INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 16 April 2018 - 30 April 2018
published on 01 May 2018
For the last two weeks of April, we have been following with keen interest several recent developments in terms of match-fixing investigations, sport sanctions, policy and corruption issues.
In Africa, Ghana’s Deputy Youth and Sports Minister has been suspended as an investigation began into an alleged visa scam which led to 60 Ghanaians being arrested when trying to attend the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested two referees over match-fixing. Also in Nigeria, the Referees Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed the recommendation of its Disciplinary Board to ban a Nigerian referee from any official mission for one year over attempted match manipulation. Congolese Fifa council member arrested on suspicion of corruption and embezzlement of funds has accused the DR Congo Sports Minister of orchestrating his arrest after he was released from detention.
In Asia, a court has cleared four former players of a Hong Kong Premier League soccer club of match-fixing charges who were found not guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud and offering and accepting bribes. Additionally, former Hong Kong Player of the Year, who pleaded guilty of match-fixing last year, will receive his sentence in May 2018. Betting on matches played overseas is legal in Hong Kong but placing wagers on local games is prohibited. In this connection, Hong Kong Football Association Chief Executive has called on the authorities to look into changing the existing regulations.
In Europe, Moldovan authorities searched FC Dacia Chisinau on suspicion of 10 million lei tax evasion, match-fixing and money laundering.
In terms of sentences and sanctions, in the United Kingdom, Bradley Wood received a six-year ban from the Football Association for violating the FA’s betting and integrity rules, including two charges of match-fixing. In the United States, Lance Armstrong will pay $5 million to the federal government to settle a fraud lawsuit that contended he owed $100 million to taxpayers for doping while competing for a cycling team sponsored by the US Postal Service.
Last week, the Interim Report 2018 <https://tennisirp.com/> of the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis was published. The two-year review spoke to more than 100 players, surveyed more than 3,200 professionals and found a "very significant" corruption problem at "lower and middle levels of the sport". Also last week, the first working group meeting on Action 3 of the Kazan Action Plan, which aims at adopting guidelines on the promotion and defense of integrity in sport, took place in Paris.
The new International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Anti-Doping Policy came into force in mid-April as the IWF continues to implement robust anti-doping reforms to protect clean athletes by improving its systems in place.
In Malta, a new bill tackling corruption in sports is said to do little to “eradicate the culture of omertà” and that the creation of a sports integrity unit within the police force would be beneficial. In the United States, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) begins work of implementing complex basketball reforms.
Lastly, the Seoul-based SBS television network reported that Samsung tried to use as a lobbyist Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, a disgraced former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The SBS said the son requested Samsung to sign a $9.5 million sponsorship for the IAAF's Diamond League circuit from 2010-2012 in return for possibly lobbying some IOC members to support Pyeongchang's bid. The SBS based its speculation on email exchanges between Samsung and Papa Massata Diack that it says were contained among documents South Korean prosecutors confiscated in a raid on Samsung over a separate corruption investigation last year.
We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin. We also welcome hard copies of publications that your Organization is producing in the field of sports corruption at the below address.
The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 14 May 2018.
Ghanaian officials suspended over alleged visa scam at Commonwealth Games
Ghana’s Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Pius Hadzide has been suspended as an investigation begins into an alleged visa scam which led to 60 Ghanaians being arrested when trying to attend the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. A statement from Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo confirmed the suspension of Hadzide. Acting director general of the National Sports Authority, Robert Sarfo Mensah, has been given the same sanction.
"This decision has been taken following preliminary investigations conducted into the circumstances that led to the arrest of some 60 Ghanaians, who had allegedly attempted to enter Australia by false pretences," the statement reads.
"The President of the Ghana Olympic Committee, Ben Nunoo Mensah; the Board chairman of the National Sports Authority, Kwadwo Baah Agyeman; and the Chef de Mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Mohammed Sahnoon, have also been recalled from the Games to assist in investigations currently being undertaken by the Criminal Investigation Department of the police service."
The supposed Ghanaian journalists travelled to Australia with the country’s delegation for the Games. They reportedly claimed they were there to cover the Games, but were ultimately stopped by border officials. The Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) and the Commonwealth Games Association of Ghana have released a statement asserting that the Ministry of Youth and Sports had requested national security to investigate.
Both organisations claim they welcome the investigation, following claims the Sports Ministry, National Sports Authority and the GOC have been accused of facilitating the acquisition of the visas. It followed the travel documents presented by the affected individuals reportedly being genuine even though they did not appear to be journalists.
