This week we give the floor to Sarah Lacarrière, Global Lottery Monitoring System Secretary General (GLMS) and Vagelis Alexandrakis, European Lotteries Sport Executive Secretary who shed light on the impact of match-fixing in the sport betting world.
For the first two weeks of July, there have been match-fixing investigations from different continents, including doping issues in Kenya as they gear up for the Olympic games.
THE FLOOR TO...
Sarah Lacarrière, Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) Secretary General and Vagelis Alexandrakis, European Lotteries Sport Executive Secretary
Match-fixing is one of the greatest problems in modern sport, as evident from the media, which reports an incident almost every day. This problem directly undermines the very credibility of sports. Lotteries, as the primary partners of sport and driven by their core values, integrity, precaution, and solidarity, have been pioneers in raising awareness of the risks resulting from modern sports betting paradigm for more than a decade. They hold an important role in monitoring such threats, promoting responsible sports betting, and acting as driving forces at a national level. Additionally, they collectively support international initiatives, in particular, educational campaigns. As prevention is a core leverage, EL/WLA had jointly supported SportAccord for the creation of a Global Integrity Programme since 2011 (until 2015). It comprised of the first e-learning tool aimed at raising awareness among officials and athletes of international federations on the growing threat of match-fixing, and related sports betting risks and rules. It has been tailored for football in 2013 and is still endorsed by INTERPOL as a tool to warn players. Furthermore, throughout 2013-2014, EL was a key partner in the pan-European project, led by IRIS “What national networks in the EU against match-fixing”. In the 23 EU Member States, the Lotteries coordinated workshops to bring together all relevant stakeholders (sport, regulatory authorities, operators, law enforcement representatives) with the objective to enhance national cooperation and coordination in the field. On many occasions, these workshops led to the immediate mobilisation of national stakeholders and in some countries, facilitated the way to the creation of a national platform, as per article 13 of the EPAS Convention.
Monitoring of betting patterns is of significant importance to detect fraud and manipulations. Launched in 1999, EL was a pioneer association created as a way to share information on sports betting modern evolutions. As of 2005, this cooperation oriented specifically towards looking at integrity threats, with the formal set up of the European Lotteries Monitoring System (ELMS) in 2009 to monitor sports betting markets irregularities. Building on the years of experience and efforts deployed at the European level, the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) was created in 2015 with worldwide ambitions. The GLMS currently has 27 Members across the world. As a network with full-time dedicated operators, GLMS detects and analyses suspicious betting activities that could question the integrity of a sport competition and reports escalated cases to sports governing bodies. When it comes to betting regulation, lotteries rely on the guidance of the EL Code of Conduct on Sports Betting, which was released in 2007 and updated in 2014. The Code addresses numerous issues, such as consumer protection, protection of minors, responsible advertising, restrictions on the events and betting types to be offered, strict conflict of interest provisions for Lotteries and their employees involved in events and odds selection, obligation to report suspicious betting activities etc. These matters reflect on the many provisions of the Council of Europe Convention against the Manipulation of sport competitions, which the Lotteries fully support and see as the path forward to reinforcing national and international cooperation facilitated by the development of national platforms. We will continue to support these important steps by bringing together our associations’ members to mutualise efforts and carry the shield.
There is no end to the problems in Bangladesh cricket as another controversy has erupted in Bangladesh cricket and this is the big one i.e. match fixing allegations. DPL team Victoria SC has raised allegations on three international players for doubtful on-field activities during the game. The three players which are under scanner are Naid Chowdhury, Shuhrawadi Shuvo, and Dolar Mahmud. All have marked their presence in international cricket for their team in the past. The Victoria SC team has submitted a written note to the Bangladesh cricket board expressing their concerns and grievances regarding the issue. The team has requested the board to scrutinise the actions of all the three players during the tournament especially in the two of the matches they played against the Legends of Rupaganj. In the first match against Ruparaganj in the month of April, Victoria team posted a total of 314 but match ended in a tie. In the second contest, the Victoria team posted a defendable total of 258 but lost the match. Pawan Negi scored an unbeaten 124* for Rupaganj. “We have submitted an application to the board to investigate against three players of our team. We think they intentionally played badly against Legends of Rupganj in both round matches to lose the games. Against Rupganj in the first round and the Super League match, our players Nadif Chowdhury, Suhrawadi Shuvo and Dollar Mahmood dropped a number of catches in the vital moments, for which we had to lose both the games."
