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UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF THE GAME

Integrity in sport update: Ukraine drafts bill to criminalise corruption in sports

Weekly media recap 3-9 August 2015 published on 11 August 2015

This week's media recap has articles of match-fixing investigations in a number of sports, such as tennis, volleyball and football that are presently underway. The investigation in China is against the director of GAS volleyball administrative centre, a similar investigation into football in 2012 resulted in 57 officials, referees and players being accused of taking bribes or involvement in match-fixing which resulted in sentencing of 10 years or more in jail for accepting bribes.

The Ukraine has registered a bill in parliament that will criminalize corruption and encourage principles of fair play in sports. This good practice will also see a enhanced working relationship between law enforcement authorities and sporting organisations.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

China

A senior volleyball official with China's General Administration of Sport (GAS) is under investigation for graft, said China's top discipline inspection agency Tuesday. Pan Zhichen, director of the GAS volleyball administrative center, is being investigated for "serious violations of discipline and law," said a statement on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China, quoting the GAS discipline inspection division. China's anti-corruption campaign has swept various sectors and fields,including the country's sport administration. In June, Xiao Tian, then GAS deputy director, was investigated by the CCDI for "serious breaches of discipline and law." He was dismissed in July. The CCDI conducted an anti-corruption inspection on the GAS from July to September of 2014 and criticized the administration for bureaucracy, poor management and malpractice, including manipulating games. The country's football scene saw a wave of corruption scandals in 2012.

A total of 57 officials, referees and players were accused of taking bribes or involvement in match-fixing, including former Chinese Football Association (CFA) leaders Nan Yong and Xie Yalong, who were both sentenced to over a decade in jail in 2013 for accepting bribes.

Source: Xinhua, "Volleyball official under graft investigation", 4 August 2015, Ecns.cn, https://www.ecns.cn/2015/08-04/175738.shtml

Ghana

The Division One League Board (DOLB) wishes to inform all Clubs in Zone One of the ongoing GN Bank Division One League that all remaining matches will go on as scheduled while the alleged match fixing case between Wa African United and Techiman City is being investigated by Ethics Committee. Meanwhile two members of the Division One League Board whose names were mentioned in the match fixing allegation, Mr. Charles Kwadwo Ntim and Mr. Samuel Otoo, opted to step aside from all activities of the Board until the Ethics Committee completes its investigations into the matter.

Source: "All Division One Zone One league to go ahead as Ethics Committee investigates match fixing...", 6 August 2015, Business Ghana, https://www.businessghana.com/portal/sports/news.php?op=getNews&id=44555

Italy

ROME (AP) The Italian tennis federation has banned Daniele Bracciali and Potito Starace for life for match-fixing.

The federation performed its own investigation after a probe by judicial authorities in Cremona that used intercepted phone and internet conversations to show the players fixed matches. They face charges of criminal association. In a 2007 conversation between Bracciali and an accountant who was arrested in 2011, Bracciali allegedly discussed fixing a match in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2011, an owner of a betting parlor later arrested was allegedly heard saying Starace agreed to sell the result of a final in Casablanca. While acknowledging that the duo represented Italy ''with passion'' in Davis Cup for many years, president Angelo Binaghi said the federation may sue the players for damages if they're convicted.

Source: "Italian federation bans Bracciali, Starace for life for match fixing ", 7 August 2015, Tennis.com, https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2015/08/italian-tennis-players-bracciali-starace-banned-for-fixing/55865/

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Australia

BOWLS Australia has had approval of its application to be the controlling body for betting on bowls events.

It says this will enable it to monitor any suspicious or unusual betting transactions, in alignment with the sport's match-fixing policies.

"This formal approval means there will be greater visibility about who has placed bets on national bowls competitions, by providing the national governing body with access to records about who is laying bets, so that it can enforce the policy of prohibiting people involved in the sport from betting," Bowls Australia says.

Markets on big bowls events had previously been framed by gambling agencies at the agency's discretion and without consultation with Bowls Australia.

"As Bowls Australia has not, until now, been recognised as the controlling body for the sport, it has not been able to access any analytical data to understand the frequency or quantity of the bets placed, or whether any of the personnel involved were in conflict with the national match-fixing policy," the national body says.

