Integrity in sport update: Tennis triggers most betting integrity alerts over past quarter (ESSA)

Weekly media recap 13-19 July 2015

Very positive news this week, as the International Olympic Committee’s Integrity and Compliance Hotline is now fully operational. The hotline offers a reporting mechanism for potential cases of competition manipulation and other violations of the IOC Code of Ethics. It allows for anonymous reporting and all the information received is treated confidentially.

Also in the news this week, suspensions have been handed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Two teams (Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings) have been suspended for two years for their role in an illegal betting scandal in 2013, while cricketer Hiken Shah from the Mumbai Ranji has been suspended for making a ‘corrupt approach’ to a fellow player.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Greece

Dozens of the most senior figures in football in Greece stand accused of what would be, if proven, arguably the most serious match-fixing crimes ever committed. Among those in the dock are the former president of the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF), Giorgos Sarris, and the current owner of Olympiacos, Evangelos Marinakis. As well as being accused of forming a criminal gang to control the game in Greece, Marinakis is alleged to have ordered the bombing of a bakery owned by one referee who refused to do the organisation’s bidding. Many of those accused have already either been banned from any football activity or from leaving the country – or both. All deny any wrongdoing.

Source: Ben Rumsby, "Match-fixing case in Greece just adds to sense of Greek chaos", 15 July 2015, Telegraph, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/news/11742597/Match-fixing-case-in-Greece-just-adds-to-sense-of-Greek-chaos.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

India

The Union sports ministry will get down to brass tacks yet again to see that the bill drafted two years ago to tackle the menace of illegal betting and corruption in sports is introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. The Bill advocated a jail term of five years for the guilty and hefty monetary penalties amounting to five times the amount gained through fixing a match, with the minimum amount being Rs 10 lakh. Contending that the Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill - which was drafted by a committee headed by former chief justice Mukul Mudgal after the spot-fixing scam rocked the 2013 IPL season - will be an effective deterrent, the ministry said it would 'seriously' push for it in the coming days. The Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill is a revamped version of the Prevention of Dishonesty in Sports Bill of 2001 which was drafted after cricketers found guilty by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the match-fixing case of 2000 escaped penal punishment as there was no law relating to match-fixing or betting in the country.

Source: Narain Swamy, "Sporting Fraud Bill set to return to Parliament", 16 July 2015, Times of India, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/more-sports/others/Sporting-Fraud-Bill-set-to-return-to-Parliament/articleshow/48094099.cms

 

International Olympic Committee

Open to athletes, coaches, referees and the public, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Integrity and Compliance Hotline is now fully operational. The web-based hotline, which was launched last April, offers a new reporting mechanism for potential cases of competition manipulation as well as other violations of the IOC Code of Ethics. Reports can be made anonymously, and all information received is dealt with confidentially. Anyone can now report suspicious behaviour or activities related to competition manipulation and infringements of the IOC Code of Ethics or other matters which fall under the IOC’s jurisdiction. These include financial misconduct or other legal, regulatory and ethical breaches. The new tool is fully operational and accessible via the IOC website at www.olympic.org/integrityhotline. The reporting is guided by a set of questions, which facilitate categorisation of the incident, and the gathering of important facts and, where available, evidence.

Source: "New IOC Integrity and Compliance Hotline fully operational", 17 July 2015, International Olympic Committee, https://www.olympic.org/news/new-ioc-integrity-and-compliance-hotline-fully-operational/246562

ODDS AND ENDS

Cyprus

Referee-turned-whistleblower Marios Panayi on Monday announced he will be running for chairman of the Cyprus football association (CFA), but stressed that whatever the outcome of the elections the current way of doing things must change. Panayi, 34, candidly told a news conference he didn’t expect to win because of the “regime” controlling football. Last December, the ref had gone public with charges of widespread match-fixing involving referees and the CFA. Panayi’s allegations led to a police investigation, and three cases have been referred to trial. To date, and despite decades-long anecdotal evidence of corruption in football, no one has ever been prosecuted in Cyprus.

