Integrity In Sport Update: New South Wales police investigate allegations of match-fixing

Weekly Media Recap 22-28 December 2014

This week, Qatar Stars League Management convened a session for Qatar National Team players, technical staff and officials about integrity in football and the risks of match-fixing before the inauguration of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.

The Vietnam Football Federation has banned nine players for life for fixing an Asian club match. The former Vissai Ninh Binh players received jail terms of up to 30 months in August 2014 for rigging an away match against Malaysia's Kelantan in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Australia

New South Wales police say they are investigating allegations of sports match-fixing, according to media reports. The investigations by the organised crime squad follow intelligence suggesting players have sabotaged matches to benefit crime figures. Detective Superintendent Scott Cook told News Corp the squad's investigations were just beginning but information suggested there was corruption in a number of sports and at different levels "including professional and second, third and fourth divisions, not just the elite sports". Police believed much of the alleged match-fixing was arranged overseas. "A lot of the information we’re getting is that players and sports people are being influenced or approached in social settings in order to manipulate them ... that is one example," he said. "Other examples are when some players who have gambling problems themselves and in some circumstances we have information about players themselves organising a corrupt outcome in order for them to make money."

Source: "NSW police say they are investigating sports match-fixing allegations in a number of sports, according to media reports", 28 December 2014, AAP/ ABC, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-28/police-in-nsw-investigating-sports-match-fixing-allegations/5990446

Cyprus

Panayiotis Panayiotou turned himself in at a Limassol police station. He was wanted for questioning in connection with threats made against ARIS Limassol football club former boss Kyriakos Hadjikyriakou in the case of extensive match-fixing in the island’s top league, exposed last week by referee Marios Panayi. Panayiotou is currently an official with the Limassol-based club. The club issued a statement rejecting the allegations against Panayiotou. Hadjijyriakou appears to have given a statement corroborating Panayi’s claims. According to police spokesman Andreas Angelides, Panayiotou called Hadjikyriakou on his mobile after he left police headquarters and threatened him. Panayi gave lengthy statements to the police last week. A large portion of what Panayi gave to the authorities appear to be recordings of conversations obtained illegally, thus inadmissible to court. Panayi assured the public that he had a “Plan B” if the office of the attorney-general didn’t take his case to court, hinting that he would leak the recordings. Meanwhile, Angelides told the press that investigators were looking into the evidence obtained from the headquarters of the football association (CFA). Police, executing a court warrant, searched the CFA offices in Nicosia, seizing 20 desktop computers, six laptops and a large number of documents. In an interview last week CFA chairman Kostakis Koutsokoumnis admitted that match-fixing did exist in Cyprus. However, Koutsokoumnis dismissed the notion that he should quit, denying any wrongdoing.

Source: Constantinos Psillides, "Panayiotou turns himself in (updated)", 24 December 2014, Cyprus Mail, https://cyprus-mail.com/2014/12/24/police-continue-to-look-for-football-official/

France

According to a report by L’Equipe TV, Serge Kasparian, who is suspected of taking part in the manipulation of last season’s match between Nimes and Caen, encouraged others to place bets on the match. Kasparian reportedly advised people in his entourage to bet on a draw and asked them not to bet large amounts to avoid alerting the regulatory authorities.

Source: "Affaire Nîmes Olympique : des paris illicites sur le match contre Caen ?", 26 December 2014, Midi Libre, https://www.midilibre.fr/2014/12/26/sur-internet,1103486.php

France

Francois Jaspart, honorary general inspector of the French national police and former director of the Parisian judiciary police, was designated by the Professional Football League (LFP) to head the investigation into the alleged match-fixing in the French Ligue 2. The disciplinary commission of the LFP opened an investigation at the end of November 2014, after 6 people including the presidents of Nimes and Caen football clubs were indicted for active or passive corruption. Jaspart, who is a member of the commission since 2009, has 3 months to conduct the investigation which could lead to possible sanctions, including the relegation of Nimes Olympique.

Source: "Matches truqués La LFP désigne un ex-super flic ", 24 December 2014, L'Equipe, https://www.lequipe.fr/Football/Actualites/La-lfp-designe-un-ex-super-flic/524173

Vietnam

Vietnamese police are not probing the national football team’s embarrassing defeat to Malaysia at the AFF Suzuki Cup early this month since they found no evidence of fraud, a police general said Friday. Lieutenant General Tran Trong Luong of the Ministry of Public Security said that "no signs of crimes” have been discovered in the Vietnam-Malaysia match at the tournament. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) called for "concerned authorities" to start an investigation after host Vietnam conceded a 2-4 loss to Malaysia in the second leg of the AFF Cup semi-final. VFF chairman Le Hung Dung called the defeat at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium "incomprehensible” as players' performance dropped significantly from earlier matches at the tournament. The ASEAN Football Federation said in a statement on Dec. 13 that Sportradar did not "observe any suspicious betting patterns in any of the pre-match or live betting markets".

