Irregular betting patterns leads to arrests in Latvia and Norway - weekly integrity in sport round-up

Weekly Media Recap 20 - 26 October 2014

Published 28 October 2014

This week, authorities in Europe took measures against match-fixing following reports of irregular betting patterns: 8 people were detained in Latvia, 7 people were charged with fraud in Norway, and a football club was fined in Bulgaria.

In another development, Serge Branco shared his experience of being approached to fix the quarter-final of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games against Brazil. Together with 5 of his teammates he was offered 600,000USD to lose the game.

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

El Salvador

Darwin Doronis Bonilla Salgado was summoned by a Salvador court in connection with the match-fixing scandal involving the national team. The 24-year-old former national player is accused concealment of money laundering and illicit association.

Source: Gabriela Melara, "Darwin Bonilla fue intimado por caso de amaños de partidos", 20 October 2014, La Prensa Grafica, https://www.laprensagrafica.com/2014/10/20/darwin-bonilla-fue-intimado-por-caso-de-amaos-de-partidos

Latvia

Latvian club Daugava Daugavpils are being investigated for match-fixing over their 7-1 defeat to Elfsborg in a qualifying match for the 2013 Champions League, European football's governing body UEFA said on Friday. UEFA said that club members had been arrested on Wednesday and that it would launch "the appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the club, Daugava Daugavpils, and the club president, as well as the players concerned" after collecting evidence. According to Latvian police eight people had been detained, including two club officials, two players and four people involved in the organisation of the match-fixing. Irregular betting patterns were reported around the Latvian club's game against the Swedish side IF Elfsborg on 17 July 2013 which prompted an investigation conducted by UEFA in cooperation with the Latvian Football Federation (LFF) and Latvian authorities. Latvian law was changed earlier this year so that organisers of match-fixing could be held criminally responsible.

Source: "Latvian club Daugava Daugavpils investigated over match-fixing", 25 October 2014, Reuters, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/25/latvian-club-daugava-daugavpils-investigated-over-match-fixing

Norway

Seven people were charged in Norway in connection with a 2012 match-fixing scandal in the Norwegian third division. 7 people – 5 former players and 2 people who placed bets with the national Norwegian lottery, Norsk Tipping – were charged with fraud and aggravated fraud. In 2012 large sums of money were placed on 2 matches of the third division – Follo lost 4-3 to Oestsiden while it had been leading 3-0 until the 65th minute of the match and Asker lost 7-1 to Frigg Oslo. The trial is likely to take place in 2015. Under the Norwegian penal code, aggravated corruption is punishable by up to 10 years in prison while aggravated fraud is punishable by up to 6 years in prison. An employee of Norsk Tipping is currently under investigation in the same case.

Source: "Sept inculpations en Norvège dans une affaire de matches truqués", 20 October 2014, AFP, https://www.eurosport.fr/football/sept-inculpations-en-norvege-dans-une-affaire-de-matches-truques_sto4445090/story.shtml

Poland

Piotr Reiss was summoned before the Disciplinary Commission of the Polish Football Federation (PZPN) for his alleged role in a corruption scandal. The former Lech player was recently named as the coach of third division club Tarnovia Tarnowo Podgórne. Piotr Reiss is accused by the authorities of fixing 2 matches in 2004. He was detained in February 2009 and indicted 18 months later. The court has still not issued a verdict in the case. He was banned for 2 years and fined by the PZPN Disciplinary Commission in February 2014. Reiss appealed the sanction and the case has to be re-examined.

Source: Marcin Wesoek, "Piotr Reiss znów wezwany przez PZPN w sprawie korupcji", 22 October 2014, Sport.pl, https://www.poznan.sport.pl/sport-poznan/1,124479,16843693,Piotr_Reiss_znow_wezwany_przez_PZPN_w_sprawie_korupcji_.html

Spain

Manchester United player, Ander Herrera could come under investigation for match-fixing in connection to the Levante – Zaragoza game. The inquiry is focusing on players who allegedly received payments into their accounts from the former president, Agapito Iglesias, and then returned the money to the executive. The players do not deny receiving the income which Agapito Iglesias claims was a bonus, but have explained that this is untrue and that they returned the exact sum which they received a few hours later in cash. None of them have admitted to knowing what Iglesias was going to use the vast sum of cash for. Many suspected that it consisted of a personal transaction of the executive related to Real Zaragoza's imminent bankruptcy.

Source: "Ander Herrera also received Agapito payout", 21 October 2014, Marca, https://www.marca.com/en/2014/10/21/en/football/spanish_football/1413912209.html

GOOD PRACTICE

Oceania Football Confederation

Following on from the Interpol Conference in February 2014, the OFC Executive Committee unanimously approved the 11 point plan for anti-Match Fixing and will be referred to the next OFC Congress for endorsement. OFC expressed gratitude to the New Zealand Government for taking a leading role by implementing legislation which made match manipulation a criminal offence. The next meeting of the OFC Executive Committee is scheduled to take place in Auckland on 6 December.

