Over the past two weeks of March, we followed with interest ongoing investigations, sentences and sanctions, and good practices to protect the integrity of sport.
In Greece, Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner has been cleared of forming a match-fixing ring in Greece by the country's Supreme Court, but may still face a bribery charge.
He also faces charges of drug trafficking in a heroin smuggling case, which he denies. In Malta, the Malta Football Association (MFA) is looking into match-fixing allegations for the international friendly between Finland and Malta. Similarly, match-fixing suspicions are being raised for the friendly between Sierra Leone and Iran.
In terms of sanctions and sentences, Albania’s leading club KF Skënderbeu has been issued with a 10-year ban from European competition by UEFA for match-fixing. Skënderbeu were also handed a €1 million fine for fixing more than 50 matches. In Greece, the owner of Greek club PAOK has been banned for three years after storming onto the pitch with a holstered gun on his belt. The ruling also includes a 100,000-euro ($123,000) fine for Greek-Russian businessman Savvidis and a separate 63,000-euro fine for PAOK.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to give a 20-year ban on Rajan Nayer from getting involved in any of the ICC activities. He confessed to the ICC that he had offered Graeme Cremer to fix a match in exchange for money, but the Zimbabwe captain had declined the offer.
Also in Australian cricket, captain Steve Smith has been banned for one match and fined his entire match fee by the ICC for his part in a ball-tampering incident in South Africa.
As a result of the ball-tampering scandal, Darren Lehmann is to quit as head coach of Australia at the end of the current Test series against South Africa.
Concerning doping, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) brought together anti-doping investigators and analysts to strengthen its network and capacity for an intelligence and investigations led anti-doping policy. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has outsourced its anti-doping programme, as part of a package of governance reform measures to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to lift its warning on boxing's Olympic status.
Regarding good practices, we note with interest that the Australian government is considering setting up a national body to keep drugs and match-fixing out of Australian sport.
In terms of partnerships, the Austrian Play Fair Code (PFC) have signed a memorandum of understanding with Sportradar and UEFA and ESSA join forces to combat match-fixing by signing an information-sharing agreement.
Evangelos Marinakis: Nottingham Forest owner cleared of forming Greek match-fixing ring
Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis has been cleared of forming a match-fixing ring in Greece by the country's Supreme Court, but may still face a bribery charge. Greek media report the bribery allegations relating to match manipulation have been referred to a judicial council to determine whether or not to drop the charges against him. Marinakis denies any wrongdoing. The 50-year-old also faces charges of drug trafficking, which he denies.
On Friday, prosecutors in Piraeus, where Super League club Olympiakos is based, said the shipping magnate and three of his associates were facing "very serious charges" after an investigation into a tanker that was was carrying 2.1 tonnes of heroin in 2014.
Marinakis has said he is "innocent" and "a victim of a plot". The Supreme Court's ruling on Monday came after Marinakis was charged at Athens Court of Appeals in November with forming a match-fixing ring. Related blackmail and fraud charges against him have been dropped after being re-examined by the Supreme Court.
When Marinakis bought two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest in May, he told the BBC that allegations he was involved in a "criminal organisation" were invented by "jealous" opponents to "destroy" his success with Olympiakos.
Source: 27 March 2018, BBC
Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis charged with drug trafficking
The Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, has been charged with drug trafficking in a heroin smuggling case that has shocked Greece.
Late on Friday the Greek public prosecutor, Eirini Tziva, accused the shipowner businessman of what were described as “very serious charges” following a three-year investigation into the Noor 1, a tanker intercepted in the port of Piraeus carrying 2.1 tonnes of heroin in 2014.
Marinakis, 50, was also charged with financing an illegal operation. Three of his close associates were named with him on the charge sheet.
The judicial inquiry had followed the money, focusing on bank transfers that had raised suspicion. Court sources were quoted as saying that several money transfers had been linked to the impounded vessel and probably used to finance it.
Marinakis, in a midnight statement carried in Ta Nea, the daily newspaper he owns, furiously denied the accusations, saying: “The recent judicial action is a deliberate attempt at character assassination. The allegations are fabricated and without any foundation in law or fact. It is a deliberate plot that has long been in the making and as such it is not only offensive, but quite simply criminal … I have never had anything whatsoever to do with the acts for which an investigative inquiry is apparently set to be restarted. It is clear to me that the results of any new investigation will confirm my innocence.” He ended the robust defence declaring: “I will not compromise, I will not capitulate, nor will I succumb to their dirty plan.”
