Update on anti-corruption efforts in football, cricket & rugby: ACSU, IPL, NZRU, FA, FIFPro
31 March 2014 - 6 April 2014
This week's recap features the arrest of 13 players from Football League clubs in England allegedly involved in match-fixing. Six of the footballers arrested had originally been held in December last year under suspicion of involvement in acts of bribery and money laundering, but were later bailed. The investigation is being led by The National Crime Agency (NCA) and all 13 individuals are being interviewed by local police.
Betting and match-fixing have long been hot topics of discussion in cricketing circles and among fans, but for the first time a report of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) has revealed how players are approached and trapped by these networks. The confidential report hints that some matches of the 2011 World Cup, which Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men won on home turf, and the fourth season of the Indian Premier League, which followed soon after, were not clean. A total of 470 matches and more than 200 practice sessions were covered by the ACSU to compile the report. The mastermind of this illegal network is known only as SB, and was first observed and tagged by ACSU in early 2010. His activities have been closely followed. SB and his associates - codenamed AZ and BRY - were found making several attempts to approach players, who were advised by ACSU to stay clear of these individuals. To keep its investigation strictly confidential, the ACSU hid the real identities of these bookies even from the ICC Board. There are several such bookies on the radar of the cricketing police and the ACSU believes these men were only the tip of the iceberg.
Source: "Confidential ICC report claims some 2011 Cricket World Cup matches were fixed ", 31 March 2014, Daily Mail
Dhoni is attempting to gag the media from reporting the IPL betting and match fixing scam, Zee television network alleged, adding that the cricket India captain had not yet been given clean chit by the Mudgal committee, which has recommended an independent and full-fledged probe into the issue. Responding to Dhoni's Rs 100-crore defamation suit in the Madras high court on Wednesday, the channel said it merely reported suspended IPS officer G Sampath Kumar's deposition to the committee. Denying that it deliberately attempted to malign Dhoni, Zee said the cricket captain was attempting to gag media from discussing an issue of national and public importance. It, however, said Zee never said Dhoni was aware of fixing matches, that he was a participant in fixing matches, that he was shielding persons linked to such activities and that his wife was involved in murky dealings with Vindoo Dara Singh. Despite several bids, there was no response from both Dhoni and the Chennai police, zee said. The matter is expected to be taken up for further hearing next week. Zee's counter also said that Mudgal committee raised serious questions on the investigation conducted by the crime branch CID of Chennai police.
Source: A Subramani, "Dhoni attempting to gag media, Zee tells Madras high court", 2 April 2014, Times of India
With multiple inquiries into match fixing and illegal betting it’s easy to lose track of the investigations currently going on into cricket in India. India Real Time spoke to Anish Dayal, a lawyer for the Rajasthan Royals, one of two teams responding to a Supreme Court inquiry in the case, about where things stand. [...] Anish Dayal: The Supreme Court has not restricted or prohibited any player or team from taking part in the IPL 2014. The court appointed an independent committee to look into allegations that some persons associated with two teams, the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, were involved in illegal betting on matches in the IPL. On March 28, the top court issued an order saying, among other things, that “all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with IPL rules.” “We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or any team from participating in the IPL Tournament 2014,” the order added.
Source: "Quick Guide: The Supreme Court Investigation into Cricket", 2 April 2014, The Wall Street Journal https://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/04/02/quick-guide-to-the-supreme-court-and-the-bcci/
Embattled former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns has been interviewed by Scotland Yard and confirmed last night that investigators have returned to the United Kingdom. Cairns, who has been at the centre of match-fixing allegations since they were raised late last year, told Fairfax Media he was unable to elaborate on his discussions with British metropolitan police. Since his name was first linked to an International Cricket Council (ICC) corruption investigation, Cairns has strongly maintained his innocence while protesting he has been kept in the dark about the exact nature of the allegations. After meeting with police representatives in Auckland this week, Cairns is likely to now at least know the extent of the claims but would not comment when asked about them. However, his trademark defiant position doesn't appear to have changed since the interview. Cairns also confirmed he was prepared to meet with officials from the ICC's Anti Corruption and Security Unit once British police have completed their inquiries. In December last year, Cairns and fellow former New Zealand team-mates, Daryl Tuffey and Lou Vincent, were first linked in media reports to an ICC investigation into allegations of match-fixing.
Source: Aaron Lawton and Sarah Harvey, "Chris Cairns gets questioned by British police", 5 April 2014, Fairfax NZ News https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/cricket/9906105/Chris-Cairns-gets-questioned-by-British-police/
Former Norway international Erik Hagen has told Verdens Gang that he bribed officials during his time with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg. Hagen, who played for Zenit between 2005 and 2008, told the newspaper that domestic results in the country were “agreed in advance” and said he once helped bribe a referee when Zenit played a UEFA Cup match. He said Zenit’s opponents were cheated out of four goals and that he, like the opposition, was left infuriated. However, he admitted that he had also paid his $3,000, although he said: “A teammate came up to me and said that it would never happen again.” Evgeni Lovchev, a former USSR international who now works as a pundit, told Sovetsky Sport: “It's not the first time our football is accused like that. I remember that it was written how Zenit bribed Bayern ahead of the 2008 UEFA Cup semifinals. The problem is that Hagen doesn't say everything. Who told him to pay? Who knew the referee? Give us all the information if it's true.” In 2008, Reuters reported that a Spanish judge sent German authorities recordings that alleged Russian mafia figures tried to fix the UEFA Cup semifinal with Bayern in which the Russian side progressed after a 4-0 win in the second leg in St Petersburg. Zenit firmly denied the allegations and were never found guilty.