"We welcome any investigation into the matter to expose those involved in this fraudulent conduct," Sahnoon said.
"We, however, wish to plead with you all that at this moment our focus, thoughts and prayers must be with our athletes."
Ghana finished the Games with a solitary bronze medal, which was won by men’s under-64 kilograms boxer Jessie Lartey. It meant the country finished short of their pre-Games target of five medals.
Source: Michael Pavitt, 17 April 2018, Inside the Games
FC Dacia Chisinau searched on suspicion of 10 million lei tax evasion
Prosecutor's Office for Fighting Organized Crime and Special Causes have searched FC Dacia Chisinau. Multiple former players, managers, as well as the technical staff of the club are suspected of tax evasion, rising to 10 million lei.
According to prosecutors, between 2014-2017, the club's administration offered players, as well as two employees to be paid 60 million lei off the books, causing the state budget a damage of 10 million lei. Law enforcement have performed over 15 searches, including in the houses of the club's players.
"We confiscated copies of the club's register, according to which several footballers received each month off the records between 800 and 10 000 USD. Documents were confiscated proving that the payments were personally made by Adlan Siscanov", PCCOCS prosecutor, Lilian Bacalim declared.
Officers have managed to discover double-accounting acts, as well as documents confirming that the club's administration bought another football club for 350 000 Euro. Law enforcement suspects that people from other clubs were also implicated in the crimes.
"Moldovan Football Federation is also investigated as the decisive factor to this crime. Including its implication in committing the tax evasion, as well as linked crimes. We speak here of manipulating certain events, on which bets were made and money laundering" Lilian Bacalim explained.
The club's former vice-president claims that he never breached the law:
"I do not wish to make any comment at the moment. We will collaborate with the investigation. I paid all taxes and have no idea why they arrested me" the club's former vice-president, Ruslan Kmit declared.
To this point, 17 people were questioned by prosecutors, 5 of whom are considered guilty.
Source: Publika.md, 19 April 2018, Publika
EFCC arrests two referees over match fixing
Two referees have allegedly been nabbed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged match manipulation scandal after a second tier league match in Abuja, AOIFootball.com reportedly said.
The match day 12 Nigeria National League game between FC Abuja and Kogi United FC ended 1-1, but after the match, two referees were picked up by the EFCC for alleged match manipulation. The arrested referees are said to be from the Kogi State Football Association.
At half time during the game, the arrested referees entered the dressing room to talk with the match-day officials about the game which ended in 1-1. The two men were later arrested. The match day officials were Centre Referee: Katsina Daniel from Benue State, Assistant Referee 1: Tyozer Thomas and Assistant Referee 2: Orgy Blessing. All from Benue State.
It was also believed that there were records on the phones of the arrested referees which showed they had been in contact with the match day officials. They were however later released, but their phones were confiscated and they were asked to report at EFCC on Tuesday 30 for further interrogation.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Football Federation Integrity Unit led by Dr Christian Emeruwa, has been on an aggressive campaign to fight the menace of match-fixing by signing an MoU with security operatives in Nigeria to deal with perpetrators.
Source: 29 April 2018, The Sun
Swiss prosecutor appeals for cooperation on FIFA case file
BERN, Switzerland (AP) Switzerland’s attorney general has a message for his foreign counterparts as his office pores over reams of seized documents and dozens of criminal cases linked to FIFA: ”Come to us.”
Michael Lauber said Friday the investigations require both quick action and patience, and noted ”good developments” like how growing cooperation has led to 45 requests for legal assistance from Switzerland with regard to soccer. Lauber said the prospect of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is being investigated for ”disloyal management,” facing a day in court ”depends on if we can prove something.”
”He has a good lawyer,” Lauber said, alluding to Lorenz Erni, who also represented film director Roman Polanski. One of the complexities, Lauber said, is that Swiss law has no clause for cases of private corruption, meaning that his team has to find creative ways of going after suspected wrongdoing at times – as with the disloyal management allegations against Blatter.
”What everybody wants is a fair sport environment. And if there is wrongdoing, it should be announced to the authorities and then they should start cooperating together,” he said, pointing to good coordination with countries like the United States and Germany on the soccer file.
”The message remains since 2015: come to us and ask what we can do,” Lauber said. Lauber’s office has about 25 cases opened linked to FIFA and soccer, and has a staggering 19 terabytes of seized documents at its disposal. Lauber made the comments to The Associated Press and other reporters after detailing his office’s work in 2017. Overall, Lauber’s office was investigating nearly 500 cases at the end of last year, an 8 percent increase from 2016.