Source: Elias Hazou, "Whistleblower referee calls on clubs to help change ‘rotten’ system", 13 July 2015, Cyprus Mail, https://cyprus-mail.com/2015/07/13/whistleblower-referee-calls-on-clubs-to-help-him-change-things-for-football/

ESSA

Tennis has triggered the most betting integrity alerts over the past quarter, accordinding to ESSA‘s second quarterly integrity report which details the level of suspicious betting activity detected on the markets of some of the world’s major regulated betting operators. Overall, during the second quarter of 2015, ESSA members raised 73 alerts of which, after detailed examination, 23 were found to be suspicious and were reported to the relevant regulatory body for further investigation. Tennis (19) and football (4) dominated the suspicious alerts identified in Q2. ESSA continues to play a key role as the regulated betting sector’s representative body at national and international match-fixing policy forums and holds positions on working groups at the European Commission, Council of Europe and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It represents many of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone, and is continually reassessing and improving its reporting and early warning systems.

Source: Andrew McCarron, "ESSA Report: Tennis triggering integrity concerns", 15 July 2015, SBC, https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/sportsbook/2015/07/15/essa-report-tennis-triggering-integrity-concerns/

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

India

The BCCI today suspended Mumbai Ranji cricketer Hiken Shah for making a "corrupt approach" to a fellow player during the IPL and referred the matter to its disciplinary committee for further action. "BCCI would wish to inform that Mumbai Cricketer, Hiken Shah, has been suspended with immediate effect. He was found guilty of breaching BCCI's Anti-Corruption Code for participants," the BCCI said in a statement issued by Board Secretary Anurag Thakur. "His involvement in any form of cricket, affiliated with the BCCI stands suspended till the time the disciplinary committee of the BCCI passes appropriate orders," it added. "Hiken Shah made a corrupt approach to one of his colleagues from first-class cricket, who is also a member of one of the IPL teams. The approached player immediately informed the incident to his franchise team. The franchise team followed the process of informing the incident to the Anti Corruption Unit of the BCCI," the BCCI stated. "BCCI has zero tolerance for corruption in the game of cricket. We have and we will take swift action against such incidents to set a precedent and control the menace of corruption in the game.

Source: "BCCI suspends Mumbai cricketer Hiken Shah for IPL match-fixing", 13 July 2015, PTI, https://www.mid-day.com/articles/bcci-suspends-mumbai-cricketer-hiken-shah-for-ipl-match-fixing/16366176

India

The franchise owners of Indian Premier League (IPL) teams Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were suspended for two years by the Indian cricket board on Sunday for their role in an illegal betting scandal that erupted in 2013. The board followed the recommendation of a panel (Lodha committee) appointed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday and also commissioned a roadmap for the Twenty20 competition that remains mired in a corruption scandal. The panel led by retired chief justice R.M. Lodha also recommended life bans on Chennai official Gurunath Meiyappan and former Rajasthan co-owner Raj Kundra. Both were found guilty of illegal betting by another committee appointed by India’s top court. More than two dozen people, including players, officials and bookmakers, were arrested by Indian police when the scandal broke out two years ago. Three players were charged with spot-fixing and two of them, former India paceman S. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, were handed life bans by the BCCI even though both denied any wrongdoing.

Source: Amlan Chakraborty, "BCCI hand Chennai, Rajasthan two-year suspensions", 19 July 2015, Reuters, https://www.euronews.com/sport/3040781-bcci-hand-chennai-rajasthan-two-year-suspensions/

Singapore

A 42-year-old man who applied for a Singapore passport using a photo of convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and later sold it to him was sentenced yesterday to 18 months' jail. Subramaniam Sellapah had given his name and particulars for a Singapore biometric passport that bore Wilson Raj's photograph. The travel document was found on Wilson Raj when he was arrested in Finland on April 16 last year, for travelling using a forged Singapore passport and his involvement in fixing football matches. He is now in Hungary to help police there with their match-fixing investigations. Wilson Raj is known for rigging hundreds of football games across five continents, generating hundreds of millions in fraudulent winnings for illegal betting syndicates.

Source: Derek Wong, "Man jailed for selling passport to match-fixer", 16 July 2015, Straits Times, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/man-jailed-for-selling-passport-to-match-fixer

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