INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 26 December - 8 January 2018
Last year ended with the International Cricket Council’s announcement that there is no basis in the match-fixing allegations published by
The Sun earlier in December and featured in this bi-weekly. In Latin America, former Peruvian Olympic Committee Secretary General avoided jail sentence as a corruption investigation continues. Also in terms of investigations, a case has surfaced in the
Primeira Ligue Football in Portugal where four players from Rio Ave have been reportedly charged with a 500,000 euro match-fixing scam. The players were suspected of taking bribes to fix a defeat for their team in a first division game in February 2017. Also in Europe, we note serious match-fixing allegations and suspicious betting in the lower divisions of Spanish football.
When it comes to sentences, two former soccer officials were convicted of corruption charges at a US trial stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal. Earlier this January, former sumo grand champion has been fined after being found guilty of assault.
In Queensland, Australia, the Queensland Police Racing Crime Squad and the Racing Integrity Commission’s ongoing investigations in harness racing in 2017 have yielded significant results. In Kenya, severe discussions have emerged over the tax contribution by sports betting operators to fund sports, culture and arts in the country. Following a government tax hike, an online sports betting firm has canceled its direct sponsorship to football.
A cyber-security firm stated that hackers have attempted to steal sensitive data from groups involved with next month’s Winter Olympics. The report found malware-infected emails were sent last month to organizations linked to the Pyeongchang Games. In some cases the hackers used a technique in known as steganography which hides malware in text and images.
We note good practice in education and awareness raising in Ghana, where seminars on match fixing will be organized, and in golf, where the PGA tour now requires all players to undergo an online anti-gambling tutorial.
Finally, the Tennis Integrity Unit recently published its Annual Review for 2017 which can be accessed at the following link:
ICC dismisses Australian involvement in match-fixing
The International Cricket Council says there is no basis to the match-fixing allegations levelled against a former Australian player along with an Australian cricket official.
The bizarre claims were made by a pair of Indian bookmakers and published in The Sun newspaper who caught the duo during a sting.
The claims included a supposed attempt to spot fix the third Ashes Test in Perth in December and that corruption was widespread in the Big Bash League.
Cricket Australia were confident all along that there was no wrongdoing, although the ICC had no choice but to take the allegations seriously and investigate them.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland confirmed he has spoken to the ICC’s anti-corruption boss Alex Marshall and that Marshall had ruled out any unlawful behaviour.
The ICC haven’t yet put the finishing touches on the investigation but the claims made linking Australian cricket to match-fixing have been quashed.
Sutherland was happy with the ICC’s findings.
“There is no credibility to the allegations,” he said.
“Early on the ICC didn’t think there was any credibility to it and I have spoken to the ICC’s head of anti-corruption since then and it’s very much as it was and we’re very much business as usual.
“The ICC has a duty to investigate things to get an understanding whether allegations are credible.
”As I’m aware what they’ve done and what they’ve been able to ascertain from day one, is that nothing’s changed.
“The ICC and member countries take a zero tolerance to corruption but when there’s smoke they do need to investigate and work out any credibility.
“That’s what’s happened since Perth and nothing has changed from day one."
Source: 6 January 2018, Sporting News
Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP)
Ex-Peruvian Olympic Committee secretary general avoids jail sentence as corruption investigation continues
Former Peruvian Olympic Committee (COP) secretary general and Olympic silver medallist Francisco Boza Dibós has avoided being sent to jail after the dismissal of a prosecutor's office request but has still had his rights restricted as a hearing continues.
The 52-year-old, an Olympic silver medallist at Los Angeles 1984 in trap shooting, is being investigated in relation to his alleged links to Martin Belaunde, a businessman and former Presidential advisor currently in jail for corruption and embezzlement.
Boza supposedly asked Belaunde to use his influence in Congress to approve funding for the 2013 Bolivarian Games in Trujillo while he was head of the Peruvian Institute of Sports.
This allegedly led to Spanish construction company Antalsis, a client of Belaunde, being awarded the contract to redesign the Elias Aguirre Stadium.
Boza, who carried the Peruvian flag at the Opening Ceremonies of Athens 2004 and Rio 2016, denies all wrongdoing but admitted he made a "mistake" in trusting Belaunde.