He pointed to more than 100 criminal proceedings focusing on any possible Swiss connection – primarily financial – to the ”Car Wash” corruption probe in Brazil, over overpriced contracts signed by state-owned oil giant Petrobras and major constructors. Dozens of business leaders and politicians have been jailed in the investigation in Brazil. Lauber said Swiss authorities have seized more than 1 billion Swiss francs (about $1 billion) in the Petrobras dossier, of which about $200 million has been refunded to ”their rightful owners.”
Lauber’s office also has put Switzerland in a central role among multiple country investigations into possible embezzlement and money-laundering by the Malaysian state development fund 1MDB, which was set up by current Prime Minister Najib Razak. Najib, who is running for re-election, has denied wrongdoing.
Source: AP, 20 April 2018, FoxSports
Soccer - Sentencing delayed as Hong Kong continues match-fixing fight
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Former Hong Kong Player of the Year Lee Wai-lim, who pleaded guilty to match-fixing last year, has had his sentencing postponed until May 4, a day after four of his former team mates were acquitted.
Lee pleaded guilty to one count of being an agent accepting an advantage and another of conspiracy to defraud for his part in an attempt to influence games in Hong Kong’s reserve team league in the 2015-16 season. He has been in custody since September.
Kwok Kin-pong, Michael Cheng Lai-hin, Chan Pak-hang and Lee Ka-ho were all released on Thursday after being found not guilty of conspiracy to defraud and of offering and accepting bribes.
Hong Kong Football Association chief executive Mark Sutcliffe said match-fixing continues to be an issue in the city.
“Match-fixing is an insidious cancer,” Sutcliffe said this week during the SoccerEx China forum in Zhuhai.
“Players have been fixing games and there are examples of that. There have been examples of players being convicted, losing their livelihoods, their reputation and sometimes they’ve lost their freedom because they’ve been given custodial sentences.”
Betting on matches played overseas is legal in Hong Kong but placing wagers on local games is prohibited. Sutcliffe has called on the authorities to look into changing the existing regulations.
(Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Toby Davis)
Source: REUTERS, 20 April 2018, Euronews
Attempted match manipulation: CAF bans Nigerian referee, Ogabor, for one year
The Referees Committee of the Confederation of African Football has confirmed the recommendation of its Disciplinary Board to ban Nigerian referee, Joseph Ogabor, from any official mission for one year over attempted match manipulation.
A statement on CAF website on Sunday said this was with respect to the Total CAF Confederation Cup 1/16th round first leg between Plateau United (Nigeria) and USM Alger (Algeria) played on April 7, 2018, in Lagos. The decision followed investigations conducted and evidence submitted by the South African match officials of the match contacted by Ogabor who offered to provide “technical assistance” to the Nigerian team.
Plateau United was also cautioned to refrain from the practice of “hospitality gifts” “which tend to create wrong impression.” In a related development, the South African Football Association has been ordered to tender an apology to the Nigeria Football Federation. This was after investigations proved that there was no evidence of any official of the NFF being linked to an allegation of $30,000 bribe.
Source: 29 April 2018, Punch
English Soccer Player Banned Six Years For Breaking Betting And Integrity Rules
Allegations of an English soccer player deliberately drawing yellow cards in a betting scheme resulted in a red card lasting years. Bradley Wood received last week a six-year ban from the Football Association for violating the FA’s betting and integrity rules. The FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission found Wood guilty of 25 offenses, including two charges of match-fixing. He admitted to 23 of them.
Sports betting ties run deep in English soccer. The Wood investigation fits right into today’s discussion on integrity in a potentially expanded United States sports wagering market. It’s a topic the English Premier League waded into in last week in backing the NBA and Major League Baseball’s stances. Wood played in 2017 for Lincoln City, a fourth-division team located about 150 miles north of London. In two matches, Wood acquired unusual cautions from the referee late in the contest. When paired with information related to strange in-game wagering on the match, FA officials became suspicious.
In its final decision, the FA lays out the entire case against Wood: The data supplied by betting organisations has revealed what is said to be unusual bets being placed on Mr. Wood being cautioned in both matches. Two of those placing the bets are said to have close personal involvement with Mr. Wood. It is said that the bets were atypical in the context of the caution betting market, and in relation to the betting history of those placing the bets.
