INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin 27 April 2021 - 10 May 2021
Fixed Table Tennis Matches Bring Former Player AU$438K
A 41-year old Australian native and former table tennis player allegedly won AU$438,000 over 7 months last year by placing more than 1000 bets on fixed table tennis tournament matches before being arrested in December.
Betting on Rigged Table Tennis Matches
Adam Michael Green, who placed the bets with Australian online bookmakers from his home in Newcastle, has been raised multiple charges and the police have evidence against him spanning over 6500 pages, defense lawyer Drew Hamilton revealed to the Newcastle Local Court during the Friday hearing.
Adam Green, who did not attend the hearing, was charged with one count of betting with corrupt information for a sports event, one count of dealing with proceeds of crime with the intention to conceal, and two counts of providing corrupt information to other people knowing they would use it for betting purposes.
Green is accused of placing 1170 bets between May 16, 2020, and December 15, 2020, on information about fixed matches and fixed contingencies within matches from table tennis events in Eastern Europe, as well as dealing with proceeds of crime to the amount of AU$204,383.79 with the intent of concealing it.
Sharing Corrupt Information with Others
The police brief claims Adam Michael Green passed the information about the fixed matches to two other persons, Luke Savill from the UK, and his brother Matthew Green, knowing that both of them would use it for betting purposes.
In December, detectives from the Organized Crime Squad at the State Crime Command, with the collaboration of Sports Integrity Australia, set up Strike Force Brombal due to allegedly corrupt betting activities from a transnational gambling syndicate, and the investigation led to the arrest of the former leading table tennis player.
Sports Integrity Australia commenced operations last year, set up by the Australian Government as part of its sports integrity and strategy to have a single nationally coordinated organization to address all sport integrity issues, including use of prohibited substances and methods, abuse of children and other persons within a sporting environment, besides manipulation of sports competitions.
Last month Australian police, in collaboration with the FBI, arrested for match-fixing and illicit betting a number of Australian Counter-Strike players. According to the information provided by the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC), the investigation which discovered the “classic match-fixing” issue was much deeper than expected and was spanning over to North America.
Source: 7 May 2021, Gambling News Table Tennis
IPL: Delhi Police arrest two men for illegal stadium entry, probe betting angle
A couple of bookies were arrested and sent into police custody after they forged accreditation cards during the IPL 2021 match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday in Delhi.
Two men entered the Arun Jaitley Stadium here during Sunday’s IPL game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals by allegedly obtaining accreditation cards fraudulently and were arrested and investigated if they their entry was to facilitate illegal betting and if they were part of a betting racket, the police said
Rohit Meena, additional deputy commissioner of police (Central District), said those arrested are Manish Kansal, 38, and Krishan Garg, 26. Kansal belonged to Punjab and was posing as housekeeping staff while Garg hailed from North-West Delhi and posed as a health worker with a civic agency.
“On Sunday, our police staff inside the stadium found their behaviour suspicious. They observed them for a while before questioning them,” said the officer.
The police action came on a tip-off that some people may have entered the stadium on forged identity. On questioning it was found that their accreditation cards allowed them easy access to most parts of the stadium
Meena said police custody of the two has been obtained and they were being questioned on how they managed to get accreditation cards. “We’re probing who all they were in contact with. That will help us determine their role,” he said.
It is learnt a probe is on into whether there were attempts to fix the game or carry out “pitch siding”, a mode of betting in which early inputs from the stadium about the outcome of each delivery would be an added advantage to a bettor outside, taking advantage of the lag of a few seconds before the action is relayed on TV.
Police are also trying to ascertain if more people had tried to enter the venue by similar fraudulent means. They suspect the arrested duo could have gained illegal entry on more than one occasion.
Matches in IPL 2021 were held before empty stadiums. Access was restricted to those connected directly with the match. Only those with accreditations cards were able to gain entry, a police officer said.
"We will be carrying out our internal investigation on how the guys got the accreditation card. DDCA doesn't employ housekeeping staff directly. We have hired a company which brings in its own people,” a DDCA official, who did not wish to be identified, said.
BCCI anti-corruption unit head, Shabir Hussein, when contacted, said on Wednesday that his team member too confronted a man during a game in Delhi. Hussein detailed the incident, but did not give a date or match.