It was announced a year ago that he faced five years in jail but he was instead serving secured residency.
Supra-provincial prosecutor's office specialised in corruption officials then announced last week following an appeal that he should be sent to jail for an 18 month sentence as the probe continued.
This decision has now been dismissed by the Second National Criminal Appeals Chamber, Peruvian media including El Comercio have reported, who instead said that he must remain with restricted freedom. This means that he is not allowed to change his address or leave the country and must sign in with the investigation court every 30 days.
He must also pay PEN25,000 (£5,739/$7,700/€6,500) within 15 business days.
As well as being a leading official at the COP, he also served as President of the Peruvian Institute of Sports between 2011 and 2014.
Former COP President José Quiñones has also defended himself against corruption allegations after being fiercely criticised in November by his successor, Pedro del Rosario Delgado.
Quiñones was banned last December by Peru's national sports court from holding any sporting position in the country for five years and was replaced as COP President in June.
Boza was also replaced as secretary general by Carlos Manuel Lazarte.
He was sanctioned for corruption offences including the alleged misuse of public money but insists his "fundamental rights to due process and a fair trial were not respected".
Source: Nick Butler, 7 January 2018, Inside The Games
Reports: Rio Ave players charged in match-fixing scam
Lisbon, Portugal - Four players with Portuguese top-flight club Rio Ave have been reportedly charged in a 500,000 euro ($597,000) match-fixing scam, local media revealed on Thursday.
The public prosecutor, when contacted by AFP, could not confirm the case which first surfaced on SIC television station and confirmed by the Correio da Manha newspaper.
According to the two media outlets the four unnamed players are suspected of taking bribes to fix a defeat for their team in a first division game against Feirense on February 6, 2017.
Rio Ave lost the match 2-1 on the way to finishing seventh in the end-of-season table.
Betting on the fixture had been suspended shortly before kick-off due to "the unusual volume of bets" placed on the encounter, Jogos Santa Casa, the monitoring body supervising betting in Portugal explained.
The total amount of bets placed on the game was in the region of half a million euros, media reported.
The club from Porto reacted "with surprise and indignation" at the news, stressing they had "no information" on any charges resulting from a fraud investigation.
After the suspension of betting on the game the police opened an inquiry "six months ago in which people connected to Rio Ave gave all the cooperation required of them", the club said in a statement.
The Portuguese League has reiterated "its total confidence" in all the teams engaged in the competitions it organises, and in particular in Rio Ave.
Source: AFP, 28 December 2017, Chicago Tribune
Winter Olympics targeted by hackers says security firm
Hackers have attempted to steal sensitive data from groups involved with next month's Winter Olympics, cyber-security firm McAfee said.
The report found malware-infected emails were sent last month to organisations linked to the Pyeongchang Games. It did not identify those responsible, but said more attacks tied to the upcoming Olympics were likely.
In similar past attacks, hackers tried to obtain passwords and financial data.
McAfee said a number of groups associated with the Olympics had received malicious emails - including several affiliated with ice hockey.
"The majority of these organisations had some association with the Olympics, either in providing infrastructure or in a supporting role," the security firm said.
"The attackers appear to be casting a wide net with this campaign."
The emails were sent from a Singapore IP address and told readers to open a text document in Korean.
McAfee said the hackers were trying to trick recipients into believing the emails had come from South Korea's National Counter-Terrorism Center - which at the time was in the process of conducting anti-terror drills in the region.
In some cases the hackers used a technique in known as steganography which hides malware in text and images.
McAfee echoed recent warnings from University of California researchers to expect more cyber-attacks targeting major sporting events.
"With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyber attacks using Olympics-related themes," the security firm said.
It comes as Pyongyang prepares to hold official talks with South Korea for the first time in more than two years.
North Korea accepted an offer to attend the meeting on 9 January that will focus on finding a way for its athletes to attend the Games.
Source: 8 January 2018, BBC
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
FIFA officials convicted of corruption at U.S. bribery scandal trial
Two former South American soccer officials were convicted Friday of corruption charges at a U.S. trial stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal, while deliberations will continue next week for a third official.
A federal jury in New York deliberated a week before reaching the partial verdict.
