In this bi-weekly edition we look at charges of competition manipulation in football in China, and in cricket in India, Pakistan and South Africa. We also note good practice in Australian basketball, corruption allegations in Spanish football governance, and take a deeper look at ongoing policy developments on online sports betting in India, among other.
The Integrity in Sports Programme is still involved in many events around the world in the upcoming months to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports.
Jiangsu opponents in match-fixing storm
Inter’s sister club, Jiangsu Suning, have yet to comment on match-fixing allegations levelled against their opponents on Saturday. Fabio Capello’s winless start as Jiangsu boss was extended to four games at the weekend as the Chinese club drew 2-2 with Shanghai Shenhua. However, the result came amidst speculation that Shenhua had deliberately thrown the game, leaving Jiangsu’s involvement in question. “There is a lot before and after the game about Shenhua and the opponent fixing the result,” Shenhua said in a statement, reports BBC Sport. “Was this the performance of a team and coach told to lose the game? “Recently a few people with ulterior motives fabricated a lot of rumours without basis in fact. They hoped to bring chaos to football and Shenhua. “We solemnly tell Shenhua fans, please fully trust our management, coaching staff and all the players. “We have set up a special team of lawyers, using a variety of legal means, to investigate the people involved in these rumours.” Reflecting on the draw, Capello noted via the broadcaster: “It should have been a game that we won and the result is a real pity.”
Source: 10 July 2017, Football Italia
Umar Akmal, Muhammad Sami names emerge in match fixing; PCB to probe the matter: Reports
The Pakistan Cricket Board will hold investigations to find out if two more players were allegedly involved in spot-fixing, according to reports. According to the ‘Jang’ newspaper, the names of batsman Umar Akmal and fast bowler Muhammad Sami were repeatedly mentioned during the testimony recorded by the operations officer of the UK National Crime Agency before the three- member anti-corruption tribunal of the Board last Thursday. Sources in the Board said that they could not send any notice or chargesheet to the two players without first confirming if they were involved in any way with breaches of the PCB’s anti-corruption code. “Their names were mentioned in the testimony and it was revealed by the NCA official that the bookmaker Muhammad Yousuf took their names several times,” one source said. Umar was twice dropped from the Pakistan team in recent months for the tour to the West Indies and the Champions Trophy after failing fitness tests while Sami has not played for Pakistan since March 2016 when he appeared in the World T20 match against Australia at Mohali. But both players are regulars in foreign T20 leagues. The names of the two players have cropped up during the ongoing hearings into the PCB chargesheet against Pakistani batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif who were charged with breaching several clauses of the anti-corruption code, including meeting with bookmakers and agreeing to spot-fix in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year in Dubai. Both players have denied the charges and Khalid’s lawyer has made it clear they will be filing a petition in the Supreme Court against the constitution of the tribunal which is headed by a former judge of the Lahore High Court, Asghar Haider who also worked for the PCB as their legal advisor. The two players were sent back from the PSL after being suspended under the anti-corruption code by the PCB. The Board later suspended four other players in the case including left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan, who is serving a 12- month ban after admitting to not reporting approaches by bookmakers Muhammad Nawaz, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed, all Pakistan players. While Sami, who has played 36 Tests and 87 ODIs, is presently in Karachi, Umar, who has appeared in 16 Tests, 116 ODIs and 86 T20 internationals, is in London seeking medical treatment for a knee problem. Umar skipped the ongoing high performance camp in Lahore and apparently flew to London without taking the PCB officials into confidence. Another PCB source said in the wake of the information gathered during the ongoing spot-fixing case, it was also decided to keep an eye on the Bangladesh Premier League in which large number of Pakistani players, including Sami and Umar, play.
