INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 19 September - 2 October 2017

In this edition of the bi-weekly, we have a look at several cases and pending investigations  covering Europe, Asia and Africa, and welcome initiatives by the Golf PGA Tour to protect the integrity of their sport. 

As an addition to their resources, the International Olympic Committee and INTERPOL have recently published a handbook on Protecting Sport from Competition Manipulation.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Australia

Police to scrap match-fixing investigation

One of the NRL’s longest-running sagas is set to end within weeks as NSW Police prepare to close the book on the match-fixing investigation. The Australian understands NSW Police are likely to formally announce the end of the investigation without any charges being laid, removing at least one of the dark clouds hanging over the NRL and Sydney club Manly since last season. At least two Sea Eagles games were at the centre of the investigation, which began amid what now appear to be erroneous claims that as many as six players had been paid $50,000 apiece to manipulate the outcome of the matches. One of those was Manly’s game against South Sydney in June 2015, while the other was the club’s loss to Parramatta in August that year. However, it is understood NSW Police have uncovered no evidence of match fixing and charges will not be laid against any rugby league players. Police set up Strike Force Nuralda to deal with the allegations, using the coercive powers of the NSW Crime Commission to carry out a wide-ranging and extensive investigation. It is understood players and officials were interviewed but the matter is now on the verge of being closed, with an announcement pending. The news will be welcomed by Manly, who had to deal with damaging suggestions that some of their games were the subject of match fixing. The club conducted its own internal review, appointing former NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy to conduct a sweeping analysis of their own integrity measures. It is understood a spin-off from that investigation prompted the current NRL inquiries into allegations of salary cap irregularities at the club. That investigation is continuing, although the Sea Eagles have strenuously denied any wrongdoing. The Sea Eagles managed to overcome the murky speculation to qualify for the finals series under coach Trent Barrett, although their premiership campaign came to a rapid end when they were bundled out by Penrith. The club did enjoy some success on grand final day when their under-20s side came back from the dead to win the final edition of the competition yesterday. The under-20s will be disbanded at the end of the season as it reverts to a state-based competition. The Sea Eagles recovered from a 14-0 deficit after just 14 minutes to stun the Eels. After scores were levelled 14-14 early in the second half, the Eels held out wave after wave of Sea Eagles’ attack before they took the lead back in the 68th minute through winger Greg Leleisiuao. But in what would be the last play of the game, Manly hooker Manase Fainu found prop Keith Titmuss, who crashed his way over next to the left post with two minutes on the clock. Centre Tevita Funa then slotted the conversion as the full-time siren sounded to give Manly the lead for the only time in the match. The NRL is also expected to close a number of outstanding issues in coming weeks, most notably the pay talks with the Rugby League Players Association. Talks have been ongoing for close to a year but it is understood they are perilously close to finalising a new collective bargaining agreement to cover the next five years. Players are set to receive a massive pay hike as a result, with the average wage going north of $300,000 and the salary cap set to hit $9.4 million.

Source: 2 October 2017, the Australian

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/police-to-scrap-match-fixing-investigation/news-story/14815d4877c2a8698ca13b0ffa00d745  

China

Tianjin derby under investigation for possible match-fixing

Tianjin Teda's 4-1 derby win over Tianjin Quanjian is under investigation regarding possible match-fixing, the Chinese Football Association has confirmed. Frank Acheampong scored twice in the space of two first-half minutes as Teda thrashed city rivals Quanjian on Saturday to move out of the relegation zone in the Chinese Super League. But the result, which leaves Fabio Cannavaro's Quanjian two points outside the AFC Champions League play-off round places, is now the subject of a CFA investigation. "The Chinese Football Association has launched an investigation into the CSL game between Tianjin Teda and Tianjin Quanjian," a statement read. "A probe panel consisting of CFA's competition and legal departments, Committee for Ethics and Fair Play and a Disciplinary Commission will collect all available facts and evidence related to this game. "Any violations of fair play would be severely dealt with according to the extant laws." Quanjian ran out 3-0 winners in the sides' previous meeting in May. Neither team has publicly commented on the announcement of the investigation.