Jose Maria Marin, of Brazil, and Juan Angel Napout, of Paraguay, were convicted of the top count they faced, racketeering conspiracy. Jurors were undecided on Manuel Burga, the former president of Peru's soccer federation.
The three had been arrested in 2015. Prosecutors accused them of agreeing to take millions of dollars in bribes from businessmen seeking to lock up lucrative media rights or influence hosting rights for the World Cup and other major tournaments controlled by FIFA.
Marin, Burga and Napout were among more than 40 people in the world of global soccer who faced criminal charges in the U.S. in connection with what prosecutors said were schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. Many of the other defendants pleaded guilty.
Their trial ended up being coloured by odd twists: an unproven accusation that Burga threatened a witness; a juror booted for sleeping through testimony; word from Buenos Aires that an Argentine lawyer had committed suicide there hours after being named at the trial as a bribe-taker; and the surprise testimony of a former member of the Jonas Brothers, an American pop rock band.
Marin, the former president of Brazil's soccer federation, and Napout, formerly president of Paraguay's soccer federation and of the South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL, were both also convicted of wire fraud conspiracy. But Napout was acquitted of money laundering conspiracy. And Marin was convicted on money laundering conspiracy charges, but acquitted of one charge of money laundering conspiracy.
Marin's lawyer said in court he was disappointed by the verdict. The two will be jailed while they await sentencing, though not date has been set.
FIFA wants money back
World soccer's governing body said it is will seek compensation and a share of the cash.
FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press that "as the jury has found a number of defendants guilty of the charged crimes, FIFA will now take all necessary steps to seek restitution and recover any losses caused by their misconduct."
The government's star witness, a former marketing executive from Argentina, Alejandro Burzaco, testified that he and his company arranged to pay $160 million US in bribes over the course of several years. Some of the money was demanded by a FIFA official in exchange for helping rig a vote that gave Qatar hosting rights for the World Cup in 2022, he said.
"You've seen a lot of paper, some of it quite complex," Nitze said in closing arguments. "There are cases that present mysteries to be solved — whodunits. This is not one of them."
Prosecutors said Burga took $4.4 million in bribes, Marin took $6.6 million and Napout collected $10.5 million.
'Cash is king'
The defence argued that the men were innocent bystanders framed by Burzaco and other untrustworthy cooperators angling for leniency in their own cases. Napout's lawyer told jurors the prosecution had failed to produce records of wire transfers or large bank deposits that could prove he was receiving piles of bribe money.
"They say cash is king, but where did it go?" said the attorney, John Pappalardo. "There was not one penny they could trace to Juan."
The lawyer for Marin, who is 85, called him a clueless figurehead, saying the person making the real decisions was Marco Polo del Nero, the head of Brazil's soccer federation. Del Nero is charged in the U.S. case but hasn't been extradited from Brazil. FIFA suspended him from the sport Friday.
Burga, whose lawyer made similar arguments, got some unwanted attention early in the trial when prosecutors claimed he unnerved Burzaco by directing a threatening gesture at him — running his fingers across his throat in a slicing motion. The lawyer claimed his client was merely scratching his throat, but the judge took the incident seriously enough to tighten Burga's house arrest conditions.
One witness described a secret ledger that listed bribes for Napout, including an entry for Paul McCartney concert tickets worth more than $10,000.
After the defence questioned whether the concert actually took place, the government called the musician and actor Kevin Jonas to testify that he attended the show as a spectator.
Another cooperator, Brazilian businessman Jose Hawilla, agreed to wear a wire for the FBI to make recordings played at the trial.
One included a conversation he had with Marin in 2014 in which prosecutors say the defendant negotiated a bribe by saying, "It's about time to have it coming my way. True or not?"
Hawilla responded: "Of course. That money had to be given to you."
Source: Tom Hays, 26 December 2017, CBC
Japan sumo champion Harumafuji fined over assault
Former sumo grand champion Harumafuji has been fined 500,000 yen (£3,280; $4,400) in Japan after being found guilty of assault.
The 33-year-old wrestler from Mongolia admitted hitting a junior wrestler over the head with a karaoke machine remote control during a night out in Tottori in October.