“My team member found it suspicious that someone carrying an accreditation was speaking on the phone in a corner. When grilled, he ran away. We had his Aadhar card details which we handed over to Delhi police. They are now investigating the matter and have made some arrests. At the moment we suspect it was a case of pitch siding (providing ball-by-ball match information to bookies by taking advantage of the time lag in live telecast). We found no cases of anyone approaching players with any corrupt (intention) in this IPL,” Hussein said.
A DDCA official, who did not wish to be identified, said the association will probe the matter. “We will carry out our internal investigation on how the guys got the accreditation cards. DDCA doesn’t employ housekeeping staff directly. We have hired a company who brings in their people,” the official said.
Source: 6 May 2021, Hindustan Times Cricket
LaLiga files complaints for match-fixing offences
LaLiga has filed 13 complaints for possible integrity-related irregularities, including nine for potential participation in gambling.
According to the Spanish channel SER, four complaints were filed with the National Police Corps (CPN), corresponding to issues of sports corruption due to possible match-fixing.
The other nine complaints correspond to infractions of article 286 of the Penal Code and article six of the Gaming Law, which establishes that athletes or other personalities directly related to the sport on which the bet is made cannot place wagers.
So far this season, there are 18 investigations currently open, of which 14 relate to betting activity and four are concerned with sports issues.
In an effort to control the issue of match-fixing, LaLiga monitors around 40 bookmakers through a tool that studies the odds in real time and issues automatic alerts on important changes. The division also conducts instructive talks with participating teams from the main divisions of local football.
Last year, the Spanish organisation held a discussion at Segunda División side Málaga FC, where integrity issues in football and the role of sports betting were discussed with players from the first and second teams, including the importance of protecting the sport and players betting on matches.
Established FIFA laws state that players cannot gamble and, if exposed to the activity, the courts study the course to follow, with players facing fines and possible disqualification from the sport.
Source: 30 April 2021, Insider Sport Football
TJ Sports Releases Match-Fixing Investigation Results, Punishment for LPL and LDL
China’s League of Legends esports operator TJ Sports announced the results and punishments from its two-month investigation into match-fixing accusations and reports in the League of Legends Development League (LDL).
All players, coaches and management staff from 17 League of Legends Pro League (LPL) teams and 26 LDL teams were investigated. Eventually, three LPL players and 36 LDL-related staff were judged guilty by TJ Sports for violating anti match-fixing rules.
For LPL, FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) player Zhou “Bo” Yangbo, the original target of this match-fixing incident, was given a four-month global suspension for his match-fixing involvement in LDL. ThunderTalk (TT) players Wang “Teeen” Yaoji and Xiang “bless” Yitong were given four-month and a 12-month global suspensions, respectively. In addition, Yangbo was also fined six months salary by FPX.
It should be noted that all three LPL players received reduced punishment for “voluntary confessions,” and for cooperating with TJ Sports’ investigation. Yangbo and Yaoji were originally given six-month suspensions and Yitong was originally given a 18- month ban.
For LDL, the punishment is more serious. The entire Shenjie Gaming (SJG) team was disqualified from the league, and its players were given multiple bans from six-month to lifelong suspensions. In addition, 11 players, coaches and management staff were given lifelong bans.
All suspended individuals will be banned from all professional League of Legends events hosted by Tencent, Riot Games, TJ Sports until the suspension period concludes. In addition, suspended players will also be banned for streaming League of Legends contents on live-streaming platforms.
Alongside the punishment results for match-fixing, TJ Sports also promised that the company will implement a series of measures to prevent match-fixing, including preventive practices, more detailed guidelines, technical development, and education and training.
Source: 27 April 2021, The ESPORTS Observer eSports
FKF expels Zoo FC from Kenya Premier League after FIFA orders
Global football regulator FIFA has ordered the expulsion of Zoo FC from the 2020/21 Kenya Premier League season after finding them responsible for what they referred to as “match manipulation”.
According to a statement seen by newsrooms, FIFA also ordered the club be relegated to the FKF Division One league for the next season.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee fins the club Zoo FC responsible for activities related to manipulation of football matches and competitions.
The club is hereby expulsed from the Kenyan Premier League season 2020/21 as of the date of notification of the present decision. The Committee also hereby orders the relegation of the first team of the club to the FKF Division One for next season.”
