Weekly integrity in sport update from INTERPOL 7-13 March 2016

published on 14 March 2016

In this week's media recap we can read that current investigations are presently under way with soccer in Zimbabwe where one of the top officials from the Zimbabwe's soccer federation is suspected to have attempted to fix two upcoming matches.

In the meantime at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, senior representatives from all the world recognize the importance of playing sport at school in developing values, responsibility and discipline among children so the integrity in sport shall be properly safeguarded.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's soccer federation suspended one of its top officials on Tuesday on suspicion he was attempting to fix two upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers. Zimbabwe Football Association executive committee member and former national team player Edzai Kasinauyo is suspected to have been working with an unnamed syndicate to fix Zimbabwe's home and away qualifiers against Swaziland later this month, the federation said in a statement. "Mr. Kasinauyo has been fingered in the match-fixing scam and investigations are going on. Zimbabwean soccer has been rocked by a match-fixing scandal before, when nearly 100 players and officials were suspended over fixed national team games on tours to Asia between 2007 and 2009. The federation's chief executive at the time was banned for life, but had her ban lifted this year. While those fixed games in Asia were friendlies, the allegations against Kasinauyo relate to qualifying for Africa's top tournament." Kasinauyo didn't answer calls on Tuesday to his cellphone from The AP seeking comment. Kasinauyo, who was elected to the ZIFA executive committee only in December, was in Zimbabwe's squad for the 2006 African Cup of Nations, the last time the country qualified for the continent's top tournament. Swaziland, a small southern African nation surrounded by South Africa, is the surprise leader of their African Cup qualifying group, which also contains Guinea and Malawi.

Source: AP, "Top Zimbabwe soccer official investigated for match-fixing", 8 March 2016, Mail Online, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3482685/Top-Zimbabwe-soccer-official-investigated-match-fixing.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

World

Simply playing sport in schools may not be the best way to instil virtues like character and resilience in pupils, a leading education expert has said. Children gain these vital social skills by learning in environments that value responsibility, discipline and encourage them to work together, according to Andreas Schleicher. Speaking ahead of the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai this weekend, Mr Schleicher, director for education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said there are many ways to teach character as part of everyday schooling His comments come amid growing calls for UK schoolchildren to be taught the softer skills they will need later in life - such as leadership and teamwork. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has previously suggested that learning traits like perseverance and confidence are "equally important" to teenagers as gaining good exam results. Ministers have announced a grant scheme to fund activities to help instil these characteristics, including an initiative launched last summer bringing rugby coaches from Premiership clubs into schools to work with disaffected children. At the time, Mrs Morgan said that all youngsters should learn the values of the sport, such as how to "bounce back from setbacks", show integrity in victory and defeat and respect others. But Mr Schleicher said: "I don't see any reason why rugby would be a better way of teaching character than mathematics. I think teaching character has a lot to do with how we behave, what behaviour we value." For the first time this year, the OECD's international Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests - which look at how teenagers around the world are doing in areas like reading and maths, will be looking at social skills, Mr Schleicher said, adding that he did not know which country would come out on top. Character education is high on the agenda for many countries now, he suggested, but little has been done so far to measure its impact. A Department for Education spokesman said: "Sport helps develop positive behaviours like fair play and leadership and teaches young people how to bounce back from defeat, how to respect others and how to work together to achieve amazing feats."

Source: AP, "Expert plays down role of sport in forging character in students", 12 March 2016, Mail Online, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-3488831/Expert-plays-role-sport-forging-character-students.html

 

ILLEGAL BETTING

China

Global security expert warns that US$600 billion black market remains ‘driving force’ behind sport corruption. China’s vision of transforming its sports industry into a key part of the economy is under threat from rampant illegal gambling, one of the world’s leading experts in the fight against corruption in sport has warned. The mainland’s State Council issued a ‘guideline’ – read order – in 2014 titled ‘Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry and Promoting Sports Consumption’. One of its key forecasts/commands was that the country’s sports economy would be worth 5 trillion yuan by 2025 – a 15-fold increase.