He has already apologised and stepped down over the incident. The case rocked the world of sumo, a hugely popular ceremonial sport. The assault on fellow Mongolian Takanoiwa happened while they were out drinking with other wrestlers in a bar in the western city.
The grand champion is reported to have been angered that his countryman was checking his phone while being given advice, seeing it as showing a lack of respect.
The latter was admitted to hospital with concussion and a fractured skull.
Two others involved in the incident have faced disciplinary action and Takanoiwa's stablemaster - as coaches are known - has been demoted for allegedly delaying reporting the incident.
Harumafuji started his career in Japan at the age of 16 and was promoted to grand champion or yokozuna - sumo's highest rank - in 2012.
He released a statement in late December, Reuters news agency reports, saying his life "is now set to be sharply different from what I thought it would be".
"I have a feeling of chagrin, to be honest. But the responsibility is all mine."
What is sumo?
Japan's much-loved traditional sport dates back hundreds of years
Two wrestlers face off in an elevated circular ring and try to push each other to the ground or out of the ring
There are six tournaments each year in which each wrestler fights 15 bouts
Wrestlers, who traditionally go by one fighting name, are ranked and the ultimate goal is to become a yokozuna (grand champion)
Source: 4 January 2018, BBC
Spanish turn blind eye as match-fixing rips through lower leagues
Spanish football’s lower divisions are showing a disturbing level of betting-related fixed matches. What is more concerning is that neither the Spanish federation (RFEF) or LaLiga are showing any signs of taking action to stop the match-fixers, clubs or players, despite having been made aware of the issues.
Sources have given Insideworldfootball a list of more than 10 matches in the January to December 2017 period conducted by Sportradar where there are highly suspicious betting patterns.
The matches all take place in the third and fourth tiers of the Spanish leagues which globally account for an estimated betting market of about €580 million per season.
This is a huge amount and far exceeds the revenues generated by clubs in these leagues, many of whom are struggling to pay their players. Betting coverage of these leagues is impressively wide, especially in the Asian markets. The matches that have been detailed to Insideworldfootball may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Segunda B – the third tier of Spanish football played in four regional leagues with about 1,500 matches in total – sees estimated betting volumes of about €200,000 per match, with betting markets being made on pretty much every game played. A season total of about €300 million.
Tercera Division – the fourth tier of the Spanish game with over 7,000 games played – has estimated betting volumes of about €110,000 per match. Of these matches there are betting markets for about 2,500 and a total volume of about €280 million.
Match data is unlicensed, unregulated and with no formal or adequate monitoring. The Spanish football authorities have taken few steps to tackle the phenomena.
Of the matches identified to Insideworldfootball (four in Seconda B and nine in the Tercera), five of them followed very similar betting patterns.
Betting volumes were highest on the final result of matches and on specific numbers of goals. The matches showed penalties being awarded following a spike in betting volumes.
One Spanish source close to the leagues, who asked not be named, said that “this is a disaster for the integrity of Spanish football. We are already caught up in corruption scandals at home and internationally (referring to the arrest of RFEF president Angel Maria Villar) and now it seems criminals are destroying the heart of our game.”
Confronted with the findings and asked whether there could be any doubt that the matches were fixed, Andreas Krannich, managing director of Sportradar Integrity Services which monitors matches for a growing number of federations and confederations worldwide, said: “In general we do not comment publically on match fixing allegations and we do not know who leaked this information. But yes, this is one of our reports. To prevent a misunderstanding we do not monitor Spanish 3rd and 4th division football on a regular basis. And what we detected is very concerning. It is criminal activity.”
Source: Paul Nicholson, 26 December 2017, Inside World Football
Ghana FA to hold Seminars on Match fixing, Refereeing, Marketing and Media before congress
Executive Committee has approved four seminars on Match fixing, Refereeing, Marketing and Media for various interest groups in football ahead of the start of the next season to help improve the game. The seminars will be held on the 6th and 7th of February at the Ghanaman Soccer Centre of Excellence in Prampram. This will be before the FA's main congress which will be held on the 7th and 8th of February 2018 at the same venue.
Source: 29 December 2017, Ghana Soccer Net
PGA Tour Players Forced to Undergo Anti-Gambling Program
The wraparound PGA Tour season got back in full swing this week with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui, Hawaii.
