INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 25 July-7 August 2016

As everyone knows, the Rio Olympics kicked off last week with the opening ceremony. All eyes on currently in Brazil as athletes compete for the glory of the gold medal.

For the last two weeks, part of the issues are focused on the doping case in Russia and other parts of the world. One of the articles on this bulletin is on match-fixing on a youth sport team. This is to show that not just major adult sports are affected by competition manipulation, but that anyone can be affected regardless of age. We also have some cases of match fixing in which investigation is ongoing. We would also like to highlight the case occurred in Malta which shows a particular Modus Operandi used by match fixers. 

 

INVESTIGATIONS 

South Korea 

SEOUL, South Korean police say they're investigating a baseball player who confessed to his team about match-fixing. The investigation of Yoo Chang-sik, a left-handed pitcher for Kia Tigers, came four days after prosecutors indicted two other players on match-fixing allegations. The Korean Baseball Organization on Sunday said Yoo had reported to his team that he deliberately allowed a walk in the first inning during a 2014 game when he was playing for Hanwha Eagles. Media reports say Yoo took $4,400 in return from a broker. Police on Monday said they'll likely request prosecutors to indict Yoo. South Korea's major professional sports leagues, including baseball and soccer, have been rocked by match-fixing scandals in recent years that have led to jail sentences and lifetime bans of several players and coaches.

Source: AP, "South Korea baseballer gets police probe for match-fixing", 25 July 2016, Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3706334/South-Korea-baseballer-gets-police-probe-match-fixing.html 

United States 

A pair of teams playing in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships’ U18 Girls tournament have been accused of deliberating tanking their match in order to move on. TopDrawerSoccer.com reported Carlsbad Elite and Ambassadors FC entered their Thursday match against each other at the top of their group and would both move on with a draw. When the final whistle blew, that’s exactly what happened with a 0-0 tie. But from video purportedly shot at the game, it looked like neither side was trying to score or do much of anything. Here’s what Ambassadors coach Caleb Fortune told the site, claiming the heat in Texas was a factor: “Both teams were through pretty much, so there was nothing to play for. Earlier in the day, there had been 18 people collapsed due to the heat. Just at the start of the game, we never fixed the result because we didn’t have to. There was nothing there to play for. We just told our players, if the other team has the ball at the back, just don’t press them. There’s no reason to run around and kill yourselves during this event.” “If you watch the start the players were kind of going back and forth and there was a couple of shots. As the game went on, they stopped pressing and kind of asked what’s the point of running? There’s no reason to do it. I do understand that in terms of the event, you have to play the game. But the result was meaningless. We weren’t match fixing.” Tommy Tanner, a director of a Syracuse team eliminated because of the 0-0 tie, told Syracuse.com, “Frankly what happened yesterday is the biggest disgrace that I’ve seen in my 38 years of soccer. It tarnishes the whole national series.

And here’s more from Syracuse.com about what Tanner saw when he headed over to watch the game in question: Around halftime of the Syracuse game, Tanner and program assistant coach Mike Kirmse started getting word of some oddities in the Carlsbad-Cleveland game. So they both wandered over to that contest and what they saw left them stunned. Players on each team were simply taking turns kicking the ball around, with no attempt to attack or play any version of competitive soccer. The advantage to Cleveland was a free ticket to the semis while Carlsbad, who otherwise likely could have pounded its foe, got what amounted to a day off. U.S. Youth Soccer issued a statement on Saturday in response to the accusations, but didn’t find enough evidence to deem it complete collusion: After meeting with both teams, the Committee found the teams were disrespectful to the game, the competition and US Youth Soccer. The integrity of the National Championships Series Competition is predicated on fair play and sportsmanship by all participants and those ideals were compromised. Upon completion of a thorough investigation, including interviews with the teams in question and game officials, the NCS Committee did not find sufficient evidence of collusion. However, it determined the coaches may have had a material effect on the outcome of the match. Disciplinary action and monetary fines have been assessed to both teams. While it supports the disciplinary process of the National Championship Series, the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors is also investigating this matter to determine whether potential violations of US Youth Soccer bylaws occurred, or if the actions of the coaches were adverse to the best interests of soccer or US Youth Soccer. While each team worked hard on the first two days of play to put themselves in a position to advance, we believe the strategy of the coaches in this game failed their players, the competition and the principles of sportsmanship and fair play. US Youth Soccer will review its policies and make any necessary alterations to ensure this type of display doesn’t happen in the future.

