Belgian police raided the offices of football club Anderlecht and the national football association in relation to a money laundering investigation involving agents and player transfers. In Cyprus, police are investigating eight second-division games for suspected match fixing, following an earlier suspension of all second-division games. In France, the French Professional Football League is looking into allegations of match-fixing related to the battle for relegation. One club president alerted the federation about possible match fixing involving some of his players. Also in France, the lottery Française des Jeux alerted the police of suspicious betting activity, in relation to large bets, placed locally, on the outcome of a Tunisian football game.
In Greece, a businessman and owner of Olympiakos and Nottingham Forrest will stand trial for match-fixing together with another 27 individuals, after judges dismissed their appeal.
Meanwhile, the Tennis Integrity Unit suspended and fined a Belgian player after admitting to betting on tennis matches, and provisionally suspended a Brazilian tennis player in another case. FIFA, the governing body of world football, issued eight lifetime bans to current and former players and an agent after they were found guilty of match fixing. FIFA also issued a lifetime ban on José Maria Marin, the former president of the Brazil federation. The 86-year-old was jailed for four years last August in New York after being found guilty of corruption.
The coach, owner and jungler of a Hong Kong-based e-sports team, Dragon Gate, have been sanctioned for match-fixing and betting on league matches, and were removed from the league.
We also report two successful raids against illegal gambling operations. In Malaysia, the Serdang District Police arrested 107 foreigners and 203 locals suspected of involvement in illegal online gambling activities, and seized cash and equipment. In Vietnam, police arrested at least 22 people this week in connection with a massive $1.28 billion gambling ring that may have involved hundreds of thousands of user accounts, allegedly focusing on sports and football betting. It is believed to be the largest illegal online gaming operation ever in the East Asian nation.
In the UK, the Football Association leveled gambling charges against a former player for placing 140 bets between 2015 and 2019. The player was retired but has held a club ownership interest.
In terms of partnerships, the Austrian Handball Federation joined the Fair Play Code, GLMS and the Moldovan Police join forces, and the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile renew their partnership with Sportradar.
In the United States, the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) has officially launched as a non-profit partner of industry stakeholders to identify and stop nefarious activity related to sports betting. SWIMA counts most of the major sports betting operators in the U.S. as founders, and is modeled after ESSA, the European operator initiative to ensure sports betting integrity.
In the world of doping, the British Horseracing Authority has committed £1m towards research on gene doping to keep ahead of potential cheats as the science of gene manipulation continues to develop.
Finally, we would like to highlight an in depth background article on the role of journalists in exposing wrongdoing in sports, while two of the men that put the doping crisis in the global spotlight say the integrity of sport now faces a greater threat from match-fixing than drug cheats.
We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.
The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 20 May 2019.
Anderlecht and Belgium FA offices raided in money-laundering probe
Belgian police raided the offices of Anderlecht and the national football association on Wednesday in relation to a money laundering investigation involving agents and player transfers.
An Anderlecht spokeswoman told the broadcaster VRT the club are cooperating fully, while a spokesman for the Belgian FA said police had taken away transfer documents from its headquarters.
"(The raids) concern money laundering and a group of criminals, in particular questions are being asked about the transfer of one or more players," the federal prosecutor said in a statement.
It said the investigation also focuses on the suspicious actions of one or more agents and concerned events prior to 2016.
VRT and other local media said prosecutors were looking into transfers made before a 2017 change of ownership at Anderlecht and had also raided an agent's office in the capital.
It is understood that among the transfers being investigated is the transfer of the Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to Newcastle in 2015. The club declined to comment.
The prosecutor's spokesman had earlier on Wednesday said that the raids were not linked to the wide-ranging "Footballgate" probe into match-fixing and fraud which rocked the domestic league last year after the national side's third place finish at the World Cup.
The raids come at a miserable time for Anderlecht, champions in 2017 and historically Belgium's most successful club.
Source: 24 April 2019, The Independent
Cyprus police investigates second-division match-fixing
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The Cyprus Football Association says police are investigating eight second-division games for suspected match-fixing. Federation spokesman Constantinos Shamboullis told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the investigation revolves around UEFA-provided information about increased betting activity on those eight matches. That led the federation to suspend all second-division matches last week, with play set to resume on Friday. In the wake of the investigation, the federation introduced tougher penalties for match-fixing on Tuesday, with lower-division teams now facing funding cuts, point deductions and even relegation if they are found guilty of cheating. The federation board also decided to split the second division into two groups as of next season.
Source: 17 April 2019, AP News
Alleged match-fixing in last weekend’s Ligue 1 match between Caen & Angers
The LFP are investigating allegations of match-fixing made by EA Guingamp against their relegation battle rivals SM Caen before the latter side’s 1-0 defeat against Angers on Saturday evening. EA Guingamp President Bertrand Desplat was informed of the possibility of match-fixing being set to occur in this game by his own players, and then alerted the LFP to possible irregularities before the match occurred. This triggered Article 3 of the disciplinary regulatory code of the LFP and the governing body have now begun an investigation into the claims. Caen claimed in a statement that these suspicions came from supposed conversations between Angers & Guingamp players:
“Stade Malherbe Caen was contacted by phone on Saturday afternoon by the LFP, personally by its Director General, to discuss exchanges that were had between players of Angers SCO and EA Guingamp.”
“The LFP disciplinary commission have opened an investigation that should determine what was behind EA Guingamp’s decision to call the LFP before the match between Caen and Angers. We deplore these behind-the-scenes games, that they are voluntarily taking part in,” the statement continued.
