-Handbook-on-Protecting-Sport-from-Competition-Manipulation

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS 

Brazil

This has not been a good Olympics for AIBA, international boxing’s governing body. Multiple fights have been judged suspiciously, and there is a prevailing sentiment that not everything is on the up and up. Now, AIBA is sending home a number of Olympic judges and referees, apparently hoping to quell some of the discontent. Here’s AIBA’s statement regarding the dismissal of the judges and referees, via Sky Sports: “The concerned referees and judges will no longer officiate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games,” the body said, adding that the results of all the bouts would stand. “AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and is fully committed… [to] always acting in the boxers’ utmost interest,” the statement continued. Today’s action will do little to appease the boxers who feel they have already been robbed of a fair competition. On Monday night, Russian heavyweight Evgeny Tishchenko won a gold medal after defeating Kazakh fighter Vassiliy Levit. Tishchenko won via a unanimous decision, despite the fact that Levit seemed to have dominated the fight; Tishchenko’s victory was met with gasps and boos from the fans in the arena. There was more uproar yesterday, when Irish boxer Michael Conlan was apoplectic after another fishy decision by the judges cost him a preliminary bout against Russian boxer Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan remains understandably peeved today. There are still a number of bouts, in which medals will be on the line, to be fought this week, and each one will likely be under intense scrutiny. But even if the rest of the fights are totally on the level, it will do little to remove the stink that has already fallen over these games. Dismissing judges in the middle of an international competition is about as close as AIBA can get to admitting that shenanigans were afoot, and it’s certainly not the best way to follow up the 2012 games, where this went down. 

Source: Tom Ley, "Olympic Boxing Judges Sent Home Amid Allegations Of Match Fixing", 17 August 2016, Deadspin https://deadspin.com/olympic-boxing-judges-sent-home-amid-allegations-of-mat-1785404354 

Malaysia 

KUALA TERENGGANU: Three former T-Team players were each sentenced to a day's jail and fined RM10,000, in default a year's jail, by the Sessions Court here today for giving false testimony during a match-fixing trial involving the team two years ago. Judge Mohamad Haldar Abdul Aziz handed down the punishments on Mohd Nadzmeer Hisham Mohammad, Mohd Hafiz Mohd Noor and Mohd Hanifzam Muda after they pleaded guilty to committing the offence. Kuala Terengganu City Council enforcement personnel Mohd Nadzmeer, 25; Mohd Hafiz, 26, who is now a policeman, and Mohd Hanifzam, 26, a labourer, were charged with giving the false testimony during the trial between 9am and 1pm on May 6 and 7, 2014. The testimony was related to T-Team matches with Pahang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. They were charged under Section 27 (2) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 which carries a fine of up to RM100,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years, or both, if found guilty. In mitigation, the three former footballers, represented by Othman Bakar, said it was their first offence and that they had families to support. The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor Mahadi Abdul Jumaat.

Source: "One-day jail, RM10, 000 fine for match-fixing", 17 August 2016, Astro ASwani https://english.astroawani.com/sports-news/one-day-jail-rm10-000-fine-match-fixing-114287

South Africa

JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa (CSA) has banned four players for their role in match-fixing during the 2015 RamSlam T20 season. Thami Tsolekile has been banned for 12 years. Pumelela Matshiwe and Ethy Mbhalati have both been banned for 10 years and Jean Symes has been banned for seven years for failing to disclose details of an approach to engage in corrupt conduct under the Code. All four were also found guilty of failing to disclose the full details of matters evidencing a breach of the Code by another participant; and failing to co-operate with the investigators by knowingly providing false information to them. CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat, announced the four players admitted guilt for their role in the match-fixing with banned former Proteas batsman Gulam Bodi. "It is our stated position that any form of corruption in the game will be dealt with severely. We will leave no stone unturned and we will do everything in our power to protect the integrity of the game." "Corruption is a very serious matter and for this reason we have devoted extensive time and resources to fully investigate every shred of evidence. We are still finalising certain aspects of the investigation.