Source: 16 July 2017, Financial express
East Timor official gets life ban for match-fixing
A top official from East Timor has been banned for life from taking part in any football-related activity after he accepted money to lose a match against Malaysia, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Thursday. Orlando Marques Henriques was found guilty of receiving USD 15,000 from a third party to arrange for seven players from the East Timor team to lose the match in May 2015, the AFC said in a statement. Henriques was recently released from jail in Singapore after he had pleaded guilty to various offences relating to the matter in 2015, the AFC said. In January, East Timor was expelled from the 2023 Asian Cup for falsifying documents of several Brazil-born players. The AFC also said that Al Wahda's head coach Javier Aguirre had been suspended for three matches for making "provocative gestures and spitting in the direction of spectators" following his expulsion during a Group D Asian Champions League match between Persepolis of Iran and the Abu Dhabi side on May 8.
Source: 13 July 2017, SportStar Live
Rajputana Cricket League (RPL) match fixing scandal: 14 arrested, Rs 38.47 lakh seized
Jaipur: The city police on Thursday arrested 14 of the 60 people who were detained from four hotels in the city in raids on Wednesday night and said that they were involved in fixing the matches of Rajputana Premier League (RPL), being broadcast live on Neo Sports. Those arrested include umpires and some players. A cash amount of Rs 38.47 lakh was recovered from the gang. RPL had been organized for the very purpose of making money through spot fixing and match fixing, senior police officials said. The same gang was scheduled to organize a cricket league in Dubai in the near future. They were involved in fixing matches in other cricket tournaments also, the officials said. RPL was being organized at KL Saini Stadium in Jaipur. Police commissioner Sanjay Agarawal said that they received a complaint from BCCI’s anti-corruption and security unit about match fixing and betting in Rajputana Premium League being played between July 11 and July 21. “A total of six teams were participating in the league. The BCCI complaint was specific. It said that two men – Wazir Khan and Bahare Khan – were in Jaipur and they were conniving with the league’s players, organizers and umpires to fix matches. They were paying them for spot fixing,” police commissioner Agarwal said. The matches were being broadcast live on Neo Sports channel, he said. “It was quite evident that by fixing these matches, the organizers were fooling the emotions of lakhs of people. We took the complaint very seriously and launched an investigation,” said the commissioner who himself surprised the probe. The Jaipur city police crime branch carried out raids at four hotels in Jaipur and detained 60 people for interrogation on Wednesday. After preliminary investigation, 14 of them were arrested. Those arrested were identified as
- Wahid Khan (Bhatinda in Punjab),
- Bahare Khan alias Dr Soni as Siddhu Sahi (32), a resident of Fatehgarh Sahi, Punjab.
- Dinesh Talwar alias Daksha (30), a resident of Haryana
- Rajesh Pareek (25), a resident of Haryana
- Pawan Kumar (28), a resident of Haryana
- Irfan Khan (21), a resident of Punjab
- Amandeep Kapoor, a resident of Punjab
- Gurmeet Singh alias Gurupreet Singh alias Major Singh (25), a resident of Punjab
- Amandeep alias Sonu (26), a resident of Punjab
- Jatin alias Hunney (32), a resident of Punjab
- Lovepreet alias Lali (36), a resident of Jodhpur
- Manoj Sachdeva, (27), a resident of Jodhpur
Police recovered a cash amount of Rs 38.47 lakh, 18 mobile phones, 2 walki-talkies and one laptop. These people have been booked under section 420 and 120 B of IPC.
Police have found during preliminary investigation that RPL was being organized for the very purpose of making money from spot fixing and match fixing. “A meeting of people belonging to Delhi and Gujrat was held on the intervening night of June 24-June 25. The meeting was attended by Wazir Khan and Bahare Khan. These people decided to organize RPL and make money through spot fixing and match fixing,” said the officer. The officer said Wazir’s primary responsibility was to find players and umpires who could fix matches at the instructions of their bosses in Delhi. “During the match, Wazir used to fix each ball and match. He would take instructions from his bosses in Delhi and forward the instructions to umpires who would then give decisions of ‘out’ or ‘not-out’. The umpire would also tell the players on the ground how they should play,” said the officer. The bookies had to tie the match played on July 19 due to heavy losses. There were reports that no selection committee was formed to select players and put together teams. Selection of teams was done in a hurry. The players didn’t have any information which team they would play for until two days prior to the start of the tournament. There was no practice schedule. The league organizers were quoted as saying that all the players were from Rajasthan and they were already busy with other tournaments. So there was no time for practice. The same gang had been involved in match fixing and spot fixing in Hyderabad Premium League, North India Premium League, Asian Premium League and many other cricket tournament played in Jaipur and other places, police officials said. The same gang is scheduled to organize a cricket league in Dubai.
