This is the fourth Bi-Weekly Bulletin of INTERPOL’s Crimes in Sport Team, which replaces the previous Weekly Media Recap.
In this bulletin, the floor is given to the Commissioner General of the Belgian Federal Police and INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate for Europe who discusses the global match-fixing issue and the ways to combat this phenomenon.
For the last two weeks of April, there have been several betting cases around the world, including the continued investigations of five cricket players in South Africa and match-fixing in Zimbabwe. Interestingly, the Australian Federal Government decided to ban “click-to-call” apps which allow users to place bets within seconds.
Regarding doping, WADA released a report of the top 2014 doping offenders: Russia, Italy, and India topped the list.
The so-called meldonium is also under the spotlights: the question regarding doping features of meldonium, which belongs to the WADA prohibited list, is still pending in the anti-doping world.
In terms of good practices, Wimbledon is enhancing their anti-doping and anti-corruption measures for its 130th tournament.
THE FLOOR TO...
Catherine De Bolle, Commissioner General of the Belgian Federal Police and INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegate for Europe
When we speak about sport, we think that all sports should be exciting, fun and honest. Match-fixing destroys this. It ruins the enjoyment of millions of people who visit stadiums or watch sport on TV, and it can ruin careers and undermine the integrity of sport. Match-fixing, betting or non-betting related, is a huge problem for sport worldwide. In the recent past, Belgium has been confronted with match-fixing cases in tennis and football.
In 2005 Belgian Football supporters were shocked when they heard that a Chinese businessman had fixed many matches in Belgium by bribing players, coaches and team managers.
In 2009, the Belgian authorities decided to create a football fraud hot line within the Federal Police, more precisely within the Central Service for Combating Corruption. A national coordinator in the federal prosecutor’s office was appointed. Those were the first steps in tackling match-fixing in sport in Belgium. Since then, a network of national and international partners, law enforcement bodies and others, has been established. Recently this network proved again its effectiveness. In only a few hours, basic information was checked and exchanged with partners such as UEFA, the Belgian Football Association and Sport Radar. One day later the federal prosecutor’s office opened a file. Also the police liaison officers working in the gaming commission were solicited to send requests to the betting operators. International and national sports federations are aware of the threat of match-fixing. They update and adapt their internal regulations, focus on prevention and education. INTERPOL developed, among other things, an educational program and started an international platform by the means of an annual expert meeting on match-fixing. I would like to mention the last Belgian example of last March and refer to the new Convention to combat manipulation of sports competitions of the Council of Europe. Article 13 of this convention provides that the Member States create a national platform on match-fixing wherein the national partners can exchange modus operandi, new developments and intelligence.
I am pleased that the Federal Judicial Police, awaiting the signature of the Belgian authorities and anticipating on the opportunities given by the International Olympic Committee and Interpol, gave the possibility, on the last April 22th, to all Belgian partners to sit down around the same table and start to work together in drafting a common strategy against match manipulation. As the problem has clearly become global, the various political, sporting, economic and government stakeholders have to work together to successfully combat this ever-growing phenomenon. This is also our goal.