"From here we doubt they did these intentionally going against their own team.” said the club president Nesar Ahmed on the issue. “We show caused Nadif Chowdhury, Dollar Mahmood, Suhrawadi Shuvo and some other players. But they never replied to our concerns. So now it’s up to the board to find out why the players did these against their team,” concluded the club president. Off the three players, Suhrawadi Shuvo was hospitalised during the tournament after being hit by a bouncer. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and was kept under the observation for 24 hours. He was released from the hospital after being found stable. This is not the first controversy in DPL as the non-payment of match fees to players was also one of the issues raised during the tournament. In this edition of DPL the Indian players marked their presence and around 15-20 players participated in the league showing their talent on the field. Few of them were Manoj Tiwary, Unmukt Chand, Pawan Negi, Manvinder Bisla, Uday Kaul and few others participated in the tournament.
Source: Narang, "DPL team raises match fixing allegations against three international players", 27 June 2016, Sportz Wiki, https://sportzwiki.com/cricket/dpl-team-raises-match-fixing-allegations-three-international-players/
July 6 (Reuters) - Seven people suspected of manipulating soccer results in at least two Brazilian state leagues have been arrested, officials said on Wednesday. The match-fixing ring involved players, coaches, agents and presidents of clubs in the second and third divisions of the Sao Paulo state championship, said Kelly Cristina Sacchetto Cesar de Andrade, one of the police officers leading the investigation dubbed Operation Game Over. Those arrested Wednesday morning in raids in four Brazilian states were believed to have worked with betting syndicates in Malaysia, China and Indonesia, Sacchetto said. "The first phase of this operation is to stop those being investigated, listen to them, and gather more evidence to begin a second phase so we know the exact extent of this gang, if it affects other tournaments, championships or sports," Sacchetto told reporters. Sacchetto said the investigation began at the start of 2015 and is also examining possible match-fixing in tournaments held in the northern and northeastern regions of Brazil. Brazil has five regions, with the best known clubs in the more developed south of the country. A total of 11 first division matches were replayed in 2005 after one of the country's top referees was accused of taking pay off from betting syndicates.
Source: Andrew Downie, "Seven arrested in Brazilian match-fixing probe", 7 July 2016, Reuters, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-3678150/Seven-arrested-Brazilian-match-fixing-probe.html
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it is probing possible match fixing in the kingdom’s top football league. The General Authority for Sports, a government agency, said the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SFF) joined the probe into “suspected manipulation of results" in some matches. “This is after receiving information about it in the beginning of Ramadan," the Muslim holy fasting month which began on June 6. The sports authority said in a statement that it has heard testimony from “those involved", but the investigation continues. “It will submit the results to the SFF once they are complete so they can take the necessary measures," the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said. “The Authority stressed the importance of a fair competition." SPA did not give any details about those possibly implicated in the match fixing.
The probe comes as the General Authority for Sports seeks to boost the kingdom’s international competitiveness, and to get more Saudis exercising. The goals are part of the kingdom’s wide-ranging Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme for implementing it. The NTP sets five-year targets towards social and economic reforms aimed at diversifying the oil-dependent economy.