Caen manager Rolland Courbis explained how he came to hear of the situation in an interview with L’Équipe this morning:
“We were warned by our president, Gilles Sergent. It was maybe 14:00 (on Saturday). The president explained to us that the league told him that Bertrand Desplat (Guingamp president) called them to say that one of his players heard that Caen players and Angers players had discussions a few days before the match.”
Caen have prior history with match-fixing – in 2014, the club was part of an investigation over the match-fixing of Nîmes vs. Caen in Ligue 2 in May. Jean-François Fortin, then president of the Normandy club, was sentenced to a 15 months suspended sentence in prison for passive corruption. In total, 6 people were charged in that case, with penalties ranging from an 8-month suspended prison sentence to 18 months in prison.
Source: 17 April 2019, Get French Football News
Marinakis, 27 Others, to Stand Trial for Match-Fixing in Football
ATHENS – Greece’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that Greek ship owner and football club owner Evangelos Marinakis, along with another 27 individuals, should be indicted to stand trial for fixing football matches. In its ruling, the Penal Section of the Supreme Court threw out a petition of Supreme Court Deputy Prosecutor Evangelos Zacharakis for the annulment of an indictment against Marinakis and the rest, so that the 28 defendants would only be tried for the lesser charge of forming a criminal gang and not for tampering with the result of matches, which is a criminal-level offence. All 28 will therefore be indicted to stand trial for match-fixing. The case was revived by an Athens Appeals Court Justices’ Council ruling in 2018 and is now returning to the Athens Appeals Court, following Wednesday’s decision. Evangelos Marinakis is a Greek shipowner and member of the Piraeus city council. He is the owner of the football clubs Olympiacos in Greece and Nottingham Forest in England.
Source: 17 April 2019, The National Herald
FDJ alert triggers Tunisia football probe
A match fixing alert triggered by Française des Jeux (FDJ) has led to an ongoing international ‘match manipulation’ investigation attached to Tunisian football.
French state owned betting operator FDJ, is reported to have alerted national police in relation to €32,000 being wagered on Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1 club US Ben Guerdane beating rival ES Metlaoui on7 April 2019.
FDJ alerted the police of suspicious betting activity, in relation to large bets being placed on a Ben Guerdane victory before the match-start, with wagers recorded across the city of Nantes – Ben Guerdane would win the match 1-0 having been awarded a penalty of 53 minutes.
The event, was not the first time that FDJ had alerted authorities of Ben Guerdane suspicions, as the season before, the bookmaker had reported two further ‘incidents’ to French gambling regulator ARJEL, at the time detailing that that €80,000 had been wagered on Ben Guerdane.
The alerts, forced the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) to suspend the matches of this weekend’s (20 April) regional ‘Sidi Bouzid’ football league, as officials considered ‘allegations of match manipulation’.
The FTF has taken the match and wagering information to Tunisia’s Attorney General, setting a two-week review deadline.
“The entire file, as well as a video, was given to the Attorney General,” the FTF added. “In conclusion, the federation will severely and rigorously deal with anything that would affect the sports charter and match tampering."
The BBC reports that Ben Guerdane officials will not comment on the matches.
Source: 24 April 2019, SBC news
Benjamin D’Hoe suspended and fined for betting on tennis
Belgian tennis player Benjamin D’Hoe has been suspended and fined after admitting to betting on tennis matches, a breach of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
In a ruling by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Charles Hollander QC, Mr D’Hoe was suspended for six months and fined $3,000. Five months of the ban and $2,500 of the fine are suspended provided the player commits no further breaches of the TACP.
In mitigation, AHO Hollander took into account that the player self-reported his offences to the Tennis Integrity Unit and that no wagers involved matches in which he competed. No other breaches of integrity rules were involved.
The disciplinary decision means that with effect from today, 25 April 2019, Mr D’Hoe cannot compete in, or attend, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport for a one month period. Assuming that no further offences are committed, he will be eligible to resume playing tennis from 24 May 2019.
The 22-year old player, currently ranked 386 in ITF World Tennis Tour singles, admitted to placing over 900 mostly low value bets on professional tennis matches between 31 January and 26 February 2017.
The relevant section of the 2017 TACP which relates to betting offences is:
D.1.a: No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, wager or attempt to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any Event or any other tennis competition.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis.
Source: 26 April 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit
Fifa slap lifetime ban on former boss of Brazil federation
World football's governing body Fifa on Monday issued a lifetime ban on José Maria Marin, the former president of the Brazil federation. The 86-year-old was jailed for four years last August in New York after being found guilty of corruption. Fifa's ethics committee also found the former player and lawyer guilty of bribery and banned him for life from all football-related activities at national and international level. He was also ordered to pay a 880,000 euro fine. Marin took over as head of the Brazil confederation in 2012 after the resignation of Ricardo Teixeira and served on several Fifa committees. He was arrested in May 2015 when leading Fifa executives were holding a series of meetings in Zurich in Switzerland. He spent five months in prison in Switzerland before he was extradited to the United States in November 2015. He posted bail of 13 million euros and spent two years living at Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper best known for housing the penthouse and company headquarters of the US president Donald Trump. At his trial, Marin broke down in tears and lamented over the nightmare his family had endured.
Source: 16 April 2019, RFI Sport
Brazilian tennis player Joao Souza provisionally suspended by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer
Brazilian tennis player Joao Souza has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof Richard McLaren, with effect from 17 April 2019.