FIFA has also asked Zoo FC to contact them in the next 30 days and implement a ‘prevention plan’ as an educational directive created to combat and prevent match manipulation.
Football Kenya Federation have also complied with FIFA’s orders and officially expulsed the club from the league.
“We are in receipt of correspondence from FIFA with regard to FIFA Disciplinary Committee ruling against your club on grounds of Manipulation of football matches and competition. In view of the aforementioned decision, FKF has expulsed your club from the 2020/21 FKF Premier League season and relegated Zoo FC to the National Super League (NSL) for the season 2020/21,” read part of a statement from FKF.
Source: 4 May 2021, The Standard Football
Use of insider information about athletes to be defined as wrongdoing in Russia
The Government Law-Making Commission has approved an initiative of the Russian Ministry of Sports aimed at combating match-fixing and corruption in sports.
The bill expands the concept of unlawful influence on the result of an official sports competition. In addition to bribery of athletes, referees and coaches, this term will include the use of insider information and the failure to take measures to prevent conflicts of interest. The bill is aimed at combating corruption in sports: match-fixing, unlawful use of insider information, including for gambling purposes, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Lawyers of Russia Vladimir Gruzdev said.
He clarified that the proposed provisions expand the concept of unlawful influence on the results of official sports competitions: the draft defines the content of "conflict of interest in the field of physical culture and sports" and "insider information in the field of physical culture and sports," the Association Chairman noted.
Gruzdev emphasized that the initiative is designed to put in place a system aimed at countering the manipulation of sports competitions.
According to the Association Chairman the list of insider information will be determined by sports federations and professional leagues. At the same time, publicly available information, as well as information published in the media, cannot be classified as insider information.
Often, insider information is used to play sweepstakes. But it can also become a way of illegally influencing the result of a match, if, for example, the team is told a tactical plan for the future game prepared by their opponent. Therefore, persons convicted of attempting sports espionage and selling insider information can be held accountable, Gruzdev summed up.
Source: 29 April 2021, RAPSI All Sports
64 betting integrity alerts reported by IBIA in Q1 2021
28 April 2021: The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 64 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during the first quarter (Q1) of 2021. The Q1 total is broadly similar to the 68 cases reported in Q4 2020 and the 61 alerts reported in Q1 2020. Tennis (18), eSports (17) and football (12) made up nearly 75% of all alerts reported during the quarter, with the remainder covering table tennis (7), basketball (5), volleyball (4) and horse racing (1). From a geographical perspective, Europe and Asia accounted for two-thirds (66%) of alerts.
Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “After a difficult 2020, many operators appear to be close to normality in terms of their pre- pandemic market offering. This is reflected in the alert numbers and geographical spread for Q1, with a refocus on those sports that have traditionally and numerically dominated the betting offer globally, namely tennis and football. The association and its members continue to work closely with those sports, and indeed all sports that wish to engage with us, to identify potential corruption and to seek robust sanctions to punish and deter such illicit activity.”
Other key data for Q1 2021:
- •7 – alerts in Q1 covered seven different sports
- •16 – a quarter of all alerts came from Russia (10) and Bulgaria (6)
- •18 – alerts on tennis
- •20 – different countries where alerts were reported
The International Betting Integrity Association is the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry. It is run by operators for operators, protecting its members from corruption through collective action. Its monitoring and alert platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool that detects and reports suspicious activity on its members’ betting markets. The association has longstanding information sharing partnerships with leading sports and gambling regulators to utilise its data and prosecute corruption. It represents the sector at high-level policy discussion forums such as the IOC, UN, Council of Europe and European Commission.
Source: 28 April 2021, IBIA All Sports https://ibia.bet/resources/
'Search Your Team'
Two African refugees set up a sports platform to prevent other refugees from being trapped in human trafficking Wesley Mukerinkindi understands the feeling of utter desperation.
He was a little boy when his family escaped his home county of Rwanda during the genocide in the 1990s.
As a survivor of the slaughter, Mukerinkindi counts himself as one of the lucky ones, thanks to his well-educated father. "My father was a pastor who sent lots of letters to his contacts in Europe to help us try to escape the genocide," told ABC.
"He eventually did it and found a way out for the family."
Mukerinkindi went on to study at Utah State University in the United States through a soccer scholarship. Upon returning to Europe, he formed a friendship with Gaetan Ekoondo.