Source: "Saudi Arabia looking into possible match fixing in top football league", 30 June 2016, The National, https://classic.regonline.co.uk/
Cape Town - The latest reports from the ongoing investigation into the match-fixing scandal that rocked South African cricket earlier this year is that several top players may be banned for up to 20 years - or more. According to this weekend's Sunday Times, at least one former Proteas player faces a life-time ban. In January 2016, former Lions/Titans/Dolphins batsman Gulam Bodi confessed his involvement in match-fixing and was slapped with a 20-year ban, five of which were suspended. Bodi's international representation was limited to two ODIs and one T20 for South Africa. Bodi made his ODI debut in 2007 against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, scoring 51 and 32 in the series, while his sole T20 came later that year in Port Elizabeth against the West Indies, where he scored eight. At the time, Bodi's Lions team-mate Thami Tsolekile was also implicated.
According to the Sunday Times report, investigations into another two Lions players - batsman Alviro Petersen and bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe - are now complete. The match-fixing investigation stems from last year's Ram Slam T20 Challenge in which the Titans beat the Dolphins in the final. When contacted by Sport24 on Sunday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said they were unable to comment on the matter as the investigation was still ongoing.
Source: "Cricket scandal: Fixers face 'lengthy bans'", 27 June 2016, Sport 24, https://www.sport24.co.za/Cricket/Proteas/cricket-scandal-fixers-face-lengthy-bans-20160627
Prosecutors said last Wednesday that six jockeys and three race brokers were indicted for deliberately manipulating the results of horse races. The six jockeys are suspected of having received a total of 104.5 million won ($90,700) from the brokers between 2010 and 2011 to directly sabotage horses’ performance in 18 races. Among them, a 30-year-old jockey surnamed Hwang took the most bribes, receiving 52 million won in return for manipulating the horses’ speed in 11 races, prosecutors said. Another jockey, surnamed Kang, 34, threw a race in Jeju on May 20, 2011. His racehorse, Fairy of Light, was a rising star who scored third in March and second in April of that year. But Fairy betrayed all expectations by slowing down at the first corner of the track, around 10 seconds into the race. The 2-billion-won total bet evaporated and Fairy ended up placing seventh out of nine horses. A video recording of the race showed Fairy’s disturbed balance as he raised his head and stretched back his neck. It was later revealed that Kang had been pulling the reins too hard to hamper the horse. He was paid 12 million won for this.
Most of these crimes were planned to advantage “place” betting, whereby bettors wage that a particular horse will finish in the top rankings. There are usually at most three star performers in every race, so influencing even one horse like Fairy greatly boosts the probability that other horses might win. Jockeys are bribed with about 2 to 12 million won per race, and they manipulate results by pulling hard on the reins or causing the horse to bolt from its course. The three brokers were also revealed to be the owners of private racetracks in Daejeon and Cheonan in South Chungcheong. These racetracks allow bettors to purchase unlimited amount of betting slips, contrary to the law that only permits a maximum of 100,000 won per race. The prosecution also said last Wednesday that 24 more people were indicted for aiding these illegal horse races by touting customers, leaking health information of horses in return for money and borrowing names of horse owners for cover. A broker surnamed Lee not only tampered with the race, but also sold information to a bettor. He once received 100 million won for telling which jockey was bribed beforehand. Lee is a former gang member. The prosecution’s Violent Crime Investigation Department head, Lee Yong-il, said, “Once, there was a jockey who returned the money he got after the act, but the broker threatened him, leaving him no choice but to continue the crimes in fear.” Some bettors lose tens of millions a day. The Korean Institute of Criminology estimates the annual size of illegal horse race market to be as much as 33 trillion won.
Source: Choi Sun-Wook, "Six racing jockeys indicted in match fixing case", 27 June 2016, Korea JoongAng Daily, https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3020491&cloc=joongangdaily|home|newslist1
The case, which involved three football matches played by Kristianstads FF in Swedish football’s third tier (Division 1) during the 2013-14 season, originally saw all six defendants acquitted by the Kristianstad district court. The Skåne and Blekinge court of appeal on Thursday judged however that all six men were guilty of involvement in match-fixing. Three players who received a bribe, and one who gave a bribe received suspended sentences. Two others, who also gave bribes, were sentenced to imprisonment for one year and 14 months respectively. One of the players admitted his involvement in the scandal and testified against the others. His lawyer told public broadcaster SVT that he was happy with the sentence.