Source: "No signs of match-fixing in Vietnam’s AFF Cup loss: police", 26 December 2014, Thanh Nien News, https://www.thanhniennews.com/sports/no-signs-of-matchfixing-in-vietnams-aff-cup-loss-police-36808.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Qatar

Qatar Stars League Management convened a session for Qatar National Team players, technical staff and officials about integrity in football and the risks of match-fixing before the inauguration of AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 in January. Hani Balan, QSLM CEO, participated in this session, while Maksat was the official instructor trained by Interpol. Qatar National Team Manager Farid Mahbob, Qatar National Team Head Coach Djamel Belmadi and all of the players attended the session. Maksat spoke about the risks of match-fixing and the lack of integrity in sports. While talking to Balan, he commented that this session was convened out of AFC keenness on this issue as well as the workshop previously convened for the professional leagues, especially those participating in AFC Asian Cup. He added that the AFC didn’t only focus on the national team, but also included all football stakeholders such as coaches, officials and referees to warn them about the risks of match-fixing.

Source: "QSL organises session about integrity for Qatar team in the presence of Hani Balan", 28 December 2014, Gulf Times, https://www.gulf-times.com/sport/192/details/421332/qsl-organises-session-about-integrity-for-qatar-team-in-the-presence-of-hani-balan

 

ODDS AND ENDS

CONCACAF

In a column on sports law and integrity, Dr Laila Mintas, CONCACAF Director of Integrity, examines the scale and threat of match manipulation to football globally, the difficulties encountered in effectively fighting it, and the urgent need for countries to bring in national legislation to battle the organised crime syndicates. Match manipulation related to the betting market is an international problem that needs to be combated by all stakeholders involved. It will often require a specific law in order to enable the national authorities to investigate and to punish all people involved, inside and outside the football family. As match-fixing linked to the betting markets is regularly used by international organised crime syndicates, states should be encouraged to implement robust and enforceable regulations. Sport organisations will also require the support of the national prosecuting authorities as they lack the adequate instruments to investigate match-fixing and to sanction individuals from outside the football world.

Source: "Dr Laila Mintas: National legislation needed in the fight against match manipulation ", 28 December 2014, Inside Wordl Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/16093-dr-laila-mintas-national-legislation-needed-in-the-fight-against-match-manipulation

Japan

Japan coach Javier Aguirre denied any involvement in match-fixing in Spain and called for calm from the team's supporters during their Asian Cup defence. The Mexican was among 41 people named by Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor in court this month following a probe into Real Zaragoza's 2-1 win at Levante on the final day of the 2010-11 campaign. The Japan Football Association has sent a delegation to Spain to conduct a probe into the case but said Aguirre will remain in charge for next month's Asian Cup in Australia. Aguirre said he believed Spanish football was clean and the investigation would not impact Japan's preparations for the tournament. "I worked in Spain for 12 years and I have never done anything unethical or unprofessional," Aguirre told reporters at the JFA's headquarters in Tokyo on Saturday. "I will be cooperating with the Spanish authorities and seeing this case through to the end," Aguirre added.

Source: Olivier Fabre, "Japan coach Aguirre denies match-fixing, calls for calm", 27 December 2014, Reuters, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/12/27/uk-soccer-japan-aguirre-idUKKBN0K50A320141227

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Vietnam

Vietnam's soccer federation has banned nine players for life for fixing an Asian club match, part of efforts to win back dwindling confidence of fans and rebuild a reputation tarnished by bribery scandals. The former Vissai Ninh Binh players received jail terms of up to 30 months in August for rigging an away match against Malaysia's Kelantan this year in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. The scandal led to Vissai Ninh Binh's withdrawal from the Vietnamese top flight amid fears league games could also have been fixed. Such measures are rare in Vietnam, which routinely hands down harsh penalties to criminals but has given relatively lenient punishments for throwing games. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has been working closely with police to investigate suspicious activities and has previously suggested legalising small-stakes betting to curb the problem.

Source: Mai Nguyen, "Vietnam gets tough with life bans for match-fixers", 26 December 2014, Reuters, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/12/26/uk-soccer-asia-vietnam-matchfixing-idUKKBN0K40LS20141226

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