The suspension relates to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) into alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.
Mr Souza was originally provisionally suspended by AHO McLaren on 29 March 2019, but following a successful appeal he was reinstated on 8 April 2019.
Now, following consideration of additional evidence submitted by the TIU, a provisional suspension has been reimposed. No more appeals will be accepted and the suspension will remain in place until further direction is issued by AHO McLaren.
The effect of the provisional suspension is that Mr Souza is ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.
The 30-year old is currently ranked 13 in ITF World Tennis Tour singles and 422 ATP singles.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis.
Source: 19 April 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit
League of Legends pro player, coach and owner banned for match-fixing
The coach, owner and jungler of Hong Kong-based League of Legends Master Series (LMS) team, Dragon Gate, have been punished by Riot Games for match-fixing and betting on league matches, and removed from the league.
The team's top laner Huang '2188' Jin-Long explained, in a lengthy Facebook post, that AD carry Liu 'Soul' Kai was approached by management and offered $750 per match to 'throw', and when he refused, Soul was replaced by Jiang “YuLun” Yu-Lun.
The owner of the team, Hu Wei-Jie, has been banned from being involved with a team in any Riot-organized tournament, after using the match-fixing to place bets "using multiple accounts and earn over hundreds of thousands with the extremely low odds."
According to 2188, unlike Soul, jungler Liu 'JGY' Yang accepted the offer to fix matches, which impacted directly upon his performance.
JGY was known to have a sometimes overly-aggressive play style, which it looks like now was caused by his involvement with the match-fixing scheme.
"I don’t know how much money JGY got," 2188 explained in his post, "I thought that every player would had have misplays. I thought every player would have felt nervous and underperform. I thought the super aggressive play style was JGY’s unique play style. I was wrong. I could not believe that you were involved in alleged match fixing. But you were lucky, you didn’t receive a permanent ban."
JGY was only banned from competitive play for 18 months, while coach Fan “yoga” Jiang-Peng and manager Li 'xiaoyu' Xin-Yu both received 12 month suspensions.
Source: 25 April 2019, Dexerto
FIFA bans eight for life over match-fixing
FIFA, the governing body of world football, issued eight lifetime bans to current and former players and an agent on Wednesday after they were found guilty of match fixing.
Former Sierra Leone captain Ibrahim Kargbo and ex-Trinidad and Tobago defender Keyeno Thomas were among those suspended from all football-related activities in the wake of attempts to rig matches at international level.
World football's governing body also banned former players from Benin, Afghanistan and Cuba, as well as Zimbabwean agent Kudzanai Shaba.
Kenyan defender George Owino Audi received a 10-year ban and a fine of 13,000 euros.
FIFA said it opened disciplinary proceedings after a vast investigation into various international matches that Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer, had attempted to manipulate for betting purposes.
Source: 26 April 2019, RFI
Fifa slaps 10-year ban on Kenyan footballer for match fixing
Former Harambee Stars defender George Owino Audi has appealed a ten-year ban slapped on him by Fifa.
Speaking to Nation Sport on phone from Portugal, Owino’s lawyer Felix Majani confirmed he has lodged an appeal on the ruling to Fifa Appeals committee in Zurich.
He also stated he was in the process of filing a separate appeal to apply for a stay of the ban so as to enable the 37-year footballer to continue working at a Nairobi based football academy.
Majani did not clarify whether his appeal is aimed at shortening the length of the ban or if he maintains his client is innocent of all the allegations leveled against him.
Majani’s rebuttal came hours after Fifa slapped the former Mathare United defender with a ten-year ban from all football activities after an ‘extensive investigation’ found him guilty of manipulating the outcome of football matches for betting purposes.
Owino, whom Nation Sport exclusively called out in an exclusive expose in February, was officially informed of the punishment on Tuesday morning.
He has also been fined an equivalent of Sh1.5 million (CHF 15,000).
“The formal disciplinary proceedings into the aforementioned individuals stemmed from an extensive investigation into various international matches that (match agent) Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes,” the Fifa statement read in part.
The ban prohibits him from coaching or getting involved in managing football at an administrative level.
Fifa claimed Owino, through 177 email communications exchanged between him and Perumal, conspired to manipulate and influence the result of international matches involving the Kenya national football team.
Perumal used Owino to identify several Harambee Stars players for the task in which unspecified amount of money exchanged money between 2009-2011.
To sweeten the deal, Perujmal – who has been sentenced to prison in Finland and Hungary over the offences – offered Owino lucrative opportunities to play in Australia.
“The purpose I’m going to bring you there (Australia) is for business, but you have to remain loyal to me only. Remain free (don’t sign for another club). Salary each month is Sh30,000 (Sh3 million). If I say lose (a game), you do as I say, or else you won’t see your salary.”
To which Owino replied; “Fine no problem.”
Fifa also announced that nine other footballers from Benin, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Malawi and Trinidad and Tobago had been banned for life.
Source: 25 April 2019, Nairobi News
310 nabbed in massive swoops on illegal gambling dens
SERDANG: The police have arrested 310 individuals following massive raids on illegal gambling dens in Serdang since the beginning of the year.
Serdang district police chief ACP Ismadi Borhan said personnel from the Serdang district police headquarters picked up 107 foreigners and 203 locals suspected involvement in illegal online gambling activities.
“Most of the perpetrators were picked up from the premises which were operating online gambling from Jan to April 16.