Source: 20 July 2017, Pinkcity Post
Lonwabo Tsotsobe: Ex-South Africa bowler gets eight-year match-fixing ban
Former South Africa bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe has been banned for eight years after admitting match-fixing and corruption charges. Cricket South Africa (CSA) said the 33-year-old admitted "several breaches" of its anti-corruption code. It follows an investigation into the country's 2015 Ram Slam competition. "Whilst no fix actually took place, it is clear that he was active in plans to participate in spot-fixing," said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat. Spot-fixing is where a player agrees to affect the game in a certain way at a specific point in the match and bets are placed on that outcomes using this inside information. Former Essex seamer Tsotsobe played in five Tests, 61 one-day internationals and 23 Twenty20 internationals for South Africa, taking more than 120 wickets. He is the seventh player to be banned as a result of the investigation. The CSA said Tsotsobe admitted:
- one charge of contriving to fix a match in the domestic Ram Slam T20 competition;
- two charges of failing to disclose an approach to engage in corrupt conduct;
- two charges of failing to disclose evidence of a breach of the code by another person;
- three charges of failing or refusing to co-operate with an investigation;
- and two charges of obstructing or delaying the investigation by destroying evidence and concealing information.
Tsotsobe has apologised for his involvement and said: "I was, at the time, in a very vulnerable financial state and this dilemma too easily persuaded me to participate in spot-fixing.”There are no words to describe the regret I have in relation to my actions."
Source: 11 July 2017, BBC Sport
Sam Groth Says He Received Match Fixing Offer On Social Media
Tennis - Australian tennis player Sam Groth has raised the issue of match-fixing once again saying that he was offered money to lose a match at the Aegon Open in Nottingham last month via social media. Speaking to The Herald Sun, Groth says, "It was a lot of money, but for me there’s no temptation there, because I’ve played this sport for long enough now and respect it, and I’m not going to throw it all away for a quick earn. I think guys who haven’t given themselves a chance to play in the main draw of a grand slam, or don’t see a future in what they’re doing, are enticed by those offers.” Groth said he had received the offer via social media and he has reported the same to the authorities. "This is the bizarre thing — everything is online now, everything is in your face. A guy’s not calling you on a phone, he’s sending you a message on a social platform.” Groth went on to reach the semi-finals in the Nottingham event where he was beaten by the fourth seeded Tomas Fabbiano.
Source: 10 July 2017, Tennis world Tennis
Basketball Australia Teams with Genius Sports to Score Points Against Match Fixing
Basketball Australia has struck a blow against match-fixing by sealing a deal with Genius Sports, an expert data-crunching company devoted to the promotion of sporting integrity worldwide. Semi-pro and amateur leagues are perhaps the most vulnerable to match-fixing, which is why its important to share data across the sporting spectrum. Basketball Australia is taking a pro-active approach to match-fixing. Genius Sports works closely with regulated bookmakers across the globe to provide a 24-7 monitoring system that helps its analyst scours the betting markets for suspicious activity in real time, looking to spot match-fixing before it happens. The firm works with some of the world’s biggest sport leagues, governing bodies and integrity units, from the English Premier League, to Spain’s Li Liga, to the German Bundesliga in soccer, as well as the British Racing Authority and at least six international basketball associations. It also partners with the likes of William Hill, Bet365, Betfair, PaddyPower and many more betting companies in sharing data to keep the match-fixers at bay. Australian sport has been stung by match-fixing in recent years, but amateur and semi-professional leagues, in which athletes are more susceptible to bribery, are particularly vulnerable. These are also the arenas where match-fixers believe their schemes are less likely to be detected, which is why running the numbers across the entire sporting spectrum is no so important. But leagues of each and every stature are learning that regulated bookies are not the enemy and are just as eager to root out match-fixing. And because they have the access to the data, and its in their interests, no one is better placed to perform the task. “The reality is it [match-fixing] can arise with an individual corrupt player or coaches or instances like that where if a sport doesn’t protect itself, doesn’t put the right processes in place, then any sport really has that vulnerability,” Steven Burton, Managing Director of Genius Sports, said. “Australian authorities take this threat seriously.”