He too escaped hardship in The Democratic Republic of the Congo and went on to study at Harvard. A second chance
With both men given a second chance at life, Mukerinkindi and Ekoondo wanted to give back.
They set up Search Your Team, an online platform to help refugee athletes hook up with professional soccer or basketball teams for tryouts.
"They send in a video, we provide the editing to show to coaches and we've been able to change the lives of many players," Mukerinkindi said.
Clips are sent to registered agents and European football clubs, while basketball videos are sent to the US and Canadian college coaches.
They also help set up university sport scholarships. Football trafficking
It is not just about changing lives but saving future ones.
"We are trying to bring awareness on some of the risks of refugees and the situation of human trafficking," Ekoondo said. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates there are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking.
Sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most common forms but football trafficking remains a serious problem in parts of Africa.
Traffickers pose as agents, who trade and prey on the poverty and dreams of those wanting to become the next Sadio Mane or football superstar.
In September 2020, the UN's leading anti-corruption agency, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the world football's governing body, FIFA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further safeguard children from exploitation and corruption.
A month later, teenage Senegalese footballer Ousmane 'Doudou' Faye died on a wooden boat at sea trying to reach Europe in pursuit of a professional football career.
Smugglers told the 14-year-old's father an Italian professional club was ready to sign him but when he passed away during the trip, his body was thrown overboard.
"Doudou Faye is exactly why we fight for this," an emotional Mukerinkindi said.
"There are tons of kids who do their best to come to Europe or the US but in an illegal way."
Mukerinkindi said many do it not just to follow sporting dreams but as a way of supporting family back in Africa.
"They have fake agents who demand money and promise to help, only for them to end up in some other country where they can sometimes be sold as slaves," he said.
For the first time in an African nation, Faye's father was jailed for paying the traffickers.
"With us, it's a video, and if it's good, we do the administrative steps with a coach and you're on a plane, not a boat," Mukerinkindi adds.
The platform is now attracting various athletes from across the world, including Musa Kamara.
Born in Guinea-Conakry, west of Africa, Kamara is currently based in Newcastle in the New South Wales Hunter region.
He's playing for Weston Workers FC in the National Premier Leagues (NPL), a national second-tier competition below the A- League.
Before that, he had been playing with Alcorcon in Spain's Liga 2 and later joined SV Meppen in the German Bundesliga 3 division. "With the whole pandemic, our season got cancelled and I came straight back to Australia as it was too risky to stay there,"
He reached out to Mukerinkindi through social media and remains hopeful of one day returning to Europe to play professionally. Kamara claims he has had a few offers but is currently being held back by COVID and border restrictions.
"It's kind of difficult right now but something I'm definitely still pursuing," he said.
"Some countries require a COVID vaccine before you get there, then there's the tests and legal paperwork." Having first played in Guinea-Conakry in an under-6s side, Kamara describes soccer "as a way of living in Africa". But he is all too familiar with the exploitation from the underworld.
"My parents worked really hard to get me to Europe for tryouts to meet a guy who assured us he had sorted everything out," Kamara said.
"We get there and there was literally nothing. The guy didn't reply, so it's really hard to identify who you can trust in the market these days."
Many of Kamara's friends had also been left stranded when reaching the so-called destination of their dreams. Read more...
Source: 6 May 2021, ABC News
Corruption and Sensitive Soccer Games: Cross-Country Evidence Abstract
We utilize data from sensitive soccer games in 75 countries between the years 2001 and 2013. In these games one team was in immediate danger of relegation to a lower division (Team A) and another team was not affected by the result (Team B). Using within-country variation, our difference-in-difference analysis reveals that the more corrupt the country, according to Corruption Perceptions Index, the higher is the probability that Team A would achieve the desired result in the sensitive games relative to achieving this result in other, non-sensitive games against the same team. We also find that in the later stages of the following year, the probability that Team A would lose against Team B compared to losing against a similar team (usually better than Team B) is significantly higher in more corrupt countries than in less corrupt countries. This result serves as evidence of quid pro quo behavior. (JEL A12, D73, C93, Z20)
Source: 10 May 2021, Oxford Academic Football
- 'Search Your Team' Australia China FIFA India Kenya Kenya Premier League League of Legends Development League (LDL) Match-fixing Oxford Russia Spain Table Tennis The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA)