Integrity in sport update: Italy's coach, Conte, seeks hearing over match-fixing claims

Weekly Media Recap 30 March 2015 - 5 April 2015

This week, FIFA confirmed the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on 27 players concerning match manipulation-related proceedings conducted by the Estonian Football Association (EFA), the Latvian Football Federation (LFF), the Swedish Football Association (SVFF) and the Czech Republic Football Association(FACR).

In another development, the two Singaporeans detained in Moldova for reportedly trying to bribe Moldova Football Federation officials were identified as Titani Periasamy and Phua Boon Keong. Titani Periasamy has alleged links to convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Beach Football - Costa Rica and Guatemala

The National Men’s Beach Football Team of Costa Rica is currently under investigation by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) after allegations of match rigging. Some of the allegations were brought up by Ramon Raya, who currently manages the Mexican National Beach Football Team. Mr. Raya has been quite emphatic in his allegations of match rigging against the national teams of Costa Rica and Guatemala. According to Mr. Raya, a recent match between these two national teams gave strong indications that they were conspiring to fix the final score so that they could both advance in the qualifiers while leaving the Mexican national team in an uncomfortable situation. In the end, Costa Rica won the match 4-3; Mexico advanced in the tournament but Guatemala did not.

Source: Jaime Lopez, "Costa Rica Involved in Alleged Beach Football Match Rigging ", 3 April 2015, The Costa Rica Star, https://news.co.cr/costa-rica-involved-in-alleged-beach-football-match-rigging/37980/

Italy

Italy coach Antonio Conte is seeking a hearing before prosecutors in Cremona investigating him for match-fixing. Lawyers for the Italian football federation made the request recently, prosecutor Roberto Di Martino said Thursday. Conte was among 130 people formally notified by state prosecutors in February that they are under investigation for match-fixing in a case that has stretched back nearly five years. Conte is being investigated for committing sports fraud when he coached Siena in 2010-11.

The matches under investigation involving Conte are the Novara-Siena game on May 1, 2011 (which ended 2-2) and Albinoleffe-Siena (1-0) on May 29, 2011. Players have told prosecutors that Conte was aware of the fixes.

Conte was also investigated for fixing when he coached Bari from 2007 to 2009, and the southern club was penalized a point during the 2013-14 season.

Source: "Italy coach Conte seeks hearing in match-fixing inquiry", 2 April 2015, AP, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2015/04/02/italy-coach-conte-seeks-hearing-in-match-fixing-inquiry/70818260/

Moldova

A 33-year-old Singaporean woman confirmed that the man showed in handcuffs outside a courtroom in Moldova, is her husband Titani Periasamy, 38. The former Clementi Khalsa midfielder and another Singaporean were arrested on March 19 for trying to bribe Moldova Football Federation officials with 50,000 euros for their Under-21 team to lose to Belgium's Under-21 side by three goals. They were charged on March 21. Periasamy’s identity was first confirmed on March 24 by Mr Adrian Popenco, a prosecutor from Moldova's National Anti-Corruption Center. The other accused was identified as Phua Boon Keong, 42.

According to The New Paper sources, Titani Periasamy and convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, 49, were associates when it came to betting on football matches. Sources believe they kept in touch in spite of Wilson Raj’s arrest in Finland and extradition to Hungary. The two allegedly communicated frequently via Skype.

Source: Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, "Wife of S'pore man charged with match-fixing recognises him in news clip", 31 March 2015, The New Paper, https://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/wife-spore-man-charged-match-fixing-recognises-him-news-clip#sthash.FGFMLJex.dpuf

Vietnam

The Ministry of Public Security has wrapped up investigations of several Dong Nai players accused of manipulating the result of a V-League football match last season. The club’s captain, Pham Huu Phat, got five other players involved in fixing their away match against Than Quang Ninh on July 20, which Dong Nai lost 5-3, investigators alleged. They have proposed charges of gambling and organizing gambling against Phat. The other five -- Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Dinh Kien Trung, Nguyen Duc Thien, Ha Niem Tien, and goalkeeper Phan Luu The Son -- face gambling charges. Tran Van Ba, the bookie that Phat contacted, and four of his accomplices also face charges of organizing gambling.

According to the investigators, Phat asked Ba to pay him VND400 million if Dong Nai lost by at least two goals. The bookie gave him the money four days before the match, by which time he had got the four players into his nefarious scheme.