Source: Charles Curtis, "Two youth teams accused of deliberately tanking after playing terrible soccer game", 30 July 2016, USA Today, https://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/07/us-youth-soccer-national-championship-tanking-accusations 

Zimbabwe 

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) has promised to dig deep into the latest match-fixing episode to have hit the local game, where premiership debutants Bulawayo City are alleged to have paid Border Strikers’ Talent Sande to manipulate the outcome of the midweek fixture played in Beitbridge on Wednesday. Ironically, Bulawayo City went on to win the match by a single goal despite the fact that Sande snubbed the advances by members of the visitors’ technical team and reported the matter to his club. Bulawayo City assistant coach Farai Mujokoro is being fingered as the chief architect of the match-fixing saga. In a statement released yesterday, the local league governing body said: “The Premier Soccer League is investigating allegations of match-fixing that took place before the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match between Border Strikers FC and Bulawayo City FC on Wednesday August 3 2016. "The league is taking these allegations seriously and has instituted an investigation into the matter. We have since received a report from Border Strikers FC and we await reports from the Bulawayo City FC technical staff of Philani Ncube, Farai Mujokoro, Reginald Buhali and Gift Mbala.We would like to applaud Border Strikers FC and their player Talent Sande for showing courage and sportsmanship by bringing to light allegations of match manipulation. We call upon all stakeholders to recognise, resist and report match manipulation. Winning is without value if achieved unfairly or dishonestly. Cheating is easy, but brings no pleasure. Playing fair earns respect while cheating only brings shame,” read the statement. Bulawayo City has since suspended the entire technical department led by Ncube.

Source: AP, "PSL investigate latest match-fixing scam", 7 August 2016, The Standard, https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2016/08/07/psl-investigate-latest-match-fixing-scam/ 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS 

FIFA 

FIFA can today confirm the worldwide extension of the two-year ban, starting on 10 July 2016, that was imposed on the vice president of the Equatorial Guinea FA, Mr Gustavo Ndong Edu, by the CAF Disciplinary Board on 9 July 2016 for attempts to offer money to the match officials of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations qualifier between Equatorial Guinea and Mali on 10 April 2016. The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to extend the two-year ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity in accordance with art. 78 par. 1(c) and art. 136ff of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. The relevant parties have been duly notified of the chairman’s decision.

Source: "FIFA extends match-manipulation sanction against vice-president of Equatorial Guinea FA", 25 July 2016, FIFA website, https://www.fifa.com/governance/news/y=2016/m=7/news=fifa-extends-match-manipulation-sanction-against-vice-president-of-equ-2812980.html 

 

MODUS OPERANDI 

Malta 

Two Malta Under-21 internationals told court they did not report the Asian syndicate which approached them to fix a game against Montenegro because they feared for their life. Kyle Cesare, 20, and Emanuel Briffa, 22, stand accused of being involved in the rigging of an away game Malta lost to Montenegro in March 2016. In April, footballer Seyble Zammit, a former youth player for Valletta FC, admitted to having organised the rigging the game, but was exempted from punishment for having collaborated with the police. Up to nine Malta players were approached and asked to be involved in rigging the game and Cesare and Briffa are thought to be the only two who accepted the offer and the plan fell through. However, the accused denied having accepted the bribe despite being continuously hounded by Zammit. Zammit – son of former Valletta and Malta player Ivan Zammit - admitted to having been offered €5,000 for his assistance. He added that he had tried to recruit other players, but they had refused. Briffa and Cesare told court that they met Zammit in a café in Gzira after the latter had called them numerous times. Briffa said he received nine calls and rejected the offer after meeting him in Gzira. He said that after making it clear that he was not interested, Cesare and a third man came to their table, however he was given an impression that nobody was willing to take part. The court heard how Briffa was initially offered €3,000, and after refusing he was offered more money to take part in the fix but the amount was unspecified. Briffa said that he met with Zammit a second time, with a Chinese man present but he once again refused the offer. He told court that he was between “a hard place and a rock,” because Zammit’s father - now a coach – and decided against reporting the matter because he feared this would spell the end for Zammit’s career. Briffa added that he did not report the case becausehe feared for his safety since the Asian betting syndicate is notoriously dangerous.