“It is a big relief for him that it’s over now. He got a relatively light sentence, and the judgement said his crime was not aggravated. We accept the verdict,” lawyer Esbjörn Svensson said. Three of the other players have denied the crime, and are not satisfied with the outcome of the trial. “It’s leaning towards an appeal on our part. We can conclude that the appeals court made exactly the opposite assessment of the evidence to the district court,” defence lawyer Anders Tolke told SVT.
Source: "Two jailed for match-fixing in Swedish football", 30 June 2016, The Local, https://www.thelocal.se/20160630/two-jailed-for-match-fixing-in-swedish-football
The Asian Football Confederation says it has banned two referees from Thailand for life for match-fixing. The AFC disciplinary committee said on Friday that following a two-day meeting, Thanom Borikut and Chaiya Mahapab were found guilty of influencing the results of four matches each in a "manner contrary to sporting ethics." It said the violations by Thanom related to four matches in 2013 and 2014, while Chaiya's ban was for four matches in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The AFC said "in order to not prejudice other open investigations," the matches involved would not be disclosed. The two officials are banned from all football-related activities for life, and the AFC said it asked FIFA to extend the bans on a worldwide basis.
Source: "2 Thai referees get life bans for match-fixing", 1 July 2016, News Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article87082522.html
LONDON (AP) The Tennis Integrity Unit says Bulgarian player Danail Tarpov has been given a suspended three-month suspension for links to an online betting account. The 27-year-old Tarpov, ranked 1,109 in singles, was also fined 5,000 euros ($5,500), but that was also suspended for two years. The TIU says an investigation found that Tarpov created an online betting account for the son of his coach at the time, Novolai Ivanchev. The TIU adds there was no evidence of betting linked to match-fixing or other corruption offenses.
Source: "Bulgarian player Tarpov given three-month suspended suspension", 2 July 2016, AP, https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2016/07/bulgarian-player-tarpov-given-3-month-suspended-suspension/59324/#.V4OD-5fagZ1
Nairobi, Kenya • Kenyan police have detained and are investigating an Italian agent who represents top track and field athletes for facilitating doping, threatening another major drug scandal for the world's No. 1 distance-running nation just a month ahead of the Olympics. A court on Wednesday granted police more time to investigate Federico Rosa, who formerly represented Rita Jeptoo, the marathon champion who is the highest profile of dozens of Kenyan athletes banned in recent years for doping. Rosa appeared in court Wednesday but was not charged. Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi ordered Rosa to be held in custody for three days, despite protests from his lawyers, while police investigate further. Federico Rosa and his father, Gabriele, run the Rosa & Associati athlete management company and work with a number of Kenyan track stars, including Asbel Kiprop, a three-time world champion and former Olympic champion in the 1,500 meters. Kiprop has not been implicated in any doping, and authorities have not named any athletes involved in the investigation.
Federico Rosa is accused of conspiracy to cause injuries to professional athletes through doping, and police say they need more time to question runners. Doping was recently made a criminal offense in Kenya, which has been in trouble with the World Anti-Doping Agency for its poor doping controls. Despite a series of doping cases, Kenya has been cleared by the IAAF to send a track and field team to next month's Rio de Janeiro Olympics. But the International Olympic Committee has warned that "substantial allegations" concerning doping exist against Kenya and has asked for additional testing of its athletes across all sports. Earlier this week, Italian track coach Claudio Berardelli, who previously worked for the Rosas and is Jeptoo's former coach, was arrested in Eldoret, a high altitude town in western Kenya famous as a training ground for the world's best runners. He was due to be questioned in the capital, Nairobi, police said. At least three athletes represented by the Rosas, Jeptoo, Mathew Kisorio and Agatha Jeruto, have been banned for doping in recent years. Jeptoo, who was given a two-year ban after testing positive for the blood-booster EPO in a test in Kenya in 2014, is due to have her case heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland on Thursday. Track and field governing body the IAAF has appealed the two-year ban and wants a harsher punishment for Jeptoo. Jeptoo, in a counter-appeal, wants her ban reduced. Federico and Gabriele Rosa were in Kenya for last week's Olympic trials in Eldoret. Then, the two Italians had their hotels room searched by police, and were ordered to present themselves at police headquarters in Nairobi on Monday for questioning. It was unclear if Gabriele Rosa was also facing charges. Federico Rosa denied any involvement in doping when contacted by The Associated Press on Monday. He couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. The Rosas' agency was one of two foreign athlete management companies suspended from working in Kenya for six months last year, with Kenyan authorities accusing foreign agents of involvement in supplying banned substances to athletes.