“Police seized RM20,842 cash along with 880 items, including laptops, computers and handphone worth at least RM40,000.
These syndicates have been active for quite a while,” he told a press conference here today.
Ismadi said the police will not tolerate those who flout the law.
“These syndicates uses various tactics to conduct their operation. The common tactic is by using tablets (IPad, etc) to enable customers to play the games outside their premises.
“Our stance is clear and we will take serious action against anyone found breaking the law and will continue to do so,” he said.
He urged members of the public with information to contact the police as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, in a separate raid, police seized 49kg of ganja worth RM150,000 following the arrest of a woman in Seri Kembangan here on Tuesday.
The suspect, 27, was picked up after policemen stopped her car at Lestari Perdana 3, in Seri Kembangan at about 6pm.
Ismadi said upon inspection of the vehicle, police discovered three sacks containing 50 slabs of ganja with a street value of RM150,000.
The suspect was also tested positive for methamphetamine.
The investigations revealed that the drugs were originated from Kelantan and was suppose to be marketed in Klang Valley.
Source: Ashwin Kumar, 18 April 2019, The Sun Daily
English Soccer Legend Accused of Placing 140 Bets on Matches as Club Owner
England’s soccer community was turned upside down Tuesday as the country’s Football Association leveled gambling charges against one of its greatest players. The governing body alleged Paul Scholes placed 140 bets on games from August 2015 to this January. That period is long after the midfielder retired from his storied career at Manchester United. However, he has held an ownership interest in Salford City, a team that plays in England’s fifth-tier professional league, for five years. An association spokesperson told Casino.org on Tuesday it would offer no additional comment.
In response to the match-fixing allegations that roiled Europe’s soccer community, the FA instituted a worldwide ban on betting on the sport starting with the 2014-15 season. The rules prohibit higher level players, officials, and staff from making wagers on any match in any league or competition. Further, it also restricts them from making in-game wagers and futures bets on such propositions as league champions and managerial hires. The rules not only prohibit bets made at a sportsbook, but they also ban bets made between individuals. According to an FA video highlighting the betting rules, punishments can include fines or a suspension. Last November, the governing body accused Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge of breaking its betting rules.
“It is great that Paul is back in football and everyone at the club wishes him all the best in his new venture into football management,” the Salford City statement read. However, he only managed Oldham for seven matches as he resigned a month ago. In a recent interview on BT Sport, he cited interference from that club’s ownership as the reason for his short stay. Salford City officials did not respond to a request Tuesday for comment on the FA’s allegations. Scholes became an owner in Salford City in 2014, joining several of his former Man U teammates in the venture. He maintained that ownership interest even after becoming the manager of Oldham Athletic FC, a team playing in England’s League Two division, in February. [...]
Source: Steve Bittenbender, 16 April 2019, Casino.org
Vietnam Billion-Dollar Illegal Gambling Ring Likely Focused on Sports Betting
Vietnam police arrested at least 22 people this week in connection with a massive $1.28 billion gambling ring that may have involved hundreds of thousands of user accounts. It is believed to be the largest illegal online gaming operation ever in the East Asian nation.
Twelve of the suspects ran the operation with one of them — still to be named publicly — seen as the mastermind of the scheme. He was described by authorities as a foreigner.
People were questioned in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and in five provinces. Based on initial reports, the ring involved betting on soccer games and other sporting events.
The Thanh Nien newspaper provided few details on the inquiry but reported that police said the ring was very “sophisticated.” It was also “difficult to detect” because funds were hidden by using bank accounts with smaller balances, the newspaper said.
Online patrons went onto a website and paid legal currency in exchange for virtual money that was kept in covert accounts.
Some of those involved hired people to open bank accounts for them in secret so they could take part in the operation.
To further complicate the inquiry, organizers used a server which was located outside of Vietnam, police said.
Generally, World Cup or European championships in soccer have led to increased illegal gambling operations in Vietnam, according to the Agence France-Presse, citing unnamed law enforcement sources. Illegal Gambling, Corruption
This week’s arrests and raids come after another widespread crackdown on a separate $420 million illegal gambling ring. It has involved high-ranking Vietnamese government officials.
Dang Anh Tuan, 49, chief inspector of Vietnam’s Information Ministry, was arrested Thursday by local authorities in connection with that gambling ring.
He is suspected of violating laws on taking undue advantage of his government post — which he has held since 2015, according to Vn Express International. He allegedly failed to act promptly after gambling violations were discovered as far back as 2016.
Police in Phu Tho Province initially uncovered the gambling ring in 2016 after looking into a related fraud case. As their inquiry expanded, last year officials arrested Phan Van Vinh, a former director of the General Police Department, and Nguyen Thanh Hoa, a former director of the Department for High-Tech Crime Prevention.
The pair was put on trial. They were found guilty of “abusing power or position in the performance of official duties.”
Vinh was sentenced to nine years in prison and Hoa was sentenced to 10 years. Both were fined VND100 million (US $4,300).
That ring in total involved over 90 people with many of them paying fines or sentenced to prison.
In an unrelated case, police earlier this month searched an illegal gambling den located in a wooded area in Gia Lai Province. Approximately 130 gamblers were found and later held by authorities, according to local news reports. Police also seized about VND300 million (US $12,900).
In still another series of arrests, Vietnam police — also this month — arrested three South Korean men in connection with an online illegal gambling ring. It involved about 8.6 billion KRW (US $7.3 million).
