Prevention, detection and co-operation in match-fixing – Part 3

Published 16 July 2013 By: Jack Anderson

Prevention, detection and co-operation in match-fixing – Part 3 No video selected.

This final part of a three part blog is a review of an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Working Group Meeting on Preserving Sports Integrity and Combating Crime and Corruption in Sport held at Queensland Cricketers Club Brisbane on 5th June 2013.

It is based on Jack Anderson’s speaking notes with inserts, where relevant, of the excellent contributions of the other speakers. A more formal briefing paper on the workshop’s themes will be made available in due course by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security at www.ceps.edu.au.

 

Education and prevention

In my view, the education and prevention fundamentals of chapter 3 of the aforementioned Parry report from 2010 remain sound:

  • Sports governing bodies need to have clear, definitional rules on “betting” (and in particular what participants can or cannot bet on) and “inside information” (and especially the need to calibrate and communicate this clearly because players sometimes misunderstand the importance to others of even the most trivial bit of information e.g., injury status of a teammate, state of pitch, possible change in  tactical formation  etc);

  • Anti-corruption education and training in this respect should not just be confined to participants and should include administrators, officials, umpires,  coaches, support personnel etc;
  • Training should ideally be face to face; in small team groups; at club facilities; delivered by people who participants etc can empathise with; and the training must be reinforced regularly. The “tick the box” approach (as in the approach many workplaces to health and safety) should be avoided e.g., some organisations just place a generic, online training programme on their website and leave it at that – you know who you are;
  • Need to provide a dedicated whistle-blowing line or clear communication channel for reporting illegal or unusual betting-related approaches and thereafter to provide support for the whistleblower – see the example here of Simone Farina who was in effect ostracised from Italian football after his revelations on the sport’s practices;
  • Need to provide advice, assistance and counselling for participants affected by gambling problems.  

On education, one of the most thought-provoking presentations was by Mr Michael Jeh, a former Oxford Blue and first-class cricketer, who spoke passionately about the skewed moral code of many modern, young, elite sports stars who, used to the trapping of success, and the support of their clubs and coaches, balance the (lack of) certainty of getting caught (for recreational drug use, questionable personal behaviour in public or online etc) against the (lack of) severity of any sanction if caught. 

This point was reiterated in the context of performance-enhancing drugs by Professor Janes Skinner, Dr Stephen Moston and Dr Terry Engelberg of the Centre for Tourism, Sport and Services Research, based in the Griffith University Business School, Brisbane, who are undertaking research for the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet into athletes’ attitudes to sports doping. 

 

Future challenges

The following “future challenges” are presented as questions and matter of debate.

  • What is the impact for sports gambling and more importantly the policing of sports gambling as a result of the growing popularity of the virtual, digital currency Bitcoin?

Note also the quotes from a Sydney Morning Herald feature on Bitcoin on 1 June 2013.  

“The Australian Crime Commission’s acting chief executive, Paul Jevtovic, says the virtual currency’s anonymity makes it highly attractive to criminals and money launderers, though little is yet known about how widespread it is in illicit markets. Bitcoin has become of growing concern to the agency. ‘The ACC is currently working with partners to explore the Bitcoin market and other digital currencies, to better understand its size and criminal threat,’ he said.”

“NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher says the phenomenon is causing serious concern inside the state government, with evidence that Bitcoins are being used to buy firearms, child exploitation material, stolen credit card data, forged passports, bomb-making instructions and extremist literature. ”This is without question going to be one of the challenges that defines modern policing,” he says.”

“…in July last year, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, AUSTRAC, the federal agency that charts money flows in and out of the country, warned of the potential for criminals to use online video games and virtual worlds, such as Warcraft or Second Life, with digital currencies such as Bitcoin. AUSTRAC chief executive John Schmidt warns that digital currencies will become even more attractive to criminal groups as financial regulations tighten.”

