Integrity in sports update: ICC adopts recommendations of Integrity Working Party

Weekly media recap 22-28 June 2015

This week as part of our global initiative, the INTERPOL Integrity in Sport unit delivered a course for Law Enforcement Investigators on match-fixing and organised crime in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile in the media, match-fixing allegations were reported in Brazil, Italy and Korea, not only exposing players but also club owners and involving another popular sport such as basketball.

We also see the Wrestling governing body signing the IOC monitoring system in order to fight illegal betting and match-fixing.  Other good practice initiatives that took place in Barbados and in Switzerland are in this week’s Weekly Media Recap as well.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Brazil

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian football officials have asked CONMEBOL to investigate match-fixing allegations in a 2013 Copa Libertadores game between Brazil's Corinthians and Argentina's Boca Juniors.

The Brazilian confederation (CBF) said in a statement on Thursday it requested "a rigorous investigation into the alleged irregularities" in the round of 16 match refereed by Carlos Amarilla of Paraguay.

The game ended 1-1, a result that eliminated Corinthians. The Brazilian side loudly complained, especially after two Corinthians goals were disallowed, and two penalties were allegedly ignored by Amarilla.

Argentina's America TV channel released recordings of phone conversations between Argentine officials, including former federation chief Julio Grondona, hinting that Amarilla was picked to help Boca. Brazilian confederation president Marco Polo Del Nero said the case was "serious and has to be investigated."

Source: AP, "Brazilian federation calls for Boca Juniors match-fixing probe", 26 June 2015, ESPNFC, https://www.espnfc.com/copa-libertadores/story/2504468/brazilian-federation-calls-for-boca-jrs-match-fixing-probe

Italy

Catania club president Antonino Pulvirenti and six others were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of fixing matches this year to keep the club from being relegated from Serie B, Italy’s second division, investigators said. Those arrested including Pulvirenti, who also owns dozens of supermarkets and an airline, are accused of sporting fraud and match-fixing, Catania police said in a statement.

Pulvirenti, through his lawyer Giovanni Grasso, said he was “certain that he can prove he was not involved”, according to Corriere della Sera Web site. Twelve others, including five players and the owner of a rival club in Messina, are under investigation for manipulating at least five games played in 2015, police and prosecutors told reporters. The typical payoff to rival players to throw a match was €10,000, police official Antonella Paglialunga said. Police used wiretaps and video surveillance in the investigation, she said.

The latest Italian match-fixing scandal follows just a month after some 50 people, including a suspected Calabrian mobster, were detained on accusations of fixing dozens of matches in the country’s third division and its top semi-pro league. In that case, investigators suspect 28 Lega Pro and Serie D matches from the 2014-15 season were rigged. Catania, relegated from Serie A the previous season, finished 15th in Serie B in 2014-15, just three points above the relegation playoff places.

The Sicilian side were previously promoted from Serie B in 2005-06.

Source: AP, "Seven arrested over suspected match-fixing involving Catania in Serie B", 23 June 2015, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/23/catania-serie-b-seven-arrested-match-fixing

Korea (Rep. of)

SEOUL - A professional basketball coach was interrogated Thursday over match-fixing allegations, police said.

Chun Chang-jin of the Anyang KGC in the Korean Basketball League allegedly bet against his own team and inserted bench players in the second half of games to ensure the team would lose, a spokesman for Jungbu Police Station said. The 52-year-old is suspected of placing bets on five games between February and March against his then KBL team, the Busan KT Sonicboom.

The KBL was hit with a major match-fixing scandal in 2013, when Dongbu Promy head coach Kang Dong-hee became the first from a major domestic sports league to be convicted of throwing games. The KBL later banned him for life. Baseball, volleyball and football have recently dealt with their own match-fixing scandals involving active and former players.

Source: AP, "Basketball coach probed over match fixing allegations ", 25 June 2015, Yonhap News Agency, https://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2015/06/25/0200000000AEN20150625003000315.html

 

GOOD PRACTICE

Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados: Following the conclusion of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Annual Conference here, the sport's governing body decided to adopt recommendations of an Integrity Working Party which had been convened to review the global risks for international and domestic cricket from corruption decisions will see a greater role for the central Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and will pave the way for greater coordination of preventative and investigative activity around the world with a unified vision to 'keep cricket clean'.

Among key recommendations that have been adopted is that the ICC ACU will be the central focal point for all anti-corruption activities in international and domestic cricket and will have enhanced intelligence capabilities. The ICC Board also asked for greater coordination between the ACU and national anti-corruption bodies.

The ICC established that the ACU will serve as the central coordinator for multi-jurisdictional cases and that there will be renewed emphasis on a programme that encompasses prevention, disruption, investigation and prosecution in that order of priority.