The investigators also said Phat, Giang, Trung, and Thien had fixed the result of another match against Thanh Hoa on May 3, 2014, which Dong Nai had lost 3-0. Phat was paid VND30 million while the other three got VND10 million each, they said.

Source: Thai Son, "6 Dong Nai players arrested for match-fixing ", 2 April 2015, Thanh Nien News, https://www.thanhniennews.com/sports/6-dong-nai-players-arrested-for-matchfixing-40661.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Malta

The theme ‘Say NO to match-fixing’ was the main topic in the educational seminar organized by the Malta Sports Journalists’ Association for its member journalists. The seminar was conducted by Franz Tabone, who has been involved in football, as a player or administrator, for 50 years and since 2011 as Integrity Officer for the Malta Football Association. Tabone tackled the various aspects relative to the theme in question. Using his knowledge and experience in the field, he discussed how even the sport media has a role to increase awareness about this plight. MSJA members had also the opportunity to express their views on the matter. The seminar was addressed by MSJA President Charles Camenzuli who stressed on the role of the sport media in tackling the problem and how even through the social media, sports journalists have an important task in order to educate the general public on the matter which directly and indirectly is becoming an uphill fight.

Source: "Malta's sports media says 'No' to match-fixing", 31 March 2015, Malta Today, https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/51314/maltas_sports_media_says_no_to_matchfixing#.VSHchI5JeJ-

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Handball

World and Olympic handball champion Nikola Karabatic and 15 other people will stand trial on fraud charges over alleged match-fixing, a lawyer for the French sports hero said Wednesday. Karabtic, who led France to their fifth world title in Qatar in February, and the others were investigated over the rigging of a French championship game between his then side Montpellier and Cesson in May, 2012. Montpellier, who were already champions, lost the game 31-28. Alarm bells rang because bets totalling 103,000 euros were made when a handball match would normally attract just a few thousand. Investigating magistrate Marie-Christine Desplat-Didier decided Tuesday that the 16 should face trial, Mickael Corbier, a lawyer for Karabatic said.

Source: "Handball champion to face match-fixing trial", 1 April 2015, AFP, https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/sports/515279/handball-champion-to-face-match-fixing-trial

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

FIFA

FIFA confirmed today the worldwide extension of sanctions imposed on 27 players concerning match manipulation-related proceedings conducted by the Estonian Football Association (EFA), the Latvian Football Federation (LFF), the Swedish Football Association (SVFF) and the Czech Republic Football Association (FACR). The sanctioned players are banned from taking part in any football-related activities. The sanctions included nine lifetime bans.

Source: "FIFA sanciona a 27 jugadores por amaño de partidos a nivel mundial", 31 March 2015, EFE, https://espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/2334784/fifa-sanciona-a-27-jugadores-por-amano-de-partidos-a-nivel-mundial

Malta

The Malta FA withdrew the match-fixing charges against Xewkija Tigers FC player Peter Buttigieg following further investigations by the association’s Prosecuting Officer. Earlier this month, Buttigieg was banned temporarily as the Malta FA launched a probe into a match-fixing case that cast a shadow over the top-of-the-table clash between Xewkija and Nadur Youngsters in the Gozitan league, played on February 7. The Malta FA announced that Buttigieg’s suspension has been lifted.

On March 14, Nadur Youngsters FC secretary Anthony Sam Portelli was also charged by the Malta FA over his alleged involvement in the same match-fixing case. Portelli and George Joseph Sultana were arraigned in court in February. Both were sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for two years, and fined €1,165, after pleading guilty to trying to influence the result of the GFA Division One match.

Source: "Malta FA withdraw charges against Buttigieg", 31 March 2015, Times of Malta, https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150331/football/malta-fa-withdraw-charges-against-buttigieg.562144

United Kingdom

The Scottish Football Association has failed in its bid to have the punishment handed to Rangers goalkeeper Steve Simonsen for breaching betting laws increased. The 35-year-old served a one-game ban after he admitted breaking the SFA's zero-tolerance gambling rules by betting on a total of 50 games in a year. But SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan challenged that decision, claiming his punishment was "unduly lenient". The SFA's appeal was rejected by an appellate tribunal. Simonsen had not bet on any games relating to his club's competitions. Previous judicial panels have issued more severe punishments for betting offences, but they have involved players betting on games in which they were involved.

Source: "SFA fail in Simonsen ban bid", 1 April 2015, Eurosport, https://www.eurosport.com/football/sfa-fail-in-simonsen-ban-bid_sto4661805/story.shtml

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