The statement was also carried on the website of Olympiakos, the Greek champions, whom Marinakis also owns. Ta Nea itself has been fiercely critical of Alexis Tsipras’s leftist-led government.
The severity of the charges are such that Tziva ordered an investigating magistrate, specialised in cases of corruption, to also handle the affair. The prosecutor said the inquiry should be expanded to include other possible criminal acts including fuel smuggling and money laundering. Greek media said a travel ban had also been levelled against the accused. Marinakis was not believed to be in Greece but abroad when the charges were formally announced.
This is not the businessman’s first brush with the law. In 2015 he was acquitted of complicity in a match-fixing network whose web extended across seven countries. In that case charges were brought after Uefa detected a pattern of irregular betting in the countries. The magnate, who bought Nottingham Forest 10 months ago in a £50m takeover, attributed those charges to “jealous” critics bent on blighting his Greek team’s winning streak. “Of course I cannot stop our opponents talking or bad-mouthing,” he said.
Source: 24 March 2018, The Guardian
MFA looking into reports Malta match against Finland was fixed
The Malta Football Association will be looking into allegations made in Finnish media that the international friendly between Finland and Malta played last Monday was fixed. Finland beat Malta 5-0, with the first three goals arriving in the first 27 minutes.
"The Malta Football Association has taken note of the media reports on the betting patterns in connection with the friendly match between Finland and Malta, played on 26th March, 2018 at the Gloria Sports Arena in Belek, Turkey," the statement said.
"While no official information has been received so far, the Malta FA is looking into these claims with the assistance of its official partners in this field, and the matter is being referred to the competent bodies for further evaluation."
A report in the Finnish media claimed that the match is being investigated over suspicious odds. Finnish broadcaster yle.fi reported that the Finnish governing body of football is investigating claims made by Federbet, a non-governmental organisation that looks over suspicions of match-fixing.
The claim was made in a post on their official Facebook account, that the odds of the friendly match between Finland and Malta were deemed as suspicious.
“We do not blame anyone. As usual, we got some signs of suspicious betting and monitored the international market,” Federbet secretary general Francesco Baranca told the Finnish broadcaster.
Marco Casagrande, Secretary General of the Finnish Football Association, said that governing body intends to clarify the matter.
"We are going to make a thorough investigation through our channels, in collaboration with UEFA," he said.
"I am not suspicious but since these rumours travel quickly in both national and international competition, we want to find out more about this."
Source: 30 March 2018, Malta Independent
Match-fixing fears raised over Iran-Sierra Leone friendly
A friendly between Sierra Leone and World Cup qualifiers Iran last month could be the subject of a match-fixing inquiry, the BBC has learned.
Iran, who meet Spain, Portugal and Morocco in Russia, won 4-0 in Tehran.
Sierra Leone FA (SLFA) president Isha Johansen says an under-strength side left Freetown without her consent.
"I'd like to suggest the Match-Fixing Enquiry Committee looks into [how] this friendly was agreed upon and conducted by the SLFA," Johansen wrote to Fifa.
The Sierra Leone line-up on 17 March was far from representative of the full-strength national side, largely composed of youngsters with just a handful of overseas-based players making the trip.
Johansen says she only learned about the match after the squad had left for Iran and claims that rival factions within the SLFA organised the game instead.
It is said these individuals answered Iranian federation (FFIRI) letters addressed to SLFA general secretary Christopher Kamara without his approval.
"I was impersonated in this arrangement," Kamara told BBC Sport in a statement. He says he did not initially see the correspondence.
The FFIRI, which funded Sierra Leone's flights and accommodation, says it would have cancelled the friendly had it known of its alleged true nature. However, once the players had landed in Iran, the FFIRI felt there was little option but to play the game.
"Cancelling the match will definitely lead to immense financial loss for our federation, not to mention that all preparations plans will be disrupted ahead of the World Cup," FFIRI president Mehdi Taj wrote to Johansen two days before the friendly.
The latter says she allowed the game to go ahead in order to preserve "long-term future relations" with Iran but she has had serious reservations since.
"I am gravely concerned by recent events," added Johansen in her letter, which was copied to Fifa general secretary Fatma Samoura.