Under Vietnam’s leader, Nguyen Phu Trong, the communist nation has undertaken a far-reaching investigation into corruption and illegal gambling.
Since 2011, Trong was general secretary of the Communist Party and in October was named the nation’s president. This week, it was revealed that Trong, 75, is hospitalized for an unidentified illness.
Source: 27 April 2019, Casino.org
Talking Horses: racing attempts to get out in front of gene doping
The British Horseracing Authority has said that while it does not believe gene doping has been or is currently being used to corrupt the sport, its recent £1m commitment towards research will aim to keep it ahead of potential cheats as the science of gene manipulation continues to develop.
Over the last 10 years, the idea that a thoroughbred’s genes could be altered to boost its performance has moved from a purely theoretical possibility to one that is much closer to being realised.
Many of the scientific advances involved are driven by a desire to find new therapies for injuries and disease both in humans and animals, as demonstrated by a study in Russia in 2017 which suggested that lameness could be cured by injecting genetic material into the tendons and ligaments of injured horses. Similar techniques, however, could also be used to improve the athletic performance of horses and the potential threat for corruption of both the racing and breeding industries is now being taken seriously in the major racing nations.
“This is new technology that is unravelling all the time,” David Sykes, the BHA’s director of equine health and welfare, said on Tuesday. “None of us here think that there has probably been a previous incidence of it, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be looking forward into the next five or 10 years and at least being able to identify if it is going to occur.” Advertisement
“For example, you could send in material which would alter the EPO [erythropoietin] receptor site, to allow an animal to produce increased levels of EPO naturally [and increase the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity],” Sykes said. “That could be expanded to anything else. For example, you could target muscle mass and increasing it, or at some point talk about circulatory systems, increasing blood supply or even cardiac muscle size by genetically altering the DNA sequence.”
Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, said the BHA’s £1m is part of an international effort by major racing nations to head off the threat of gene doping. “Late last year we were in discussion with our laboratories, who [said] that we need to be part of an international collaboration on gene doping to ensure that we are not globally duplicating work,” Dunshea said. “Across six or seven countries, we are all working together to do various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle on gene doping. Register to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks.
“There’s no specific evidence that we’re aware of in relation to there being genetic manipulation that’s happening but we haven’t done the research yet to be able to develop the techniques to be able to monitor it, so that’s what this research is all about.”
At present, and probably for some years to come, gene doping to improve performance is unlikely to be something that an individual trainer or owner could attempt without assistance from either a scientist with access to a high-end laboratory, an experienced vet, or both. Technology can move at lightning speed, however, and the eventual arrival of a do-it-yourself gene-doping kit has not been discounted.
Gene doping, however, could interfere with genetic essence of the thoroughbred breed, which can – by definition – be traced through any individual racehorse’s pedigree back to one of three Arabian stallions introduced to Britain early in the 18th century. It is a threat that needs to be taken seriously and the sport can only hope that, unlike regulators in athletics and cycling in recent years, the BHA can stay one step ahead of potential cheats.
Seven go to post for the Investec Blue Riband Trial at Epsom’s first meeting of the year and all are eligible for a free ticket to the Derby on 1 June should they prevail. Only two, in fact, are in the Derby already – Cape Of Good Hope and Mackaar – and Arthur Kitt (2.45) could well be the one to book a place in the field for the Classic.
Cape Of Good Hope, a rare runner for Aidan O’Brien in a race he has yet to win, is expected to set off as the favourite, and on a strict reading of the form from last year’s Royal Lodge Stakes, he has the beating of Arthur Kitt. The two horses finished third and fifth at Newmarket, separated by three lengths, but that was, by some margin, the most lacklustre run of Arthur Kitt’s season.
His overall form is strong enough to make him the top-rated runner in Wednesday’s field and with improvement likely for the step up to 10 furlongs, he is a decent bet at around 7-2.
Not So Sleepy (3.20) has top weight to carry in the Great Metropolitan Handicap but he was a close second in the November
Handicap on his last start on turf on the Flat and has finished first and fourth on his two previous starts at Epsom. Ryan Moore is an eye-catching booking for Hughie Morrison’s runner.
Desert Wind (3.55) and the lightly-raced Balladeer (5.00) also have sound claims on the same card while Eur Gone West (3.00) and Special Prep (3.30), who recorded a decent time on his latest start, should go well on the opening afternoon of Perth’s big April meeting.
Source: 24 April 2019, the Guardian
Handballers for #NoManipulation
There is a variety of betting options available: the final result, who wins the first or second half, how many goals are scored in total, and whether the total score is even or odd: just four of the countless opportunities betting markets are offering on a handball game nowadays.
Sports bets and matches can be and are manipulated, even in handball. Still present is the case of the two French superstars Nikola and Luka Karabatic, who were sentenced to two months on probation in a betting scandal. Their then club Montpellier, which in May 2012 already had locked in the championship, lost in a match against Club Cesson-Rennes with 28:31. Unusually high wagers have been detected, and these are usually the first indications that things are not quite right.
"In Austria, there has been no case of manipulation or betting fraud in our sport so far," says Gerhard Hofbauer, President of the Austrian Handball Federation (ÖHB). "We are happy about this, but we must not become negligent. That`s why we decided to count on the expertise of the Play Fair Code in our joint mission for integrity in our sport. We are on the right side, with the right partner."