Source: "CSA bans 4 players for role in match-fixing", 8 August 2016, Eyewitness news https://ewn.co.za/2016/08/08/CSA-bans-4-players-for-match-fixing 

South Africa 

Fifa ethics committee investigators have called for a six-year ban against the former head of the South African Football Association Kirsten Nematandani over his alleged role in 2010 match-fixing, a statement said Wednesday. The committee was also seeking lifetime bans over the same offence against a former official from the Zimbabwe Football Association, Jonathan Musavengana, and the ex-coach of Togo's national team, Banna Tchanile. The possible sanctions follow a probe led by the deputy chief of Fifa's Independent Ethics Committee, Djimbaraye Bourngar, and are subject to approval by judges at world football's governing body. Nematandani, the most prominent name in the group, was put on "special leave" in December 2012 following a Fifa report into match-fixing. He was reinstated in January 2013 but not cleared of any wrongdoing and subsequently left the Safa. A 2012 Fifa investigation looked into South Africa's friendly matches before the 2010 World Cup against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala. It produced a 500-page report that documented the activities of convicted Singapore-based match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his Football 4U organisation. Musavengana was first penalised over alleged match-fixing in 2012 by the Zimbabwean association in a scandal that also involved former national coach Sunday Chidzambwa. Zimbabwean retired high court judge Ahmed Ebrahim conducted an investigation that implicated multiple football power brokers in the country in match-fixing orchestrated by Asian gambling syndicates. 

Source: "Former Safa president Nematandani guilty of match-fixing", 17 August 2016, IOL https://www.iol.co.za/sport/fifa-wants-ex-safa-chief-banned-over-2010-match-fixing-2058096 

 

MODUS OPERANDI 

United Kingdom 

A British tennis player who fell ill in the lead-up to her quarter final match at the Wimbledon Girls’ Singles Tennis Championships last month may have been deliberately poisoned. Gabriella Taylor, 18, who is ranked 381 in the world, was struck down by a mysterious and ultimately life-threatening illness just 45 minutes into her match against the USA’s Kayla Day. Taylor spent four days in intensive care, before doctors diagnosed a rare strain of Leptospirosis, a disease most commonly transmitted through rat urine. The bacteria is so rare in the UK, in fact, that police are treating it as highly suspicious and have launched a criminal investigation. One theory they’re investigating is that Taylor was poisoned by a gambling syndicate in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the match; another is that the culprit is a rival player or coach.

Merton police are investigating an allegation of poisoning with intent to endanger life or cause grievous bodily harm,” said a Scotland Yard spokesman said. “The allegation was received by officers on August 5 with the incident alleged to have taken place at an address in Wimbledon between July 1 and 10.The victim was taken ill on July 6. It is unknown where or when the poison was ingested. The victim, an 18-year-old woman, received hospital treatment and is still recovering. There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.” Taylor’s mother, Milena Taylor, told UK newspaper the Telegraph this week that her daughters’ bags with her drinks were often left unattended in the players’ lounge and could have proved easy prey for a saboteur. But because the bacteria has an incubation period of up to two weeks, it’s impossible to know when the supposed poisoner struck. “What happened to Gabriella has opened our eyes to a world we did not know existed,” said her mother. “In the past we have been very naïve, but from now on we will be extra careful and make sure we know exactly what she eats and drinks when she is on the tour.” Gambling syndicates have been known to sabotage sporting events in the past, perhaps most notably in 1997 when an Asian betting syndicate cut the power to the floodlights at two high profile English Premier League soccer games. Tennis has had its fair share of match-fixing scandals too; in January, it was reported that documents passed to the BBC and Buzzfeed News by anonymous whistleblowers alleged that 16 top-level players, who remain unnamed, are strongly suspected of throwing matches in the past decade.

Source: "British Tennis Player May Have Been Poisoned by Gambling Syndicate … with Rat Urine", 13 August 2016, Casino.org https://www.casino.org/news/british-tennis-player-may-poisoned-gambling-syndicate-rat-urine 

 

DOPING 

Brazil 

A male weightlifter from Kyrgyzstan became the first athlete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to be stripped of a medal after a positive drug test. A Moldovan canoeist also risks losing his bronze medal after being suspended for alleged doping. Weightlifter Izzat Artykov tested positive for strychnine after winning the bronze medal in the 69-kilogram division, the Court of Arbitration's anti-doping division said Thursday. The 22-year-old lifter's medal was taken away and he was kicked out of the games. Strychnine is a defined as a stimulant in the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances. It is a highly toxic drug often used as a pesticide, particularly for killing rodents. However, it also has a long history in sports doping, used in small doses to tighten tired muscles. Strychnine was reportedly commonly used in the early years of the Tour de France to help cyclists survive the demanding rides. CAS referred the case to the international weightlifting federation for possible further sanctions against Artykov, who could face a two-year ban from the sport. The federation and the IOC were asked to decide on the reallocation of the medal. Luis Javier Mosquera of Colombia is in line to be upgraded from fourth place to the bronze medal. China's Zhiyong Shi won the gold and Turkey's Daniyar Ismayilov took the silver.