"My fear is that activities may have already taken place unknowingly to me for which I may one day [have] to account for."
Sierra Leone Football Association president Isha Johansen
Sierra Leone FA president Isha Johansen
The match against Asia's top-rated side was the first fixture in nine months for Sierra Leone, who are 98th in the Fifa rankings, between the Faroe Islands and India.
Iran will meet 2010 World Cup winners Spain, reigning European champions Portugal and North Africans Moroccan in Group B at Russia 2018.
A Fifa investigation unit is already set to look into potential match-fixing involving Sierra Leone's national team - dating back to 2008 - following the country's presidential election run-off on 27 March.
The inquiry includes a World Cup qualifier between Sierra Leone and South Africa in Atteridgeville in June 2008, which ended goalless.
Johansen now wants the Iran game to be added to the matches being investigated by this Match Fixing Enquiry Committee.
Since 2014, 11 officials and four internationals have been suspended by Sierra Leone's FA pending investigation, with all having denied wrongdoing
Source: 27 March 2018, BBC
ICC reveals mastermind behind match-fixing offer to Graeme Cremer
The International Cricket Council has decided to slap a 20-year ban on Rajan Nayer from getting involved in any of the ICC activities. Rajan Nayer, the Treasurer and Marketing Director of the Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association, confessed to the ICC that he had offered Graeme Cremer to fix a match in exchange for money, but the Zimbabwe captain had declined the offer.
Apparently, Rajan Nayer was in talks with an Indian businessman regarding a T20 tournament. This Indian businessman, who remains anonymous as yet, is being touted as the mastermind behind the entire match-fixing scandal. He was willing to offer the Zimbabwe captain a handsome amount to keep the entire story a secret.
Rajan Nayer had initially contacted Cremer through Whatsapp and then he even called him regarding this. The Indian businessman had also talked to Cremer on the phone asking him to fix the game during the West Indies – Zimbabwe Test series. Apparently, Nayer was hesitant in the initial stages, but he agreed to give the entire matter a try.
The ICC’S verdict suggests that Nayer had already anticipated Cremer rejecting the proposal. He also had informed the same to the Indian businessman. Both Nayer and the Indian guy had done all this to find some sponsorship for a T20 event and eventually, the plan got busted and got penalized quite badly.
Nayer had confessed his crimes and accepted the charges against him which included the violation of Article 2.1.1, 2.1.3 and 2.14, which comply as "being party to an effort to fix", "offering a player US $30,000 to fix" and "directly solicited, induced, enticed or encouraged a player" for fixing
Alex Marshall, General Manager of ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), stated: “I welcome the result of the investigation and the substantial sanction imposed upon Mr. Nayer. It is important that the seriousness of his offenses were reflected in the length of the ban.
He also thanked Graeme Cremer for acting very professionally during the entire saga. “I would like to place on record my thanks to Graeme Cremer, who has acted with the utmost professionalism throughout this process. Immediately after he received the approach from Mr. Nayer he reported it to the ICC and we were able to get an investigation underway swiftly.
“Graeme has been involved and updated throughout the investigation and has played a critical role in ensuring that corruption has no place in our sport. I would also like to extend my thanks to Zimbabwe Cricket with whom we have worked closely throughout the investigation,” he concluded.
Source: Anuraag, 29 March 2018, CricTracker
UEFA slams Skenderbeu with 10-year European ban and €1m fine for matchfixing
Albania’s leading club KF Skënderbeu has been issued with a 10-year ban from European competition by UEFA for matchfixing. Club president Ardjan Takaj has said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and failing that appeal will take the case to the Swiss federal court. Skënderbeu were also handed a €1 million fine for fixing more than 50 matches.
Skenderbeu were given a year-long suspension from European competition served in 2016-17 for matchfixing. That decision was upheld by CAS.
During the recent UEFA investigation, confederation and outside investigators received death threats with one reportedly receiving a bullet in the post. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin issued a statement saying UEFA would not be intimidated by third parties and gave “100%” support to investigators.
“We will never allow UEFA staff working on these matters, or any other matters, to be subject to threats or intimidation from any third parties. They have the full backing of the organisation, including 100% personal support from me,” said Ceferin.