The ICC also ordered its Members to review their anti-corruption resources to ensure they effectively protect domestic cricket and adopt an anti-corruption code which includes the core principles contained in ICC's domestic template code within six months.

Soon, an international panel will also be established from which Members may, and the ICC will, draw their anti-corruption tribunals.

The sport's governing body also advised a thorough review of all training materials used for prevention, education and awareness to ensure that there is a consistency of message imparted, the most suitable and up-to-date techniques are used and records are retained of all those in receipt of training.

The ICC and its Members will also take active steps to lobby for the criminalisation of match fixing in sport in all Member countries and strengthen relationships with other anti-corruption stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies and betting monitoring companies.

Source: AP, "ICC steps up anti-corruption measures", 27 June 2015, Zee news, https://zeenews.india.com/sports/cricket/icc-steps-up-anti-corruption-measures_1621089.html

Spain

La Liga’s partnership with cyber security firm COMSEC and official data provider SIS saw a record number of unofficial data scouts ejected from Spanish football grounds during the 2014/15 season.

The work, undertaken with the support of Real Federación Española de Fútbol, resulted in substantial disruption to the activities of unofficial data collectors at La Liga, Liga Adelante and Segunda Division B matches. For the upcoming 2015/16 season, plans are in place to further increase the detection and disruption of unofficial in-stadium data scouts.

Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga commented on the partnership: “Protecting the integrity of sport has never been more important. LaLiga is committed to taking all necessary measures to eradicate unofficial data collection, ‘court-siding’ and gambling fraud from within our grounds.

The Spanish first division, La Liga, is watched by over 800 million viewers in 183 countries.

Source: Ted Menmuir, "La Liga teams up with COMSEC and SIS to clamp down on unofficial data scouts", 26 June 2015, SBC News, https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/retail/2015/06/26/la-liga-teams-up-with-comsec-and-sis-to-clamp-down-on-unofficial-data-scouts/

Switzerland

Wrestling's governing body has become the latest federation to Register to the IOC's monitoring system in the fight against illegal betting and match-fixing. United World Wrestling said Wednesday it has joined the Integrity Betting Intelligence System, which monitors and shares information related to betting.

All seven Olympic winter sports and several of the 28 summer Olympic federations have signed up to IBIS ahead of next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The system was first implemented during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. The IOC hopes to have all the summer federations on board for Rio. The IBIS program will also be in force for the world wrestling championships in September. UWW president Nenad Lalovic said the IOC "has our full commitment toward clean competition."

Source: AP, "Wrestling federation signs up for IOC monitoring system against match-fixing, illegal bets", 24 June 2015, Fox Sports, https://www.foxsports.com/olympics/story/wrestling-federation-ioc-monitoring-system-match-fixing-illegal-betting-062415

 

ILLEGAL BETTING

United States

For years, sports leagues decried gambling because it threatened the integrity of the games. No incident is more infamous than the Black Sox Scandal, when eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of throwing games in the 1919 World Series in exchange for money from gamblers. More than 30 years later, 20 college basketball players were convicted in the worst point-shaving scandal in the sport’s history. In 2007, an FBI investigation revealed former NBA referee Tim Donaghy had bet on games he officiated. To promote fairness, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, outlawing sports betting for most of the nation. Much has changed in 23 years. Today, 41 states have casinos, up from one in 1975. That rapid growth has turned gambling into a big business, one that is worth $250 billion and supports 1.7 million jobs, according to the American Gaming Association. Last year alone, $216 million was wagered legally on sports, but that figure is dwarfed by what the American Gaming Association estimates was $150 billion bet illegally in an underground market free from government oversight. “I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated,” Mr. Silver wrote in his op-ed.

Source: Craig Meyer, "Attitudes evolving on sports gambling", 28 June 2015, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/2015/06/28/Attitudes-evolving-on-sports-gambling/stories/201506280097

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Iceland

Players at the WU17 finals in Iceland have been educated to "just say no" to match-fixing after a presentation underlining this widespread threat to football's integrity.

Match-fixing isn't just some far-fetched, far-flung scenario involving referees and the mafia – well, it can be, but it is also a real and present danger for footballers everywhere. That was the message from Emilio García, head of disciplinary and integrity at UEFA, to the players and referees at the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.

Because match-fixers need somebody on the field of play, García advised the girls both on how to deal with any approach and on how to report any incident. He also listed the potential consequence and penalties for involvement in such a plot, including a red card for life for guilty parties.

If García's purpose in Reykjavik was education and prevention, the girls' job is going to be all about the three Rs of 'Recognise, Reject and Report' – because, in the words of UEFA President Michel Platini, "at kick-off nobody knows how the game will end, but if we change that we lose everything".