Source: 26 September 2017, Soccerway.com

https://int.soccerway.com/news/2017/September/26/tianjin-derby-under-investigation-for-possible-match-fixing/n1034349/

France

8 individuals to be put in front of a judge for football match-fixing including Caen President Fortin

SM Caen President Jean-François Fortin and seven other individuals will be put in front of a criminal court to face charges of match fixing in Ligue 2. Three years after the incident took place during a Ligue 2 match between Caen and Nimes in 2014, which ended 1-1. Fortin will be tried for passive corruption, as for his Nimes counterpart Jean-Marc Conrad, he will be tried for active corruption, in preparation of a suit that prosecutors intend to bring against multiple parties on the subject of sporting corruption.

Source: 26 September 2017, getfootballnewsfrance.com

Football

https://www.getfootballnewsfrance.com/2017/8-individuals-to-be-put-in-front-of-a-judge-for-football-match-fixing-including-caen-president-fortin/ 

Greece

Greece in chaos as FIFA’s Normalisation committee fails to clean up game

After a year of being under the control of a FIFA normalisation committee, Greek football looks to be in a worse position than when FIFA parachuted itself in to take control. New data suggests that as many as 75% of the games in the country’s second tier Football League show signs of match-fixing under FIFA’s stewardship. In a country where football rivalry has become increasingly polarised and politicised amongst the leading clubs and within federation politics, the role of FIFA again appears to be more politically motivated than providing a foundation for a more honest and transparent sport in the country. The match-fixing revelations are from data supplied by fraud monitoring service Sportradar which tracks suspicious betting trends using live bookmaker data. Portuguese Vitor Melo Pereira, appointed by FIFA to take charge of referee appointments in the professional sports leagues of Greece (Super League, Football League), told a referees meeting: “According to the briefing from UEFA and FIFA, 75% of the Greek Football League (division b) football games are under betting investigation. So be careful. I will be relentless. A referee should not dare to engage in something like this. I do not want to see one of you in a police car.” Despite this warning there has been no improvement in the situation with more than 50 reports having been sent to the Greek FA this year, the bulk of them concerning the Football League which has increasingly struggled for broadcast coverage and sponsorship. Meanwhile FIFA has continued to work through the same members of Greece’s central refereeing committee who were in charge when the crisis began in what some Greek observers claim is a rubber-stamping of the old ways. Accusations of match-fixing in Greece have been rife for a number of years resulting in various cases brought before the courts. FIFA’s Normalisation Committee has been criticised for its inclusion of some individuals who could have a conflict of interest, including former AEK managing director Alexis Dedes. Links have also been drawn to those implicated in the much-publicised Koriopolis match-fixing case, and their potential influence over referee appointments. The involvement of Greece’s sports ministry must also be questioned with the protections it gives to match-fixers. The Greek Sports Commission refuses to recognise Sportradar’s Fraud Detection Service (FDS) as a reliable source of evidence in the proof that match-fixing has taken place. The Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) recently ruled in the Skenderbeu case that FDS reports were sufficient evidence of match-fixing, a ruling that has been accepted worldwide. Until FIFA addresses the fundamental issues surrounding its Normalisation Committee and the Greek sports ministry allows modern day methods and tools to tackle the corruption in the game, no fundamental progress will be made. The growing feeling throughout Greek and European football is that vested interests will not allow this to happen.

Source: 28 September 2017, Inside World Football

Football

https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017/09/28/greece-chaos-fifas-normalisation-committee-spectacularly-fails-clean-game/ 

Ireland

Athlone Town Player Banned As Another Betting Scandal Rocks The Club

Weeks after two players were banned for a year for match-fixing, Jason Lyons has been handed a seven-game ban by the FAI. The ban was announced on Wednesday afternoon, and according to The Sun it due to the Galway native betting on matches in the League that did not include Athlone Town. While Lyons' ban does not relate to that of his teammates Igor Labuts and Dragos Sfjrijan, players are strictly forbidden on betting on games in Ireland. The ban will stretch into next season for the striker. With only two games left this season, he will serve the remaining five games at the start of the 2018 season. Lyons' ban is the latest betting scandal to hit the league in recent weeks. Following on from the ban of his Athlone teammates, an investigation was also launched into alleged match-fixing in a game between Bray Wanderers and Waterford United earlier this month. The FAI have yet to release a statement on Lyons' ban.