Source: "Oceania Football Confederation - Executive Committee Decisions", 21 October 2014, World Football Insider, https://www.worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=37341

ODDS AND ENDS

Cameroon

In an interview with Le Matin, Serge Branco shared his experience of being approached to fix a match at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Branco and 5 of his teammates were approached by a “Boss” from Asia to fix the quarter final against Brazil. A man introduced himself to Branco after a training session and set up a meeting in a nearby hotel. The players were hoping that the man was an agent who would help them get contracts. In the hotel, they met a South East Asian man who offered them USD600,000 each for a 2-1 defeat against Brazil. If they agreed, they were to come back to the hotel to receive USD300,000 upfront. The remainder would be paid to them after the match. At the end of the meeting they were given USD20,000 for cab fare. At the time they had received USD1,000 from their national federation for their daily expenses. They contemplated accepting the offer but decided against it. Cameroon went on to win the Olympic gold medal.

Source: "Comment la mafia asiatique a tenté de truquer un match et d'acheter le Cameroun en 2000", 26 October 2014, Le Matin, https://www.lematin.ch/sports/football/mafieux-tente-acheter-cameroun-2000/story/13376116

Nigeria

Crown FC lost 1-7 to Wolves in a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) game, which led to the suspension of the team captain Ayo Segun, Benson Omodukwu, Aigbe Oliha, Daniel Mende and goalkeeper on the match day, Ayobami Ojo. But three of the players, Segun, Mende and Oliha have now stated that they did not throw the game. However, Crown FC chairman, Bello Noah, explained that the five players were handed suspensions for issues bordering on "misconduct." The Crown FC boss claimed that between the time of taking over the leadership and running of the club and the present, the players have been paid bonuses and salaries up to date but reports still suggest that Crown FC owe their players five months salaries. Crown FC currently sit second from bottom in the NPFL standings.

Source: George Akpayen, "Crown trio deny match-fixing claim", 26 October 2014, Supersport, https://www.supersport.com/football/nigeria/news/141026/Crown_trio_deny_matchfixing_claim

Zimbabwe

Allegations of match fixing and bribery have dogged the Zimbabwe Football Association’s Eastern Region Division One league as the race for promotion into the Premier Soccer League intensifies. Teams jostling for promotion recently accused ZIFA officials of colluding with referees to determine which club should make it to the PSL. Officials who refused to be named for fear of jeopardising their promotion chances, levelled allegations of match-fixing and bribery against ZIFA and match officials. Some match and ZIFA officials were allegedly getting as much as $500 per match to fix matches. “It is no longer football but a case of money at play,” said one of the officials. “It is a situation where you just have to pay to get favourable results.

Source: Regerai Tukutuku, "Match-fixing in Div 1?", 22 October 2014, The Zimbabwean, https://www.thezimbabwean.co/sport/football/73808/match-fixing-in-div-1.html

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Bulgaria

The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) imposed a fine of 10,000 levs on first division club Marek Dupnitsa after receiving notification from UEFA about suspicions of match fixing. Local media said the BFU took the decision after receiving a 45-page report from UEFA, adding that a bookmaker had reported that Marek's away losses to champions Ludogorets (3-0) and leaders CSKA Sofia (5-0) in August had attracted heavy betting.

Source: "Bulgarian club fined over suspicion of match fixing", 22 October 2014, Reuters, https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/22/bulgarian-club-fined-over-suspicion-match-fixing

Poland

The disciplinary commission of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) sentenced four players for corruption and initiated proceedings against GKS Bechatów football club. Four players of the club Zagbie Sosnowiec were banned for 2 years and fined between 3,000 and 6,000 PLN. GKS Bechatów is investigated for corruption during the 2003/4 and 2004/5 seasons.

Source: Bartosz Winiewski, "Komisja Dyscyplinarna PZPN zajmie si korupcj GKS-u Bechatów", 24 October 2014, Sportowe Fakty, https://www.sportowefakty.pl/pilka-nozna/476963/komisja-dyscyplinarna-pzpn-zajmie-sie-korupcja-gks-u-belchatow

Turkey

The Swiss Federal Tribunal rejected an appeal filed by Fenerbahçe sports club against a European ban that was imposed by UEFA and upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS). In June of last year, UEFA banned Fenerbahçe from taking part in its tournaments for two years after judging that club officials participated in match fixing to win the 2011 Turkish league title. The ban was upheld by CAS in August. The club took the CAS ruling to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, seeking a reduction in its European ban. The UEFA ban followed a sweeping match-fixing investigation that was launched in Turkey on July 3, 2011. Many high-ranking football officials from various clubs, including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yildirim, were arrested on charges of fraud and match fixing. Yildirim was later sentenced to six years, three months for creating and managing a criminal organization and for rigging several football matches.

Source: "Fenerbahçe says Swiss supreme court rejected European ban appeal", 23 October 2014, Today's Zaman, https://www.todayszaman.com/latest-news_fenerbahce-says-swiss-supreme-court-rejected-european-ban-appeal_362478.html

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