INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 28 November 2016-11 December 2016

In this edition of the bi-weekly bulletin, we have quite a few interesting articles regarding match-fixing, best practices, and sanctions. Among the articles, it has been reported that match-fixing which took place in 2011 were part of a plot involving a terrorist network in Turkey.

We have another case of match-fixing in E-sports in South Korea. It appears that match-fixing in E-sport is becoming a phenomenon.

The McLaren report was published recently regarding doping in Russia, as reported by several media sources.

As the year draws to a close and a new one starts, the Integrity in Sports Unit is still involved in many events around the world in the upcoming month to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Spain

Police in Spain have arrested 34 people in connection with a suspected match-fixing ring in both Spain and Portugal. The arrested include six tennis players, the country's interior ministry said, without identifying any of the individuals. They are accused of deliberately arranging the loss of tennis games in at least 17 different events. Authorities said their earnings from the manipulation were over €500,000 (£420,420). A police spokesperson told the AFP news agency that players were offered between €500 (£419) and €1,000 (£837) to throw matches. "Sometimes they promised €500 and in the end only paid €50. The players were above all the victims," he added. The players involved are relatively lower-ranked - all are outside the top 800 worldwide. In January, a joint investigation by the BBC and Buzzfeed News found widespread evidence of match-fixing at the top levels of world tennis. The revelations included 16 players who have ranked in the top 50 during the past decade, but were repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they had thrown matches. All of the players, including winners of Grand Slam titles, were allowed to continue competing.

Source: "Tennis match-fixing: Spain arrests six players, 28 others", 1 December 2016, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38172183 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Albania

UEFA is preparing to impose another Champions League ban on Albanian club Skenderbeu in an ongoing match-fixing investigation. A one-season exclusion imposed on the six-time defending Albania champion this year was a "preliminary ban," the head of UEFA's disciplinary and integrity unit, Emilio Garcia, said on Wednesday. "The UEFA disciplinary bodies are considering real disciplinary measures," Garcia said at a panel session on match-fixing at the International Sports Convention. Garcia said the initial case prosecuted by UEFA was based on suspected fixing of two Champions League qualifiers and two Europa League group-stage games in 2015. UEFA also suspects Skenderbeu of being involved in fixing around 50 domestic matches since 2011. UEFA's ban on Skenderbeu for the 2016-17 season was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July based on evidence of irregular betting patterns. "It is the first time we were brave enough to put together a series of (betting) reports before the CAS," the UEFA lawyer said. In June, Skenderbeu said it had been "unfairly suspended" by UEFA and would appeal to the Swiss-based sports court. After the CAS verdict, UEFA removed Skenderbeu from the Champions League before facing Hungarian champion Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round. Playing away to Crusaders of Northern Ireland in July 2015, Skenderbeu led 2-1 in the second-leg game, and 6-2 on aggregate, before conceding two goals in stoppage time. Five goals scored in a game is a popular and lucrative "total goals" bet. In a Europa League match at Sporting Lisbon in October 2015, Skenderbeu had a player sent off in the first half when a deliberate handball earned a second yellow card, then conceded two goals from penalties before halftime, and eventually lost 5-1. "The numbers don't lie and the betting patterns don't lie," Garcia said, adding that CAS judges agreed betting monitoring "is a reliable means of evidence." Skenderbeu is currently well-placed to qualify for next season's Champions League on merit. It is second in the Albanian league on goal difference.

Source: Graham Dunbar, "Albanian champion faces further UEFA ban for match-fixing", 8 December 2016, The Daily Progress https://www.dailyprogress.com/albanian-champion-faces-further-uefa-ban-for-match-fixing/article_fff1c301-b5c6-5357-94ec-dc21e7948917.html 

South Africa

Former South African football boss Kirsten Nematandani was banned for five years by Fifa's ethics committee on Thursday in connection with a match-fixing scandal involving his country's national team in 2010. The global soccer body's ethics watchdog also handed life bans to former Zimbabwe Football Association official Jonathan Musavengana and former Togo national team coach Banna Tchanile for alleged bribery and corruption violations connected to the same case. Nematandani, head of the South African Football Association (Safa) from 2009 until 2013, had violated articles on general conduct, loyalty and disclosure, Fifa said. Musavengana and Tchanile breached rules on bribery and corruption and Fifa said that it would publish the terms of their decisions on its website as they had "failed to provide fax numbers". Tchanile had already been banned from soccer for three years by his country's federation after taking a team masquerading as the Togo national side to play a friendly with Bahrain in 2010. None of the three could be reached for comment. Investigations concentrated on warm-up matches South Africa played against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in May 2010 ahead of the World Cup which the country hosted. Match-fixing is often organised by betting syndicates who make money by correctly gambling on the result of the game they have manipulated. In 2012, Chris Eaton, then Fifa's head of security, said convicted Singapore-based match-fixer Wilson Perumal's company had provided the match officials for the four games. South Africa usually invites match officials from neighbouring countries to handle home friendlies but agreed to Perumal's offer to fly in officials from Kenya, Niger and Togo for the four matches. The South Africa team were handed two disputed penalties in a 2-1 victory over Colombia in Johannesburg. One of the spot kicks was ordered to be retaken twice after the initial efforts were saved. Colombia's goal also came from a penalty. Four days later South Africa were awarded another two spot kicks in a 5-0 win over Guatemala in Polokwane.

