New match-fixing investigations in cricket, badminton and football

Weekly Media Recap 13-19 October 2014 Published 21 October 2014

Shuttlecock In Flight

This week’s recap sees advances in the fight against match-fixing with the signing of a cooperation agreement between UEFA and the European Commission to safeguard football from discrimination, match-fixing and violence, as well meetings in El Salvador to discuss a roadmap to make match-fixing a crime under the country’s law.

In another development an inquiry into match-fixing in soccer conducted by judicial investigators in Cremona, Italy, branched out to other sports with the discovery of internet conversations of tennis players claiming they sold matches.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Badminton World Federation

Badminton officials have asked the Malaysian police to investigate what the Badminton World Federation president called one of the most serious cases of match fixing in recent history. Singles player Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who ranks ninth, and doubles player Kim Astrup told the broadcaster that they received offers to their Facebook accounts by a Malaysian man who said he had previously fixed matches in the Singapore Open and the Thomas Cup. Astrup said he was offered between 2,500 and 3,000 euros in addition to being able to bet on his own game. The Malaysia-based BWF has given no details on the match-fixing offer, but it said in a statement on Monday that it had reported the alleged offer to the police and "has been cooperating fully in an ongoing investigation into these matters".

Source: "Danes allege badminton match-fixing offer", 15 October 2014, AFP, https://www.thelocal.dk/20141015/danish-badminton-players-allege-match-fixing-offer

Italy

Italian tennis players Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace are facing corruption accusations after intercepted Internet conversations claiming they sold matches were published in Italian media. The conversations are part of the extensive data that judicial investigators in Cremona have been sorting through in a match-fixing inquiry into soccer. In a July 2007 conversation on Skype between Bracciali and an accountant who was arrested in 2011, Bracciali discussed arranging a match in Newport, Rhode Island, against American player Scoville Jenkins. In 2011, an owner of a betting parlor who was later arrested is heard saying that Starace agreed to sell the final of a tournament in Casablanca. Prosecutor Roberto Di Martino, who is leading the Cremona inquiry, confirmed the authenticity of the conversations and added that foreign tennis players might also be involved. Bracciali and Starace, neither of whom are officially under investigation, refused to comment. The Last Bet operation has resulted in more than 100 people placed under investigation in Italy since mid-2011, with suspect soccer matches being looked at by prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Naples. The inquiry is branching out to other sports. Bracciali and Starace were already given suspensions in 2007-08 by the ATP for betting.

Source: Andrew Dampf, "Italian tennis players face corruption accusations", 15 October 2014, Associated Press, https://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=tennis&id=11704516

Spain

Sport Society Huesca filed a complaint against the football clubs Racing de Santander and Hércules de Alicante alleging that both clubs manipulated the match which they played against each other in June 2013 and which had a direct impact on Huesca’s relegation to the Segunda B division. Huesca is claiming that both clubs agreed to let Racing win so that it would not be relegated. Racing won the match 3-0. In July 2013, UEFA had informed the Spanish league that an unusual amount of bets were placed on this game.

Source: Manuel Altozano, "Partido amañado en la Audiencia", 17 October 2014, El Pais, https://deportes.elpais.com/deportes/2014/10/17/actualidad/1413568308_067916.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Australia cricket

Australian cricket has announced an unprecedented effort to weed out match fixing and zero in on shady characters behind it with the establishment of an amnesty period for players to report corruption-related suspicions. Cricketers face bans of up to five years if they are found to have failed to report information relating to a breach of the Cricket Australia's anti-corruption code but in an Australian first have been told they will be spared from penalty if they come forward with any evidence from their careers by the end of November. The move comes as anti-corruption investigators prepare to confront the threat of match and spot fixing at this summer's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. A new reporting hotline has been established for players, officials and administrators.

Source: Chris Barrett, "Cricket Australia urges players to report match-fixing suspicions during amnesty period", 19 October 2014, Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/cricket-australia-urges-players-to-report-matchfixing-suspicions-during-amnesty-period-20141019-118a2u.html

El Salvador

The fight against match-fixing took the next, and ground breaking, steps in El Salvador this week with meetings to discuss a roadmap that will make match manipulation a crime under the country's laws. The talks in El Salvador are intended to become a blueprint for discussion with government and agencies region-wide. Led by CONCACAF and El Salvador Football Federation officials, meetings were held with Salvadorian government representatives as well as delegations from Interpol and FIFA. The San Salvador meetings were the first of their kind in the CONCACAF region and are part of a strategy of creating a joint effort to bring together all relevant stakeholders from outside of the football umbrella. Participating Salvadoran government organisations included the Supreme Court of Justice, National Sports Institute, Nacional Civil Police and the Attorney General's Office. CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said: "We look forward to recreating this model in other Member Associations to further strengthen our position in the global fight against match manipulation."

