INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 23 January 2017 - 5 February 2017

published on 07 February 2017

Although articles are few in this edition, match-fixing still spans across the world in Sri Lanka, Poland, and Cyprus. The alleged match-fixing in Poland (Between Poland and Romania) stresses the importance that lower division, friendlies, and exhibition matches are victims of match-fixing due to the minor media attention and sporting importance.

In other news, Tennis continues to be the sport under threat from match-fixing. However, we should not overlook the other sports as it is important to note that match-fixing can happen in any sport, at any given time.

Finally, this bulletin looks at the new partnership launched for protecting global football integrity.

The Integrity in Sports Programme is still involved in many events around the world in the upcoming month to raise awareness on the severity of match-fixing, among other crimes in sports.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Poland

Match fixing is sad but true reality at times in sports, but players in Europe took a stand at what they believed to be cheating in a recent exhibition match. Players from Romanian side Astra Giurgiu and Pogon Szczecin of Poland’s first division each suspected that the referee manning Wednesday’s match was attempting to fix the scoreline after several decisions the players believed to be questionable. Pogon ultimately won the match 3-1 when it was all said and done. As shown in the video, the referee awards three penalty kicks, all of which were far from sure things. In return, players from both teams intentional missed their ensuing attempts in order to preserve the credibility of the match. While it’s uncertain that any wrongdoing actually occurred, it’s good to know that players indeed care about the gamesmanship, as shown in this situation. Watch the video below as players from both teams intentionally miss penalties: (to watch the video, please click on the link below)

Source: Matt Reed, "Polish, Romanian teams intentionally miss PKs, question match-fixing (Video)", 29 January 2017, NBC Sports https://soccer.nbcsports.com/2017/01/29/polish-romanian-teams-intentionally-miss-pks-question-match-fixing-video/ 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is to probe an alleged match fixing incident in the domestic premier B division, a statement said. Two clubs from neighbouring towns in the tournament ranked first class by the ICC, the Kalutara Physical Training Culture Circle and Panadura Sports Club have allegedly fixed a three-day game last week. It was alleged that on the final day, hit by rain, both sides had seen 24 wickets falling for a run rate of over 10 runs an over. In 20 minutes 13 overs were bowled. Both clubs figure influential members of the current SLC administration, the complainant Sri Lanka Ports Authority said. Former World Cup wining captain Arjuna Ranatunga is the Sports Minister. SLC said strong action would be taken against wrong doers. An independent panel would be appointed to investigate.

Source: "Sri Lanka Cricket to probe match fixing", 29 January 2017, Express Sport, https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/sri-lanka-cricket-to-probe-match-fixing-`4497774/ 

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Cyprus

The football association (CFA) has fined two top flight teams €50,000 each after they were implicated in suspicious betting activity by the European governing body UEFA. Zakaki team Aez and Karmiotissa Polemidion, had been held responsible by UEFA for betting activity that strongly suggested recent fixtures they played had been fixed. UEFA had notified the CFA in two so-called red files. The first notice concerned the January 22 league fixture between Apoel and Aez, which the home team won 7-0. UEFA said there was a great deal of bets in favour of Aez trailing by at least five goals at half time. As it happened, the half-time score was 5-0 to Apoel. The second notice relates to a January 18 cup fixture (second leg) between Karmiotissa and Aek Larnaca. Bets were being placed on Karmiotissa losing by at least a five-goal difference. The full-time result was 6-1 to visitors Aek. Aez denied any involvement in the betting activity but their claim was rejected by the CFA’s judge. “According to the findings of UEFA’s relevant service, it is clearly determined that punters specifically went for bets that concerned exclusively the first half of the game in question,” Aristotelis Vryonides said. “Specifically, this game was manipulated by Aez to make financial gain, deliberately losing with five goals difference during the first half.” Karmiotissa was punished along the same lines. 

According to the findings of UEFA’s relevant service, it is clearly determined that betting activity showed that some of the punters had prior knowledge that Aek Larnaca would win the game in question with a five-goal difference, a fact that yielded significant profits.” The notifications came in the wake of statements from CFA chairman Costakis Koutsokoumnis that the party was over for the betting mafia, which also meant white-washing previous offences. In December, the CFA was forced by UEFA to put strict measures in place after repeated notifications concerning suspicious betting activity. The first red notice about a club would mean a €50,000 fine, with second-time offences attracting the same monetary sanctions plus the deduction of six points from their league table score. A third notice would see the offender expelled from the league and be deprived of all grants and revenues the club would have receive from the CFA for participating in the competition. A further notice would leave the club facing the imposition of an additional €100,000 fine and be stricken off the register of the federation, with no entitlement to be re-registered for a participation in the CFA championship for a period of five years.