Entrepreneurs have rushed to get involved in sports, with billionaires Jack Ma Yun (Alibaba) and Wang Jianlin (Wanda) among the most high-profile, while upstart digital media companies such as LeTV are transforming a broadcasting landscape long dominated by the state’s CCTV. The massive spending spree on footballers by Chinese Super League clubs this winter is perhaps where the impact of this rush to get on the sports gravy train has been most evident, but Chinese companies of widely varying sizes have been snapping up rights to events all over the world, investing in or buying foreign teams, sponsoring competitions, signing partnerships with sports governing bodies, etc.

Source: James Porteous, "How China's massive illegal betting industry threatens efforts to make sport key part of economy", 7 March 2016, South China Morning Post, https://www.scmp.com/sport/china/article/1920959/china-tries-make-sport-central-part-its-economy-its-massive-illegal

Japan

TOKYO, With a new season just around the corner, Japanese baseball is in a state of turmoil over a gambling scandal that has embroiled the league's most popular team. The Yomiuri Giants announced this week that three of its top executives, including former owner Tsuneo Watanabe, will resign to take responsibility over the scandal. The decision follows an announcement that a fourth Yomiuri player, Kyosuke Takagi, was found to have bet on baseball games. Three of Takagi's Yomiuri teammates received indefinite suspensions last November, after they were involved in the same gambling scandal. The situation is so grave that Japan's sports minister, Hiroshi Hase, commented on it following a Cabinet meeting on Friday. "I'd like to know if (Takagi) really is the last person involved," Hase said at press conference. "I'd also like to ask Nippon Professional Baseball if it's just the Giants. I'd like this situation to be properly dealt with." None of the four players were found to have been involved in match-fixing or to have bet on games in which they were involved. But gambling on games is a violation of the Nippon Professional Baseball charter. "The team sincerely apologizes for causing trouble just before the start of the season," team president Hiroshi Kubo said. "We apologize to all those who love baseball. To the citizens of Japan and to the other teams." Yomiuri fans and officials are hoping the current situation does not further deteriorate and resemble the "Black Mist Scandal" that took place between 1969 and 1971. During that period, several players, including star pitchers of the Nishitetsu Lions and other Pacific League teams, were punished for accepting money to throw games. Regardless, the revelations are alarming given Yomiuri's place in the game. The Giants are by far the most popular and successful team in Japan. They are owned by the Yomiuri Group, Japan's largest media conglomerate which includes the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun (newspaper). The Giants have a button-downed reputation. Players are expected to adhere to a rigid code of conduct, with team members expected to project a clean image. Further tarnishing that image is the fact that former Giants star Kazuhiro Kiyohara was recently arrested for using illegal drugs. Kiyohara was arrested for possessing a small amount of stimulants last month when police raided his downtown Tokyo apartment and caught him in the act. He has admitted to using drugs.

Source: AP, "Japan's oldest baseball team in crisis mode over gambling", 11 March 2016, The News Tribune, https://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/article65400442.html

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Vietnam

Five Vietnamese footballers who played for a local club in the country's scandal-hit V League were on Friday handed prison terms of up to six years for match fixing, a judge said. The players, from Dong Nai Club in the country's south, were arrested in 2014 following accusations they had manipulated the results of a V League match, judge Le Hong Cuong told AFP after the trial. The team's captain, Pham Huu Phat, was sentenced to six years in jail, while four other players were given suspended sentences ranging from 24 to 30 months after the one-day trial in Dong Nai province, Cuong said. The players were involved in fixing a match against northern Quang Ninh province's football team, in which Dong Nai lost 3-5, despite being by far the stronger team and in a safe position at the top of the league. A police investigation found the five players had received 400 million dong ($18,500 USD) from local gamblers in return for their team losing by at least two goals. Four local gamblers involved in the case were also sentenced, one of them to three years in prison, and the three others getting two year suspended sentences, the judge said. The five players were also found guilty of fixing a match against northern Thanh Hoa province's team in the same season, which Dong Nai also lost 0-3, netting the players thousands of dollars, the judge said.

Source: AF, "Five Vietnamese footballers sentenced for match fixing.pdf", 12 March 2016, Tuoi Tre News - The News Gateway of Vietnam, https://tuoitrenews.vn/sports/33693/five-vietnamese-footballers-sentenced-for-match-fixing

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