Integrity in sports update: Italy's Serie B season delayed due to match-fixing scandal
Weekly media recap 6-12 July 2015
This week has seen continued investigations into match-fixing in Italy, with national coach Antonio Conte possibly facing a criminal trial for his alleged involvement in match-fixing in 2011.
Another important development happened in France, with handball player Nikola Karabatic being found guilty of fraud over his role in a match-fixing scandal in May 2012. Although no jail time was given, he was fined with 10,000 euros. Other players were fined between 1,500 and 30,000 euros.
Italy coach Antonio Conte could face a criminal trial for his alleged involvement in match fixing in 2011. He has already served a ban for not reporting alleged match-fixing in two games involving ex-club Siena in the 2010-11 season. The former Juventus coach is among 104 people a prosecutor has requested to have charges pressed against them. The 45-year-old, who has been accused of "sporting fraud", has always denied any wrongdoing. The next step is for the judiciary to fix the date for a preliminary, closed-door hearing where a judge will decide whether to press charges, as the prosecutors have requested.
Source: "Italy boss Antonio Conte could face trial for match-fixing involvement", 7 July 2015, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/33436856
The encounter during the penultimate day of league 2, having resulted in a victory of AS Saloum at the expense of Ndiambour, 1-0, holds Senegalese football in suspense, with arising suspicions of match-fixing questioning the legitimacy of the game. The President of the Professional Football League has responded to this, evoking an investigation.
Source: "Saer Seck sur les matches truques - Une enquete sera ouverte", 9 July 2015, Senenews, https://www.senenews.com/2015/07/09/saer-seck-sur-les-matches-truques-une-enquete-sera-ouverte_133604.html
The match-fixing trial of Fenerbahce Football Club Chairman Aziz Yildirim was postponed on Wednesday to September 18. The charges - which allege that Yildirim, 62, rigged games and offered payments to rival players and club officials - stem from a scandal during the 2010/11 season in Turkey’s top flight, when the Istanbul club emerged champions thanks to a four-goal difference over second-placed Bursaspor, who ended the season on the same points. Yildirim was convicted in 2012 over the same matter and served a year in jail before he was released on appeal. If he is convicted again, he will return to prison and be forced to step down as chairman, a position he first occupied in 1998.
Source: "Match-fixing trial of Turkish football chairman delayed", 8 July 2015, Anadolu Agency, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/552525--match-fixing-trial-of-turkish-football-chairman-delayed
Miguel Cardenal, President of the Spanish Superior Sports Council (Consejo Superior de Deportes - CSD), signed Council of Europe’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions during the informal meeting of European Union ministers responsible for sports taking place in Luxembourg. He stated: “By signing this international convention, Spain places itself at the forefront of the fight against match-fixing.”
Source: "Cardenal firma la Convencion contra el amano de partidos", 7 July 2015, Marca, https://www.marca.com/2015/07/07/futbol/1436272440.html
ODDS AND ENDS
The start of Italy's Serie B season has been pushed back two weeks due to the Catania match-fixing scandal, which could end up altering entries for the second division. The move from an Aug. 21 start to a Sept. 5 kickoff was made Wednesday at a league assembly. Last week, Catania's owner admitted to fixing five Serie B matches last season aimed at preventing the Sicilian club from relegation to the third division. Antonino Pulvirenti also claimed to have made payoffs totaling 500,000 euros ($550,000) during his admission at a preliminary hearing. He was one of seven people arrested last month on sports fraud charges. The five matches under investigation were played against Varese, Trapani, Latina, Ternana, and Livorno - and those clubs are also facing an inquiry.
Source: "Serie B kickoff pushed back 2 weeks due to match-fixing case", 8 July 2015, AP,
A Chinese syndicate and its Maltese intermediary are the masterminds behind match fixing in domestic leagues, according to a former president of a top-flight club. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the former official told The Sunday Times of Malta the network of corruption included certain club officials, players and well known criminals. He described a system where gamblers placed their money with a handful of match fixers linked to clubs, who then hooked up with the Maltese intermediary with contacts in China. The source said match fixers had key players in every team. Players were sometimes asked to put up a €5,000 guarantee as a sign of goodwill when they agreed to cooperate.
Source: Kurt Sansone, "China link to Malta's match-fix gamblers", 12 July 2015, Times of Malta, https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150712/local/china-link-to-maltas-match-fix-gamblers.576158
Mexico and Uruguay
According to news diary El Pais, during the South Africa World Cup, in the third match of the group phase between Mexico and Uruguay, there was attempted match-fixing by Mexico’s Javier Aguirre. Supposedly, Uruguayan coach was approached to allow the match to end in a draw, but it is understood that he rejected the proposal, as he stood up and left. Statements regarding this alleged fix have been given by a Uruguayan theatre director.
Source: "Sudáfrica 2010 - presunto intento de amaño en el partido México-Uruguay", 10 July 2015, Redacción ESTO, https://estoenlinea.oem.com.mx/84781-sudafrica-2010-presunto-intento-de-amano-en-el-partido-mexico-uruguay/
Karabatic was found guilty of fraud over his role in a match-fixing scandal during a French championship handball match in May 2012. The court in Montpellier asked him to pay a fine of 10,000 euros. None of the 16 people, including seven players, indicted in the case were given jail time. For the court the players involved in the scandal betted - or asked friends to bet - on the mid-term match between Montpellier and Cesson in May 2012, during which they were deemed to have deliberately lost. The game attracted bets of 103,000 euros - off the charts for a sport that usually attracts just a few thousands euros. Other players were fined between 1,500 and 30,000 euros - the former given to Nikola Karabatic’s brother Luka and the latter given to Mladen Bojinovic. Players will have to pay compensations to La Française des jeux - the body which oversees the national lotteries and betting - which detected the unusual amount of bets placed during the rigged game.
Source: "French handball star Karabatic found guilty of match-fixing", 11 July 2015, RFI, https://www.english.rfi.fr/sports/20150711-french-handball-player-found-guilty-match-fixing
The French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) decided on Friday to maintain the eight penalty points against Nimes (2nd League). The club wishes to appeal. Regarding the issue of match-fixing, the French Football Federation (FFF) had cancelled the relegation of the club by deciding to withdraw eight points from them this season.
Source: "Matches truqués: Les huit points de pénalité maintenus contre Nîmes", 10 July 2015, Sports FR, https://www.sports.fr/football/ligue-2/articles/matches-truques-les-huit-points-de-penalite-maintenus-contre-nimes-1280726/
- Tags: Anti-Corruption | Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions | Football | France | French Football Federation (FFF) | French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) | Handball | INTERPOL | Italy | Malta | Match-Fixing | Mexico | Senegal | Serie B | South Africa World Cup | Spain | Spanish Superior Sports Council (Consejo Superior de Deportes - CSD) | Turkey | Uruguay