Integrity in sports update: Pepsico drops IPL sponsorship after spot-fixing scandal

Weekly media recap 19-25 October 2015

Last week, INTERPOL together with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held a national workshop on Sports Integrity in Lima, Peru. The workshop was well attended with more than 70 participants from the Peruvian National Olympic Committee , national sports federations, national police force and juridical system. Protecting clean athletes from competition manipulation was the main focus of the workshop and provided the participants with an opportunity to learn from top experts in this field, including from the UK Gambling Commission.

In this week’s media recap we also have allegations by a referee to a upcoming match between Barcelona and Real Madrid of possible match­fixing. He alleges that he was pressured to favour a certain team for the match next month. Spanish anti­corruption police are investigating the match­fixing claims.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Spain

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to clash next month with an assistant referee set to officiate the game claiming he was being pressure to favour the home team.

Spanish anti-corruption police are investigating match-fixing claims after an assistant referee expected to officiate El Clásico claimed he was being pressured to favour Real Madrid.

The game, which is the most important in Spanish sport and considered one of the world’s biggest football matches, is due to take place at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium on November 21.

The official - who has remained anonymous for now due to fear of recriminations both personally and professionally - claimed that the referee for the game instructed him that he had been given instructions by the Spanish refereeing committee to favour Madrid.

Assistant referees were reportedly targeted as their decisions draw less scrutiny than the men in the middle.
When the linesman refused, he reportedly received a phone call from the Spanish federation that threatened his career.

The anonymous official filed a formal legal complaint last week, which is now being investigated, while Spanish radio station Cadena COPE later named refereeing committee member Jose Angel Jimenez as the man responsible for applying pressure

Source: Ed Malyon, "El Clasico match-fixing claims investigated by Spanish anti-corruption authorities", 21 October 2015, Mirror, https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/el-clasico-match-fixing-claims-6678425

 

LEGISLATION

United States

Pennsylvania representative Nick Kotik has introduced new draft legislation in an effort to legalise sports betting in licensed casinos in the US state. Upon unveiling the legislation, Kotik, Democratic chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, said the state would only consider introducing the laws if federal laws surrounding sports betting are overturned.

Laws set out under the Professional and Amateur Sport Protection Act only allow for sports betting to take place in Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon. Kotik’s legislation includes similar polices as those proposed by lawmakers in New Jersey during an unsuccessful bid to legalise sports betting in the state last year.

Source: AP, "Pennsylvania to consider sports betting legislation", 19 October 2015, igaming business, https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/pennsylvania-consider-sports-betting-legislation

 

ODDS AND ENDS

India

PepsiCo has withdrawn from its sponsorship deal of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following match-fixing scandals, with Chinese smartphone maker Vivo taking over the title sponsorship of the world’s richest cricket tournament. The beverage company’s exit could discourage other brands from investing in the IPL, analysts said.

Pepsi bought the title sponsorship rights to the IPL for five years for US$71 million starting in 2013. That was almost double the amount paid by the Indian property developer DLF for the previous five years. But the IPL has been plagued by corruption scandals in recent years. In July, Chennai Super Kings, owned by Indian Cements, and Rajasthan Royals, owned by a consortium including Bollywood’s Shilpa Shetty, were suspended from the competition for two years over a match-fixing controversy.

There is a dent in the image of IPL,” said Sanjay Chakraborty, a marketing communication adviser based in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Pepsi was investing “a lot of money, which was at stake with this brand”, he said. “Their own image can get corroded if they associate with an event that has an image problem.” Sponsorship rates were likely to come down because of the match-fixing scandal and Pepsi’s withdrawal as it would become more challenging for the IPL to get sponsors on board, he said.

Source: Rebecca Bundhun, "Pepsi quits IPL cricket sponsorship after match-fixing scandals", 19 October 2015, The National Business, https://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/pepsi-quits-ipl-cricket-sponsorship-after-match-fixing-scandals

Peru

Protecting clean athletes from competition manipulation was the focus of a workshop organised jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and INTERPOL in Lima, Peru, last week. The meeting is another tangible result stemming from Olympic Agenda 2020, and was attended by more than 70 people from the Peruvian National Olympic Committee (NOC), national sports federations, local police force and the juridical system.

It is about developing a coordinated national approach that really enables us to protect our athletes and the integrity of sport,” said Iván Dibós, IOC Member from Peru. He added: “First everybody needs to understand the real threat of competition manipulation and how it can destroy the spirit of sport. Then we need to find together efficient ways of preventing and responding to possible competition manipulation and corruption in sport in Peru, as well as at national and international events.

The one-day workshop provided the participants with the opportunity to learn from top experts in this field, including from the UK Gambling Commission. This Commission hosted the Joint Assessment Unit that played a key role in preventing competition manipulation and monitoring betting activities during the Olympic Games London 2012. Participants also identified strengths and weaknesses of the current Peruvian system to deal with cases of competition manipulation and were provided by the IOC and INTERPOL with relevant strategies, tools and best practices. Furthermore, simulation exercises with real-life scenarios allowed the participants to experience how specific operational collaboration between sport, law enforcement and betting regulators and operators could look like.

José Quiñones González, President of the Peruvian NOC, said after the workshop: “I think today’s meeting was an eye-opener for all of us and certainly the starting point for much better collaboration between the key players who are needed to prevent and to fight competition manipulation in our country. I would like to thank the IOC, INTERPOL and all other speakers for their invaluable advice.

Tim Morris, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services said: “Ensuring that those directly involved in the sporting world have the information and training they need to avoid becoming potential targets for criminals is just one aspect of combating match manipulation and corruption.” He added: “Whilst law enforcement has a central role to play in tackling the crime of corruption, this is also a wider issue which requires commitment from society as a whole to promote, develop and maintain respect for the rule of law.

Source: INTERPOL/IOC, "Peru gears up to protect sport’s integrity", 19 October 2015, IOC.org, https://www.olympic.org/news/peru-gears-up-to-protect-sport-s-integrity/247340

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Korea (Rep. of)

Five years ago a cheating scandal rocked professional StarCraft in Korea. Now, it's happening again.

22-year-old pro StarCraft player YoDa has been banned for life. A raft of StarCraft 2 pros are reported to have been arrested in South Korea over charges of match-fixing and illegal betting.

According to reports emerging from Korea, and collated on TeamLiquid.net, South Korean police arrested 12 individuals related to the investigation. Five pro StarCraft 2 matches were investigated and found to have been fixed. Gerrard was charged with receiving 10m Korean Won (approximately £5700) from Enough to order YoDa to intentionally lose a match in GSL Season 1. Apparently Gerrard also received 5m KRW (approximately £2800) from an unnamed "Mr. Kang". BBoongBBoong (Choi Jong-HyuK) is accused of receiving 5m KRW to throw a match in the SKT Proleague. In total, YoDa was found to have thrown four matches across the Proleague and GSL, receiving 20m KRW (approximately £11,000) from the mysterious Mr. Kang. There was another payment of 10m KRW (£5700) from a Mr. Han. That's a total of around £17,000 for throwing four matches. As a result of the investigation, the Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA), has banned Gerrard and YoDa for life and permanently suspended their licenses.

Source: AP, "Korean StarCraft rocked by another match-fixing scandal ", 19 October 2015, Eurogamer.net, https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2015-10-19-korean-starcraft-rocked-by-another-match-fixing-scandal

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