The potential winnings (some were not paid) totaled approximately £10,000 (more than $14,000.) The gravamen of the case against Mr Wood is that he planned to be cautioned, and told personal acquaintances of that plan so that they and others to whom the information was passed placed bets.
The contact between Wood and people known to have bet on Wood’s cautions helped add to the case: Two of the individuals who had placed bets, Matthew Hardwicke and Scott Worrad, are close to Mr Wood. Others are close to Mr Worrad, who it is suggested relayed information to them. The 7 telephone/messaging records show that Mr Wood was in unusually extensive contact with both Mr Hardwicke and Mr Worrad before the two matches.
On 17 January 2017 Mr Wood sent 42 text messages to Mr Worrad before the match. This equated to almost 20% of his contact with him over the whole billing period. On the 18 February 2017 Mr Wood texted his brother in law, Sidney Dick a total of 52 times between 6.05 am and 10.26 am: the game kicked off at 12.30 pm. Mr Dick is friends with William Sinclair who placed his bet on Mr Wood at 12.00 noon.
The FA is English football’s governing body. How it monitors potential match-fixing could provide insight for both professional leagues and state regulators in the United States.
The FA touts a dedicated integrity team featuring former criminal investigators. This group “works closely with the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Integrity Unit, UK betting operators and law enforcement agencies, such as the National Crime Agency, and both UEFA and FIFA to share data and intelligence.”
The body also says it partners with a company which tracks global betting markets on English football for unusual movement in lines.
Any prominent fixing caught with help from a league could become fodder for the NBA and MLB’s case on integrity. The leagues continue their drive for integrity fees from legalized sports betting in part based on the idea they need it to protect the integrity of their games.
Exactly how they would contribute to that cause remains unclear now. After all, those leagues already monitor legal sports wagering markets and corresponding player behavior. But Wood’s situation illustrates a danger legislators and regulators will comprehend.
Source: Adam Candee, 23 April 2018, Legal Sports Report https://www.legalsportsreport.com/19962/english-soccer-player-banned-betting/
Lance Armstrong settles $100 million U.S. Postal Service cycling fraud case for $5 million
Lance Armstrong will pay $5 million to the federal government to settle a fraud lawsuit that contended he owed $100 million to taxpayers for doping while competing for a cycling team sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service. The settlement was reached in an agreement announced Thursday with the U.S. Justice Department.
In addition to the $5 million to be returned to the government, Armstrong also agreed to pay $1.65 million to cover legal costs of Floyd Landis, a former Armstrong teammate and the whistleblower in the case, according to lawyers in the case.
The agreement was struck before the scheduled May 7 start of a trial over the civil case and ends the last legal action against Armstrong, a cancer survivor and cycling champion who in 2012 was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and barred for life from Olympic sports.
Armstrong, 46, who recently listed his home in Austin for sale for $7.5 million, expressed delight at resolving the final lawsuit about his admission of doping, making peace with the Postal Service and putting the issue behind him.
“I am glad to resolve this case and move forward with my life,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to devoting myself to the many great things in my life — my five kids, my wife, my podcast, several exciting writing and film projects, my work as a cancer survivor, and my passion for sports and competition. There is a lot to look forward to.”
The Postal Service paid Armstrong’s team $32.3 million between 2000 and 2004 to ride under the service’s blue and white express delivery logo.
Shortly after Armstrong’s televised admission in 2013 that he had used banned performance-enhancing drugs for years, the Justice Department joined the whistleblower suit brought by Landis, seeking repayment of sponsorship fees plus damages totaling $100 million.
The Justice Department in a statement said the settlement showed “no one is above the law,” including Armstrong, whom government attorneys had called “a doper, dealer, and liar” in court filings and a contractor who profited from “years of broken promises.”
“A competitor who intentionally uses illegal (performance enhancing drugs) not only deceives fellow competitors and fans, but also sponsors, who help make sporting competitions possible,” said the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil division, Chad A. Readler.
Landis said the court battle “has been a difficult ordeal and public opinion was not always on my side, but it was the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that some positive changes for cycling and sport in general will be the result.”
The government alleged that Armstrong’s doping and violation of the rules of his sport nullified his value to the Postal Service brand.
Armstrong countered that he had delivered tens of millions dollars more in promotional benefits during his historic championship run than what the Postal Service had paid out. Each side held to its view even as they closed out their legal battle.
“It always has been our position that Lance Armstrong misled the Postal Service,” said Thomas J. Marshall, Postal Service general counsel and executive vice president. The case demonstrated “the Postal Service vigorously defends our brand and our position as a trusted government institution,” Marshall said.