Source: "Hagen makes match-fixing allegations", 2 April 2014, ESPN https://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1772221/ex-zenit-st-petersburg-defender-erik-hagen-makes-match-fixing-allegations?cc=5739
The match-fixing scandal which hit South African soccer more than two years ago is refusing to go away or see the end but FIFA`s secretary, Jerome Valcke who was in South Africa for FIFA seminar attended by English speaking CAF presidents, directors and top administrators, said chairman of FIFA Ethics Committee is fast moving ahead with investigation and officials will be called soon to testify. Then SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani, Barney Kunjane, Adeel Carelse, Andile Kika and Dennis Mumble are the people who were fingered in the FIFA report. They were suspended but were later reinstated after Sports minister's intervention, But people like Lesley Sedibe who was the CEO of the association then and few have left the association. “We hope to conclude the issue swiftly. Mr Michael Garcia wrote to SAFA requesting certain SAFA people for a hearing."
Source: Pedro Mapelo, "SA match-fixing probe to be closed soon", 6 April 2014, The Zambezian https://www.thezambezian.com/sa-match-fixing-probe-closed-soon/
Simba SC tactician Zdravko Logarusic has refuted claims that they fixed their Sunday 30 March 2014 1-2 defeat to Azam SC to dim hopes of their arch-rivals Yanga SC defending the title. The win extended Azam lead on the standings with 53 points, seven ahead of second placed Yanga SC though the latter have a game in hand. In an interview with Mwanaspoti, the Tanzanian daily, the Croat rubbished the reports saying he cannot be duped with such plans.
Source: Vincent Opiyo, "Loga refutes match fixing claims as VPL takes shape", 3 April 2014, Futaa https://www.futaa.com/football/article/loga-refutes-match-fixing-claims-as-vpl-takes-shape
Seven players from Football League clubs in north-west England have been arrested in connection with alleged spot-fixing in matches. The footballers are all aged between 18 and 30, the National Crime Agency said. Six other men originally arrested in December on suspicion of involvement in spot-fixing, then later bailed, have been re-arrested, the agency added. All 13 are currently being interviewed by police over allegations of bribery and money laundering. Spot-fixing is where a player corruptly influences a specific element of a match, for example by intentionally getting a yellow card or conceding a corner, without trying to fix the final score. The six original suspects - including former Premier League player DJ Campbell - had been bailed to return on 8 April after their arrests last year. They were re-arrested following new evidence, the NCA said.The Sport and Recreation Alliance, an umbrella group for sports bodies, said it was working with sport organisations to help them protect themselves against match-fixing. Its chief executive Sallie Barker said: "Match-fixing, specifically spot-fixing, has become one of the biggest threats facing the integrity of sport."
Source: "Seven footballers arrested in spot-fixing investigation", 3 April 2014, BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-26869337
Seven more footballers from Football League clubs in the north west of England have been arrested following a spot-fixing investigation by British authorities, taking the number suspected to 13. The National Crime Agency (NCA) said on Thursday seven new arrests had been made as well as the re-arrest of six players held in December under suspicion of conspiracy to commit acts of bribery and money laundering. "The NCA has today re-arrested the six original suspects based upon new evidence, along with a further seven footballers aged between 18 and 30 suspected of potential involvement in these offences." In December third tier club Oldham Athletic sacked winger Cristian Montano following the spot-fixing investigation. The NCA's investigation began following revelations in British tabloid The Sun on Sunday.
Source: Martyn Herman, "Thirteen arrested in England in match-fixing probe", 3 April 2014, Reuters https://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/03/uk-soccer-fixing-arrests-idUKBREA321EL20140403
The New Zealand Rugby Union launched a major anti-corruption drive Wednesday, demanding that thousands of top-level players and administrators sign a pledge to keep the game clean. After a string of match-fixing and other corruption scandals in professional sports around the world, Sorensen said it was vital to protect rugby's integrity and to keep reigning world champions New Zealand free of graft. Around 2,000 players, coaches and managers involved in New Zealand rugby at a professional level are being asked to sign a pledge to abide by the new regulations. All are banned from betting on rugby matches no matter where in the world they are played.
Regulations drawn up by New Zealand's newly-formed rugby integrity unit also ban people involved in the sport from getting anyone else to bet on their behalf, fix or attempt to fix a match, or intentionally perform below their best for reward.
