Weekly integrity in sport update from INTERPOL 15-21 February 2016

In this week's media recap we can reports on different sports: football, swimming and tennis. The investigation in the Netherlands indicated how much time it can take to unveil a match-fixing attempt.

On the other hand, the good anti-doping practice adopted by "FINA" and the new legislation in Australia are positive signs to maintain the integrity in sport.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Netherlands

Attempts to fix the result of a Netherlands league match seven years ago have been uncovered by a Dutch football association (KNVB) investigation. It is the first time such a case has been established in the country, the KNVB added in a statement. It said the investigation had uncovered an attempt by Ibrahim Kargbo, then a player at Willem II Tilburg, to fix the outcome of a league match against FC Utrecht in August 2009 in co-operation with Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean who has been convicted of fraud on numerous occasions. “Dutch football is one of the last in Europe to lose its innocence in this matter,” said the KNVB operational director, Gijs de Jong. “We have long warned this could happen in the Dutch league but it is still difficult to swallow now that this has been established. Hopefully it will add urgency in the Netherlands to the fight against this plague.“ The KNVB said Kargbo had promised that the then captain Michael Aerts and a third unidentified player would work together with him to throw the match against Utrecht in return for €25,000 each. But although Utrecht won 1-0, Perumal, who has already been prosecuted and jailed in other countries for match-fixing, refused to pay saying the agreement had been for a win by more than a single goal. “Nevertheless, it has been established that they agreed on the outcome of the match. There is not enough legal evidence to determine whether Aerts was involved and it is unclear who the third person was,” added the KNVB statement. It also said a benefit match between Willem II and the Sierra Leone national team in November 2009 was specifically organised with the objective of manipulating the result on behalf of an Asian betting syndicate. Results of Sierra Leone national team in other competitions might also have been fixed by Kargbo, who was captain of the team, according to the statement. Allegations made by a Dutch newspaper last year that other Willem II matches had been manipulated were not proven, the statement added, with KNVB saying it would send the report to FIFA and Uefa and the Dutch police. The 33-year-old Kargbo, who last played at English non-league club Thamesmead Town, will not be allowed to participate in any capacity in Dutch football in the future, said the statement. Kargbo has already been suspended in Sierra Leone for alleged match-fixing. Perumal, 50, has featured in cases involving more than 100 manipulated matches around the world and been jailed in Finland and Hungary.

Source: AP, "Dutch football alleges first case of attempted match-fixing", 15 February 2016, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/feb/15/dutch-football-investigation-alleged-match-fixing

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Brazil

The world's best swimmers will face up to seven anti-doping tests in the run up to August's Rio Olympics. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) will oversee the initiative after critics said it had not done enough to fight doping. The testing will mainly be done by leading national anti-doping agencies. "FINA deserves a lot of credit for embracing the voice of clean athletes," said United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) boss Travis Tygart. Figures within swimming suggested the idea for the sport's leading competitors to be tested between five and seven times ahead of the summer Games. "Partnering with independent national anti-doing organisations to implement a strategic, global pre-Rio testing plan will help protect athletes' rights and the integrity of the sport of swimming," added Tygart. Teaming up with Usada will be anti-doping agencies from most of the major swimming nations, including UK Anti-Doping. FINA accepted the plan, which has not been formally agreed yet by every party, after a meeting with Tygart in Lausanne in January. The promise to test every swimmer ranked in the top 10 times for all 34 Olympic events will represent a significant increase in the amount of testing the sport has been doing, although several stars will be ranked in more than one event. But some leading coaches have already expressed their concerns to the BBC that the anti-doping agencies of Brazil, China and Russia are not involved. Those three are currently among the most-tested nations by FINA itself and are all expected to win medals in Rio.

