In this bi-weekly edition, most of the articles focuses on Asia regarding illegal betting and accusations of match fixing. Badminton is emerging as a popular sport for match-fixing.
The Integrity in Sports Programme is still involved in many events around the world in the upcoming months to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports.
Teen shuttler banned for gambling
A 16-year-old shuttler from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) has been banned three months for gambling. It’s the first time the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have taken such an action against gambling. BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria said they would continue efforts to weed out gambling and match fixing under their zero tolerance campaign against such vices. The boy, staying at the hostel in Bukit Jalil, had kept late nights to indulge on online betting involving badminton and the English Premier League football matches. He approached BJSS coach Kwan Yoke Meng and confessed about his problem. It is learnt that the boy had wasted thousands on online gambling. “Action has been taken against the boy based on the evidence we had gathered. He came to us seeking help to overcome his problem,” said Norza after a three-hour executive committee meeting at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara yesterday. Norza said they would formalise a new Standard Operating Proce-dure (SOP) to tighten their current policy on gambling. “We’re concerned that our junior is involved in gambling. The rules and integrity committee will embed new rules in the players’ contract. We’ll also come out with other mechanisms to monitor this. “Once the SOP is established, any offender who is involved in gambling through legal or illegal means will be dropped from the squad with immediate effect,” said Norza. He added: “BAM have zero-tolerance on gambling and betting. A small gambling act like this can lead to many other things like serious match fixing, cheating and stealing. It will affect the players’ form. “We don’t want our juniors to have debts when they join the national team. All our players are given monthly allowances and they should be focused on their game.” Norza said the BAM would invite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to declare their corruption-free pledge after the completion of this month’s Kuala Lumpur SEA Games and World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. “From the top officials to the players, we will gather as a BAM family to declare the pledge. It’s our way to show that we are against these vices,” added Norza.
Source: 17 August 2017, The Star Online
Korean MMA fighter indicted for taking bribes in match-fixing scam
South Korean prosecutors said Monday they have indicted a mixed martial arts fighter for his involvement in a match-fixing scam. Bang Tae-hyun has been accused of taking a bribe of 100 million won ($87,950) from match-fixing brokers in exchange for throwing a bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship event in South Korea in 2015. He will face a trial without detention. According to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office, Bang agreed to lose the contest against Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul. The scam, however, didn't succeed as the lightweight fighter apparently changed his mind at the last moment and went on to beat Kuntz with a split decision. Bang reportedly decided not to throw the match after UFC officials warned him about fight fixing following a sudden shift in betting patterns on gambling websites. The 34-year-old was first listed as the slight favorite against Kuntz, but just hours before the fight the UFC officials caught drastic changes in odds that made him the underdog and his American opponent the overwhelming favorite. Bang is no longer with the UFC, the world's largest MMA promotion. After the UFC event in Seoul, Bang fought once more in Germany at the UFC Fight Night 93, where he lost to Nick Hein by unanimous decision. Bang was the seventh South Korean to enter the Octagon after he signed with the UFC in late 2013. The prosecutors also indicted fight-fixing brokers and those who helped them, adding that one of them was former MMA fighter Kim Dae-won. Kim, who previously completed in Japan-based MMA promotions like DEEP and Pride, told his acquaintances that he can fix the UFC bout by persuading Bang and later consulted with the brokers for fixing, according to the prosecutors.