Source: "Ex-Safa boss banned over match-fixing", 8 December 2016, Super Sport, https://www.supersport.com/football/south-africa/news/161208/ExSafa_boss_banned_over_matchfixing 

Uganda

Former Uganda international defender Godfrey Kateregga and Saddat Kyambadde have been sacked by Police Football Club for match-fixing. "These players confessed," said the club's chairman Assan Kasingye. "Other players also admitted that the pair were always trying to convince them to throw away matches for money." Kasingye added the club had carried out an investigation before taking action. BBC Sport has been unable to reach the players for a comment. Kasingye, who is the Assistant Inspector General of Police and Director of INTERPOL and International Relations in Uganda, continued: "This match fixing by some senior players has been discovered as one of the problems we have been facing. It is not only in our club, but also other clubs in the country." In November. Azam Uganda Premier League side URA FC suspended Fahad Kawooya and Oscar Agaba for alleged match-fixing. And in May, Uganda's most successful side SC Villa also suspended five players for the same problem of match-fixing.

Source: Andrew Jackson Oryada, "Ugandan players dismissed by Police Football Club for match-fixing", 9 December 2016, BBC Sport https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/38265604 

 

MODUS OPERANDI

Turkey

An Istanbul prosecutor on Friday filed an indictment alleging football match-fixing allegations from 2011 were part of a plot involving a terrorist network. Fetullah Gulen, who Turkey says is head of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), is among 108 suspects named in the investigation, the judicial source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said. The deputy chief public prosecutor of Istanbul, Fuzuli Aydogdu, prepared and presented the indictment to the attorney general's office to be accepted. Friday's indictment claims match-fixing charges in 2011 against Turkish football club Fenerbahce’s chairman Aziz Yildirim and other managers were “a plot”. Yildirim, who was sent to prison in July 2011 and served nearly a year in jail, had been sentenced to six years and three months by a “special-authority court” in 2012. He and 35 others were acquitted of all charges in the long-running case in October 2015. The FETO network is a key focus of this investigation; its members in Turkey’s judiciary are accused of orchestrating malicious cases against the football executives. FETO is accused of orchestrating Turkey’s July 15 coup plot as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and the judiciary. The defeated July 15 coup left 248 people martyred and nearly 2,200 wounded.

Source: "FETO linked to Turkish football match-fixing cases", 2 December 2016, Anadoulu Post, https://aa.com.tr/en/sports/feto-linked-to-turkish-football-match-fixing-cases/697979 

 

DOPING

Russia

International sports’ antidoping watchdog on Friday laid out mountainous evidence that for years Russian officials orchestrated a doping program at the Olympics and other competitions that involved or benefited 1,000 athletes in 30 sports. The findings intensified pressure on the International Olympic Committee to reassess Russia’s medals from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and penalize the nation ahead of the 2018 Winter Games. The evidence, published by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was the coda to a set of investigations led by the Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who issued a damning report in July that prompted more than 100 Russian athletes to be barred from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The follow-up report outlined competitions that had been tainted by years of extraordinary preparations, ensuring Russia’s dominance at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the 2013 track and field world championships in Moscow and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi — the “apex” of Russia’s cheating, the report said, because as the host of the event it controlled drug testing. The subterfuge included using table salt and Nescafé instant-coffee granules to help conceal tainted urine and bypass controls, according to the inquiry. Some samples were clearly fraudulent: Urine provided by two female hockey players at the Sochi Games contained male DNA. Yet Mr. McLaren suggested that the full extent of the cheating might never be known. “It is impossible to know just how deep and how far back this conspiracy goes,” he said on Friday, calling the “immutable facts” of his report clear but far from comprehensive. “For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians....

Source: Rebecca R. Ruiz, "Report Shows Vast Reach of Russian Doping: 1,000 Athletes, 30 Sports", 9 December 2016, NY Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/09/sports/russia-doping-mclaren-report.html?_r=0 

 