UEFA’s ban is predominantly based on information from its betting fraud detection system (BFDS) which identified 53 matches involving Skenderbeu – including in European club competitions – which allegedly manipulated for betting gain between November 2010 and April 2016. The case focused on four games: two from the 2015-16 Champions League qualifying rounds and two from that season’s Europa League group phase. UEFA, after the first ban on Skenderbeu, issued a report adding fresh evidence from a panel of coaches as well as using an external company to reconfirm its findings.
The report was leaked in Albania causing fury amongst fans and officials of the six times Albanian champion club. The report spoke of “manipulation attempts to obtain criminal betting profits on a stunning global scale” and the club having “no respect for the integrity of the game”.
Skenderbeu have repeatedly denied the allegations saying there is no evidence of organised crime and that they will contest all accusations.
Source: Paul Nicholson, 2 April 2018, Inside World Football
Ball-tampering row: Australia captain Steve Smith banned for one Test and fined
Australia captain Steve Smith has been banned for one match and fined his entire match fee by cricket's world governing body for his part in a ball-tampering incident in South Africa.
Smith said the team's "leadership group" had a plan, carried out by Cameron Bancroft, to tamper with the ball to "get an advantage".
Smith, 28, will now miss the fourth and final Test of the series.
Bancroft, 25, was fined 75% of his match fee and got three demerit points.
Smith admitted a charge of conduct "of a serious nature that is contrary to the spirit of the game", said a statement from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"As captain, Steve Smith must take full responsibility for the actions of his players and it is appropriate that he be suspended," said ICC chief executive David Richardson.
Hours later, the Australians lost 10 wickets in the final session of day four to lose the third Test by 322 runs.
Chasing a target of 430, they reached 47-0 at tea but were all out for 107. Smith had made one when he top-edged Kagiso Rabada for six, but soon departed for seven.
South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel, who will retire from international cricket at the end of the series, took the final wicket to finish with 5-23 as the hosts took a 2-1 series lead.
The final match of the ill-tempered series begins in Johannesburg on Friday.
Source: 25 March 2018, BBC
PAOK owner banned 3 years for armed pitch invasion
The owner of Greek club PAOK has been banned for three years after storming onto the pitch with a holstered gun on his belt, league organisers said. PAOK were also docked three points and fined for Ivan Savvidis' actions at the end of a match against AEK Athens, meaning they drop to third place in a tight championship race with AEK and Olympiakos.
The ruling also includes a 100,000-euro ($123,000) fine for Greek-Russian businessman Savvidis and a separate 63,000-euro fine for PAOK. PAOK, based in the northern port of Thessaloniki, said they will appeal. Also Thursday, the monitoring committee of global football body FIFA recommended the immediate suspension of Greece's football federation, according to a letter leaked to Greek media.
The Greek league will resume on Saturday after being suspended on March 12 in the wake of the Savvidis incident. Athens-based AEK now have a commanding lead at the top with 57 points followed by Olympiakos with 50 and PAOK with 49 points.
The clubs have agreed to a list of government demands, including point deductions and automatic relegation for clubs responsible for violence.
Savvidis, a 58-year-old tobacco industrialist and a former lawmaker with the party of Russian president Vladimir Putin, stormed onto the pitch to confront the referee in protest at a 90th-minute disallowed goal in what was then a top-of-the-table clash against AEK Athens.
His club said: "The penalty is harsh and (was made) under the pressure of a targeted communication storm against PAOK. We are appealing and expect to be judged on the basis of actual facts."
It said Savvidis had the support of "the entire family of PAOK, stronger and more determined than ever".
The Greek Super League docked PAOK three points from this season and two from next season, and ordered them to play the next three home matches without spectators. The league banned the club's football director Lubos Michel for three months and fined him 15,000 euros for threatening the referee in the AEK match. There was little sympathy for PAOK from their Athens-based rivals.
"We expected PAOK to be punished and that we would be on the top. I think we deserve to be at the top as we have played the best football," AEK forward Tasos Bakasetas told Nova TV.
Greek football has perennially been plagued by violence and match-fixing.
The head of a FIFA committee set up last July to monitor the Greek footballfederation, Herbert Hubel, recommended in his report to FIFA's leadership that Greece, the 2004 European champions, be excluded from international competition.
Hubel mentioned the pitch invasion by Savvidis, as well as the suspension of the league, the suspension of PAOK from the European Club Association and continuous delays in court decisions about match outcomes.