Source: AP, "Malta players involved in match-fixing ‘feared for their safety'", 3 August 2016, Malta Today, https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/court_and_police/68225/malta_players_involved_in_matchfixing_feared_for_their_safety

 

BETTING 

Australia 

National Premier League NSW clubs have urged Football Federation Australia to ban gambling on state league games, after alleging match-fixing is taking place in the semi-professional competition. Just a day after FFA sanctioned a player in Tasmania for betting on games involving his own club, at least one NSW team has publicly alleged widespread misconduct within the competition, with players or staff betting, match-fixing, spot-fixing or providing insider information. The lure of using insider information to capitalise on odds and potentially influence results is proving too much to resist for state league players earning part-time salaries, according to several clubs, which believe the competition could fall victim to corruption. One specific match result has come under the scrutiny of concerned clubs.

APIA Leichhardt president Tony Raciti alleged match-fixing could be taking place in the NPL NSW Division 1, having raised the issue with Football NSW last week after claims of players gambling on results were brought to his attention. In his submission to the state body, Raciti called for FFA to ban gambling on semi-professional games, as well as amateur youth football, and fall in line with many other codes by restricting match betting to professional tiers. "Yes, it is correct that APIA Leichhardt has lodged a grievance with Football NSW citing significant concerns and allegations in regards to betting on NPL1 matches. It is not in the interest of the clubs and the integrity of the competition to allow betting on NPL matches and by ceasing betting on NPL matches it eliminates the innuendo and allegations. These concerns were brought to my attention and I brought these concerns to the governing body," Raciti said. FFA declined to comment on the matter, with a spokesman informing Fairfax Media it has not received a formal complaint from Football NSW. FFA has gambling agreements in place with Australian betting agencies that allow bets on semi-professional state leagues and the FFA Cup, which is mostly comprised of amateur or semi-professional clubs. Bets can also be placed on under-20 state youth competitions. The organisation receives a percentage of betting revenue placed on football under the licence agreements with Australian agencies. Several clubs are known to support the restriction of individual match betting to professional levels such as the A-League. A senior club administrator believes the practice of players betting on state league games is rife, fearing it could become beyond the control of clubs, suggesting "they're all betting". Fairfax Media sought comment from Football NSW about the allegations. The Victorian Premier League was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in 2014, when Southern Stars were found guilty of rigging games.

Source: Dominic Bossi, "State clubs urge Football Federation Australia to ban betting over match-fix fears", 27 July 2016, Sydney Morning Herald, https://www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/state-clubs-urge-football-federation-australia-to-ban-betting-over-matchfix-fears-20160727-gqf3kb.html 

 

DOPING 

Brazil 

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's athletes were not subject to doping tests for almost a month before the Rio Olympics, the country's sports ministry said while refuting allegations it was a political decision to ensure the Games were not plunged further into crisis. Brazil's sports ministry confirmed no tests were carried out between July 1 and July 24 due to a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) suspension on a drug-testing laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, The Times reported on Friday. Wada said it was "concerned" and had sent a letter to Brazil's sports minister asking why the tests had been stopped.

Source: AP, "Olympics: Brazil athletes not dope-tested ahead of Rio - report", 6 August 2016, Straits Times, https://www.straitstimes.com/sport/olympics-brazil-athletes-not-dope-tested-ahead-of-rio-report 

India 

NEW DELHI (AP) — Two Indian competitors have proclaimed their innocence after testing positive for banned steroids just days before they were to leave for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Wrestler Narsingh Yadav, who was to represent India in the 74- kilogram category at the Olympics, said his food supplements were spiked, causing the positive test. On Tuesday, shotput medal hope Inderjeet Singh, who had won a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games, was told by India's National Anti-Doping Agency that he had tested positive for a banned steroid. Singh has been asked to provide a second sample. If that is positive for anabolic steroids, he will have to miss the Olympic Games beginning on Aug. 5. "I was on the way to getting an Olympic medal for my country," a sobbing Singh told reporters Tuesday. "I deny all the allegations of doping that I am accused of." "I have been speaking out against the politics in sports in India and how badly athletes are treated and their poor training facilities, and this has riled many powerful people in the country. "Their intention is to shut me up."