The Federal Government has announced it will close a loophole that has enabled online live sports betting. In-play betting is only allowed over the phone, but some betting companies have phone applications that allow punters to easily place bets during play. The so-called 'click-to-call' function sees an automated call made within the app and allows bets to be placed within seconds. The Government said it would legislate to ban 'click-to-call' apps, but Human Services Minister Alan Tudge expects companies to cease the practice immediately. "I would hope that they would cease doing this today, because we have clearly indicated that we believe that they're operating against, certainly, the intent of the law, if not the actual law," he said. "The online environment has the potential for people to get themselves into serious trouble," he said. Anti-gambling independent senator Nick Xenophon said the in-play betting changes were not enough. "What is concerning is the Government won't commit to a permanent ban on in-play betting, given the link between in-play betting and gambling addiction," he said. "The concern is this is a short-term solution to get the Government through the election." The Australian Wagering Council, which represents online sport betting companies, said "offshore operators will be delighted" online in-play betting remained illegal in Australia. "Regrettably, the Government has decided to maintain the archaic prohibition ... despite overwhelming international evidence that access to live betting online is of the key factors in why Australians choose to wager with unlicensed offshore operators," council chief executive Ian Fletcher said. "The combined effect of attempting to ban click-to-call technology and maintaining a prohibition on online in-play betting will ensure wagering by Australians with illegal offshore operators will increase," he said. "Land-based operators, pubs and clubs, too may see this as a protectionist lifeline." Illegal offshore wagering also targeted. The Government said it would also work with banks and credit card providers to identify ways to block payments to illegal offshore wagering. "The tougher laws will seriously disrupt the illegal offshore providers from acting unscrupulously or targeting vulnerable Australians," Mr Tudge said. "Clearly if bets are being made on illegal offshore gambling sites people do not have the same legal protections or consumer protections." "There are also issues in relation to sports integrity." The report estimated illegal offshore gambling accounted for between five and 25 per cent of the online betting market — up to $400 million annually. The Government has accepted 14 of 19 recommendations in full and four in-principle, including developing a national self-exclusion register and forcing operators to allow punters to set voluntary betting limits. The Government's announcement comes in response to a review of Australia's online wagering sector written by former New South Wales premier Barry O'Farrell.
Source: Dan Conifer, "Live online sports betting loophole to be closed by Federal Government", 26 April 2016, ABC, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-28/government-closes-online-live-sports-betting-loophole/7367406
Cricket South Africa is on the brink of charging at least five players for their involvement in the match-fixing scandal that threw the sport’s most popular domestic competition into turmoil this summer. The five players – four from the Highveld Lions and one from the Titans – are going to be charged in the coming days. The five are understood to have all had contact with Gulam Bodi who earlier this year admitted to being an intermediary for illegal gambling syndicates – understood to be based on the Asian sub-continent. Bodi has been banned by Cricket SA from involvement in all cricket-related activities for 20 years. A sixth player, whose name is known to The Independent on Saturday, is also still under investigation. The exact nature of his involvement in the scandal must still be determined and it’s understood Cricket SA and the investigation officials are treading carefully before charges can be laid. Two players – Alviro Petersen and Lonwabo Tsotsobe – publicly admitted that they were being investigated. Petersen told Wisden India in Marchlast month that he’d reported an approach from Bodi and had in fact helped Cricket SA with its investigation. The match-fixing scandal arose last November, when Cricket SA announced that attempts had been made to fix matches in the RamSlam T20 competition – South Africa’s most watched domestic event. The competition is the only one of the country’s three franchise competitions that is broadcast overseas, putting it firmly in the sights of numerous illegal gambling syndicates operating on the sub-continent and the Middle East. The exact nature of the five players’ involvement will be established when they are charged next week. It is understood that their involvement includes not reporting an approach from Bodi – which they are bound to do in terms of their contracts – to accepting money for spot-fixing. Bodi, along with the five players, will be charged under the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 that includes a clause specific to corrupting sports events. Known as the “Hansie” clause – a reference to the former national skipper Hansie Cronjé who admitted to attempting to fix matches in 2000 – it reads: “Any person who… accepts or agrees or offers to accept any gratification from any other person… or gives or agrees or offers to give to any other person any gratification... in return for engaging in any act which constitutes a threat to or undermines the integrity of any sporting event… including‚ in any way influencing the run of play or the outcome of a sporting event; or not reporting the act… is guilty of the offence of corrupt activities relating to sporting events.” When announcing Bodi’s ban at the end of January, Cricket SA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the organisation was confident that they’d caught Bodi in the planning phase and that no matches had been fixed. “Several players rejected Bodi’s approaches,” Lorgat said at the time. At least one of the players set to be charged is understood to be in dire straits financially owing the SA Revenue Service a substantial sum understood to be in the region of six figures. Four of the players were still contracted to their franchises, but none will receive new contracts owing to the charges they will face. Cricket SA refused to comment on Friday.