Source: Lou Economopoulos, 29 March 2018, Chicago Tribune
ICC suspends Zimbabwe official for 20 years
Rajan Nayar, a domestic cricket official in Zimbabwe, has been suspended from all cricketing activities for 20 years by the ICC for attempting to improperly influence an international match.
The incident had taken place in October last year when Nayar approached Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer and offered USD 30,000 to engage in corrupt activity. Cremer "immediately" reported to the approach to the ICC, which began an investigation into the matter.
Nayar, serving as treasurer and marketing director of Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association (HMCA) at the time, accepted all the charges against him. The suspension will be backdated to the start of his provisional suspension on 16 January, 2018.
Alex Marshall, general manager with the ICC"s Anti-Corruption Unit, said: "I welcome the result of the investigation and the substantial sanction imposed upon Mr. Nayer. It is important that the seriousness of his offences was reflected in the length of the ban.
"I would like to place on record my thanks to Graeme Cremer, who has acted with the utmost professionalism throughout this process. Immediately after he received the approach from Mr. Nayar he reported it to the ICC and we were able to get an investigation underway swiftly. Graeme has been involved and updated throughout the investigation and has played a critical role in ensuring that corruption has no place in our sport."
Cremer himself expressed surprise that a well-known official had acted in such a manner. "I was appalled to be approached by someone so closely connected to the game and there was no doubt in my mind that I had to report it as soon as I could. We receive education around this which you never expect to have to use, but it certainly helped when it came to knowing what to do."
Source: 27 March 2018, ESPN
WADA strengthens global network of anti-doping investigators and analysts
An important and far-reaching meeting in Helsinki, Finland, this week brought together 26 investigators and analysts who are on the front line of anti-doping intelligence gathering around the world.
Hosted by the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), that country’s National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO), the meeting brought together representatives from 11 NADOs, two International Federations as well as representatives from Interpol and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA's) Intelligence and Investigations (I&I) Department. They heard presentations on latest I&I innovations as well as reviewed a draft version of the Anti-Doping Intelligence and Investigations Network (ADIIN) management plan, which will be presented to WADA’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board in May.
WADA Director, I&I, Gunter Younger, who presented at the meeting, said: “This meeting is about equipping Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) around the world with the tools necessary to launch their own investigations. Lessons learned from the results of WADA’s independent Pound Commission and McLaren Investigation into Russian doping show that it is more effective and efficient for ADOs to carry out their own investigations rather than relying on externally mandated operations.
“WADA’s I&I Department has identified investigators and analysts within ADOs who have the required skills and experience and are ready to join the ADIIN. This network is a secure environment where participants can share experiences, expertise, international best practice and operational data in a confidential way.
“With the ultimate goal of protecting clean athletes around the world, it is in everyone’s best interest to build this network of trusted and experienced investigators and analysts. ADIIN members are often the first port of call for us when we launch an investigation and need support and additional intelligence.”
FINCIS Chief Investigative Officer Jouko Ikonen said: “Investigative methods are a key part of FINCIS's strategic choices. It is important that we work together with these top international experts. Therefore, it was our honour to host the meeting in Helsinki.”
Source: 28 March 2018, World Anti-Doping Agency
Govt considers new sports integrity body
The Turnbull government is considering setting up a national body to keep drugs and match-fixing out of Australian sport. Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie on Friday received a report by Justice James Wood into the nation's sports integrity arrangements.
The retired judge and his panel were asked to examine national and international threats including the rise of illegal offshore wagering, match-fixing and doping in sport. The inquiry also looked at the merits of a national sports integrity commission covering all sporting codes.
Senator McKenzie, who has not released the report, said the review had made 52 recommendations which the government would now consider. "The government looks forward to working with all stakeholders to continue to protect the integrity and reputation of Australian sport and our proud sporting heritage," she said in a statement on Friday.
Labor sports spokesman Don Farrell told AAP all Australians expected sport to be a fair contest on a level playing field. "They say the best disinfectant is sunlight - one of the best ways to ensure integrity is through transparency," Senator Farrell said.
"The government should release the Wood report so that all stakeholders can be confident there will be a timely and appropriate response to its recommendations."
Source: APP 2018, 23 March 2018, 9News
PLAY FAIR CODE STRENGTHENS TIES WITH SPORTRADAR
The Austrian Play Fair Code (PFC) have signed a memorandum of understanding with Sportradar as one of the world’s leading suppliers of sports integrity solutions.