BA and Genius Sports will be official “data partners,” controlling the supply of official BA data to legal, regulated betting operators around the globe and vice versa. “Genius Sports will work with each leagues’ trained and accredited statisticians to ensure the accurate and efficient collection of official data,” said BA in an official statement. “It will provide comprehensive ongoing training together with a unique digital platform which facilitates real-time communication between the league and the statisticians.” An official data feed will also deter “courtsiders” from collecting and distributing unofficial information from inside the event, without the sport having any control over the subsequent use. “By proactively taking control of their data, Basketball Australia has secured visibility over global odds movements and ensured that betting on their competitions will be undertaken in a controlled manner in regulated markets,” said Burton.
Source: 18 July 2017, Online Casino
ODDS AND ENDS
Wimbledon and French Open matches trigger fixing alerts
Matches at Wimbledon and the French Open triggered alerts for potential match-fixing in the second quarter of the year, the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) said on Wednesday. It said in a statement that one match at Roland Garros and three at Wimbledon, two of them in the qualifying tournament and one in the main draw, would be assessed and reviewed. Alerts are raised in response to unusual betting patterns, which are not in themselves evidence of match-fixing and can be due to a number of other factors, including conditions and player fitness. The TIU said 40 of 53 alerts received were for matches played on the lower level men's ATP Challenger and ITF Futures circuits. Three were on the men's ATP Tour, one on the women's WTA Tour and five on the ITF women's circuit. During the April-June period, 31,281 professional matches were played. The cumulative six month match alert figure was 83, compared to 121 received for the same period in 2016.
Source: 19 July 2017, Reuters
Sports Ministry lays ground for making online betting legal
The Sports Ministry has begun the groundwork to frame a legislation to legalise online sports betting in India. According to a ministry official, informal consultations have already been held with various stakeholders in the government. However, it may take at least two years for the ministry to prepare a draft. The Sports Ministry is also likely to seek assistance from its counterparts in the UK, where gambling is legal. Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas, who is currently in England, is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which online sports betting will be one of the key points. “The UK has one of the most effective gambling laws. We hope to understand their system and see if it is possible to introduce it in India,” said a ministry official. According to Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security, the illegal betting market in India is worth $150 billion, or roughly Rs 9.6 lakh crore. Most of it is via local bookmakers and unregulated offshore websites. At present, betting is legal only on horse racing, and it is taxed at 28 per cent under GST. At a Group of Secretaries meeting recently, the Sports Ministry said it can address the issue of poor funding for sports at central and state level by making online betting legal. The possibility of diverting a sizeable part of the revenue generated from betting towards the ministry’s programmes is also being deliberated. “The UK has overcome this (poor funding) through lottery and online betting. The department is preparing an MoU with the UK and the aspect of betting will be included therein in order to understand the mechanism and evolve a view on the possibility of its introduction in India,” the ministry said in its presentation. A Sports Ministry official said the government was conscious of the social ramifications of such a move. “However, it can be beneficial to the economy as well as sports overall. We are looking at the best international practices in sports integrity and ethics framework,” the official said. Betting is seen as a sensitive socio-political issue. More so in sports because of the match-fixing and spot-fixing controversies. The issue of legalising betting gathered momentum when former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha recommended it in his report to the Supreme Court last year, saying that betting should be legalised in cricket. “As far as betting alone is concerned, many of the respondents before the Committee were of the view that it would serve both the game and economy if it were legalised as has been done in the United Kingdom,” Lodha noted in his report.
