Integrity in sport update: FIFA will be monitoring suspicious behaviours at 52 matches at U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
Last week the outbreak of the Italian football match fixing case took relevant space in the newspapers related to sport. Again match-fixing and betting are the main actors of such scandals.
Meanwhile India is facing a case of match-fixing in its premiere league, New Zealand is preparing the FIFA U-20 World Cup, taking into account all the preventive measures in order to tackle corruption in sport as well.
Interesting also to know that the French regulatory authority of online gambling reports a massive increase of sport betting, especially in football, in the first quarter of 2015.
The Indian Premier League faces a new match-fixing crisis after it emerged five matches from the current tournament are under investigation for spot-fixing.
India’s fraud squad, the Enforcement Directorate, carried out raids on the homes of bookmakers in Delhi and Jaipur on Friday after a lengthy surveillance operation which also covered team officials and players.
Betting is banned in India but bookmakers are now using sophisticated masking software to place bets on legal gambling websites in the United Kingdom.
An unnamed senior police officer was quoted by the Mumbai Mirror saying police are examining links between bookmakers and team officials.
"Five games is our conservative estimate. There may be more games where spot fixing took place in this edition of IPL," said the official.
Source: Nick Hoult, "IPL rocked by new match-fixing allegations ", 22 May 2015, The Telegraph, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/cricket/twenty20/ipl/11626396/IPL-rocked-by-new-match-fixing-allegations.html
Sweep involves ‘dozens’ of fixed matches in third and fourth divisions and some charges linked to Mafia organisations
More than 50 people were arrested in Italy on Tuesday and more than 70 placed under investigation as part of a widespread match-fixing inquiry led by anti-Mafia prosecutors in the southern town of Catanzaro.
The sweep allegedly involves “dozens” of fixed matches in Italian football’s third and fourth division, police said.
Charges include criminal association aimed at sports fraud, with some linked to mafia organisations – one in particular to the ’Ndrangheta organised crime syndicate. One police officer was involved, authorities said.
Catanzaro prosecutors allegedly have uncovered a network between footballers, coaches, club presidents and management members involving more than 30 clubs.
Source: AP, "More than 50 arrests made in Italy as part of football match-fixing inquiry", 19 May 2015, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/may/19/match-fixing-arrests-mafia-italy
Msida St Joseph vice president Robert Farrugia, one of the Maltese under investigation for match fixing in Italy, allegedly told an Italian national over the phone that Chinese gamblers had threatened to kill his brother.
Mr Farrugia has been implicated, along with his brother Adrian, in a match-fixing ring that targeted games in the third and fourth tier levels of Italian football.
When contacted by Times of Malta yesterday, Mr Farrugia said he had nothing to say.
The operation, code-named Dirty Soccer, led to the arrest of various club presidents, coaches, players, club officials and financiers. The Italian police are alleging that the Farrugia brothers were among foreign nationals acting as financiers.
The transcript of a phone call intercepted by the Catanzaro police and published in the Italian press sheds light on the rough side of the illegal betting network. In his alleged conversation with Felice Bellini, a former Italian director general of Vittoriosa Stars with past links to Gudja United and Qormi FC, Mr Farrugia allegedly laments the loss of €52,000 on the low level match Aversa Normanna versus Barletta. Barletta unexpectedly won and Mr Farrugia blamed team coach Ninni Corda, who was also arrested in the sting.
It is alleged that Mr Farrugia told Mr Bellini the coach should refund the €52,000 lost on the match because Chinese gamblers were threatening his brother.
Source: AP, "Match-fixing: Maltese suspect spoke of threats from Chinese gamblers", 23 May 2015, Times of Malta, https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150523/local/match-fixing-maltese-suspect-spoke-of-threats-from-chinese-gamblers.569274
An operation to keep the U-20 football world cup in New Zealand free of corruption is in full swing with Fifa confirming it will have security guards monitoring suspicious behaviors at each of the 52 matches.
Security will be tight around team hotels in cities throughout New Zealand with the 17,18 and 19-year-old players from 24 countries considered ripe for match-fixing exploitation. Players will also be tightly monitored and guarded at stadiums as the football world turns its spotlight on New Zealand.