Source: Paul Nicholson, "CONCACAF ups the stakes in war on match-fixing with 'criminalising' initiative", 17 October 2014, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/football-americas/concacaf-news/15660-concacaf-ups-the-stakes-in-war-on-match-fixing-with-criminalising-initiative

India

India’s football chiefs have signed a deal with FIFA to ensure the Indian Super League and other domestic competitions are corruption free, the world governing body said. Early Warning System (EWS), a FIFA subsidiary, and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) signed a monitoring service agreement aimed at “safeguarding the integrity of the game” in a “global fight against match manipulation”, a FIFA statement posted late yesterday confirmed. The EWS will monitor betting markets on irregularities and analyse specific match situation in its sporting context. If EWS’s analysis indicates strong grounds for suspecting match fixing, the AIFF will be alerted. The year-long agreement covers the ISL and the I-League tournament that features India’s top clubs. Welcoming the deal, an AIFF official told AFP that ISL player have been banned from using mobile phones in the dressing rooms, or meeting anyone—including family members—there before or after matches without prior permission. The official added the players are being strictly monitored.

Source: "India signs deal with FIFA’s anti-corruption watchdog", 17 October 2014, The Malay Mail Online, https://www.themalaymailonline.com/sports/article/india-signs-deal-with-fifas-anti-corruption-watchdog

UEFA

Michel Platini, the UEFA chief signed a landmark agreement with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso and European Commissioner responsible for sport Androulla Vassiliou at the body's headquarters in Brussels. The so-called Arrangement for Cooperation sets out the basis for a formal UEFA-EC partnership and commits the two organisations to regular bilateral meetings. The aim is to hold senior level meetings at least once a year. "By working together, we will make sure football can overcome the many challenges it faces, whether it be discrimination, match-fixing, third party player ownership or violence” said Platini. "UEFA is also pleased to have the commitment of the European Commission to cooperate in the promotion of grassroots football and to continue to support the implementation of the Financial Fair Play process, which will ensure football can grow and prosper in years to come." Vassiliou described the agreement as "a significant step forward in our cooperation with UEFA".

Source: Mark Bisson, "UEFA Agreement with European Commission to Boost Fight Against Discrimination and Match-fixing", 14 October 2014, World Football Insider, https://www.worldfootballinsider.com/Story.aspx?id=37328

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Malawi

Evidence gathered by Malawi24’s undercover reporter reveals that the Might Wanderers FC – also known as the Nomads - have been bribing players and referees to manipulate games to their favour. Nomads officials are on record claiming that the ongoing poor run of form is as a result of failure to pay off opponents and match officials. Led by Diness Chitsulo, the executive committee for the team's supporters accused Nomads' main executive for failing to bribe some referees who had officiated their league and cup games this season. Chitsulo revealed that the referee who officiated the game against Moyale Barracks during the weekend was willing to help the Wanderers win the game provided they pay him MK20,000. According to Chitsulo, since the executive committee did not give the alleged match-fixers the money they requested before kick-off game, the identified official could not "help" the Nomads as promised. Chitsulo together with his match-fixing colleagues further stated that they had identified and established contact in advance with the match officials for the Karonga United game which Nomads ended up losing 2-1. He also added that most of the referees have been telling Chitsulo and his colleagues that the team's current executive is too stubborn when it comes to money issues.

Source: "Malawi: Nomads Rocked in Match-Fixing Scandal", 13 October 2014, Malawi 24,  https://allafrica.com/stories/201410132501.html

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Mongolia

FIFA banned Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh for five years for taking bribes to vote for former Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam in the world body's leadership election. In a statement, FIFA said the Mongolian would be barred from "any kind of football-related activity at national and international level" during his five years' of punishment. Buyannemekh "solicited and accepted payments" from disgraced former Asian Football Confederation chief and FIFA executive member bin Hammam, the statement said. FIFA said the offences occurred during the 2009 elections for its executive at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress, as well as during the FIFA presidential election in 2011. Buyannemekh is currently a member of the AFC executive committee as well as other key committees in the regional group. He is the second top Asian football official to be banned over alleged payments from bin Hammam.

Source: "Football: FIFA bans Mongolia boss for corruption", 16 October 2014, AFP, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/sport/football-fifa-bans/1416982.html

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