Source: 16 July 2017, The Indian Express
Soccer clubs probed over bogus visas for young African players
Italian police are investigating several football clubs for allegedly abetting the illegal entry into Italy of young African players, by helping them get false papers and fraudulent family reconciliation visas.
Many of the young African soccer players who entered Italy illegally are from Cote d'Ivoire, according to police. Police issued four arrest warrants including for the presidents of two third-division clubs in Prato and Sestino in central Italy, a sports agent and an Ivorian woman as part of the probe which centre on the AC Prato club. The offices of two unnamed Serie A teams and one Serie B team were searched on Thursday in the probe although the clubs were believed to have bought some of the young African players without knowing of the fraud, daily Gazzetta dello Sport reported. Eleven other people including "numerous" young players from minor leagues were placed under investigation for match-fixing as part of the probe, police said.
Source: 21 July 2017, Business Standard
Spanish football federation president arrested on corruption charges
The head of the Spanish football federation has been arrested on corruption charges along with his son. The charges relate to the alleged embezzlement of funds and international match-fixing. Spanish police on Tuesday arrested the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and current senior vice president of FIFA, Angel Maria Villar, 67, on corruption charges along with his son. Villar is being held on suspicion of abusing his position to embezzle funds from the federation, according to a source cited by the AFP news agency. An investigation led the state prosecutor to suspect that Villar "could have arranged matches of the Spanish national team with other national teams, thereby gaining in return contracts for services and other business ventures in benefit of his son." Several hours after Tuesday's arrests, police escorted Villar into the federation offices in Las Rozas, on the outskirts of Madrid. He emerged from a Guardia Civil vehicle flanked by two uniformed officers. "We have taken note of the media reports concerning the situation of Mr. Villar Llona," FIFA said in a statement. "As the matter seems to be linked to internal affairs of the Spanish Football Association, for the time being we kindly refer you to them for further details." Police began the investigation in early 2016 after a complaint from Spain's Higher Council of Sport, the government's sports authority. His son, Gorka, and another federation official were also arrested on charges relating to alleged match-fixing at international level, according to the same source. Moments after the morning raid on the RFEF's headquarters, Spain's minister of education, culture and sport, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, told national television: "In Spain, the laws are enforced, the laws are the same for all and nobody, nobody, is above the law." European football's governing body, UEFA, released a statement saying it "is aware of the reports regarding Mr. Villar Llona" but that "we have no comment to make at this time." Villar senior, a former professional footballer for Athletic Bilbao and the Spanish national team, was first elected as president of the RFEF in 1988. In November 2015, he was officially warned and fined by FIFA's Ethics Commission for initially failing to testify about the controversial awardings of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. He did ultimately agree to co-operate. He is a longtime power broker in football both in Spain and internationally, and was singled out for "questionable conduct" in the 2014 FIFA report into the World Cup bidding process. A 2015 US probe into corruption in world soccer led to the eventual resignation of longtime president Sepp Blatter and other top officials. The Higher Council of Sport said it will "use everything in its means to ensure that competitions are not affected" by the arrests. The Royal Spanish Federation of Football has postponed meetings to draw the Spanish football league schedule.
Source: 18 July 2017, DW
Tennis Integrity Unit Briefing July 2017
The Tennis Integrity Unit, the anti-corruption body covering all professional tennis around the world, has just published its latest briefing note.
Source: 19 July 2017, Tennis Integrity Unit
- Africa Albania Anti-Corruption Anti-Doping Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Australia Basketball Betting China Cricket East Timor England English Premier League FIFA Football French Open Gambling Genius Sports Horseracing India Integrity International Tennis Federation (ITF) Italy Match-Fixing Pakistan Pakistan Cricket Board South Africa Spain Tennis Tennis Integrity Unit UEFA Wimbledon