Source: 20 September 2017, Balls Ireland

Football

https://www.balls.ie/football/jason-lyons-ban-374055 

Sri Lanka

ICC initiate alleged corruption probe in Sri Lanka cricket

The ICC has confirmed that its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) will investigate the alleged match-fixing allegations made by former cricketer P. Wickremesinghe against the national team. The move came after 40 top cricketers petitioned Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to launch an inquiry into the allegations. In a statement issued from the global governing body’s Dubai headquarters, Alex Marshall, ICC’s general manager of the ACU, confirmed that they would be launching the investigation into the claim. “The ICC anti-corruption unit works to uphold integrity in cricket and this includes conducting investigations where there are reasonable grounds to do so," the statement read. “There is currently an ICC (ACU) investigation underway in Sri Lanka. Naturally, as part of this, we are talking to a number of people.” Marshall, who had also worked as the former head of the Hampshire police force in southern England, added that the ICC would not comment further on the investigation until the report was out. The ICC’s statement came just a day after 40 contracted national team players, including the Test and limited-overs captains, Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga, had signed a petition to SLC calling for an immediate inquiry into “shocking” allegations made by Wickremasinghe. Wickremasinghe, a former Sri Lanka pace bowler and ex-national selector, made allegations concerning “unnatural match patterns” and player selections, and also blamed the current management for the team’s poor performance, in an interview with a local television station. The SLC statement said current players regarded Wickremasinghe’s comments as “disparaging and hurtful”. Sri Lanka recently suffered an embarrassing series defeat against India in which they, across all formats, lost nine consecutive matches at home. The Virat Kohli-led team clinched the Test series 3-0 and then won a One-Day International series 5-0 before triumphing in the single Twenty20 International of their tour by seven wickets in Colombo earlier this month. Wickremasignhe’s allegations are not the first fixing allegation hurled at the team in the recent times as in July, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning skipper, demanded an inquiry into the team’s defeat by India in the 2011 final in Mumbai.

Source: 22 September 2017, SportsCafe

Cricket

https://sportscafe.in/articles/cricket/2017/sep/24/icc-initiate-alleged-corruption-probe-in-sri-lanka-cricket 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Hong Kong

Footballer to admit match-fixing charge

Former Hong Kong footballer of the year Lee Wai-lim will plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud and bribery charges over match fixing, the District Court heard. Lee, 36, pictured, and four other former players of Hong Kong Pegasus Football Club face seven charges in total. They allegedly offered or accepted bribes of HK$60,000 and committed fraud by contriving or attempting to contrive the results of three football matches of the Hong Kong Football Association's Reserve Division League last year. While no plea was taken during mention of the case, Lee indicated his intention to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud and accepting an advantage. The other four - Kwok Kin-pong, 30, Michael Cheng Lai-hin, 31, Chan Pak- hang, 24, and Lee Ka-ho, 24 - will contest their charges. All five are former Pegasus players. The cases were mentioned before District Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che who set aside 10 days for the trial from January 11 next year. A pretrial session is scheduled for December 15. The prosecution will be calling 10 witnesses, and submit statements by Kwok and Lee Ka-ho, made under caution when they were arrested in June. All five face one count of conspiracy to defraud under common law and Crimes Ordinance. Under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Cheng and Chan Pak-hang are also charged with one count of offering an advantage while Lee Wai-lim and Lee Ka-ho face one count of accepting an advantage. The group had allegedly conspired to defraud Pegasus and the HKFA by dishonestly contriving the results of three football matches between February and March last year. They include Reserve Division League matches between Pegasus and Yuen Long Football Club on February 24, 2016, and two between Pegasus and Biu Chun Rangers Football Club on March 23, 2016, and April 13, 2016. Lee Wai-lim was the most notable player among the five. He played for the Hong Kong team internationally and was picked as Hong Kong footballer of the year in 2009. When the alleged offense was committed, Lee was the assistant coach of Pegasus. The bribery charge accused him of receiving HK$20,000 from Michael Cheng as an inducement to contrive match results. Pegasus, a Hong Kong Premier League team, is chaired by author, singer and businesswoman Canny Leung Chi- shan.