Source: "Olympics: Another doping scandal", 6 July 2016, Associated Press, https://www.sltrib.com/sports/4088820-155/olympics-another-doping-scandal-in-kenya
ODDS AND ENDS
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that legislation around doping abuse needs to be tightened, as well as more investigations based on facts. “The responsibility (for doping abuse) must be tightened,” Putin said, stressing that he had discussed the topic with the government on Thursday. “We’ve made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation: to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances,” Putin said. The Russian president added that he hopes State Duma votes in support of the amendments. Putin’s comments come after accusations of doping abuse by Russian athletes. He said that Russia is “thankful” to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and pledged to investigate their findings. “We should be thankful to our counterparts from WADA and should treat the information they've provided in a most serious way,” he said. He noted that Russia has always been against doping at state level. “We hope the information we'll be receiving ourselves or will be getting otherwise will be unbiased,” Putin said. The president also warned that investigations must be based on facts and not rumors. “We must get facts,” he said.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Investigative Committee is looking into the accusations right now, Putin added. “It is inadmissible to rely on the words of people who say it was them who committed violations and spread doping,” Putin said. “It is them who are the violators and who are responsible for this situation.” The first allegations against Russian athletes came in November when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accused the country’s athletics and anti-doping bodies of massively breaching anti-doping rules. Russia's track and field team was suspended last November after WADA allegations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) upheld the IAAF's decision to ban Russia from this summer's Olympic Games in Rio, after deciding the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) had failed to adequately tackle doping issues. Russia’s Olympic Committee spoke out for the Russian athletes earlier in June, writing to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and asking the body to allow those who didn’t use doping to compete. “These athletes are the majority in Russia. They try to reach their goal – participation in the Olympic Games – due to their hard work and constant training,” the letter said. Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko also wrote an open letter to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) head Sebastian Coe, so that the world knows that “Russian sport is healthy and clean, and not like it is shown abroad.” “Russia's athletes must not be singled out as the only ones to be punished for a problem that is widely acknowledged to go far beyond our country's borders,” he wrote. A week ago, the IAAF confirmed it has amended its regulations so that Russian track and field athletes can submit individual applications to compete in tournaments. "A rule amendment was also passed which means that if there are any individual athletes who can clearly and convincingly show that they are not tainted by the Russian system because they have been outside the country and subject to other effective anti-doping systems, then they should be able to apply for permission to compete in international competitions, not for Russia but as a neutral athlete," the IAAF said on its official website.
Source: "legislation around doping abuse must be tightened - Putin", 2 July 2016, RT, https://www.rt.com/sport/349242-russia-putin-doping-legislation/
INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS
Council of Europe
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.
- All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) Anti-Corruption Anti-Doping Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Athletics Bangladesh Brazil Cricket Cricket South Africa (CSA) EL Code of Conduct on Sports Betting European Lotteries FIFA Football Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) Horseracing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) INTERPOL IOC Kenya Korean Institute of Criminology Match-Fixing National Transformation Programme Olympic Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Russia Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) South Africa South Korea Sweden Tennis Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) Thailand United Kingdom (UK) World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) World Lottery Association