Source: Matt Slater, "Rio 2016: Extra drug tests for swimming stars ahead of Games", 15 February 2016, BBC Sport, https://www.bbc.com/sport/swimming/35577238

LEGISLATION

Australia

Journalists covering AFL games could lose their accreditation or be referred to police for investigation under new tighter anti-gambling laws released by the AFL yesterday. Under a rule labelled “Anti-corruption clause 1.4”, an accredited media person covering a game from the venue who uses information gained while at the ground for betting purposes in the five-hour window from two hours prior to a match until the end of the match could be subject to action. “The ban has been introduced to help protect against the potential misuse of information gained by personnel working at a match,” an AFL statement said yesterday. “For clarity, if you are working at a match, you may still bet on that match outside of this five-hour period (eg. during the week or before you are in the venue on match day).” An AFL spokesman said the league’s main concern was information gained from change rooms which could be used for betting purposes. “If it is a minor breach you could lose your accreditation,” the spokesman said. “In a serious case we would refer it to the appropriate authorities, ie the police." “All of these things are a matter of scale.” The offences could also be referred to the media person’s employer for it to act. The spokesman said the aim of the rules was not to stop betting but to prevent the improper use of information being used to gain a betting advantage. “If you are not in the ground on the day you can do whatever you like,” he said.

Source: Mark Duffield, "No more betting for AFL journos ", 17 February 2016, The West Australian Sport, https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/sport/afl/a/30840340/no-more-betting-for-afl-journos/

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Nepal

Nepal beat India 2-1 in their own backyard to win football gold at the 12th South Asian Games on Monday. The victory ended a 23-year wait for gold in football at the regional Games. It has come as a big relief to Nepali football that was dogged by corruption scandal and match-fixing of late. On December 4, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) imposed a life ban on five Nepali footballers, including skipper Sagar Thapa, vice-captain Sandeep Rai and goalkeeper Ritesh Thapa, for their involvement in match-fixing. On November 16 last year, FIFA banned All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Ganesh Thapa for 10 years from all football-related activities after the Ethics Committee of the game’s world governing body found his involvement in bribery and corruption scandals. Many football critics believe the ouster of Thapa from ANFA has brought about the success in international arena. “Credit goes to the players for their remarkable performance but also to FIFA for its intervention to rid the game of menace game in Nepal,” said Purushottam Shrestha, who was at the helm of ANFA when Nepal were last crowned the SA Games champions in 1993.

The recent results tell all the tales. We never had a dearth of football talent but he [Thapa] hand-picked players, depriving talents like Nawayug Shrestha of chances. FIFA’s action against Thapa, who had been at the ANFA helm since 1995, came at a time when corruption in football has been making headlines all over the world. Amid the storm of controversy, the Nepali football team under new captain Biraj Maharjan lifted the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Dhaka on January 22. The 3-0 victory over U-23 Bahrain team in final was Nepal’s first international triumph since 1993. And with Monday’s comeback victory over India, Nepal answered their critics who said Bangabandhu Gold Cup triumph was a 'fluke'". Karma Tsering Sherpa, who had been suspended by Thapa as ANFA vice-president, blamed the latter’s “totalitarian regime” for a long run of poor results in the past. “He used to meddle with every ANFA affair from a selection of squads to handing out instructions to coaches in the middle of a game,” said Sherpa, adding that Thapa’s ouster seemed to have relieved all the players, coaches and the management of unnecessary pressure. “At last, we can see our team is playing for the country rather than for the ANFA president.” he said.

Source: Ritesh Rijial, "Nepal’s football gold a welcome distraction ", 17 February 2016, The Kathmandu Post, https://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2016-02-17/nepals-football-gold-a-welcome-distraction.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Thailand

Unranked Thai player Jatuporn Nalamphun has received an 18-month ban and a $5,000 (£3,490) fine after being found guilty of betting offences under the Tennis Anti-Corruption Programme. Nalamphun, 22, admitted to committing three betting offences in 2014. He was also found guilty of failing to co-operate with an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), a charge he contested. Nalamphun's fine comfortably exceeds his career earnings of $682 (£476). He is the first player to be sanctioned by the TIU since the BBC and BuzzFeed published revelations about match-fixing in the sport. Following the report, the Tennis Integrity Board said it would start an independent review into their anti-corruption practices.

Source: AP, "Tennis corruption: Jatuporn Nalamphun banned for betting offences", 17 February 2016, BBC Sport, https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/35598179

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