PFC was founded by the Austrian Sports Ministry, the Austrian Football Association (AFA) and the Austrian Football League collectively as the Association for Protecting the Integrity in Sports. It includes the most important Austrian sports stakeholders such as the Austrian Federal Sports Organisation, the Austrian Olympic Committee, the Austrian Ski Federation, the Bookmakers’ Federation, the Austrian Lotteries, the Austrian Ice Hockey League, the Austrian Basketball League together with a range of Austrian betting providers.
The relationship between PFC and Sportradar will strengthen the ties between the two organisations and will incorporate the exchange of know-how and best-practices with a strong focus in the education and prevention field to reach their common objectives of fighting corruption in sport across Austria and worldwide through a range of joint approaches.
Moreover, the cooperation will also ensure mutual coordination and support of their efforts and advocacy before international and European authorities and institutions.
Play Fair Code President, Günter Kaltenbrunner said: “We are very pleased to strengthen our relationship with Sportradar.
“We are both united in our aims and our joint efforts will ensure that we can be more confident in helping to diminish the risks of potential manipulation in sports across Austria.”
Play Fair Code CEO, Severin Moritzer added: “After nearly five years of a constant and fruitful relationship, we are now happy to take a next important step in this mutually beneficial cooperation.”
Sportradar’s Managing Director of Integrity Services, Andreas Krannich, said: “We are very proud to be sharing our expertise with the Play Fair Code. The information we can provide from our monitoring and detection system including our advanced intelligence, investigation, education and consultancy will cover all bases.
“Combined with PFC’s in-depth expertise in the education field, this approach will see us mutually focus on eliminating potential corruption across sporting codes.”
ABOUT PLAY FAIR CODE (PFC)
Prior to 2012 the complex set of questions relating to how to deal with the controversial issues of match-fixing and betting fraud had never been tackled in a comprehensive manner in Austria. This changed substantially when the Austrian Ministry of Sport, the Austrian Football Association (AFA) and the Austrian Football League collectively founded the Association for Protecting the Integrity in Sport.
The association, which operates on a day-to-day basis under the brand name "Play Fair Code", has subsequently been joined by a series of other major sports stakeholders, including the Austrian Federal Sports Organisation, the Austrian Olympic Committee, the Austrian Ski Federation, the Bookmakers’ Federation, the Austrian Lotteries and the Austrian Ice Hockey League (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga), the Austrian Basketball League (Admiral Basketball Bundesliga) together with a range of Austrian betting providers.
On an international level the Play Fair Code is a frequently present expert partner in various Erasmus+ projects and in steady exchange with UEFA and the IOC.
The operating strategy of the PFC lies in prevention and monitoring and has included the creation of an ombudsmen facility to receive communications related to match-fixing in Austrian sport.
For more information about Play Fair Code (PFC), visit its website at https://www.playfaircode.at/.
Source: 27 March 2018, Sportradar
UEFA and ESSA join forces to combat match-fixing
UEFA has signed an information-sharing agreement with the international betting integrity body ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity) which will strengthen UEFA’s campaign to rid football of match-fixing.
Under the agreement, ESSA and its membership of 25 leading sports betting operators will support UEFA’s efforts to identify attempted match manipulation by using the ESSA alert platform, which is dedicated to monitoring, reporting and tracking suspicious betting activity around the globe.
UEFA has a zero tolerance policy towards match-fixing. The UEFA President, Aleksander eferin, has made the fight against match-fixing a major priority, and European football’s governing body has developed, and financed, a number of initiatives designed to protect the integrity of the European game.
Among these is the operation of a betting fraud detection system (BFDS), which monitors and analyses betting activities on about 32,000 matches in Europe each year, in both UEFA and domestic football competitions.
The European body has also, among others, created a network of integrity officers within the body's national associations, who are liaising with local law enforcement agencies. In addition, UEFA is working together with the European law enforcement agency EUROPOL, as well as other national crime and gambling authorities and also directly with police forces and prosecutors, and runs education programmes for players, referees and coaches to inform and educate them about the dangers of match-fixing. Anyone committing a match-fixing offence can expect to be banned for life from the sport by UEFA’s disciplinary authorities.