Source: George Psyllides, "CFA fines teams €50,000 for match-fixing", 2 February 2017, Cyprus Mail, https://cyprus-mail.com/2017/02/02/cfa-fines-teams-e50000-match-fixing/ 

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Switzerland

FIFA is closing its match-fixing detection division, deciding to outsource the work of discovering betting irregularities in world soccer. The investigations that FIFA's Early Warning System had been carrying out for a decade will now be run by data services company Sportradar. FIFA said Friday that Sportradar's Fraud Detection System will "identify and analyze any suspicious betting behaviour or patterns." Sportradar intelligence experts will also report to FIFA, which has yet to replace security director Ralf Mutschke, a former Interpol director who left in December after being in charge of World Cup security and fighting match-fixing. The governing body previously highlighted the advantages of having an in-house fixing monitoring unit, describing EWS as a "key pillar of FIFA's ethics work" and stressing that it operated independently of the commercial betting industry. A Sportradar division provides services to bookmakers. But FIFA maintained that "the full range of fraud prevention services" being made available to the organization by Sportradar is beneficial for soccer. "Preserving the integrity of the game is paramount to FIFA," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said. "Given that match manipulation is still a serious concern for everyone who loves the game, FIFA will work with Sportradar, the global leader in match manipulation detection and prevention, to invigorate and enhance our integrity program." Sportradar will also provide an app for players and coaches to confidentially report concerns about irregularities around games. The service will also be an educational tool, warning participants in soccer about the "repercussions of fraudulent activities," FIFA said. Sportradar has existing betting monitoring agreements with some regional soccer bodies, including UEFA.

Source: "FIFA closes match-fixing detection division, outsources work", 3 February 2017, Metro News, https://www.metronews.ca/sports/2017/02/03/fifa-stops-internal-fixing-monitoring-outsources-operations.html 

World

Nearly 80 per cent of all cases of suspicious betting activity reported to the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) in 2016 involved tennis, new figures have revealed. In all, 130 cases came to the attention of ESSA, the organisation which guards against illegal gambling and match-fixing in sport, last year. Tennis was the sport involved on 103 occasions, considerably more than second-placed football where there were 16 cases. There were also four cases involving volleyball, and two each for beach volleyball and table tennis. One case was reported for snooker, handball and basketball. Seventy-one of the cases originated in Europe, with 25 in Asia, 14 in South America, 12 in Africa and seven in North America. The amount of cases for 2016 is up from 100 for 2015 but ESSA say this is down to a rise in membership and a number of new information sharing agreements. The full list for 2016 has been completed following the results for the fourth quarter of the year, where there were 41 alerts, 29 involving tennis. Match-fixing remains a severe problem for the sport, with many believing the problem is due to the lack of prize money on offer outside of the sport’s elite tier. All of the cases involving the sport were reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).

ESSA chairman Mike O’Kane, said: "The figures show that the dangers from the misuse of insider information and match-fixing persist for betting operators. "As the sector’s representative body on betting integrity issues, ESSA continues to meet with key stakeholders to discuss practical and proportionate actions. "We hold positions on a number of major betting policy working groups and match-fixing programmes to do just that. "As with previous years, we expect 2017 to entail challenges to the commercial activities of our sector. "ESSA will continue to be an ardent and vocal supporter of responsible regulated operators and utilise our alert system to protect our growing list of members, consumers and sports from betting related corruption. "We intend to progress a number of constructive actions in this area during 2017 and in particular work closer with sports governing bodies and rights holders on more collaborative relationships." The 2015 Australian Open boys’ singles tennis champion Oliver Anderson was charged with match-fixing earlier this month. Former Australian tennis player Nick Lindahl was then handed a seven-year ban from the sport, with Romanian tennis player Alexandru-Daniel Carpen barred for life. The full ESSA report can be read here: https://www.insidethegames.biz/media/file/56581/QR1-BROCHURE-2017-SINGLE.pdf.

Source: Dan Palmer, "Tennis dominates suspicious betting report for 2016", 31 January 2017, Inside the Games, https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1046480/tennis-dominates-suspicious-betting-report-for-2016 

 

INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

Bahamas

INTERPOL-IOC Integrity in Sports National Workshop

23 Februrary 2017, Nassau, Bahamas 

The INTERPOL Integrity in Sports Unit and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will host a National Workshop addressed to Law Enforcement, Sport Federations, Betting, and relevant ministries.

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