But before players who won an official event in 2017 teed off, all were required to watch an online anti-gambling tutorial.
The PGA Tour announced the formation of its Integrity Program last fall, and it was officially implemented on January 1. The goal of the comprehensive program is “to maintain integrity and prevent and mitigate betting-related corruption in PGA Tour competitions.”
Working with Genius Sports, a London-based data technology, distribution, and analytics firm, the Tour developed a program to educate its members on how to protect themselves from outside influences. Players have to watch the online video before they can participate in a Tour-sanctioned event.
“No sport is fully immune from the potential influence of gambling. So, we felt it was important to move forward with an Integrity Program to further protect our competition from betting-related issues,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan explained.
The Integrity Program is being deployed across all six tours overseen by the PGA Tour. They include, in addition to the PGA Tour, the PGA Tour Champions, Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and PGA Tour China.
The Integrity Program bans players, caddies, family members, instructors, trainers, tournament personnel and others from betting on golf events they’re involved.
The PGA Tour said developing an anti-gambling problem was critical as the popularity of betting on golf continues to increase. Currently in the US, golf wagering is confined to Nevada, and parlay betting in Delaware. But that could soon change if the federal ban is repealed or struck down by the US Supreme Court. If the happens, sportsbooks could soon be on their way to casinos across the country.
Theoretically, more sports gambling might increase the chances of a rogue individual successfully approaching a player and colluding for sports betting purposes. In-game betting is the greatest risk, as a player could purposely make a double bogey on an easy hole, with the gambler winning on long odds.
The Tour and Genius Sports says trained security officials will be at events this year to monitor fans in the galleries who are using their phones. Golf odds will also be monitored for unusual or suspicious activity.
With the average tournament purse now over $6 million each week, PGA Tour players would seemingly be less susceptible to throw a round or hole than members of the lower-money tours.
While a $10,000 offer wouldn’t presumably convince a multimillion-dollar player like Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson, a player struggling to put food on the table on the Web.com might jump at the offer. A PGA Tour member who knows he can’t make the cut (and therefore any money that week) could also be up for the illegal bribe.
Another concern on the main Tour is betting between players. Superstar and fan favorite Phil Mickelson, whose longtime pal Billy Walters, a professional sports better who was sentenced to federal prison last year for insider-trading, is notorious for forging in-game wagers with his competitors and friends.
Source: David Sheldon, 7 January 2018, Casino
ODDS AND ENDS
An industry 'disintegrating': Fixing scandal rocks the world of Queensland harness racing
A race-fixing scandal that has rocked harness racing shows how professional gamblers use a "cookie-cutter model" to corrupt sporting champions for profit, police investigators say.
An unprecedented crackdown by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) and the Queensland Police racing crime squad has triggered a wave of arrests in 2017, including some of the sport's leading drivers and identities.
Police have made 10 arrests so far, with one of the industry's rising stars telling a Brisbane court "everybody's doing it".
"I think the stature of people we've arrested should be a concern for everybody involved with the sport," QRIC commissioner Ross Barnett said.
The unfolding corruption crisis has dragged harness racing — which has battled for decades to shed a chequered reputation — to a fatal crossroads, according to broadcaster and racing administrator David Fowler.
Mr Fowler, chairman of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club, said each new public revelation of alleged cheating was "like a wound that keeps bursting open".
"Particularly for people in the betting world who rely on confidence and rely on integrity to have races run correctly, when we see this happening, we start to see, I believe, our industry disintegrating," he said.
"They're low on morale — they don't know who the next person [arrested] may be."
Queensland's racing watchdog was born out of animal cruelty revelations in the greyhound industry.
But it has turned to rooting out alleged corruption in an industry long dogged by rumours of race-fixing.
For the first time, suspected cheats face the scrutiny of police phone taps, bugs, star chamber hearings and the threat of criminal charges and jail time.
Racing crime squad Detective Sergeant Tracey Pelling said the probe had shown "drivers are effectively handled by professional punters" who profit most from race-fixing. She said gamblers would take drivers out, "offer them dinners, drinks, sometimes give them mobile phones".