Source: 27 September 2017, Footballer to admit match-fixing charge

Football

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=187902&sid=4 

 

Malawi

Match-fixing fail sees referees banned

Four referees in the southern African country of Malawi have been banned for life for match-fixing after they received just $25 between them to fix a game and returned $20 to the team doing the bribing because it still lost. Referee Aziz Nyirenda, assistant referees Limbani Chisambi and Stephano Gomani, and fourth official Jimmy Phiri, were all found guilty of fixing a national cup match between lower league team Nchalo United and Chitipa United. The match-fixing was revealed after Nchalo United, the team that bribed the refs, lost in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw and demanded its money back. When the referees could only stump up $20, Nchalo went to the authorities. No sanctions have been announced against the team but there is a case against Nchalo pending. The life ban for the four officials was announced by the Malawian referees association. Tianjin Teda's 4-1 derby win over manager Fabio Cannavaro's Tianjin Quanjian is under investigation regarding possible match-fixing, the Chinese Football Association has confirmed. Although the result wasn't what they were aiming for, Malawi National Referees Association general secretary Chris Kalichero said there was still an "element of game-fixing" by the officials and "when you commit such a crime, a life ban is the punishment." Chisambi, one of the assistant referees, denied wrongdoing, saying ""I never took (a) share of the money. It is so sad that my career has ended in this manner." Last year, another referee in Malawi was banned for life for incompetence.

Source: 27 September 2017, SBS Australia

https://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/article/2017/09/27/epic-match-fixing-fail-sees-referees-banned

Pakistan

Khalid Latif banned for 5 years over PSL spot-fixing case

The 31-year-old has played 5 ODIs and 13 T20Is, the last of which was against the West Indies in Abu Dhabi in September 2016. Pakistan’s anti-corruption tribunal handed Khalid Latif a 5-year ban over PSL 2016-17 spot-fixing case on Wednesday. A month ago, Sharjeel Khan was also given a ban of same duration in the same case. ”Latif is banned for five years and fined one million rupees after the proceedings of the case,” the three-member tribunal announced. Latif was charged for luring other players to participate in fixing and also breaching other six clauses. Sharjeel and Latif had met a bookie and struck a deal. Based on the plan, Sharjeel — an aggressive batsman who scores quickly — agreed to play two dot balls after the first over. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) provisionally suspended Latif and Sharjeel after they found evidence of spot-fixing during a contest between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai, in February. Although Latif did not play in that game, he was later charged for luring Sharjeel into the deal and not reporting the matter to the PCB anti-corruption unit. Four other players, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Nawaz , were also included in the investigation on multiple charges. Irfan and Nawaz admitted not reporting the bookie’s offer. Irfan was handed a six-month suspension and PKR one-million fine, where Nawaz was banned for two months and fined PKR 200,0000.

Source: 20 September 2017, Cricket Country

https://www.cricketcountry.com/news/khalid-latif-banned-for-5-years-over-psl-spot-fixing-case-644096 

 

GOOD PRACTICES

PGA Tour

PGA Tour to launch Integrity Program to 'protect' tournaments from gambling issues

As a part of its new Integrity Program, set to take effect Jan. 1, 2018, the PGA Tour has entered into an agreement with sports data-technology service Genius Sports to monitor betting markets worldwide for suspicious activity. "[We] felt it was important to move forward with an Integrity Program to further protect our competition from betting-related issues," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in a news release announcing the deal. Legalizing sports gambling has gained some traction over the last few years, and the pending Supreme Court case involving New Jersey's quest to offer regulated sports betting at casinos and racetracks will serve as an important legislative benchmark. Although the PGA Tour is not involved in the current case, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball have filed suit against Gov. Chris Christie to stop the plan. The Tour's partnership with Genius Sports is similar to those of other U.S.-based sports leagues that have entered into relationships to better prepare themselves for the potential legalization of domestic sports gambling. "Protecting the integrity of sport has never been of greater importance and it requires forward-thinking organizations such as the PGA Tour to proactively invest in both proven technology and education," said Genius Sports executive Mark Locke in the same release. According to ESPN, Genius Sports and MLB entered into a line monitoring agreement two years ago. Gambling doesn’t stop once play begins: Customers can wager while the tournament is ongoing, with sites relying on live data to determine odds. Such live betting is gaining traction overseas, on offshore betting sites, and in Nevada, where some sports books offer mobile apps that feature live wagering within the state’s borders.