Police are also ramping up resource around the event – a special operations room attached to the National Command and Coordination Centre at Police National Headquarters, set up for the Cricket World Cup, will again be used during the tournament.
New Zealand is considered at risk of the "full gamut" of corruption including spot fixing, match fixing and court siding as well as other methods "some of which we don't even know exist yet," prominent sports lawyer Maria Clarke said.
But our approach to stopping corruption has been lauded as one of the best in the world, particularly since the Crimes (Match-fixing) Amendment Bill came into effect in December 2014 ahead of the Cricket World Cup.
Source: Sarah Harvey, "Fifa ramps up security measures to stop corruption at U-20 World Cup ", 24 May 2015, Stuff.co, https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/nz-teams/68583569/fifa-ramps-up-security-measures-to-stop-corruption-at-u20-world-cup
ODDS AND ENDS
According to the ARJEL, the Regulatory Authority of Online Gambling in France, sports betting in the first quarter of 2015 increased by 38% over the previous year. Football, with 58% of the market share, was the sport that moves more money. The main reason is that the accounts of active players are increasing by 27% each week.
Several sports attract betting, mainly football, with 58%, followed by tennis with a volume of 18%, while horseracing has fallen again to around 1% activity.
The growing use of mobile phones and tablets in online gambling since its inception in 2011, currently accounts for 47% of the connections.
Source: Luis Millan, "Sport Betting in France grows", 24 May 2015, Tu diario de apuestas, https://tudiariodeapuestas.com/not/6925/las_apuestas_deportivas_en_francia_sin_techo/
FIFA says it is satisfied with changes made to sporting law in Greece, and has dropped a threat to suspend the country from international competition.
In a letter to the government dated May 20 and made public on Friday by the Greek Football Association, FIFA said a law approved by parliament this month to combat violence and match-fixing did "take into account the proposals previously made by FIFA and UEFA."
FIFA had complained that the draft legislation initially submitted to parliament would have interfered with the independence of the sport's administration, and demanded that amendments be made.
Source: AP, "Greece escapes suspension as FIFA satisfied by changes", 21 May 2015, ESPN FC, https://www.espnfc.com/greece/story/2461869/greece-escapes-suspension-as-fifa-satisfied-by-changes
Forward Steven Lawless was given a two game immediate band and four suspended after being found to have breached SFA guidelines on gambling.
The 24-year-old was initially charged with placing bets on 513 matches, becoming the fourth player to contravene rule 33 which states no player, coach, club official or referee in Scotland bet on a game throughout the world.
The rules state no club official is allowed to bet on a football game, but there is no definition on what constitutes this role.
It is unclear when Thistle bosses first imposed the restriction, but it is understood the measure has been underlined in last few days to make sure the club don't fall foul of any grey area in relation to betting sanctions. "As a club we have reminded all our staff of the rules to which they must adhere and are also reviewing how we educate our employees on their responsibilities both on and off the pitch”.
Source: Scott Mullen, "Partick Thistle warn all staff that betting on football matches is forbidden", 22 May 2015, Evening Times, https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/thistles-warning-to-staff-207701n.126848442
Nine Vietnamese players have had the scope of their lifetime bans for match-fixing widened to include all soccer related activities at the confederation level, the Asian Football Confederation has said.
Vietnam's federation (VFF) banned the players from Vissai Ninh Binh in December after a court jailed their former international Tran Manh for 30 months and dished out suspended sentences to eight other players found guilty of colluding with a bookmaker to throw a second tier regional AFC Cup game.
The AFC said on its official website on Friday that its disciplinary committee had now "extended the permanent ban to take effect at confederation level."
"This means the nine players are banned from all football activities in all AFC Member Associations."
Source: AP, "Soccer-AFC extends bans on Vietnamese players to confederation level", 21 May 2015, Sports Yahoo, https://sports.yahoo.com/news/soccer-afc-extends-bans-vietnamese-players-confederation-level-011635083--sow.html
- Anti-Corruption ARJEL Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cricket World Cup FIFA Football France Greece Greek Football Association India INTERPOL Italy Malta Match-Fixing New Zealand Scotland Scottish Football Association The Crimes (Match-Fixing) Amendment Bill UEFA United Kingdom (UK) Vietnam Vietnamese Football Federation (VFF)