  • Has the Court of Arbitration in the tennis corruption awards on Koller, (CAS 2011/A/2490 ) and Savic (CAS 2011/A/2621) but also in Pobdea, CAS 2009/A/1920 and in CAS 2010/A/2172 (upholding a life ban on a referee to report an approach made to him to fix a match) rushed into upholding life bans without proper consideration of the requisite standard of proof (which really should be comfortable satisfaction and not just balance of probabilities); at odds with the principle of proportionality in sanction noted by the Swiss Federal Court recently in Matuzalem; and without due regard to mitigating circumstances such as the first time offender; poor financial circumstances of the accused; or the undue influence or even duress that was exerted on the accused, who may not have been directly involved but simply failed to report a betting approach?   
  • Is there a need for a World Anti-Corruption Agency modelled on the World Ant-Doping Agency?

Internationally, rather than getting distracted by “white elephant” projects such as the establishment of a World Anti-Corruption Agency; rather than entering into an academic debate as to whether, counter intuitively, the best way to stop illegal betting in, say, India, would be to legalise gambling; rather than  pontificating, as I have in the past, on the need for global harmonisation of sports gambling laws (this can’t even be done in a federal state, such as Australia, which is largely on message as to the nature of the integrity threat) – better to begin with a minimalist approach based on a principle of reciprocity among leading jurisdictions which currently and commonly license betting.

Alternatively, and a point made by Mr Guy Launder, Regional Director of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and more broadly by a discussant Sally Simpson, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, that internationally sport should look more broadly and analogously at how governments worldwide cooperate on matter of criminal justice and particular in matters such as the OECD-led cooperation on cartel investigations and the Financial Action Task Force standards on money-laundering.

Moreover, the careful, education/intelligence sharing approach of Interpol’s Integrity in Sport unit, outlined by Dale Sheehan, Director, Capacity Building and Training at Interpol, is exactly what is needed and, it is hoped, is one that will gather momentum and put some flesh on the bones of the international cooperative programme which UNESCO seeks to promote through its recent Berlin Declaration at the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for Physical Education and Sport, held on 28-30 May 2013.

 

Conclusion

Finally, I stick by a point I have made on numerous occasions in the past – and as someone who had his first bet, aged 9 and guided by my Grandad, on Bregawn to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1983 at 100-30F, that countries such as Australia and the UK, where sports industries such as horse-racing are deep-rooted (and who would have understood the Bregawn reference), have an important cultural education role to play in this debate. In many jurisdictions (for example, in continental Europe) sports administrators do not have an intuitive or cultural or any understanding of betting and this may still be resulting in leading sports bodies underestimating this integrity threat.

In this, sports regulations, national polices on integrity in sport, federal laws and even international declarations are meaningless unless supported by a genuine will to implement, police and enforce. As one of the discussants at the conference, Professor David Kinley, Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney, put it so eloquently with a quote from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure:

Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble

Till it o’er-run the stew; laws for all faults,

But faults so countenanced, that the strong statutes

Stand like the forfeits in a barber’s shop,

As much in mock as mark.

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Author

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson

Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law Studies at the University of Melbourne. The sports law program at Melbourne was one of the first to be established globally in the mid-1980 and continues to expand at the Melbourne Law School, which itself is ranked in the top 10 law schools globally.

Jack has published widely in the area including monographs such as The Legality of Boxing (Routledge 2007) and Modern Sports Law (Hart 2010) and edited collections such as Landmark Cases in Sports Law (Asser 2013) and EU Sports Law (Edward Elgar 2018 with R Parrish and B Garcia). He was Editor-in-Chief of the International Sports Law Journal based at the International Sports Law Centre at the Asser Institute from 2013 to 2016. 

Appointed as an arbitrator to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2016,  he became a member of the inaugural International Amateur Athletics Federation’s Disciplinary Tribunal and the International Hockey Federation’s Integrity Unit in 2017. In 2018, he was the sole CAS arbitrator at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. In 2019, he was appointed to the International Tennis Federation’s Ethics Commission. He is currently chair of the Advisory Group establishing a National Sports Tribunal for Australia

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