Source: Stuart Hess, "Match fixers stumped: CSA to charge five Ram Slam players", 30 April 2016, IOL, https://www.iol.co.za/sport/cricket/domestic/match-fixers-stumped-csa-to-charge-five-ram-slam-players-2016061
FORMER ZIFA chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya was yesterday hauled before Harare Magistrates’ Court on allegations of attempting to fix the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football qualifiers between Zimbabwe and Swaziland last month. It is the State case that between January and February this year Rushwaya, acting in cahoots with ZIFA executive committee member Edzai Kasinauyo, former national team coach Ian Gorowa and Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube, were involved in acts of match-fixing targeting the South African Premier Soccer League. The State papers add that she was also working with Leeroy Kundishora Waguta and well-known Asian match-fixer Chan Sankaran, who was the financier.In February 2016, the accused persons, in one of their routines, agreed to fix the AFCON qualifying matches between Swaziland and Zimbabwe scheduled for March 25 and 28 in Mbabane and Harare respectively, the papers read. The State further alleges that Kasinauyo was tasked to put pressure on Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa to prematurely release the squad list for the two matches and in the event that he failed, Dube was to leak the list to the syndicate. It is also alleged that in their plan, the syndicate had agreed to target a goalkeeper and any two defenders. After the delay in announcing the list of players by the coach, the accused identified Tatenda Mukuruva as the probable goalkeeper, hence Gorowa phoned Mukuruva inviting him to South Africa purporting that he wanted him for trials with an attempt to lure him for their illicit arrangement. The State, in the same papers, say Waguta blew the whistle on the alleged plot by alerting Pasuwa of the plan and promising to keep him updated on the group’s activities. After failing to handle the pressure applied to him by the accused, Pasuwa informed ZIFA president Phillip Chiyangwa of the alleged plot. This culminated in ZIFA CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze making a police report.
Source: AP, "Rushwaya in court for match-fixing ", 27 April 2016, News Day https://www.newsday.co.zw/2016/04/27/rushwaya-court-match-fixing/
The National Anti-Doping Agency has taken note of the recent WADA report that placed Indian athletes among the top three in the world as far as doping violations are concerned. The sports ministry on Friday announced that the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has launched an outreach programme to make Indian athletes aware about the pitfalls of taking substances which are prohibited by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The move comes on the heels of a WADA report released on Thursday that placed Indian athletes among the top three in the world as far as doping violations are concerned. But the sports ministry is confident that the issue will be effectively dealt with in the near future. "With increasing awareness among sportspersons regarding these matters number of such cases are likely to go down. NADA deals with matters relating to awareness of doping in sports including dissemination of information, educating the sportspersons, coaches and support personnel on the ill effects of doping through teaching sessions/seminars/workshops and organizing dope tests on athletes both in-competition and out-of-competition," the ministry said in a statement on Friday. "NADA has launched the 'Program for Education and Awareness on Anti-Doping in Sports' (PEADS) since October 2014 with an objective to deal with the fight against doping across the country. The programme has been conducted at various places across the country during sport events/training sessions conducted by National Sports Federations (NSF), Association of all Intra Universities, SAI centres, SAI training centres, School Games Federation and Services Sports Control Boards," the statement added. The ministry also informed that the government will establish outreach centres across the country in order to increase awareness among athletes. "Further, to broaden the outreach program, Government of India has decided to establish five regional outreach centers to increase the anti-doping education and awareness at all levels of sports in the country. Under this initiative, a total number of 64 such educational program/anti-doping workshops were conducted along with stakeholders in association with sports organisations, state sports authorities and physical Education Departments/Colleges/Universities etc," the statement said. "In addition, the anti-doping brochures/information has been got translated and printed by NADA in 14 different languages viz. Hindi, English, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Assamese, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya, Kashmiri and Manipuri languages to ensure the best communication of anti-doping amongst the athlete groups belonging to various parts of India." On Thursday, WADA had reported that India had the third highest anti-doping violations in 2014, with 96 cases, behind Russia (148) and Italy (123). Belgium (91), France (91), Turkey (73), Australia (49), China (49), Brazil (46) and South Korea (43) followed India in the top 10. The report was based on the information supplied by various national bodies.