GOOD PRACTICES

Hungary

Budapest 2024 leaders, Chairman Balázs Fürjes, and Vice-Chairman Gusztáv Bienerth, attended an event at the Hungarian Parliament this week, along with European Sport Ministers from over 40 countries. Ministers from around Europe have come together in the Hungarian capital this week to forge important resolutions aimed at keeping sport clean. The three main priorities on the ministers’ agenda are match-fixing, hooliganism and the fight against doping. “We are immensely proud that Budapest has facilitated this conference,” said Chairman of Budapest 2024, Balázs Fürjes. “The Council of Europe is setting an example for the international community and, at Budapest 2024, we are diehard supporters of initiatives that make sport more transparent, dispel hostility, root out doping cheats and reward clean athletes.” The President of Budapest 2024, Pál Schmitt - former President of Hungary, double Olympic fencing champion and International Olympic Committee member - was also at the event. “Human achievement in sport is something to be marvelled at,” he said. “The agreements signed this week show Europe’s representatives at the very highest level standing up and saying ‘no more’ to those who seek to taint that marvel.” As a result of their discussions, the ministers signed a Council of Europe agreement aimed at combatting the manipulation of sport competition, and a second agreement aimed at curbing hooliganism, particularly at football matches. The Council of Europe also signed a cooperation agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency in order to expedite international action against performance-enhancing drugs. Signing the agreements on behalf of Hungary, Tünde Szabó, Hungary’s Secretary of State for Sports and four-time Olympic silver medallist, said: “This consultation has involved over 240 sports leaders of more than 40 countries, addressing three crucial themes – ending doping in sport, eliminating match-fixing and creating effective sport leadership. Sport has a huge effect on business and society and so it’s our responsibility to lead the way with effective policy and action.” Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, the Council of Europe Deputy Secretary-General, said that with the signing of these accords, an important step has been taken towards ending corruption in sport. Hungary announced this morning that a new testing facility specialising in performance-enhancing drugs will be completed next year. Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Resources for Hungary, said, “This facility is being built to support our sports community and protect clean athletes. Operations should commence within six months.

Source: "Budapest 2024 leaders applaud historic agreements of Europe's Sport Ministers, boosting ethical sport", 4 December 2016, Around the Rings https://aroundtherings.com/site/A__58290/Title__Budapest-2024-leaders-applaud-historic-agreements-of-Europes-Sport-Ministers-boosting-ethical-sport/292/Articles 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Singapore

Wilson Raj Perumal, the man dubbed the most notorious football match-fixer in the world, could be released from house arrest in Hungary and sent home to Singapore in 2017, Channel NewsAsia has learned. The 51-year-old, believed to have rigged up to 100 matches globally, has been based in Budapest since 2012 under a witness protection programme while aiding investigations into widespread corruption in football. “The trial is still ongoing… It is likely to end next year,” Perumal said via Facebook messages. “After that, the decision is on Hungary to give me a status to stay or deport me back to Singapore.” He is a wanted man in his homeland after fleeing abroad to escape a five-year jail term for running over an auxiliary policeman in 2009. But should he be returned to Singapore, Perumal could also face the prospect of detention - a fate met by fellow match-fixer Dan Tan Seet Eng, who has been held since October 2013 under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. Little wonder then, that Perumal hopes to remain in Hungary with his Norwegian wife, three daughters and a son due in December. His children attend a local nursery and his spouse is studying for a psychology degree. Meanwhile Perumal “survives with limited funds” after gambling away nearly S$8 million he has claimed to have earned from his illicit activities. “I am unemployed. I don’t speak Hungarian,” Perumal added. “I do some online jobs to get some funds - they are not permanent.” What are these online jobs? “Studying irregular betting patterns for a company I cannot disclose,” he replied. Perumal said another source of income was his 2014 autobiography, titled Kelong Kings: Confessions of the world's most prolific match-fixer. Kelong is a colloquial term used to suggest cheating in sport. Last year, the authors announced that film rights to the book had been optioned by Hollywood Gang Productions, the company behind movies like 300 and Immortals. Perumal said he hoped this would translate into some form of financial payoff. Asked if he would consider a new career for the sake of his family, he said: “Maybe I am planning some business...The noose is getting tighter.” Perumal’s first brush with the law stretches back more than thirty years. Between 1983 and 1992, he was jailed and fined for a slew of offences including theft, forgery, housebreaking and impersonation...[]

Source: Justin Ong, "‘The noose is getting tighter’: Singapore ‘kelong king’ Wilson Raj Perumal’s fate to be decided in 2017", 8 December 2016, Channel NewsAsia, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/the-noose-is-getting-tighter-singapore-kelong-king-wilson-raj/3351852.html 

South Korea

What is going on South Korea? You were once a breeding ground for some of the best eSports talent around. First, the South Korean competitive gaming community was rocked by match fixing scandals which completely destroyed competitive Starcraft, now the South Korean police have uncovered, and busted, a $350,000 illegal scripting operation for League of Legends...

Source: "From match fixing to scripting – South Korean police bust an illegal scripting operation", 2 December 2016, Lazygamer, https://www.lazygamer.net/esports/match-fixing-scripting-south-korean-police-bust-illegal-scripting-operation/

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

INTERPOL/IOC

International Law Enforcement Workshop

26-27 January 2017 Rome, Italy

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will host an International Law Enforcement Workshop in Rome, Italy addressed to investigators.

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