Source: "New Zealand rugby launches anti-corruption drive", 2 April 2014, AFP https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/sport/a/22326120/new-zealand-rugby-launches-anti-corruption-drive/
Odds and ends
FIFPro and UEFA
A meeting of FIFPro Division Europe has concluded that UEFA's newly-adopted resolution to stamp out match-fixing fails to address certain fundamental needs of the players. During last week's congress in Kazakhstan, UEFA announced its resolution to fight match-fixing (European football united for the integrity of the game). FIFPro Division Europe supports UEFA's campaign to tackle this serious threat to football, but the international footballers' association has some basic concerns regarding UEFA's resolution. FIFPro condemns every attempt of illegally influencing the game of football. FIFPro joins UEFA in stating that match-fixing has reached intolerable levels. To protect the integrity of football, all stakeholders must collaborate. As match-fixing is a form of organised crime, sporting fraud should be recognised as a criminal offence under national law. As much as FIFPro endorses the motivation behind UEFA's resolution, there are some serious concerns which FIFPro Division Europe insists on addressing, as these are of fundamental importance to both the players' rights and the fight against match-fixing. While drafting the resolution, FIFPro had informed UEFA and all other stakeholders about the aforementioned concerns. Unfortunately these concerns form no part of the final resolution.
Source: "Players left exposed in match-fixing resolution", 3 April 2014, FIFPro https://fifpro.org/en/news/players-need-more-protection-in-match-fixing-resolution
For obvious reasons, the focus is again on the Mainland Tanzania premier soccer league, in particular the race for the title and survival bids by teams at risk of relegation. The conditions in place at this crucial stage of the league are factors that might tempt team officials into resorting to match-fixing schemes. In the circumstances, all matches involving holders Young Africans SC and pacemakers Azam FC need to be closely monitored to bar foul play and ensure fair play. Attempts to fix results might be engineered by dishonest officials or either team involved in a particular game. The stage the league has reached is clearly a two-horse race between Azam and Young Africans. The Tanzania Football Federation and the premier league board must therefore keep their eyes open on matches involving the two hot title contenders to guarantee clean soccer. It simply does not mean that we don’t give these title contenders the benefit of the doubt against match-fixing, but the prevailing circumstances at this stage open all possibilities for the teams to “seriously think about” the dreadful practice. While the focus of match-fixing might be steadily kept on the title contenders, it is well worth remembering that the fight for survival has its repercussions – and anything can happen. As per routine, three teams will go down relegation tunnel at the end of the season but the web is still wide open and six remain far from safe enough. Match-fixing is both unethical and criminal and should not be tolerated or entertained as we might end up with a fake league champion destined for disaster in next year’s CAF Champions League and other international assignments.
Source: "Match-fixing will spell calamity for our soccer", 31 March 2014, The Guardian https://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=66405
The Sport and Recreation Alliance
Sport and recreation organisations have never been faced with a greater threat than match-fixing. We are facing a global match-fixing pandemic, which has already deeply affected sport and recreation in the UK. Match-fixing – defined as dishonest activity by participants to ensure a specific outcome in a particular sporting match, or event, for competitive advantage and/or financial gain – is a sporting disease which has affected and continues to affect a variety of sports on every continent. If you need evidence just look at a handful of the match-fixing allegations and incidents since 2010: sumo wrestling in Japan, handball in France, basketball in the United States, cricket and snooker in England and taekwondo in South Korea. So why does it happen? The majority of match-fixing that occurs worldwide is driven by global betting markets. However, sports governing bodies (SGBs) must not forget there may also be match-fixing for sporting-motivated reasons.
Source: Kevin Carpenter, "The match-fixing disease: the greatest threat to sport’s future", 1 April 2014, The Sport and Recreation Alliance https://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/blog/sports-summit-2014/31-03-2014/match-fixing-disease-greatest-threat-sport%E2%80%99s-future
Tranmere Rovers' manager, Ronnie Moore, has been charged by the Football Association over alleged "multiple breaches" of betting rules. Moore was suspended by League One Tranmere on 17 February after an investigation was launched by the FA's Football Integrity Unit. The club posted a statement on their official website on Monday afternoon confirming that the 61-year-old had now been charged. The assistant manager, John McMahon, has been in temporary charge at Prenton Park during Moore's suspension, with Tranmere 20th in the table, one place above the relegation zone on goals scored. It read: "The FA has charged Ronnie Moore for alleged multiple breaches of Rule E8(b) for misconduct in relation to betting. The Tranmere Rovers manager has until 8 April 2014 to respond to the charges. The club will make no further comment at this time."
Source: "Tranmere's Ronnie Moore charged by FA over alleged betting breaches", 31 March 2014, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/31/tranmere-ronnie-moore-charged-fa
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- Tags: Anti-Corruption | FIFPro | Football | Football League | India | International Cricket Council (ICC) | INTERPOL | Match-Fixing | New Zealand | Norway | Russia | South Africa | Tanzania | The Sports and Recreation Alliance | UEFA | United Kingdom (UK)
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