Source: Patrick Hart, "Girls learn three Rs of match-fixing prevention", 25 June 2015, UEFA.com, https://www.uefa.com/womensunder17/news/newsid=2261135.html

United States

From animal bones ground into dice to telegraph wires to the Internet to smartphones, “gambling has always changed to keep up with technology,” said David Schwartz, director of the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. Technology, he said, “lets people do what they want to do.

More than ever, what people want to do is gamble, especially on sports. Estimates of illegal sports betting in the United States reach $380 billion, dwarfing the $3.9 billion bet in Nevada, the only state where sports betting is fully legal. But legal sport betting is on the rise, too. Because of the Internet and smartphone apps, it is easier than ever to place a bet, legally through a Nevada casino or sports book and illegally on one of a few hundred offshore websites. “Technology is a factor,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, the American affiliate of the United Kingdom's largest bookmaker. “You have this massive illegal market that exists. Type in ‘sports betting' on Google, and you can find a way pretty quickly to make a bet illegally.” (Seven of the first eight results of that Google search lead to a sports-betting website or a link to top such sites.) In other words, “If you can use a mouse, you can place a wager,” Schwartz wrote in his book, “Cutting the Wire: Gaming Prohibition and the Internet.

The same can be said for smartphones. Apps have made legal betting easier in Europe.

Source: Bob Cohn, "Technology driving sports gambling industry", 27 June 2015, Trib Live, https://triblive.com/sports/nationworldsports/8532857-74/betting-technology-sports#axzz3eRu9zIWg

United States

Washington, D.C. - Spanish football greats Fernando Hierro and Fernando Sanz have been appointed Save the Dream Ambassadors at a ceremony in America this week. The retired Spanish footballers will join an elite group of sporting icons to help promote the positive values of sport to young people around the world. As Ambassadors, the pair will participate in activities to educate, promote and protect the core values and integrity of sport for young people. Speaking on the new role, Fernando Hierro said:

It is an amazing privilege to be chosen as one of the Ambassadors for Save the Dream. I am determined to do my best to support this cause wholeheartedly. I want to use the opportunity to promote the values of fair play and support the work of Save the Dream by engaging with youth to bring positive change to young lives through the power of sport.

Save the Dream is a global initiative that works with youth, and for youth, towards a sport free from corruption, violence and discrimination. The Ambassador programme is led by Italian football icon Alessandro Del Piero and features several other high-profile professional athletes from different sports and regions around the world.

Source: AP, "Spanish Football Legends Join Save the Dream", 26 June 2015, Around the rings, https://aroundtherings.com/site/A__52010/Title__Spanish-Football-Legends-Join-Save-the-Dream/292/Articles

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Greece

Evangelos Marinakis, one of the best known names in Greek shipping and Greek sport is never far from the headlines, especially as owner of the perennial Greek football champions, Olympiakos.

But the latest headlines are ones the owner of Piraeus-based Capital shipping group and Piraeus football club Olympiakos can do without. On 18 the 47-year-old Marinakis was banned from participating in football related activities after his seven-hour testimony before a corruption investigating judge who is looking into a major match-fixing scandal. The new leftist government has introduced legislation to reform the Greek Football Federation and impose prison sentences of up to 10 years and fines of up Euro 1m for corruption-related cases. On Thursday last week, Judge Giorgos Andreadis with a joint decision from prosecutors on the case also ordered Marinakis to place a EUR200,000 ($250,000) guarantee and ordered him to report to a local police station every 15 days until a trial.

The shipowner and businessman faces felony charges for his alleged involvement in the establishment of a criminal gang which fixed football matches. Marinakis, was the last of the 33 suspects questioned by Andreadis over the last two months.

Source: David Glass, "Greek shipowner Marinakis barred from football activities over match-fixing allegations", 25 June 2015, Sea Trade Maritime News, https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/news/europe/greek-shipowner-marinakis-barred-from-football-activities-over-match-fixing-allegations.html

Paraguay

Asuncion - Three Paraguayan referees were suspended Tuesday after being implicated in a corruption scandal following the emergence of recorded conversations featuring late Argentinian football godfather Julio Grondona.

Carlos Amarilla, Rodney Aquino and Carlos Caceres were suspended by the Paraguayan Football Association (APF) after the release of the Grondona tapes in Argentina on Sunday.

Source: AP, "Paraguayan refs suspended over Grondona graft claims", 23 June 2015, Sports Yahoo, https://sports.yahoo.com/news/paraguayan-refs-suspended-over-grondona-graft-claims-191209959--sow.html

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