"As a result, the driver feels that he's indebted and that really gets played on by the handlers," Detective Sergeant Pelling said.
"So the next thing they do is [say] 'You owe me', and they ask them to do something in a race for them." "Everybody's doing it"
A Brisbane court has heard one of harness racing's rising stars, Barton Cockburn, was paid $200 for one rigged race.
A gambler in turn made $33,000 from betting on the race.
Cockburn, who pleaded guilty to race-fixing in October, told the court through his lawyer that "everybody's doing it".
Detective Sergeant Pelling said handlers were using "a cookie-cutter model" from sport to sport. Detective Sergeant Pelling said a veteran racing steward recently told her "we've achieved in 12 months what they couldn't achieve in 20 years".
Mr Barnett said the investigation had revealed "a level of sophistication and knowledge that is exhibited by organised crime".
In its heyday in the 1970s, up to 30,000 spectators flocked to the Albion Park raceway to watch the 'trots'.
Today, betting revenue — the sport's lifeblood — has been on the wane, falling for the first time below greyhound industry takings.
Mr Barnett said he believed this "probably reflects a lack of confidence by the punting community in the sport".
"The fact is we've arrested three of the top six drivers in Queensland in the last six months, plus several others who've [allegedly] benefited from inside information," he said.
Mr Fowler said the scandal was the last thing harness racing needed.
"It's not like turnover is brilliant — it's not like thousands are flocking to Albion Park or Redcliffe," he said.
"The sport's under the pump — there's no sugar-coating it.
"To have something like this happen over a period of time — and also, with no end in sight — I think it does put the industry on a very dangerous path, to a point where some tough decisions may have to be made."
Mr Fowler said he thought the industry could regain public confidence, but not easily.
"I don't think the sport is as crooked as what it may have been considered in the 1970s, but the damage was done then and it's taken a hell of a long time to repair it and some will say maybe it was irreparable," he said.
Source: Josh Robertson, 28 December 2017, ABC News
Kenya betting firm pulls 600 million shillings sports sponsorship over tax row
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan online sports betting firm has canceled 600 million shillings ($5.80 million) in direct annual sponsorship for the country’s main football league and other sports, after the government hiked taxes for such firms by more than four times.
The government increased the tax rate on gross profits for sports betting firms, lotteries and casinos to 35 percent last year, from 7.5 percent, to create a fund for sports, culture and the arts. It says the rapid growth of betting in a loosely regulated environment has hurt the young and vulnerable.
Ronald Karauri, the chief executive of Sportpesa, one of the biggest firms, said they were left with no choice but to cut costs in order to survive.
“All we will have to do is manage our expenditure in terms of our marketing expenses,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.
“We had really committed ourselves to sports in the country so it is a very huge burden for us as a cost.”
Sportpesa has been sponsoring the Kenyan football federation, the country’s premier league, various clubs including last year’s league champions Gor Mahia, the national rugby union and boxing.
Ambrose Rachier, the chairman of Gor Mahia, said the club might be forced to pull out of this year’s Confederation Champions League Cup, a regional competition, due to lack of funds. The team was getting 60 million shillings a year from Sportpesa. “It is devastating ... We are in mourning,” Rachier said.
The situation was the same at the Kenya Rugby Union, which is losing 120 million shillings a year, used to prepare squads for the international rugby sevens series.
It was also using the cash to pay training and match allowances to its 15-a-side teams, said Richard Omwela, the chairman of the rugby union.
“It is a total shutdown,” he said. “Unless the government steps in and says we will underwrite that, what we possibly will do is tell our suppliers and partners that we can’t meet our obligations.”
Kenyan sports teams have long been beset by poor management and corruption, which have hindered their performance abroad and discouraged fans at home.
In 2016, sports officials were investigated after the team to that year’s Olympic games in Brazil complained of mismanagement of flight and hotel bookings, theft of kits and even the mishandling of the list of accredited participants.
Despite problems in the build up to Rio, the East African nation enjoyed its most successful Olympics, winning six gold medals, six silvers and one bronze, all in track and field.
