Weekly integrity in sport update from INTERPOL 16-22 November 2015

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In this week’s recap, we have two investigations involving possible match-fixing having occurred during cricket matches. In one investigation, related to a match between England and Pakistan, the International Cricket Council (ICC) anti-corruption unit became aware of possible match-fixing after monitoring suspicious gambling patterns in the international betting markets. Sri Lanka Cricket has also suspended its former administrator for dodging an ICC match-fixing investigation where it was alleged that he shared pitch information.

As part of an awareness campaign, Italy's football League A in partnership with Sportradar is holding workshops across the country for senior and youth clubs on the dangers of match-fixing and what to do when approached.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

India

Kanga League, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA)’s famous local tournament, finds itself in the middle of a controversy involving allegations of match-fixing and manipulation as an ‘A’ division game between Muslim United and Apollo at Islam Gymkhana is under the scanner.

Two clubs have written a letter to MCA alleging match fixing took place to help avoid relegation. The Karnatak Sporting Association and Sainath Sports Club have written a letter asking the MCA to probe and initiate action against the teams that are alleged of “fixing the game.” In a letter sent by both the clubs, which is in possession of The Indian Express, KSA secretary Jaya Shetty wrote to the MCA saying, “The concluding match of this season created a bad name to tournament by fixing a crucial match to avoid relegation to lower division (Sic).

Source: AP, "Allegations of fixing in Kanga League; two clubs write to the Mumbai Cricket Association", 20 November 2015, The Indian Express, https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/allegations-of-fixing-in-kanga-league-two-clubs-write-to-mumbai-cricket-association/

United Kingdom

England’s win over Pakistan in the third one-day international is being investigated for corruption, according to reports. The investigation comes after an erratic performance by Pakistan, with Azhar Ali’s side collapsing from 132 for two to 208 all out, dropping three catches, missing a stumping and losing three wickets to run-outs.

According to the Daily Mail, the ICC’s anti-corruption unit have requested data from international betting markets after suspicious gambling patterns raised alarm. The ICC was reportedly told that double the ‘usual’ amount of money was bet on Pakistan, with England surprisingly being made the heavy favourites for a one-day match in the UAE.

Pakistan became favourites to win when they were just two wickets down, but their batting collapse drastically reversed the odds. Those with prior knowledge about a batting collapse can make huge sums from switches in odds, with the ICC reportedly receiving intelligence before the match that there could at least be an effort to change them.

Source: Will Giles, "England victory over Pakistan in third ODI being investigated by ICC for corruption – report", 20 November 2015, Metro, https://metro.co.uk/2015/11/20/england-victory-over-pakistan-in-third-odi-being-investigated-for-match-fixing-report-5515916/

GOOD PRACTICE

United States

Earlier this month Major League Baseball announced a deal with Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM) based in the UK to track suspicious betting patterns on MLB games at licensed and unlicensed sportsbooks. The company which currently has agreements with soccer and basketball leagues in Europe will keep track of trends and statistics which MLB hopes will stop or prevent corruption in the sport. While all parties are making this out to be a revolutionary idea the truth is that sports leagues already have memoranda of understanding with various UK sportsbooks to identify suspicious betting patterns and have so for years. FIFA, F1, both tennis federations, rugby and cricket, among other leagues, have memoranda of understanding with Betfair, William Hill and Ladbrokes whereby the betting companies point out suspicious betting to those leagues for investigation.For North American leagues, both the NHL and CFL have similar agreements in place.

Source: Hartley Henderson, "MLB’s deal with Sport Integrity Monitor just the start", 20 November 2015, OSGA, https://www.osga.com/online_gaming_articles.php?MLB-s-deal-with-Sport-Integrity-Monitor-just-the-start-16439

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Italy

Sassuolo senior and youth teams attended a workshop organised to combat the threat of match-fixing in football. Italian authorities are trying to clamp down on irregularities after several high-profile cases. Today Sassuolo took action when the club hosted a workshop against match-fixing organised by the Lega Serie A and Sportradar. More clubs are expected to take part in the travelling seminar. It’ll also serve to alert players on what action to take if they do hear about or are approached by someone promoting a fix. Under the Italian rules, you can be banned for several months or even years for being aware of a potential fix and not going to the authorities. This has been rather hard to prove and lead to several controversial bans that were then revoked or heavily reduced on appeal.

