Vietnam pledges to clean up V-league and Soccerex Global Convention host match-fixing panel
Weekly Media Recap 18-24 August 2014
Published 26 August 2014
Eleven soccer officials were on Wednesday given until September 15 before they have to face prosecutor Aristidis Koreas, who is investigating allegations that the draws to decide which match officials were appointed to referee games in Greece’s Super League were fixed.
The 11 were due to be questioned on Wednesday but asked for more time to prepare their depositions. A council of misdemeanor judges recently granted Koreas the right to have access to suspects’ telephone records.
Football Kenya Federation has revealed that the task force formed to investigate alleged match-fixing and sabotage during the Kenya v Lesotho Africa Cup of Nations match, has started work. In a statement by Kenya FA, CEO Michael Esakwa declares that “The federation following their confirmation has effectively notified government of this administrative action which we believe would set record straight on the disappointing manner that Harambee Stars’ were eliminated by Lesotho from Afcon 2015. The cabinet secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts has duly been briefed in writing and the findings of the task force and recommendations thereto shall be made public for the whole country to know what transpired.”
Professional Football Leagues Education and prevention have been identified as key measures in the fight against match-fixing in a joint project by Transparency International, European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) and the German Football League (DFL). Over the past 18 months, the project has been working in a number of different European countries with research and fact-finding about the scale and scope of match-fixing as well as by publishing information and training material about how to prevent it. The project partners have issued a report named ‘Staying on Side: How to Stop Match-Fixing’, which summarises the findings. Apart from education and prevention, the project partners stress the importance of establishing whistleblower systems in order to support those who want to report on match-fixing incidents or are in need of advice on how to handle a difficult situation. Such systems have already been implemented in German, Austrian and Scottish leagues, and others have committed to establishing similar systems. Material and experiences from the project will continue to be disseminated in the next phase of the project. The project, in which representatives from a number of European football’s major leagues have also taken part, has been carried out as one of six pilot projects co-funded by the European Commission.
Match fixing will be addressed by a panel of international experts at this year’s Soccerex Global Convention, Manchester 6-10 September. John Abbott, chair of the Interpol Integrity in Sport Steering Group, part of Interpol’s joint initiative with FIFA to tackle the problem, will give a presentation on the extent of match fixing in world football before joining Mark Sutcliffe, CEO, Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA), Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Chief Executive of The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) Europe, and Darren Small, Director of Integrity, Sportradar. “At Soccerex, we always strive to cover the most pertinent issues and nothing is more pertinent or more threatening to the global game than match fixing. The experts we have gathered will provide a real insight into the extent of the issue and what is being done globally to combat it.” The session is one of a series of headline Conference panels addressing the most pressing topics in world football, including commercial club strategies, financial and legal governance, fan experience and league development.
Vietnamese football officials have expressed their determination to put an end to the match-fixing that plagued its top-tier league, the V-League, this season. Chairman Le Hung Dung of VFF, Vietnam’s football governing body, said during an August 19 conference reviewing the 2013-2014 season that 'Any players involved in match-fixing will be banned from all football activities for life'. He also praised some V-League club managers for their tough stance against their players’ misbehaviour and affirmed that the VFF will support football clubs in tackling this issue. In the upcoming season, VFF plans to invite police officers from the Ministry of Public Security to join a committee that will oversee the football matches and players’ conduct.
ODDS AND ENDS
After his one-year suspension period for links with match-fixing, forward Rodolfo Zelaya is back training with Alianza and might be playing this Sunday under Uruguayan coach Alejandro Curbelo. Zelaya has already stated that he will not be affected by insults he might receive from the fans given his match-fixing sanction. "I don't know if the sanction I received was fair or not, but it is now in the past. What is important is that the suspension is over."
The management of Warri Wolves dismissed suggestions they were beneficiaries of match-fixing during their recent victory over Kano Pillars. A late goal secured a 2-1 victory for the Warri side but the win did not go down with their rivals following the match this past weekend. Pillars suggested the match officials worked to Wolves' favour. Wolves spokesperson, Moses Etu, laughed off such reports that appeared in the media. "We have read the reaction of Kano Pillars in a sport daily and we are surprised that they could open their mouth when they are still enmeshed in match fixing scandal as contained in the papers which leaked out from them," he said.
Premier League of Swaziland (PLS) Chairman Victor Gamedze has spoken strongly against elements of match-fixing in the local game. The Mbabane Swallows boss further stated that the standard of football in the country was declining even though individual players were developing. “We observe that the main cause of this is the mushrooming friendship between officials of different teams. Instead of focusing on building their own personal friendships as officials in the league, they should be concentrating on building stronger teams with bigger fan bases,” he pointed out. Gamedze said this ‘bad friendship’ had in many countries been the beginning of most match-fixing scandals, making it clear, “we strongly discourage it.” Match-fixing in the local game has always been spoken in hushed tones as there has never been proof that such elements exist in the local game. The National Football Association (FA) has also been very vocal about this issue, warning teams against engaging in such practices.
During a meeting of the Professional Football League Committee held at the Bangladesh Football Federation office on Sunday afternoon with committee chairman Abdus Salam Murshedy in the chair, some sanctions have been imparted. Nine points were deducted from Farashganj SC and six points from Wari Club as it was proved that they played a fixed match with each other on May 21 in the Premier Bank Bangladesh Championship League. Renowned football coach and Technical Director of the Nitol-Tata Premier Football League champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club Maruful Haque has been banned for one year for violating the code of conduct of Bangladesh Football Federation. Besides, some players and officials of the two teams have also faced suspension for different terms. Meanwhile, Agrani Bank and Badda Jagoroni Sangsad were acquitted of the match-fixing allegation.
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