Source: 14 August 2017, The Korea Herald
Technology that detects football match-fixing could catch guilty players
Algorithm technology that detects suspected match-fixing could be used to catch teams and players involved in sports corruption, according to the Malta Football Association’s watchdog. MFA integrity officer Franz Tabone told the Times of Malta the technology formed part of the betting fraud detection system, a set-up already in place locally. “We have this technology and we get reports on local matches but there could be room to take this further,” he said. Mr Tabone, who has spearheaded the fight against football corruption in Malta, said Lithuania and Cyprus recently become the first two countries to suspend players after they were identified by the system as being linked to irregular betting. He made it clear he was not suggesting players and others involved in the sport would be shown the red card without due process. In his opinion, the technology should be used as part of a body of evidence that could be presented before the Court of Arbitration of Sport, a sort of court of justice for sportsmen and sportswomen. Mr Tabone said the technology had recently been improved to provide more refined data as the international sporting community continued to clamp down on match-fixing and corruption. The Times of Malta recently reported that the government planned to ban athletes found guilty of corruption from all sports facilities for a decade. Sports Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima said a proposed legal reform was set to be presented to Parliament after the summer recess. Mr Tabone said discussing legal reforms was “all well and good” but they would remain pointless if enforcement was not stepped up. “We have introduced harsher penalties for drug abuse in the past, but we did not see the problem decrease. There needs to be a renewed focus on enforcement if this is going to work,” he said. Mr Tabone said he had been conducting tireless educational campaigns to weed out corruption but the problem was only getting bigger. In 2013, legal bets on local football ranged between €50 million and €70 million. The figure is based on statistics gathered by Sportradar, the Swiss company engaged by the MFA to collect data on football betting. However, it is widely acknowledged that millions of euros are gambled through unregulated betting companies based mostly in Asia. “Corruption is a bigger issue today. What was mainly about match-fixing for points on the league table, or honours, and minor gambling, is today part of a criminal network that stretches as far away as Asia,” Mr Tabone said. The proposed law will seek to widen the jurisdiction of the police extensively. They will be able to prosecute perpetrators irrespective of their nationality or the country where the crime was committed whenever the offence has an impact on Maltese sporting events.
Source: Ivan Martin, 17 August 2017, Times of Malta
ODDS AND ENDS
Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk-yiu stunned to learn of competitor’s match-fixing approach during his New Zealand Open triumph Men’s singles champion Lee Cheuk-yiu of Hong Kong said he was in the dark about a match-fixing allegation involving another player that hit the New Zealand Open, which he won on Sunday. The 21-year-old had earlier stunned top seed Wang Tzu-Wei of Taiwan 2-1 in the final to claim victory at the US$120,000 grand prix gold event, which was his first major title since turning professional five years ago. However, according to a report on Stuff.co.nz, another unnamed competitor said he was approached at the event by a person who tried to enlist him in a match-fixing plot, an offer the player rejected. The article says the player immediately reported the approach to tournament officials. Badminton New Zealand chief executive Joe Hitchcock confirmed the approach had occurred after the conclusion of the tournament. But Lee, who returned to Hong Kong after his triumph to continue preparations for the National Games, did not know of anything untoward occurring during the tournament. “I have not heard of [match fixing] and nor am I aware of anything like this,” said a shocked Lee. “I was approached by no one during the event, and we all know this is against the rules of the game.” Coach Tim He Yiming said that although match-fixing is rare in badminton, it’s something the governing body should be resilient never to allow into the sport. “As a coach, this is something I hope – not only my players – but any other players would never become involved in,” he said. “The players are pursuing excellence in the sport at the highest level and this kind of behaviour should never be tolerated. Players, officials and event organisers should work together to stop things like this.” The New Zealand official declined to disclose the name of the player who was approached. “I can’t go into the specifics of the incident, but from our point of view we want to be up front,” said Hitchcock. “An incident did occur, but we’ve got a good policy and process in place to deal with it once we’re notified. “It’s a first for us and something quite out of the blue. We’ve gone through a long process around sport integrity education under the thought process that it wouldn’t happen to us for a while at least, we thought it would be other sports that would be involved.” The approach was believed to be an isolated incident, although Hitchcock would not comment on whether he was 100 per cent confident no other approaches went unreported. According to the Stuff.co.nz report, when match-fixing and corruption expert Declan Hill visited New Zealand in 2016, he said sports administrators needed to prepare for the day that Asian sports gambling syndicates tried to break into the New Zealand market.
Source: 10 August 2017, South China morning Post