In fact, within only a few years, the Play Fair Code has become a very well-established name in the national and international sports community when it comes to issues such as match fixing, betting fraud, corruption in sport, ethics and integrity in general. Over 500 education training seminars with more than 15,000 participants were conducted nationally and internationally. On a European level the participation in various Erasmus+ projects reflect the welcomed contribution of expertise of the Play Fair Code as well as from top decision-makers from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), UEFA among others.
In Austria, the initiative for integrity in sport cooperates with the Ministry of Sport, sports associations and leagues in football, basketball, tennis, ice hockey, skiing and as of now also in handball. Starting as of 2019, athletes, coaches and club officials of the top 20 teams (spusu LIGA and spusu CHALLENGE) and the Austrian handball national teams will be sensitized in education trainings; in doing so, the threats, consequences and protective mechanisms are clearly pointed out.
"Having another world sport joining the Play Fair Code is a crystal-clear statement for the reputation we have managed to built up over the past seven years, and of course we're excited about the new partnership," says Play Fair Code President Günter Kaltenbrunner. "But above all this cooperation is a commitment to follow our strategy of prevention, education and awareness raising when it comes to corruption in sport.”
The new partnership will be officially presented on 11 April in the course of the international friendly match between EHF EURO 2020 co-host Austria and the current European champion Spain in Dornbirn. The cooperation is highlighted during the match on the LED advertising boards. "We are also presenting our new social media campaign," says Play Fair Code CEO Severin Moritzer, "which is easy and simple to recognize: #NoManipulation."
The final result of the match against European Champion Spain was between pleasing and sensational from an Austrian point of view, as it was the first win in 27 years. Congratulations from the Play Fair Code Team.
Source: 16 April 2019, Play Fair Code
GLMS and Moldovan Police join forces to safeguard the integrity of Moldovan sports
The Global Lottery Monitoring system (GLMS) and the General Police Inspectorate of the Moldovan Ministry of Internal Affairs concluded today an agreement with the objective to share information regarding irregular betting patters in relation to Moldovan sport.
GLMS President, Ludovico Calvi has stated: “Cooperation with law enforcement authorities is of key importance for us. Working already closely with EUROPOL, INTERPOL and Victoria Police in Australia, we consider law enforcement authorities as a significant piece of the puzzle for the overall fight against sport competition manipulations. We are confident that with the active cooperation with the Moldovan police, we will be able to make a difference in a country in which we have detected a big number of irregularities over the last years.”
Representatives of the General Police Inspectorate has added: “Being well aware of the good reputation of GLMS and its Lottery-Members in combatting corruption in sport as well as its global network, we are pleased to conclude this agreement, which will surely be extremely beneficial for our investigations. We are pleased that we have now such a significant ally in our efforts to safeguard the integrity of Moldovan sports”.
Source: 18 April 2019, GLMS
FIA Expands Partnership with Sportradar Integrity Services
The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) – the world governing body for motor sport that promotes safe, sustainable and accessible mobility for road users across the world - has extended its multiyear partnership agreement with Sportradar Integrity Services – the world’s leading supplier of sports integrity solutions – to monitor and safeguard the integrity of its championships, including the prestigious FIA Formula One World Championship.
Under the agreement, FIA competitions will continue to be monitored by Sportradar’s Fraud Detection System (FDS), which has been independently assessed and verified by recognised experts in the field of sports betting and integrity.
As part of the renewal, FIA will also utilise Sportradar’s Education and Prevention Services to help further safeguard their competitions. Sportradar will conduct integrity workshops to educate participants on potential integrity threats and how they can promote correct and ethical behaviours within the sport. In addition, FIA and Sportradar are also set to launch a dedicated e-learning tool and associated webpage platform.
Speaking about the partnership, FIA Head of Governance, Integrity and Regulatory Affairs, Pierre Ketterer said: "Safeguarding the integrity of motor sport worldwide is of paramount importance. By utilising Sportradar’s monitoring solutions, we continue to have oversight of any threats to our competitions. With the addition of their Education and Prevention Services too, our efforts within this space are further strengthened. Through the tailored education workshops, our participants will learn about the risk factors to be aware of and best practices to follow. By adopting this multi-faceted approach to integrity, we are confident that our competitions will continue to be run with ethical values at the forefront.”
Sportradar Integrity Services Managing Director Andreas Krannich added: “We are honoured to be working alongside FIA. As the global leader in sporting integrity, we make it our top priority to support our partners and help establish an effective framework to help minimise integrity related issues. Our team will focus on safeguarding FIA competitions against integrity related threats through education, and will be driven by our market-leading FDS solution on race days. We look forward to working more closely with FIA in the years to come and continuing to play a part in upholding the integrity of some of the world’s best-loved motor sports championships.”
Source: 26 April 2019, FIA
Betting Market Regulator SWIMA Launches With 26 Industry Partners
The Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association has officially launched as a non-profit partner of industry stakeholders to identify and stop nefarious activity related to sports betting. SWIMA counts most of the major sports betting operators in the U.S. as founders. A key function of the organization will be a collaborative reporting system to track possible event manipulation and match-fixing.
MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment led the creation of SWIMA, which was originally announced in November. By the time it launched on Thursday, it had garnered support from 26 corporations, including bet365, DraftKings, FanDuel, Hard Rock, and William Hill.
SWIMA is modeled after ESSA, a European group dedicated to ensuring sports betting integrity. SWIMA is entirely funded by the betting operators and receives no government funding.
“We are eager and ready to assist all stakeholders involved in the sports betting market to ensure a safe and secure betting environment for consumers across the country,” said George Rover, SWIMA’s chief integrity officer, in a statement. Rover is a former assistant attorney general and deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. “In partnership with gaming regulators and law enforcement officials, we are determined to help prevent fraudulent and manipulative behavior that could negatively affect the integrity of sporting event—something that does not occur with the widespread illegal sports betting market.”
Cooperation across state lines will be paramount to ensuring a safe betting market, especially as even more states pass their own legislation. Companies like Sportradar and Genius Sports already power private integrity monitoring services, but having a non-profit like SWIMA to partner broadly within the market should complement their work.
Source: 19 April 2019, Sporttechie
ODDS AND ENDS
Match-fixing not doping poses greatest risk to sport
Two of the men that put the doping crisis in the global spotlight say the integrity of sport now faces a greater threat from match-fixing than drug cheats.
Richard McLaren, who authored a 2016 report into state-sponsored Russian doping and David Howman, a former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), painted an alarming picture about match-fixing at the Symposium on Match Manipulation and Gambling in Sport in Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday.
McLaren, a Canadian law professor and CEO of McLaren Global Sport Solutions, told Reuters that doping and match-fixing combined were the two biggest issues affecting the integrity of sport.
Yet manipulating outcomes was a bigger problem, he said.
“What makes sport different than entertainment is unpredictability. Fixing results removes the greatest and most important characteristic, that unpredictability,” he added.
“If it loses unpredictability because of fixed results the passion for sport is diminished and that is a much bigger issue.”
Match-fixing has become increasingly pervasive in recent years across a number of sports.
More tennis players, for example, were disciplined for violations of anti-corruption rules in 2018 than in any other year in the last 10. [nL8N1Z958H]
A number of cases in other sports have also brought renewed attention to the issue.
Recent punishments include the banning of a soccer referee for life in February for accepting bribes to manipulate matches [nL5N20L7AM] and the suspension of two snooker players for fixing the outcome of matches or failing to report a corrupt approach. [nL5N2017A3]
Organized crime has been the driving force behind sports corruption, according to Howman, and the globalization of sports betting has allowed crime syndicates extend their reach and match manipulation expertise.
“I have done a lot of work in the general sport integrity area and I can quote you what I am told by people who work in that more general business, including enforcement agents, and they all say the biggest threat to sport integrity is organized crime,” Howman, a New Zealand-based barrister who was director general at WADA from 2003 to 2016 and now serves as the chair of the Athletics Integrity Unit, told Reuters.
“We saw it coming at WADA and I raised it during my term there as a significant issue that needed to be countered by world sport, because the bad guys involved in pushing dope and steroids are the same bad guys involved in match manipulation.”
Andy Cunningham, director of integrity services for Sportradar, a company that monitors betting patterns and offers intelligence to over 100 sports governing bodies, said exact figures for how much is bet on sport are at best a “guesstimate”.
Interpol, however, set the figure at $500 billion a year.
Operating in every corner of the globe, match-fixers work to manipulate the outcome of everything from World Cup matches to the lower rungs of the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Futures tournaments.
Sportradar reported in 2015 it had identified as many as 60 fixed matches in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL), a small league operating mostly in Southern Ontario with few supporters that was for years the target of Asian match fixers.
In the most recent Sportradar report, Cunningham said the CSL had largely cleaned up its act and Asian bookmakers had lost interest.
Yet the CSL is an example of just how far the tentacles of gambling syndicates reach.
Whether it is an under-16 soccer international or a lower-level tennis match, the targets for match-fixers are often amateurs or
the less well-paid in professional sport.
NO GLOBAL AGENCY
McLaren pointed to an ITF-commissioned report that found only 600 of the nearly 14,000 players competing in ITF competitions made enough money to cover their costs, providing an impoverished pool of athletes for fixers to target.
There is no global agency in place to fight corruption in sport in the way WADA was set up to combat doping and nor, according to Howman, is there ever likely to be such an organization.
Instead the fight is being left to often ill-equipped individual sporting bodies, governments and law enforcement agencies.
“Everyone is resisting another WADA,” said Howman. “They don’t want to have an independent body taking control over their fiefdoms and they don’t want to see another fall like a Russian fall and that would be likely if you had a world anti-corruption unit or whatever you wanted to call it.
“What I think will occur is step-by-step. Tennis is confronting it now, cricket has confronted it. There are sports where there is already entrenched match-fixing.
“Protect the reputation of your sport people and the sport and better to get out in front than wait for a disaster and then react.”
Source: 26 April 2019, Reuters
Play the Game
Journalists investigating sports corruption exposed to many kinds of risks
For some journalists, reporting on integrity breaches in sport comes at a price, says this paper and presents various dangers that sports journalists face. The paper is commissioned by EPAS as part of their work with UNESCO’s Kazan Action Plan.
This paper was commissioned by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) under the Council of Europe as part of its work for UNESCO’s Kazan Action Plan in the field of integrity of sport.
The role of journalism in detecting breaches of integrity in sport
When British investigative journalist, Andrew Jennings, began investigating the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the early 1990's, some of his colleagues made fun of him for looking at what they thought to be an unimportant area of public life. Writing for the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, he recalls his own reply: "Sports organisations are in the public sphere. They're backed by public money. They wield power. Why should they escape scrutiny?"
Despite the diligent work of Andrew Jennings to uncover the corruption at the heart of the IOC and later the International Football Federation, FIFA, the fact is that the vast majority of media coverage of sports does not contain much scrutiny. The International Sports Press Survey produced for Play the Game in 2011 showed that newspaper coverage in 22 countries focused almost exclusively on sports performances in the form of match reports, comments on performances and previews of upcoming competitions and matches. Journalists rely on athletes, coaches and representatives from sports organisations to produce their stories, and access to these sources are often carefully managed by sports organisations. This reliance has lead to increasing commercialisation of sports news where journalists agree to mention sponsors or advertisers to get interviews, and it has also promoted self-censorship as journalists fear being cut off from key sources if they are too critical.
The watchdogs of sport are mainly investigative journalists
The task of uncovering that which some stakeholders in sport would prefer to be kept in the dark mainly falls to an increasingly smaller group of investigative journalists - many of whom are independent freelance journalists without the support and protection of a larger media organisation. They painstakingly put together their own stories but some also work on unravelling the stories hidden in documents and information leaked by whistleblowers. That was the case in 2014 when a senior figure inside FIFA leaked millions of documents to The Sunday Times. These so-called FIFA Files lead to a series of articles that showed how Mohamad bin Hammam, Quatar's top football oficial, had masterminded a plot to buy the 2022 World Cup for Qatar. In 2016, more than 60 journalists working for media in 12 different countries partnered within the framework of the European Investigative Collaborations and began publishing stories based on the largest leak of documents in the history of sport. The Football Leaks have revealed corruption among top officials, clubs, agents and players in many different countries, and the stories continue to be unearthed and published.
Corruption is one way of breaching the integrity in sport, but journalists continuously uncover breaches in other areas too:
In 2008, Canadian investigative journalist, Declan Hill, published his book "The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime" that details the methods and motives of match-fixers in football. According to Hill, the book has helped spark over thirty national police investigations, and the author has also testified about his findings before the International Olympic Committee, the Council of Europa and numerous national sports agencies.
In 2014, German investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt's documentary "Doping Top Secret: How Russia makes its winners" was broadcast on ARD and presented evidence of state sponsored systematic doping in athletics and other sports in Russia. The documentary led several figures in international sports organisations and anti-doping institutions to eitherresign their posts or being suspended. In June 2016, a follow-up documentary led the International Association of Athletics Federation to extend its suspension of its Russian Association and almost all Russian athletes were not allowed to take part in the Olympic Games 2016.
In 2016, the local US newspaper Indianapolis Star's investigative team uncovered sexual abuse within USA Gymnastics believed to have affected more than 150 young girls including Olympic champion Simone Biles. Team doctor, Larry Nasser, was later sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexual assualt, the board of USA Gymnastics was reorganised, and the US Olympic Committee announced changes to its policy for reporting abuse.
The dangers of sports journalism
Reporting on sports comes at a price for some journalists. In 2017, an academic study published in the book "The Assault on Journalism" showed that sports journalists regularly are subjected to violations of media freedom and personal safety. Analysing 78 reports in the public domain about incidents that took place between 2010 and 2016, the study documented that sports journalists have been banned from press conferences, stadiums or events, and some have had their passports seized or been denied accredition when trying to enter a country to cover a sports event. The personal safety of sports journalist was compromised through arrests and detentions; physical and verbal assaults; abduction; attacks; physical, verbal and digital threats of violence or death; legal actions; damage to property; personal and digital sexual abuse; and killings. For instance,
Andrew Jennings has been banned from attending press conferences at the IOC and FIFA; Hajo Seppelt received so many death threats for his work on doping in Russia that ARD had to hire security personel to protect him and his colleagues; and a Spanish judge issued an injunction ordering the 12 European media organisations to stop publishing revelations from the Football Leaks.
Media organsiations and journalists are integral parts of a sports world fuelled by strong eco-nomic interests and high emotions, where a wide range of stakeholders are monitoring and trying to affect how journalists cover issues dear to them. The high number of stakeholders is a key feature of this specific subfield of safety of journalists where perpetrators of violations against sports journalists include such different groups as sports fans, athletes and coaches, owners and officials of sports clubs and associations, and international sports federations. Police and political authorities also feature prominently on the list particularly in relation to mega-events. Even the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia has been targeting and killing sports journalists for glorifying what the group calls "satanic sports".
Considering the wide range of stakeholders in sport as well as the current low level of research and understanding of the threats faced by journalists uncovering breaches of integrity in the world of sport, it is difficult to identify specific challenges that should be overcome to ensure that journalists can continue to act as watchdogs in this particular part of the public sphere. More research is needed to determine the exact nature of the problems, their extent, their impact, how they should be handled, and who should be involved in pro-tecting sports journalists from harm or (self)-censorship. It is an important first step to acknowledge that the problems exist. The next step would be to build mechanisms that ensure that sports journalists are encouraged to report the violations they experience in order to inform the search for solutions.
Source: Kirsten Sparre, 16 April 2019, Play the Game
- Anti-Corruption Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Anti-Doping Athens Austria Austrian Handball Federation (ÖHB) Belgium Brazil British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Canada China Cyprus England Esports FA Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) FIFA Football Française des Jeux (FDJ) France Gambling Greece Handball Hong Kong Horseracing Kenya League of Legends League of Legends Master Series (LMS) Malaysia Match Fixing Moldova Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association (SWIMA) Switzerland Tennis Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) The Cyprus Football Association The Global Lottery Monitoring system (GLMS) Tunisia Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) United Kingdom (UK) United States of America (USA) Vietnam World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) World Cup