Weekly integrity in sport update from INTERPOL 4-10 January 2016

published on 11 January 2016

This week we found out an interesting article explaining how the player's life can be affected by gambling addiction. In fact, gambling within players is becoming a big issue with regards to integrity in sports as the players become vulnerable to match-fixers.

This week there are many articles in the media regarding the betting legislation about the opportunity to legalize betting in India.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Canada

A potential match-fixing scandal is rocking the Canadian Soccer League, and a match involving SC Waterloo is at the centre of the latest allegations. The game between SC Waterloo and Niagara United, which happened on October 4th, 2015, was called off in the 65th minute after a series of incredulous circumstances. A Vice Sports report quotes several of Niagara’s players as accusing Waterloo of intentionally throwing the game, going as far as allowing Niagara to score on them, and then preventing Niagara’s players from scoring on their own net in an attempt to spoil the alleged fix.

We don’t want to give them their money, forget it,” United midfielder John Bahdi told the outlet. “The ball goes out for a goal kick, our keeper quickly plays it to our right back and basically tells him, ‘Put it in our net, shoot on our net, put it in our own net.’ Our right back goes to put it in our own net, by the time he got to shoot it, they had three guys on our goal line and the ball gets kicked off our goal line.

Source: Martin Bauman, "SC Waterloo implicated in soccer match-fixing allegations", 7 January 2016, 570 News, https://www.570news.com/2016/01/07/sc-waterloo-implicated-in-soccer-match-fixing-allegations/

 

LEGISLATION

India

The time has come for India to turn betting into a legal activity. It will not only help clean up cricket, but can also generate revenue for the government… Currently, betting in horse racing and lottery tickets are legal in India. So, why should betting on sports not be legalised, especially in cricket, which is being played and followed like a religion in this part of the world? Experts say it’s time betting in sports be made legal, as is the case in other European or developed countries. A Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team’s (SIT) report had stated that cricket betting is one of the key sources of black money generation. Even Justice Mukul Mudgal, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who probed the 2013 IPL and the spot-fixing scandal, had called for betting to be legalised to prevent transactions of huge amounts of black money in cricket betting. The people involved in betting rackets are not just linked to the underworld but the money is being used to fund terror groups. This alarming situation can be easily regulated and controlled if betting is made legal. The gambling industry comes under the ‘leisure’ section of the travel and transportation industry. It includes sports betting, lottery, bingo, casino, poker, horse-racing and other games that might end up making or losing money for those who play it. To widen the ambit of betting, stakes can also be placed on activities like wars, movies, the elections, TV shows, celebrities, etc. In India, betting-related activities could be restricted to sports initially to see its impact on society. Talking about cricket, match-fixing is a monster that has to be tamed and legalising betting will be a step in the right direction. It doesn’t pay any more to allow this menace to fester.

Source: AP, "Legalising betting", 6 January 2016, DNA India, https://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-dnaedit-legalising-betting-2162632

ODDS AND ENDS

Ireland

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, Gaelic Players' Association chief executive Dessie Farrell says the gambling addiction crisis in the GAA is now "devastating" some families of inter-county players. High-profile inter-county stars like Armagh's Oisin McConville and Offaly's Niall McNamee have both gone public in recent times about their own struggles with gambling. Mr Farrell reveals the GPA's confidential counselling service helped 74 inter-county players deal with various issues last year.

"Previously, depression was the biggest problem, but now it's gambling addiction," he said. "It's a major societal problem but, for some reason, I think sports people are particularly prone to it. Maybe because they have time on their hands, they're not out socialising with friends and they're obviously interested in sport. And if you want to gamble now, you can do it anywhere, any time," he said. "If you've a problem with alcohol or with drugs, it quickly becomes very visible to those around you. But this is so insidious that people can't actually see it. Individuals can be digging themselves a big, big hole. And it has all sorts of psychological impacts afterwards when it gets to a point where, literally, families are being devastated," he added.

The GPA is now setting up an awareness programme, using players who have come through the problem themselves. Mr Farrell says the work being undertaken on gambling addiction is extremely important for the individual players concerned. "Most of them are in a really dark place with this. They're fighting this demon. They have this addiction issue but there's often a huge financial implication to what they've done that lends itself to borrowing money and, often, from the wrong people. Which, clearly, brings you into a darker side again."

Source: Vincent Hogan, "Gambling addiction the biggest crisis facing senior GAA players", 9 January 2016, The indipendent, https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/gambling-addiction-the-biggest-crisis-facing-senior-gaa-players-34348338.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has lifted all of the remaining match-fixing bans from the so-called “Asiagate” scandal. 85 players and officials were banned for activities around national team games played mostly in Asia between 2007 and 2009, but the sanctions were never endorsed by FIFA. Recently-elected ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa announced on Friday that outstanding bans were lifted following a resolution at a ZIFA Executive Committee meeting.

The biggest beneficiary is former ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya, who had a life ban from all football activities, although she always maintained that she was innocent.

Rushwaya was accused of being the key link between the Zimbabwe national team and Raj Perumal – a Singaporean who was jailed for match-fixing.

Players based outside of the country such as South Africa-based former captain Method Mwanjali were free to continue with their careers, as the rulings only came under the jurisdiction of ZIFA.

The decision is too late for some home-based players such as defender Guthrie Zhokinyi, who captained Zimbabwe at the Cecafa Cup in Kenya 2009 and was given a life ban.

Zhokinyi’s career ground to a halt after four years on sidelines.

The Zifa investigation claimed that players were paid between $500 and $1500 to ensure the national team lost matches and conceded goals at certain times during games.

Source: AP, "ZIFA lifts all match-fixing bans", 8 January 2016, Zimbabwe Daily, https://www.thezimbabwedaily.com/news/47222-zifa-lifts-all-match-fixing-bans.html

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