Navin Agarwal, the director-general of India's anti-doping agency NADA, denied that the samples could have been tampered, saying the samples are sealed in the presence of the athlete. Yadav said he feared his food supplements were spiked, but he did not reveal who was responsible for it. "I believe that there is foul play involved in this entire episode. Someone has sabotaged my food supplements and water intake," Yadav told NDTV station on Monday. Yadav, who had won a bronze at the 2015 World Championship to clinch a place in the Olympic team, failed successive dope tests when his samples tested positive for anabolic steroids. "This is a conspiracy against me. I am sure the truth will come out," Yadav said. Yadav said he was supported in his claim by the Indian Olympic Association and the Wrestling Federation of India. WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh said Yadav has made a formal complaint against officials of the Sports Authority of India and some others who he accused of acting against him, but did not reveal their identities. Yadav defeated Sushil Kumar, a two-time Olympic medalist, to get his place on India's team for Rio. Indian officials said if Yadav is disqualified, Kumar was unlikely to go instead because the cutoff for entries was July 18.

Source: "Indian Rio hopefuls claim innocence on doping", 26 July 2016, USA Today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/2016/07/26/indian-rio-hopefuls-claim-innocence-on-doping/87558628/ 

 

GOOD PRACTICES 

Brazil 

Governments from 32 Commonwealth countries today took the historic step of committing to align their national sports policies to the Sustainable Development Goals, in order to gear investments in sport towards positive outcomes in health, education, gender equality and justice. At the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting in Rio de Janeiro on 4 August – on the eve of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games – the governments also endorsed a set of far-reaching Commonwealth policy proposals to protect against threats such as doping, match fixing and other forms of corruption, while introducing safeguards to protect children, promote equality and end discrimination. Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, opening the meeting, challenged Ministers to take bold steps to strengthen and scale national sports policy focused on advancing sustainable development, as she announced plans to launch a new initiative - Commonwealth Sport Integrity Champions - for high-achieving athletes and eminent individuals to mobilise action to ensure the long-term legitimacy and positive impact of sport.

Source: Commonwealth Secretariat, "Sports Ministers in Rio pledge to strengthen policies and fight corruption", 5 August 2016, The Bahamas Weekly, https://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/sports/Sports_Ministers_in_Rio_pledge_to_strengthen_policies_and_fight_corruption49757.shtml 

Malaysia 

Match-fixers beware – the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have engaged FIFA’s Early Warning System (EWS) in an effort to combat the issue in the country. A deal between both parties has been reached and the system will be implemented next month in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) and will also be extended to international matches hosted in Malaysia. FAM have been given a good deal as they won’t have to spend any money on the system, which normally sells for RM100,000 per season. EWS, which was founded in 2007, is a fraud detection system that monitors betting trends and also provides match analysis. It monitors FIFA competitions, including the World Cup and all qualifying matches, and also works closely with the Japan FA. Rumours of match-fixing in the MSL are not new as a number of corruption scandals have surfaced in the past. FMLLP chief executive Kevin Ramalingam said the implementation of a fraud detection system would uphold the league’s integrity. “However, an independent integrity unit, comprising the police and MACC, must be formed to investigate all reports obtained from the fraud detection system,” Ramalingam said.

Source: AP, "Malaysia to implement FIFA's fraud detection system", 25 July 2016, Four Four Two, https://www.fourfourtwo.com/my/news/malaysia-implement-fifas-fraud-detection-system