Also Thursday, the International Canoe Federation said that canoeist Serghei Tarnovschi of Moldova had been suspended after failing a pre-competition doping test. The 19-year-old Tarnovschi placed third in the 1,000 meters canoe single final Tuesday and was due to compete in the 1,000 meters double on Friday with his older brother, Oleg. In a brief statement, the ICF said he will "now no longer be eligible and will face provisional suspension" under anti-doping rules. ICF spokesman Richard Pettit told The Associated Press that Tarnovschi's medal had been removed pending the outcome of a hearing. Pettit declined to say what Tarnovschi was accused of taking. Ilya Shtokalov of Russia placed fourth in the event and is in line for the bronze if the medal is reallocated. The Belarus men's team and the entire Romanian team were excluded from the canoe sprint competition before the games due to widespread doping. Last week, Polish weightlifter Tomasz Zielinksi and Bulgarian steeplechaser Silvia Danekova were kicked out of the games after testing positive for banned substances, while Chinese swimmer Chen Xinyi accepted a "provisional suspension" after testing positive for a diuretic. Several other positive tests are in the process of being heard by CAS, which is handling doping cases at the Olympics for the first time. The International Olympic Committee handed over responsibility to CAS to try to make the process more independent.

Source: "Kyrgyz weightlifter stripped of bronze medal in doping case", 18 August 2016, Fox News https://www.foxnews.com/sports/2016/08/18/kyrgyz-weightlifter-stripped-bronze-medal-in-doping-case.html 

China 

A member of the Chinese women’s swim team failed an in-competition doping test at the Rio Olympics, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday, citing the Chinese Swimming Association. The swimmer, 18-year-old Chen Xinyi, finished fourth in the 100-meter butterfly final on Sunday. Xinhua said she tested positive the same day for hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic used to mask the presence of banned substances in urine. On Friday afternoon, Ms. Chen accepted a provisional suspension and is suspended from competing in Rio, according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Chen had been scheduled to swim in a 50- meter freestyle heat this afternoon but did not swim. Earlier Friday, Ms. Chen has submitted a second “B” sample to the International Olympic Committee and applied for a hearing, it said.

Repeated calls to the Chinese Swimming Association rang unanswered Friday. Xinhua quoted the association saying it was resolutely opposed to doping and had told Chen to cooperate with investigators. The announcement of Chen’s positive test follows a wave of public anger in China over comments by Australian swimmer Mack Horton earlier this week referring to Chinese rival Sun Yang as a “drug cheat.” The official Xinhua news agency on Wednesday published a commentary impugning the ethics of Western media outlets it said had shown bias against Sun, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014, in their coverage of the controversy. The world-record holder in the 1,500-meter freestyle said at the time he had been prescribed a stimulant to treat heart palpitations and didn’t know it has been recently put on the banned list. “Freedom of expression should not be used by some irresponsible Western media outlets to flame hatred,” the commentary read.

Source: Josh Chin, "China’s Chen Xinyi Suspended After Failing Doping Test", 12 August 2016, The Wall Street Journal https://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2016/08/12/report-chinese-swimmer-chen-xinyi-fails-doping-test/?mod=rss_The_Daily_Fix 

Russia 

RIO DE JANEIRO — Late in 1983, months before they announced a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics, sports officials of the Soviet Union sent detailed instructions to the head of the nation’s track and field team. Oral steroid tablets were not enough, they said, to ensure dominance at the Games. The team should also inject its top athletes with three other kinds of anabolic steroids. Providing precise measurements and timetables for the doping regimens, the officials said they had a sufficient supply of the banned substances on hand at the Research Institute of Physical Culture and Sports in Moscow, a division of the government’s sports committee. The potent drugs were critical to keeping up with the competition, they wrote in the instructions. The document — obtained by The New York Times from a former chief medical doctor for Soviet track and field — was signed by Dr. Sergei Portugalov, a Soviet sports doctor who went on to capitalize on a growing interest in new methods of doping. 

Now, more than 30 years later, Dr. Portugalov is a central figure in Russia’s current doping scandal. Last fall, the World AntiDoping Agency named him as a key broker of performance-enhancing drugs in Russia, someone who in recent years injected athletes personally and made a business of covering up drug violations in exchange for money. Revelations of the recent schemes, which antidoping authorities said dated back at least a decade, compelled the international governing body for track and field to bar Russia’s team from the Rio Games, the most severe doping penalty in Olympic history. At the track and field events here this week, no one will represent Russia, a nation that is usually a fixture on the medals podium. The 1983 document and the account of Dr. Grigory Vorobiev, the former chief medical doctor, who spent more than three decades with the Soviet track team, provide new evidence of how far back Russia’s state-sponsored doping stretches...

Source: Rebecca R. Ruiz, "The Soviet Doping Plan: Document Reveals Illicit Approach to ’84 Olympics", 13 August 2016, NY Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/sports/olympics/soviet-doping-plan-russia-rio-games.html?_r=0 

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