ESSA holds positions on match-fixing and betting policy forums at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It is driving a number of important initiatives aimed at addressing match-fixing, and is currently involved in a series of anti-match-fixing projects.
“We are delighted that ESSA will be teaming up with UEFA in our mission to eradicate the manipulation of matches from football, and the exchange of information between trusted partners is a key milestone in this fight”, said UEFA’s Managing Director of Integrity, Emilio Garcia. “Match-fixing is a disease that threatens football’s soul, and the game must be safeguarded from those who seek to profit from it by criminal means.“
“ESSA has played a key role in coordinating and focusing the licensed, regulated betting industry’s zero-tolerance approach to the threat of betting-related match-fixing in sport,” said Khalid Ali, Secretary General of ESSA. “This agreement is further proof of our ongoing commitment to helping all sports authorities maintain the highest levels of integrity.”
Source: 26 March 2018, ESSA Football
ODDS AND ENDS
Australian ball-tampering: Darren Lehmann to quit as Australia coach
Darren Lehmann is to quit as head coach of Australia at the end of the current Test series against South Africa. The 48-year-old will step down after the final Test in Johannesburg, which starts on Friday, in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.
Lehmann, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by Cricket Australia, had said on Wednesday he would not resign. Former skipper Steve Smith plus batsmen David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their part in the scandal.
Lehmann made his decision after watching Smith and Bancroft deliver emotional apologies at news conferences earlier on Thursday.
"After viewing Steve and Cameron's hurting, it's only fair that I make this decision," said Lehmann, who was contracted until the 2019 Ashes. "I'm ultimately responsible for the culture of the team.
"This will allow Cricket Australia to complete a full review into the team and allow them to implement changes to regain the trust of the Australian public. This is the right thing for Australian cricket.
"It's been a wonderful experience coaching the Australian cricket team. I hope the team rebuilds from this and the Australian public finds it in their hearts to forgive these young men."
He added: "They've made a grave mistake but they are not bad people."
Lehmann was appointed head coach in 2013, losing his first Ashes series in England 3-0 before regaining the urn with a 5-0 win five months later. Australia also beat England 4-0 down under this winter. The team won the 2015 World Cup under his leadership and dealt with the death of batsman Phillip Hughes in November 2014.
Asked what his proudest moment in charge was, he replied: "I would say the way we dealt with Phillip Hughes' passing. We're only playing a game."
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said Lehmann had "provided fantastic service" to the team, adding: "His work ethic has been terrific and he genuinely cares for and loves his players."
Sutherland, who also said he would not be resigning from his role, hopes to have replaced Lehmann before Australia's limited-overs tour of England this summer. The first one-day international is at The Oval on 13 June. During the third Test in Cape Town, television footage caught Bancroft take a piece of sandpaper out of his trouser pocket before rubbing the ball.
Smith said a "leadership group" had known of the plan in advance and Cricket Australia's investigation found Warner instructed Bancroft in how to carry it out. Smith and vice-skipper Warner have been banned for a year by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was given a nine-month ban. The three had already been sent home from Australia's tour before the final Test.
Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had said the affair "bitterly disappointed the whole nation". Smith, 28, and Bancroft, 25, have also been suspended from captaining Australia for at least the next two years. Warner, 31, will not be considered for any team leadership positions in the future.
Source: 29 March 2018, BBC Sport
AIBA to outsource anti-doping programme to ease olympic concerns
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has outsourced its anti-doping programme as part of its bid to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to lift its warning on boxing's Olympic status.
The IOC warned AIBA in February that unless they address concerns about governance, finance, anti-doping and refereeing and judging that the sport could be booted out of the Olympics.
The AIBA yesterday announced that the Doping-Free Sport Unit (DFSU) of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) will take control of its doping-free activities.
"It is important to outline that AIBA, as an Olympic International Federation, is in compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code," the AIBA statement read.
Last week it was revealed that the AIBA Referees and Judges Commission recommended to the AIBA Executive that all 36 referees and judges (R&Js) at the Rio Olympics should be permanently banned from officiating.
The IOC said in February that they are not yet fully convinced that there was no match-fixing at Rio 2016 which was scandalised by a number of controversial decisions.
It's understood that the AIBA R&J Commission believe that the vast majority of R&Js in Rio were not involved in any alleged corruption but that anyone aware of any wrongdoing has a moral duty to report it.
Source: 26 March 2018, The Irish Independent
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