Source: Jim Brigginshaw, "Bowls Australia keeping an eye on betting at bowling matches", 5 August 2015, The Northern Star, https://www.northernstar.com.au/news/bowls-australia-keeping-eye-betting-bowling-matche/2729864/

Ukraine

While most other countries in Europe are making attempts to stamp out corruption in sports, Ukraine has yet to call foul on practices like match-fixing. But lawmakers Andriy Kozhemiakin and Andriy Pavelko, the latter of whom also heads Ukraine’s football governing body, hope to change that soon. They registered a bill in parliament on July 2 that would criminalize corruption and encourage principles of fair play in sports. As the president of Ukraine’s Football Federation and a pro-presidential lawmaker, Pavelko says the position of the governing body is clear – it wants to eradicate match-fixing practices altogether, no matter how much money or who is involved. If adopted, the law will prohibit players, sports officials and staff from betting on sports they are engaged in. In addition, they will be obliged to report any attempts to influence the outcome of matches. Football players in Ukraine are introduced to corrupt practices in the lower leagues, from where the practices spread, Belgium-based anti-match-fixing organization Federbet said in its report for 2015. “The case of Ukraine demonstrates how the manipulation culture starts in the Under-19 and Under-21 leagues, and after time … affects the higher leagues, where more money is needed for the fix,” the report reads. “Match-fixing is a virus that spreads with enormous speed… and is inherent for the least corrupt and the most corrupt countries,” said Francesco Barranca, Federbet’s secretary general, at a hearing on the bill at the Football Federation’s headquarters on July 29. Pavelko said that the federation’s own disciplinary and investigatory measures can’t cope with the scale of the sports corruption problem, so legislation is required. “After I discussed the problem of fixed matches with my colleagues, we came to the conclusion that it couldn’t be solved without a law that makes (this practice) a crime,” Pavelko said. He also said he expects that future cooperation with Interpol would put an end to match-fixers from abroad cultivating corruption in Ukrainian sports. Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi, partner at Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners law firm, also believes that the problem is just too big to be tackled by the efforts of sports federations, associations, and clubs alone. “Private entities simply don’t have the means and resources to be effective in that fight,” Kliuchkovskyi told the Kyiv Post on August 3. “They don’t have the right to conduct searches, or tap phones to listen in on (match-fixing) conversations. Neither they can trail suspects, or get access to banking information, or subpoena any other evidence that is not volunteered.” That’s why sports associations need law enforcement to be given the authority to investigate and prosecute corruption in sports, the expert said. He said the proposed sports anti-corruption bill, while not perfect, at least represents progress.

Source: Mariana Antonovych, "Ukraine's Football Federation teams up with law enforcement to red-card corruption", 4 August 2015, Kyiv Post, https://www.kyivpost.com/content/sport/ukraines-football-federation-teams-up-with-law-enforcement-to-red-card-corruption-394980.html

 

LEGISLATION

Singapore

Tan Seet Eng, otherwise known as Dan Tan, the suspected mastermind of football's global match-fixing scourge, has failed yet again to win his case against detention in his native Singapore. Tan, reported to be responsible for a string of cases that has netted millions of dollars, appeared in court to appeal against an earlier court decision which saw his application for an order to review his detention thrown out. Tan was on almost every football crime-busting wanted list before being detained last year. He was one of 14 people arrested in a crackdown on match-fixing cartels in September 2013, and was subsequently detained under Singapore's Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act. This allows the Government to detain suspects indefinitely without trial, should this be in the interest of "public safety, peace and good order" though yearly reviews are required. Tan's lawyer Hamidul Haq told the court his client's detention was "illegal", and argued that match-fixing did not constitute activities that harmed public safety, peace and good order. He pointed out that the act was traditionally used as ammunition against communism and secret society and loansharking activities. He also questioned whether Tan's alleged activities had any impact "in and within" Singapore. Addressing this, Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun said activities conducted overseas could be taken into account, provided that there was a link to Singapore. And in this case, Tan had operated the match-fixing syndicate from Singapore. Calling successfully for the appeal to be dismissed, Hay added that match-fixing was a form of organised crime, and "activities of a criminal nature would pose a threat to public safety".

Source: "Match-fixing mastermind Dan Tan stays locked up after Singapore appeal kicked out", 4 August 2015, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/asia/17562-match-fixing-mastermind-dan-tan-stays-locked-up-after-singapore-appeal-licked-out

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