ODDS AND ENDS 

INTERPOL 

BRASILIA, Brazil – An INTERPOL Major Events Support Team (IMEST), including counter-terrorism experts, has been deployed to Brazil to assist with security measures during the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition to the nearly 11,000 athletes, some 500,000 tourists will be among the six million ticket holders attending events in Rio de Janeiro as Brazil rolls out the largest international police cooperation event in its history. Based in the International Police Cooperation Centre (IPCC) in Brasilia, the IMEST not only has instant, direct access to INTERPOL’s full array of databases but will also be able to exchange urgent messages and vital police data from all 190 member countries such as fingerprints, images and wanted persons notices. Working alongside some 255 police officers from 55 countries, the IMEST will facilitate checks on individuals against INTERPOL’s global databases including fingerprints, internationally wanted persons and DNA in addition to data on more than 7,700 foreign terrorist fighters. With the potential for criminals attempting to enter Brazil using falsified, stolen or lost passports to conceal their identity, officials at land, sea and airports throughout the country have access to some 60 million documents in INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database to perform instant checks of visitors’ passports. As part of the ongoing security network put in place for the games, Brazil is conducting an average of one million checks against INTERPOL’s databases for SLTD and wanted persons every day, making it one of the highest users in the world. “Security at an event such as this is a global responsibility requiring close cooperation between law enforcement entities worldwide,” said Andrei Rodrigues, Secretary for major events at the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. “Because INTERPOL is the only police organization that provides access to criminal data from 190 countries, Brazil has made sure that its global databases and specialized teams are an integral part of the security arrangements for the Olympic Games,” added Mr Rodrigues. 

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said Brazilian authorities had clearly devoted a significant amount of resources in making the Games secure. “Through INTERPOL’s global network, the Brazilian authorities have extended their national security perimeter far beyond their own border,” said Secretary General Stock. “No one can predict from where the next crime or terror threat will emerge, which is why a global reach is essential.Although there is no specific security threat to the Rio Games, vigilance and preparedness are essential and INTERPOL is committed to doing its part in supporting Brazil deliver a safe and secure event for both competitors and spectators,” said Mr Stock. Throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre, and other specialized units, will be on standby to provide any additional assistance required to reach out to its 190 member countries in urgent situations, or in relation to organized crime issues such as human trafficking. Brazil played a central role in the recent INTERPOL-coordinated Operation Intercops – Spartacus III which resulted in the rescue of more than 2,700 human trafficking victims from across South and Central America. Ahead of the Olympic Games, INTERPOL has also assisted Brazilian authorities address other crime issues linked to major sporting events, through the provision of training and investigative support in illegal betting and match-fixing prevention. Experts from INTERPOL’s Project Stadia – established in 2012 to create a centre of excellence and good practice platform to help member countries plan and execute physical security and cybersecurity preparations for major sporting events – will also be in Rio during the Games. With Brazil having participated in several Project Stadia workshops, the 2016 Olympics will provide valuable information about the development and delivery of policing and security arrangements since the country hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Funded by Qatar, Project Stadia also conducts observation and debriefing programmes with security officials from both the public and private sectors and is developing a state-of-the-art web-based knowledge management system which all member countries can contribute to and benefit from.

Source: "INTERPOL team in Brazil to support security measures during Rio Olympics", 3 August 2016, INTERPOL, https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2016/N2016-100 

International Olympic Committee 

The International Olympic Committee has chosen a London-based firm to watch for suspicious gambling on the Games, which might point to cheating in the competition. Genius Sports’s Sports Integrity Monitor service will use data from regulated and unregulated betting markets, looking for anything unusual, which might suggest match-fixing. It will report trends in real time to sport governing bodies, leaving them to decide whether anything is amiss. Betting on the Rio Olympics will draw about $1 billion in legal and illegal bets globally, according to Chris Eaton, the former head of security at FIFA and an expert in match fixing. That would be 50 times less than what’s wagered on the World Cup, eight times less than what’s bet on the final alone. 

That estimate includes Nevada sports books, which will take bets on the Olympics for the first time since 2001, when it was banned during Senator John McCain’s push to prohibit betting on all amateur sports. Nevada’s regulations changed last year, allowing for bets on the Games. The agreement between the IOC and Genius Sports covers all competitions covered by the IOC’s three-year-old Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS), including the Olympics and some competitions organized by international federations. Genius Sports also works with the English Premier League and Major League Baseball.

Source: Scott Soshnick, "IOC Adds a Gambling Monitor to Watch for Cheating in Rio", 28 July 2016, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-28/ioc-adds-a-gambling-monitor-to-watch-for-cheating-in-rio

 


INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS 

Council of Europe

The Secretariat of the Council of Europe (Sport Conventions together with EPAS) is organising the 2nd International Conference for the promotion and implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. The Conference will take place in Strasbourg on 20 and 21 September 2016. 

The main target of the conference is to provide practical information and support to public authorities with regard to their ongoing signature/ratification process of the convention, and/or implementation of the convention principles.

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