($1 = 103.4000 Kenyan shillings)
Source: Duncan Miriri, 3 January 2018, Reuters
Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU)
Tennis Integrity Unit publishes Annual Review for 2017
The Tennis Integrity Unit today published its second Annual Review, covering the work and development of the organisation during 2017 . A PDF version of the Review is attached . It can also be viewed and downloaded at: https://www.tennisintegrityunit.com/annual-review/2017/
Source: 5 January 2018, Tennis Integrity Unit
Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) & Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU)
Betting misconduct in sport - tennis and cricket
United Kingdom - The Business of Sport group turn their attention to tennis and cricket in its series of articles focussing on gambling in sport. This follows on from our previous bulletins on betting misconduct in football and snooker and the FA's termination of sponsorship deals with betting companies.
Before delving into the betting rules in tennis and cricket it is worth mentioning the recent decision of the Scottish FA to charge Aberdeen FC non-executive director, Duncan Skinner, with breaching its betting rules. Skinner is alleged to have breached the rule preventing club officials from gambling on football matches. With financial sanctions of up to £1 million as well as suspension of membership available to the Scottish FA the potential consequences for Skinner are severe. Similar to the FA, the Scottish FA has at its disposal the tools to impose tough sanctions and it will be interesting to see if the stance adopted by the Scottish FA is reminiscent of the FA's recent approach to betting misdemeanours. The hearing is to be held on 11 January 2017.
The rules on betting misconduct in tennis are set out in the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (the "Program") in the ATP Official Rulebook. At its heart the Program seeks to (i) maintain the integrity of tennis, (ii) protect against any efforts to impact improperly the results of any match and (iii) establish a uniform rule and consistent scheme of enforcement and sanctions applicable to all professional tennis events and governing bodies. The Tennis Integrity Unit (the "TIU"), an independent anti-corruption body funded by the ITF, ATP, WTA and the four major tennis championships, is responsible for enforcing the sport's zero-tolerance policy on betting-related corruption.
The anti-corruption rules prohibit players and certain associated persons from betting, either directly or indirectly, on the outcome or any other aspect of any tennis match. The offences are far reaching and cover solicitation, bribery, intentions to negatively influence a player's best efforts, the provision of inside information and non-reporting amongst others. The significant sanctions available to the TIU are similarly broad allowing for fines of up to $250,000 (plus an amount equal to the value of any winnings in connection with an offense) and permanent bans.
However, the implementation of a strict regime has not prevented the TIU's conduct, effectiveness and resourcing from being brought into question amid media allegations (in January 2016) of increased suspicious betting activity in lower level tennis matches. As we have seen in the context of drugs in sport, the perpetrators have consistently shown that they are more sophisticated than the enforcement agencies. The same can be said for betting misconduct. In response, the TIU has teamed up with the betting industry to develop a system of corrupt activity alerts, employed more staff and also invested more in player education. Last year saw nine players and officials convicted and sanctioned, five of those involving lifetime bans, and the 2017 figure is set to build on that. The increase in sanctions at least points towards improved detection methods which are essential if the TIU wants to live up to its zero tolerance policy on betting-related corruption.
Similar to the TIU, the Anti-Corruption Unit ("ACU") in cricket has been set up as the central focal point for all anti-corruption activities in international and domestic cricket. The offences and sanctions generally resemble those in tennis and other sports. The maximum possible sanction for any breach is a life ban and there is even the possibility of criminal sanctions in some countries.
In 2010, three Pakistani cricketers were banned for terms between 5 and 10 years, of which two were found guilty by a London court on criminal charges relating to spot-fixing. The players were caught taking bribes from a bookmaker to deliberately underperform at certain times in a test match.
This, amongst a series of other scandals, prompted the ICC to pave the way for greater coordination of preventative and investigative activity around the world. Accordingly, the ACU now has the power to proactively and thoroughly investigate incidents of corruption in an ongoing effort to protect the integrity of the game.
Sports governing bodies are now acutely aware of the problems posed by corruption and have, on a wide scale, implemented strict anti-corruption regimes. Although solid foundations are in place, in the form of significant investigative and punitive powers, detection of corruption will always prove difficult given the sophistication of offenders. As a consequence, further investment in resources, prevention programmes and education is absolutely necessary to ensure governing bodies stay on top of the corruptive practices that risk damaging the integrity and enjoyment of sport.
Source: 29 December 2017, Lexology
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