Source: 19 September 2017, Golf.com

Golf

https://www.golf.com/tour-news/2017/09/19/tour-launch-integrity-program-combat-gambling-issues 

TIU

Education key to stamping out match-fixing

Educating tennis players about the dangers of betting-related corruption is a key priority for the sport's global anti-corruption body, the Tennis Integrity Unit. Phil Suddick, information manager at the TIU, said in a rare interview that the unit has boosted its focus on education with the recruitment of two new members of staff. Suddick, a police officer for 30 years investigating global organised crime, who has been in his present role for just over two years, put the issue of betting-related corruption into context. His unit received 292 match alerts in 2016 - from 120 000 professional matches covering the whole game from the futures tour to the Grand Slams - where betting operators believed the betting patterns were suspicious. "We do face significant challenges in relation to some of the events and where they take place," said Suddick, speaking after appearing on a panel at a Betting on Sports conference in London. "You have to be pragmatic and provided you develop and maintain relationships with betting operators I genuinely think that is the way forward because they hold the data that provides information to help prosecute people who seek to corrupt the sport for financial gain." For Suddick, though, a key element that has been added to the weaponry at the TIU's disposal this year has been the appointment of Matthew Perry - who has a background in anti-doping education -- to take charge of education and training. "Education is vitally important," said Suddick. "I have a kid of 28-years-old and an 11-year-old boy. For the former, at his age education could be too late but 10-11 is a fantastic age to capture their minds in terms of sport and its risks. "Education head Matt Perry has a remit for the whole of education across tennis, which is a huge piece of work with over 200 federations. Imagine the number of players involved and the different tournaments right up from juniors and futures to the Slams." Perry was involved in the recent launch of the ITF Knowledge programme at the recent US Open. The aim of the new e-learning module is to inform and educate junior players about integrity in tennis and to protect them on their journey as players. Perry understandably cannot handle the whole education remit on his own so he has obtained the funding for two assistants - Suddick says one of their priorities will be speaking with juniors and their parents. "It is the parents who tend to be coaches and the people who travel with them and it is they who will notice a sponsorship deal that isn't really one," said Suddick. "This could be a person who pays for flights and hotels, which is the thin end of the wedge, but the wedge can grow into something larger down the line. "We have to educate the entourage around the juniors from the coach, the parents to the hitting partner and others involved. "If Matt and his team can educate players at a younger age, that can only be good for tennis. "They come into the sport as juniors and they need to have all the tools at their disposal to cope with those who wish to corrupt them. "For me, education is probably the strongest and most important measure to protect the sport in the long term."

Source: 22 September 2017, Sport 24

https://www.sport24.co.za/Tennis/education-key-to-stamping-out-match-fixing-20170922 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

Australia

INTERPOL - IOC Law Enforcement Training and Partnership Development

6 - 8 November 2017

INTERPOL and IOC will organise a two-day Law Enforcement Training for the Queensland Police, followed by a Partnership Development Meeting in view of 2018 Commonwealth Games

Senegal

INTERPOL-IOC Integrity in Sport Regional Workshop and Partnership Development Meetings

25 - 26 October 2017, Dakar, Senegal

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will host a Regional Workshop addressed to Law Enforcement, Sport Federations, Betting, and relevant ministries. High level representatives from various stakeholders will meet to discuss and prepare a strategy to combat match-fixing. Five countries: Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal will be taking part in the two events.

Slovenia

INTERPOL - IOC Integrity Seminar

4 October 2017

IOC and INTERPOL organise an Integrity Seminar for FIBA referees, prior to the start of the season.

Basketball 

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