Source: AP, "Sassuolo host match-fixing seminar", 19 November 2015, Football Italia, https://www.football-italia.net/75994/sassuolo-host-match-fixing-seminar

Korea (Rep. of)

K-League president Kwon Oh-gap has apologised to South Korean football supporters after two referees were suspended as part of a match-fixing investigation.

Busan District Public Prosecutor's Office have arrested the two match officials with local reports suggesting the probe relates to payments received from former Gyeongnam FC president Ahn Jong-bok. Ahn was arrested last month on suspicion of corruption and embezzlement. Kwon said in a statement on the league's website: "We have disappointed you gravely. We are actively co-operating with the prosecutors' investigation to resolve the suspicions. We suspended the two referees under investigation from all games this month."

It is not the first match-fixing investigation to hit South Korean football. In 2011, 50 players were arrested in an investigation which led the government to threaten to close the league down. Forty-one players were later handed lifetime bans.

Source: AP, "K-League apologises after referees arrested in match-fixing probe", 20 November 2015, Four four two, https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/k-league-apologises-after-referees-arrested-match-fixing-probe

Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Match-fixing is "shackling" Malaysia's attempts to progress as a footballing nation despite efforts to fight the problem, the country's youth and sports minister told parliament on Monday (Nov 16). Khairy Jamaluddin was speaking ahead of a game to be played on Tuesday at the Shah Alam Stadium near Kuala Lumpur against the UAE. "Match-fixing has been shackling national football since several years ago," said Khairy. "But continuous effort is being carried out by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) with the ministry to combat the scourge."

"Although we cannot eradicate the problem, we have been able to reduce it as is apparent in reports relating to offers to players," he said when winding up on the 2016 Supply Bill for his ministry. Khairy said match-fixing proliferated because many players dared not furnish proof as the bookies threatened to hurt them and their families. A 1994 scandal saw 21 players and coaches sacked and 58 players suspended, but new cases continue to surface. In 2012, the FAM suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for match-fixing. That same year the northern Perlis club placed nine players under investigation for corruption and suspended one player. Former Asian Football Confederation general secretary Peter Velappan told AFP that match-fixing syndicates were "well entrenched" across Asia and were destroying the game. "We need to impose punitive measures on those convicted," said Velappan. "Long-term prison sentences should be imposed. I would like to see them hanged also." Khairy said the symptoms were also hard to detect because match-fixing did not involve many quarters and were done in high secrecy. However, he said several suspects and syndicates had been identified and were being monitored by MACC and PDRM. He said every state football associations had also been directed to set up special committees on integrity involving MACC and PDRM. "The committee will enable any player who is approached by a bookie to lodge a discreet complaint to ensure their safety. We have taken serious action to overcome match-fixing and despite not being able to eradicate it, there is positive development," he said.

Source: AP, "Football: Malaysia blames match-fixing for woeful performance", 17 November 2015, A Channel News Asia, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/football-malaysia-blames/2269116.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Sri Lanka

Colombo: Sri Lanka Cricket on Tuesday announced the suspension of Jayananda Warnaweera, a former administrator, for dodging an ICC match-fixing investigation. Warnaweera was a member of the current interim committee governing the SLC until was suspended last month for failing to cooperate with the ICC anti-corruption probe.

Warnaweera, a former Test medium pacer in the early 90s, headed the southern sea side stadium of Galle as their curator. He was accused of sharing pitch information in an ICC anti-corruption probe. SLC said that Warnaweera has been suspended for two years from taking part in cricket, management and representation.

Source: AP, "Sri Lanka suspends official over match-fixing probe", 16 November 2015, IBN Live, https://www.ibnlive.com/cricketnext/news/sri-lanka-suspends-official-over-match-fixing-probe-1165304.html

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