Armstrong said that he continues to view the lawsuit as “without merit and unfair” but that he has tried since 2013 “to take full responsibility for my mistakes, and make amends wherever possible.”
During his years riding for the federal sponsor, “I rode my heart out for the Postal cycling team, and was always especially proud to wear the red, white and blue eagle on my chest when competing in the Tour de France. Those memories are very real and mean a lot to me.” [...]
Source: Spencer S. Hsu, 19 April 2018, Washington Post
Crystal Palace and GambleAware
Crystal Palace FC aims to tackle problem gambling with GambleAware
Addressing concerns about gambling-related harm within football, Crystal Palace and GambleAware will collaborate through a number of advertisements and promotional campaigns.
This includes messages shown to football fans at the club’s Selhurst Park stadium and viewers watching at home on TV.
The campaign is aimed at both players and supporters and will be carried out during the final three games of the season. It has been designed to raise awareness of the advice and support that is available at BeGambleAware.org, and to open conversations about safe and responsible gambling.
“This is an important first step towards a deeper and broader action plan to address the ever-closer relationship between gambling and football,” said Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware. “Crystal Palace is setting a great example to other clubs, and not only those with gambling sponsors because all benefit from the income that flows from television deals funded by the ever-growing amount of gambling advertising around live sport.”
Crystal Palace is one of nine Premier League clubs currently sponsored by a gambling operator, and is the first to launch an initiative involving GambleAware.
“We recognise our responsibility of helping promote safe and responsible gambling,” said Steve Parish, chairman of Crystal Palace. “I’m pleased that Crystal Palace are the first club to form a partnership with GambleAware, and I hope we can play a part in raising awareness about their service, and help those individuals who need support.”
Jon Collins, director of ManBetX, added: “ManBetX are committed to helping people gamble responsibly and welcome the club’s involvement with GambleAware. As the official shirt sponsor of Crystal Palace FC, we have an added degree of responsibility to support those who offer help and free advice to ensure people gamble responsibly, both within football and the wider community.”
Source: 17 April 2018, Gaming Intelligence
4 Hong Kong soccer players cleared of match-fixing charges
A court has cleared four former players of a Hong Kong Premier League soccer club of match-fixing charges. Kwok Kin-pong, 31, Michael Cheng Lai-hin, 32, Chan Pak-hang, 25, and Lee Ka-ho, 24, were found not guilty on charges of conspiracy to defraud and offering and accepting bribes after the judge said he had doubts about the testimony of a key witness in the trial.
There was applause in the District Court’s public gallery when the judge gave his verdict. The four men did not comment when leaving the court in Wan Chai. They were among five former Pegasus footballers charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) last year over accusations they fixed three matches in 2016 while offering and accepting bribes totalling HK$60,000 (US$7,700). They faced a total of seven charges.
The league matches in question were in the reserve division organised by the Hong Kong Football Association in the 2015-16 season. Former Hong Kong footballer of the year Lee Wai-lim, who was among the accused, would learn his fate on Friday. In January he pleaded guilty to one count of being an agent accepting an advantage and another of conspiracy to defraud. He has been free on bail pending sentencing at the end of the trial.
On Thursday, District Judge Edmond Lee Chun-man said he had doubts about key witness Wong Wai’s testimony, which was crucial to the case. The judge said Wong, at the time a Pegasus player, who claimed he was not involved in the conspiracy, received HK$10,000 in advantages in the alleged match-fixing without questioning.
“[Such behaviour] is totally different from one who is not conspiring,” the judge said, adding Wong spent more than HK$3,000 of the money on clothes, milk formula and driving lessons.
The judge also said when officers from the ICAC took Wong’s statement of more than 1,300 words, they drafted it after spending only around 11 minutes with him. In comparison, officers spent more than two hours with another witness to get a statement of more than 1,200 words, which the judge described as “normal” procedure. He said these reasons deepened his doubts about Wong’s testimony.
The judge said that in regard to one of the matches in question he was unable to tell whether an own goal by Lee Ka-ho was intentional or a mistake. An ICAC spokesman said the anti-graft agency respected the court’s verdict. Cheng, Chan and Lee Ka-ho applied for legal costs as they had been acquitted, but the judge rejected their application because he said they had laid themselves open to suspicion.
Source: Elizabeth Cheung, 19 April 2018, South China Morning Post
Independent Review Panel (IRP)
Tennis match-fixing: 'Tsunami' of corruption at lower levels says report
A "tsunami" of match-fixing is plaguing lower-level tennis events, according to an investigator in a long-awaited report into corruption in the sport. But the Independent Review Panel (IRP) found no evidence of a cover-up of these issues by governing bodies or the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The report also shows no evidence of top-level players being implicated.
The two-year review - which BBC Sport understands cost close to £20m to fund - spoke to more than 100 players. It also surveyed more than 3,200 professionals. Of those surveyed, 464 said they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing. Led by Adam Lewis QC, the panel was set up in January 2016 after a BBC and BuzzFeed News investigation uncovered suspected illegal betting.
It found a "very significant" corruption problem at "lower and middle levels of the sport" which Lewis described as a "fertile breeding ground for breaches of integrity". He also said that from 2009 to 2017, men's matches were responsible for 83% of alerts to suspicious matches. The report also shows "evidence of some issues" at higher levels, such as Grand Slams and Tour events, but the evidence does not reveal a "widespread problem" in elite professional tennis.
Asked if tennis fans could believe what they are seeing at major tournaments this summer, Lewis replied: "Yes, the data shows that there is very little incentive to breach integrity, therefore it's unlikely you are going to see match-fixing."
Other key findings and recommendations include:
Report authors were told of a "match-fixing 'season'" from October until the end of the year with "traces of up to two or three fixed matches per day" in International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments
investigations at Grand Slams were "insufficient", while the ATP, the organisational body of men's professional tennis, was guilty of "failing to exhaust potential leads before ending investigations"
the sale of official live scoring data, at least at ITF and Pro Circuit levels, should be discontinued because it has increased the problem
adopting a realistic approach to how many players can be considered professional.
and a reorganisation and reform of the TIU, the sport's anti-corruption body.
The report also proposes an end to betting sponsorship in tennis, especially tournaments. It draws on statements from more than 200 key stakeholders in professional tennis, including from governing bodies, tournament organisers and betting operators. [...]
Source: Alistair Magowan, 25 April 2018, BBC
Council of Europe
Working Group on Action 3 of the Kazan Action Plan: first meeting
On 25 April 2018, a meeting gathering representatives from 22 countries from all continents, 15 international organisations and 15 sports organisations and NGOs took place in the Council of Europe Office in Paris. This working group, which aims at adopting guidelines on the promotion and defence of integrity in sport, was established within the Kazan Action Plan adopted by MINEPS VI, the International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport. Building on its experience in the field of sport integrity, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport of the Council of Europe (EPAS) volunteered to co-ordinate this world wide process.
The guidelines will introduce the notion of integrity and will present typical policies areas with respect to integrity in sport, namely:
Safeguarding athletes, spectators and employees;
Protecting children, youth and other vulnerable groups;
Fostering good governance of sports organisations;
Strengthening measures against the manipulation of sports competitions; and
It will identify crosscutting elements that are common features of these policy areas such as multi-stakeholder initiatives, exchange of data, remedies and grievance mechanisms, education, etc.
Against this background, the working group will produce simple general guidelines which are accessible to every country. The guidelines will enable each country to develop an overall policy on sport integrity, according to a risk-based approach. It will also include the standards applicable to the various relevant policy areas.
Link to the Kazan Action Plan: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0025/002527/252725e.pdf
Source: 25 April 2018, Council of Europe
International Weightlifting Federation (IWF)
New IWF Anti-Doping Policy Comes Into Force
The new IWF Anti-Doping Policy came into force on Sunday 15 April, as the IWF continues to implement robust anti-doping reforms to protect clean athletes by improving its systems in place. The new policy has been developed based on the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code and the expert recommendations of the IWF Clean Sports Commission, to ensure the IWF demonstrates international best practice.
Among the key amendments to the anti-doping policy is a greater responsibility placed on Member Federations to ensure clean sport within their countries. Under the policy, Member Federations must ensure athletes and Athlete Support Personnel agree to be bound by the IWF’s Anti-Doping Rules. Repeated failure of athletes or their support staff to comply with the IWF’s anti-doping rules could lead to sanctions being imposed on the Member Federation, in addition to sanctions on the athletes and staff themselves.
Member Federations must also provide the IWF with notifications and decisions related to all Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs) committed at national level. Member Federations are obligated to provide the IWF with a full list of the Athlete Support Personnel affiliated to athletes within their National Team. In addition, they must provide a signed statement from each of these support personnel and ensure none of them are serving a period of ineligibility or subject criminal/disciplinary proceedings.
IWF President Tamas Ajan said: “The new IWF Anti-Doping Policy is a critical step forward in our commitment to ensuring weightlifting is a clean sport now and in the future. It will govern how we implement our anti-doping measures at international and national level and ensure that we are aligned with the very latest industry best practice.
“The new policy makes it clear what we expect of our Member Federations. Clean sport must start at national level and the IWF will work closely with all our Member Federations to make sure they fulfil their responsibility to protect and promote clean lifters.” The Independent Member Federations Sanctions Panel (IMFSP), appointed by the IWF Executive Board, will have the sole direction to impose sanctions on Member Federations, in line with Anti-Doping Policy.
Source: 17 April 2018, Around the Rings
New sports corruption Bill ‘will not eradicate omertà’, FIFA official warns Malta
A new Bill tackling corruption in sports will do little to “eradicate the culture of omertà, FIFA director for European Member Associations Bjorn Vassallo said yesterday.
Mr Vassallo, who chaired an Anti-Corruption Task Force set up to draft the Bill, lamented that key “groundbreaking” proposals had been omitted from the Bill. He was speaking at a conference on sports corruption organised by the Nationalist Party. One of the proposals recommended that witnesses remain anonymous, but this was shot down after it was insisted that witnesses in all types of criminal cases would as a result need to be anonymous.
The Malta Football Association had called for “much stronger proposals” but these were cast aside, Mr Vassallo lamented. Besides insisting on anonymous witnesses, the MFA had also demanded interdiction in cases of corruption in sports. The law in its current form was “good”, Mr Vassallo said, however he pointed out that there needed to be a stronger willingness by the police to enforce current laws.
“The scenario has changed, and a platform for stakeholders to share knowledge is needed,” Mr Vassallo insisted. He also called for the creation of a sports integrity unit within the police force, saying that the current economic crimes unit had too much on its plate to prioritise cases of sports corruption. “We are hearing about cases of money laundering every day,” he pointed out, adding that a sports protection unit would be able to focus exclusively on money laundering in sports.
There was a declaration of intent spearheaded by the MFA and other stakeholders, including the main political parties, who agreed on three main pillars against corruption, Mr Vassallo added. The three main pillars were education, enforcement and the necessary amendments to the law. He also noted the “romantic notion” of football had died out and said the sport was now a fully fledged business which needed to be regulated.
“Things changed drastically, and scandals in football are now commonplace,” Mr Vassallo noted. Raising the alarm on money laundering in sports, he noted that the International Monetary Fund estimated that up to five per cent of global GDP was laundered money.
“This is why governance in clubs or associations nowadays plays a pivotal role,” he said, adding that players who do not get paid on time are more susceptible to the threat of corruption in sports.
At the event, Nationalist MP Ryan Callus, the PN spokesman for sport, said sports corruption was a cross-border challenge. He insisted that Malta should join a Europol project seeking to help Member States work together against sports corruption. Noting that players struggle to blow the whistle on corruption, he said that athletes need greater awareness of the law.
“Ignorance of the law is the worst thing,” he said. Closing the event, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia pledged to continue the fight against corruption.
Recalling his time as president of the Birkirkara football club, Dr Delia said he aimed to guarantee that the sport would become clean for his children. He also lamented that whistleblowers in football are seen as backstabbers rather than heroes. The Opposition leader insisted that his party would be a “shield for those who revealed corruption in sport.”
Source: Denise Grech, 22 April 2018, Times of Malta
NCAA begins work of implementing complex basketball reforms
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The most difficult part of the NCAA’s attempt to clean up college basketball begins now. Hours after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Commission on College Basketball’s sweeping recommendations for reforming a sport weighed down by corruption, NCAA leaders set in motion the process for turning those ideas into reality.
The NCAA Board of Governors, a group of 16 university presidents and the association’s highest ranking body, unanimously endorsed all the commission’s recommendations Wednesday. Now it’s up to various subcommittees, working groups and college administrators to dig into a mountain of work over the next three months as the NCAA attempts to change NBA draft rules, create a new enforcement body, toughen penalties for rules violations, revamp summer recruiting and certify agents. All while trying to get buy-in from organizations that might not be motivated to help.
“It’s going to be a challenge to say the least,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “This is a pace of decision making that the association’s really never done on this kind of scale before.” [...]
Source: Associated Press, 26 April 2018, NBC Sports
Congo (Democratic Rep.)
FIFA Council member claims DR Congo Sports Minister behind arrest on corruption charges after released from detention
FIFA Council member Constant Omari has accused the DR Congo Sports Minister Papy Nyango of orchestrating his arrest on corruption charges after he was released from detention. Omari, also a vice-president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), was arrested last week along with Sports Ministry secretary-general Barthelemy Okito and two DR Congo Football Association (FECOFA) vice-presidents, Roger Bondembe and Theobad Binamungu, on suspicion of embezzlement.
The 60-year-old, who denies wrongdoing, has now been released but has been ordered not to leave the country. He is accused of embezzling money given to the FECOFA by the DR Congo Government. Omari has claimed his arrest was instigated by Nyango, who used "framed-up charges" as he tried to "use his office to silence me and humiliate me without any proof".
"I first want to thank the Justice Department for the quick resolution to the falsehood and malice spread against me that led to my unwarranted arrest with some of my colleagues," he told African football website soka25east.
"It's unfortunate that some people are using lies, falsehood and jealousy to try and intimidate me for no reason.
"It's absolutely shameful that he is bringing up the false accusations trying to cause panic by casting aspersions about me to my colleagues both at CAF and FIFA so as to soil my name just because he is jealous of my achievements in football and the reputation I have painfully built across the world."
According to the investigating magistrate, the four were being held in a public prosecutor’s office over claims they siphoned funds meant for the DR Congo national team and clubs in the country. Luzolo Bambi, DR Congo President Joseph Kabila's special adviser on corruption, reportedly ordered the arrest of the four officials. Alain Makengo, lawyer for the quarter, told Agence France-Presse that the embezzlement relates to $1 million (£702,000/€807,000) earmarked for four matches in the nation.
The top division in DR Congo, Linafoot, announced it was suspended until further notice in a show of solidarity to the arrested football officials. In a statement, the league said the four had been "humiliated and deprived of their liberty". Omari, elected onto the FIFA Council in 2015, served as member of the world governing body's Reform Taskforce, established following the widespread corruption scandal within world football's governing body.
He was an outspoken critic of media coverage of the scandal, which saw several executives arrested and indicted in the United States. Omari labelled British media as "racist" after reports that African football officials had received cash gifts. He also chaired the FIFA Anti-racism Taskforce, controversially disbanded in 2016. In a statement following his arrest, FIFA said they were "closely following the matter and gathering additional information".
Source: Liam Morgan, 22 April 2018, Inside Tge Games
Samsung denies Pyeongchang Olympic lobbying allegation
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung has denied a media report it launched illicit lobbying to help bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Seoul-based SBS television network reported last week Samsung tried to use as a lobbyist Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, a disgraced former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
The SBS said the son requested Samsung to sign a $9.5 million sponsorship for the IAAF's Diamond League circuit from 2010-2012 in return for possibly lobbying some IOC members to support Pyeongchang's bid. The SBS based its speculation on email exchanges between Samsung and Papa Massata Diack that it says were contained among documents South Korean prosecutors confiscated in a raid on Samsung over a separate corruption investigation last year.
Samsung has responded by calling the SBS report inaccurate. It says it's signed legitimate sponsorship contracts with many international sports organizations, including the IAAF.
In late 2009, Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee was granted a special presidential pardon — by the then South Korean government of conservative President Lee Myung-bak — from a suspended sentence for illegal financial dealings so he could rejoin South Korea's campaign to host the Winter Olympics. South Korea, which previously failed twice to bring the games to Pyeongchang, eventually won the rights to host the Winter Games in 2011.
Earlier this month, South Korean prosecutors indicted Lee Myung-bak on charges he took bribes from Samsung and others.
Prosecutors said Samsung took such benefits as Lee Kun-hee's pardon in return for the bribes.
In a statement to the Associated Press, the International Olympic Committee did not directly address the allegations aired by SBS about Papa Massata Diack but said the IOC had "turned the page" in terms of host city selection procedures.
"The deep reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 to the candidature process, and the even stronger governance measures that have been introduced, show that the IOC has now 'turned the page'," said the statement, from an IOC spokesperson.
The statement said any information that arose about the actions of Lamine Diack in 2010 would be added to his file in the IOC Ethics Commission. It said the IOC was continuing to support French authorities in their investigations against the Senegalese former official, who has been charged with corruption and money laundering.
"As far as his former functions in the IOC are concerned Mr Diack has already lost his honorary membership in 2015," the spokesperson said.
Source: The Associated Press, 16 April 2018, Winona Daily News
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