Source: Rohan Sen, "NADA launches programme to control doping among Indian athletes", 29 April 2016, India Today, https://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nada-launches-programme-to-control-doping-among-indian-athletes/1/655568.html
Latvia’s pharmaceutical company Grindex that manufactures mildronate, a brand name for meldonium, seeks the exclusion of the substance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list from next year, its chairman of the board Juris Bundulis told reporters on Monday. The company has sent an open letter to WADA that is available for the public, Bundulis said, adding: "We should ensure that from January 1 next year our drug is no more on the list of banned substances." In its letter Grindex said that it has sent its overview to WADA as the world anti-doping body had not provided the company with sufficient scientific proofs substantiating the inclusion of meldonium into the list of preparations banned from January 1, 2016. WADA announced on Wednesday that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable and the athlete at the issue was not a subject to any sanctions whatsoever. Meldronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription. Russian sport has been in the center of doping-related scandals since the fall of 2014. Since early February, control over doping abuse in Russian sports has been exercised by RUSADA only under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).
Source: AP, "Manufacturer wants meldonium to be excluded from WADA prohibited list in 2017", 18 April 2016, TASS, https://tass.ru/en/sport/870521
The Wimbledon championships will protect its squeaky clean image with enhanced anti-doping and anti-corruption measures for this year’s 130th tournament, organizers said on Tuesday. Tennis was rocked by allegations of match-fixing on the eve of this year’s Australian Open and suffered another blow to its integrity when former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova said in February she had failed a drugs test. At a news conference announcing yet another substantial hike in prize money, the All England Club pledged to beef up its safeguards against sport’s two biggest threats. Measures will include data streams and videos of all matches, including in qualifying events, enhanced data monitoring and player education as well as additional anti-doping controls to complement those already run at the tournament by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). “Whether it’s integrity or anti-doping we feel we should enhance what we are doing,” Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Club, told reporters. “There has been lots of media scrutiny since January and it’s appropriate that we respond accordingly.” The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) received no betting alerts during the 2015 championships, but All England Club chairman Philip Brook said the prestigious tournament needed to safeguard public trust, admitting that the sport’s image was under threat. “We don’t think there is a big issue but we will do whatever it takes to keep the sport clean,” he said. “It’s an issue of perception rather than reality.” “I think it’s hard to say (this year’s events) haven’t had an impact,” he added. It is still unclear whether provisionally suspended Sharapova, the 2004 champion, will play this year as she is awaiting the outcome of her anti-doping hearing after testing positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open. Brook said her absence would be a “great shame”. “She is a former champion here at Wimbledon and very popular with the crowds. But I think in terms of what has happened we need to let due process take its course,” he said. No figures were revealed regarding how much the All England Club is investing to safeguard the tournament’s integrity. They were more forthcoming about a five percent rise in prize money, taking the total pool to 28.1 million pounds — second only to the U.S. Open. The winners of the men’s and women’s singles titles will pocket two million pounds, up 6.4 percent on 2015. First-round losers in the singles will take home 30,000 pounds ($44,000) — a 161 percent rise from 2011 when Wimbledon pledged to assist those players struggling lower down the rankings.
Source: Martyn Herman, "Wimbledon to beef up measures against doping, corruption", 26 April 2016, Reuters, https://www.euronews.com/sport/3185720-wimbledon-to-beef-up-measures-against-doping-corruption/
INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS
30-31 May in Rio de Janeiro - National Workshop "15th INTERPOL Global Programme on Anti-Corruption, Financial Crimes, and Asset Recovery: Combating Crimes in Sport" in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Federal Police
2-3 Juin in Rio de Janeiro - INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Training for Law Enforcement: "How to investigate Match-fixing and illegal betting", in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Federal Police
13 May - The annual meeting of the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime will take place in Paris organized by the French National Gendarmerie. During the event the INTERPOL's anti-doping activities and Project ENERGIA will be presented
- 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Anti-Corruption Anti-Doping Australia Australian Wagering Council Central Service for Combating Corruption Cricket Cricket South Africa (CSA) Football India International Tennis Federation (ITF) INTERPOL IOC Latvia Match-Fixing NADO National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) National Sports Federations Program for Education and Awareness on Anti-Doping in Sports (PEADS) South Africa Tennis Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) The Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA) UEFA UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) United Kingdom (UK) Wimbledon World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Zimbabwe Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA)