In this edition of the bi-weekly bulletin, we give the floor to Mrs Lorraine Pearman, Betting Integrity Programme Lead at the UK Gambling Commission who introduces the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit established in 2010, as a part of the British Gambling Commission and Britain's betting integrity national platform.
September starts with a full calendar here at INTERPOL's Integrity in Sports Unit. There will be many events taking place from now until the end of the year. This bulletin continues with a follow-up of the South Korean match-fixing case in baseball and the news of the ban on the Russian Paralympic team.
A particular case came up in this edition regarding bugging. A listening device was discovered in a meeting room of a rugby team in a hotel. One theory is that a betting syndicate is behind the planting of the device in order to gain an advantage on the betting of the matches from classified information.
THE FLOOR TO...
Mrs Lorraine Pearman, Betting Integrity Programme Lead, UK Gambling Commission
The Sports Betting Intelligence Unit, known as the SBIU, is at the centre of the British approach to address match fixing and betting integrity. Our story began back in 2010, when we were established as one of the key recommendations(1) following a government review into tackling corruption in sport. The last six years has seen many different developments that present new risks and challenges and we are continually reviewing our working practices to keep pace with ever changing complexities. Reports into SBIU increased significantly in 2014 as a result of a change to British gambling legislation. From November 2014, any operator offering betting services to British customers needed to be licensed by the Gambling Commission. This means they must comply with the licence condition that requires the reporting of suspicious betting activity to the SBIU. As a consequence we began to receive more reports. Whilst this is welcome in that we now have a much more comprehensive view of potential betting integrity issues on our regulated markets, it has increased the workload. So we have now expanded the SBIU team to five full time members from its original two.
Outside of the Commission we are members of the Sports Betting Integrity Forum (SBIF), which was formed in 2011 to help coordinate our wider national approach to protecting betting integrity. Membership is made up of representatives from sport, law enforcement, betting operators and the Commission. More details on the Forum can be found on their website(2). The SBIU and the SBIF together form Britain’s national platform. A key success of the Forum was to develop a process to support betting integrity cases where criminality is suspected. The process helps identify how criminal investigations and those relating to breaches of sports codes or rules can be run concurrently. The process was deployed in the recent case(3) involving Welsh football club Port Talbot. SBIU, South Wales Police and the Welsh Football Association, supported by betting operators and the Crown Prosecution Service, were able to act swiftly to consider the available evidence and agree what actions could be taken. Eleven arrests of footballers and their associates took place on Wednesday 10 August. We are also proud members of the Council of Europe and European Union’s Joint Project, ‘Keep Crime out of Sport’(4).
You can find out more about the SBIU on the Gambling Commission’s website(5). Or contact me on the email address below. Lorraine Pearman
A champion Australian harness racing driver is one of four industry insiders implicated in an alleged race fixing operation identified by Victoria's elite anti-sports corruption police taskforce. Fairfax Media can reveal that detectives arrested the four harness racing industry participants on Sunday early evening, after the Breeders Crown at TAB Park in Melton. The event is one of the biggest harness meets in Australia. It is the second time in as many years Victoria Police has uncovered alleged harness race fixing in an industry that generates tens of millions of dollars in gaming revenue for the state government. The race fixing allegations will be keenly watched by Victoria's thoroughbred racing administrators on the eve of the Spring Carnival. One of the suspects in the police investigation that prompted Sunday's raids - champion driver Nathan Jack - has previously been suspected of leaking inside information to punters to increase their betting odds. Analysis of Mr Jack's TAB accounts has previously uncovered an allegedly suspicious transaction. Police were still questioning Jack and the other arrested industry insiders on Sunday night. The police operation was triggered by sensitive betting activity involving a race in June last year, which stewards and police suspect may have been fixed. The inquiry has been examining whether a small number of harness racing industry identities have engaged in 'cheating in sport' offences, including manipulating a race to effect a betting outcome. Those found to have breached the laws can face serious penalties, including jail terms and large fines. Harness racing is regarded as the poor cousin of thoroughbred racing, with the smaller prize pools and a racing format that may make it easier for cheats to target. But certain figures known to police float between harness and thoroughbred racing. It is understood harness racing investigators have worked with police on the inquiry that prompted the arrests on Sunday. Harness racing has reformed its anti-corruption unit as part of a push by racing minister Martin Pakula to improve integrity measures across all three racing codes.
Source: "Top harness racing driver allegedly involved in race fixing", 29 August 2016, Sydney Morning Herald https://www.smh.com.au/sport/top-harness-racing-driver-allegedly-involved-in-race-fixing-20160828-gr2yjk
Mujokoro and Mvala allegedly attempted to bribe Border Strikers goalkeeper Talent Sande with $300 to throw way the PSL match between the two sides at Dulivhadzimu Stadium on August 3. Bulawayo City went on to win the match 1-0, but a trap was set for Mujokoro and Mvala. The club is charged with breaching Order 31.1.3 which states that it is an offence if “players, officials, servants or duly authorised (expressed or implied) representatives, for any corrupt, dishonesty or lawful purpose in connection with a game played under the auspices of the league, or in connection with the affairs of the league, give, offer or promise, whether directly or indirectly, any inducement, reward or bribe of whatsoever nature, to anybody whatsoever”. Mujokoro and Mvala are accused of violating PSL rules and regulations in connection with the alleged bribe incident that took place on August 2 in Beitbridge. Sande is the star witness in the case after he allegedly received WhatsApp messages from Mujokoro and Mvala, asking him to throw away the match for monetary gain. The summonses were signed by PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele. Bulawayo City FC acting chief executive officer Mackenzie Moyo yesterday said the club was doing its own investigations and the suspended technical staff, including head coach Philani “Beefy” Ncube and goalkeepers’ coach Reginald Buhali, would soon be appearing for a hearing at the club.
Source: "Bulawayo City summoned over match-fixing", 23 August 2016, News Day https://www.newsday.co.zw/2016/08/23/bulawayo-city-summoned-match-fixing/
A South Korean baseball player was convicted of match-fixing on Friday and handed a suspended two-year prison term for deliberately allowing or attempting to allow walks in four games last season. A broker involved in the scheme was also sentenced to one year in prison, according to Cho Janghyun, spokesman for the Changwon District Court in southeastern South Korea. Lee Tae Yang, a starter for NC Dinos in the Korea Baseball Organization, was indicted in July and accused of taking 20 million won ($17,940) from the broker in return for fixing the games. Prosecutors also indicted another player, Moon Woo-ram, for receiving 10 million won ($8,970) in cash and gifts from the broker in exchange for connecting him with Lee. Moon plays in the second-tier Korean league. The 23-year-old Lee enjoyed a breakout season for the Dinos in 2015, going 10-5 as a starter to help the team reach the playoffs. He was also part of the South Korean team that won the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s inaugural Premier 12 tournament held in Taiwan and Japan in November. Lee’s case is the latest in a string of match-fixing scandals that has plagued South Korea’s professional baseball, soccer, basketball and other sports leagues and led to convictions and lifetime bans for a number of players and coaches.
Source: "Star South Korean baseball pitcher convicted of match-fixing", 26 August 2016, Associated Press https://www.dailyrepublic.com/sports/star-south-korean-baseball-pitcher-convicted-of-match-fixing/
World Rugby are taking seriously the discovery of a listening device in the All Blacks' hotel in Sydney. A spokesman for the sport's governing body said he couldn't speculate on the particulars of the case, now being investigated by the NSW police after the bug was found hidden in a chair in a team meeting room at the InterContinental Hotel last week, but added: "We take all allegations of compromised sporting integrity seriously and have in place robust regulations and programmes, including those that operate at our own events." World Rugby has its own anti-corruption website in order to provide information to player and officials, which states all suspicious activity or behaviour must be reported to World Rugby immediately, and in some cases the police. One theory is that a betting syndicate is behind the planting of the device - any classified information can provide advantages for those betting on matches, and World Rugby is particularly strict on match fixing, and "spot fixing", whereby specific elements of the game are manipulated to provide a certain result. "In most countries, as well as contacting World Rugby, you may also be obliged to report match-fixing or potential corruption in sport to your local police service," the website says. New Zealand Rugby officials didn't report the discovery of the device to police until Saturday morning, the day of the All Blacks' 42-8 thrashing of the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium, five days after it was found in a routine security sweep by the team's security detail. A spokeswoman from the New South Wales Police media team told the Herald this morning police were still investigating and had no update. InterContinental Sydney Double Bay general manager Paul Walters said: "This matter is currently under investigation by the NSW police. InterContinental Sydney Double Bay is in full cooperation with the authorities and is assisting the investigation as required. As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not at liberty to provide any further details." AUT associate professor of sports management Geoff Dickson says the planting of the device is more likely to be the work of a gambling syndicate than anybody involved with the Australian Rugby Union or the Wallabies.
Source: Patrick McKendry, "World Rugby - we're taking bug seriously", 22 August 2016, New Zealand Herald https://m.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11698622
The head of the International Paralympic Committee said the organisation’s firm anti-doping stance has been vindicated after the court of arbitration for sport dismissed Russia’s appeal against their exclusion from next month’s Paralympic Games in Rio. The president of the IPC, Sir Philip Craven, expressed his satisfaction after a CAS panel found that the decision to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August – as exclusively revealed by the Observer – because of evidence of state-sponsored doping was neither disproportionate nor in violation of procedural rules. He added that he hopes the ban will act as a catalyst for change in Russia. “We are greatly encouraged that the CAS panel has upheld the IPC governing board’s unanimous decision to hold the Russian Paralympic Committee accountable for its membership responsibilities and obligations,” Craven said. “Today’s decision underlines our strong belief that doping has absolutely no place in Paralympic sport and further improves our ability to ensure fair competition and a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world.” The IPC has been praised for its strong response in light of a damning report by professor Richard McLaren that revealed hundreds of covered-up doping tests in most Olympic and Paralympic sports over a four-year period. The IPC’s hardline stance is in stark contrast with the International Olympic Committee, which chose not to give Russia an outright ban from the Olympics. Yet Craven insisted the absence of the 267 Russian athletes who had secured places to compete in Rio was not a moment for celebration. He continued by saying the IPC will work with the World Anti-Doping Agency to establish the criteria that will eventually allow the RPC to return to the fold. There is an opportunity for a fresh start. With the Paralympics due to begin on 7 September, the IPC will work with International Federations to redistribute the 267 slots vacated by the Russians.
Source: Jacob Steinberg, "Russia banned from Paralympics after losing appeal against doping exclusion", 23 August 2016, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/23/russia-banned-paralympics-doping-ban
On the recommendation of the Malta Football Association Executive committee a seminar was held for all its member clubs. Each Club Secretary, Team manager and Team Captain were invited to attend this highly educational seminar held at the Centenary Hall in Ta’Qali. The Seminar’s first session was directed at Premier and First Division clubs followed by another for clubs from the Second and Third Divisions. In its endeavours to guide all football stakeholders, not least its own member clubs, the Malta FA consistently presents educational programmes showing participants how to tackle difficult situations connected to match-fixing, which they may encounter in the course of their footballing career. The Seminar was introduced by the Malta FA Integrity Officer, Franz Tabone, who also dwelt on the initiatives and collaborations which the association has managed to build over recent years. He also announced the Integrity Tour 2016 which will once again be held in conjunction with Sportradar and will be touring all Premier Division clubs in November and December of this year. A special stop for this Tour will be for the Media and Task Force members. He also spoke about the Malta FA’s local and international collaboration with various organisations creating a close and important relationship which assists it in its intelligence building process.
Dr Adrian Camilleri, Malta FA’s Prosecutor went through the regulations and law, highlighting the responsibilities of players and club officials when approached or are made aware of bribery attempts and incidents. Details of the Prosecutor’s role in investigation and eventual prosecution of offenders were also described in detail. The related sanctions were clearly explained as well as the repercussions associated with non-reporting if a fixed match is exposed. Betting regulations prohibiting players and officials from placing wagers on the Association’s matches at all levels was given high importance. Dr Dominic Micallef, Chief Enforcement Officer from the Malta Gaming Authority spoke about the secure systems the authority operates and also about the information it can access in relation with punters. MGA’s close communication with all European gaming bodies has put it in a better position to monitor football matches and eventually identify suspicious betting in their regard. The MGA has strengthened its collaboration with the Malta Football Association in its aim to tackle match-fixing for the mutual benefit of gaming and the sport itself.
Source: "MFA holds seminar on bribery and betting regulations in football", 30 August 2016, Independent Malta https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2016-08-30/local-news/MFA-holds-seminar-on-bribery-and-betting-regulations-in-football-6736163061
INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS
Council of Europe
2nd International Conference for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions
20-21 September 2016, Strasbourg, France
The Secretariat of the Council of Europe (Sport Conventions together with EPAS) is organising the 2nd International Conference for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. The Conference will take place in Strasbourg on 20 and 21 September 2016. The main target of the conference is to provide practical information and support to public authorities with regard to their on-going signature/ratification process of the convention, and/or implementation of the convention principles.
Council of Europe
3rd International Conference for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions
27-28 September 2016, Zagreb, Croatia
Train the Trainers Course and National Workshop
20-21 October 2016, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is hosting a National Workshop and a Train the Trainers Course in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Law Enforcement, Sport federations, prosecutors, and the betting industry have been invited for the National Workshop. Sport federations, sport coaches and athletes have been invited for the Train the Trainers workshop. Both events will take place on 20-21 October 2016.
Train the Trainers Course
29 September 2016, Zagreb, Croatia
The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be hosting a Trainer the Trainers Course in Zagreb, Croatia. Participants from sport federations, sport coaches, and athletes have been invited to the course. The Train the Trainers course will take place on 29 September 2016.