Weekly integrity in sport update from INTERPOL 1-7 February 2016

published on 08 February 2016

In this week's media recap we see, once again, that media attention fixed on the Australian Open. A report from former top Australian sport officials indicate fresh claims that matches are fixed every week, at all levels of tennis. This trend is replicated all over the world.

Sanctions  were reported in three countries of three continents. Of particular interest is the case reported in Australia, where a  female cricketer was  banned for six months, with another 18 months suspended, for placing bets on the third Test between Australia and New Zealand in November 2015. It is pertinent to note that, she was sanctioned despite  the fact that the amount of money she bet was quite low (six bets totaling $15.50).

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Australia

This year’s Australian Open was overshadowed by allegations on 16 players in the top 50 being involved in match-fixing. According to a joint investigation on Tennis match fixing by BBC and Buzzfeed, it is said that the investigation started after anonymous sources provided them with ‘cache of documents’. These documents opened up to allegations on ‘widespread suspected match fixing at the top level of world tennis, including those at Wimbledon.’ It was also stated that out of the 16 players, 8 were playing in the Australian Open. In fact, one match on a mixed doubles first round was suspected of match-fixing. One day after the first Grand Slam was over, former top Australian sports officials revealed fresh claims that matches are fixed every week, at all level of tennis, and all over the world. This expands the option for the international black markets to earn millions of dollars. A Four Corners investigation is now dealing with the latest allegations. “Suspect matches are happening multiple times every week across all levels of tennis right around the globe,” Richard Ings, former ATP executive and anti-doping head, told ABC reporters. He said his reports were never opened. This happened in 2005 when he first notified the tennis authoritites. According to Four Corners investigation, authorised bookmakers have a ‘secret blacklist’ that involves more than 350 professional tennis players, playing low-level tennis, were given the freedom to play ‘less than their best’. As per the report, more than 40 professional matches were flagged in 3 months last year. This number is quite alarming.

Source: AP, "Match-Fixing Allegations In Tennis Continues, 350 Professionals Are Blacklisted By The Bookies", 3 February 2016, Australia Network News, https://www.australianetworknews.com/match-fixing-allegations-tennis-continues-350-professionals-blacklisted-bookies/

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Japan

Tokyo -The latest threat to the Rio de Janiero Olympics, scheduled to begin on August 5, is the threat of serious birth defects and other diseases caused by the mosquito-borne Zika virus. And what does this bode for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020? Nikkan Gendai (Jan 21) doesn’t know. Instead, it’s got its eye on a completely different type of pestilence: Russian-based organized crime groups that it says are already drooling over the prospects of a lucrative earnings in the period leading up to, and during, the Tokyo Olympic games. Some 5,000 to 6,000 Russian criminal gangs are said to be operating, within the boundaries of the Russian republic as well as abroad. One of their ways of generating profits has been match-fixing in tennis and other professional sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has tied up with the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) and cracked down vigorously on drugs, resulting in Russia last November being ruled in breach of WADA codes, along with Argentina, Ukraine, Bolivia, Andorra and Israel. The crackdown is said to have cut substantially into gang revenues.

Source: AP, "Russian gangs set sights on 2020 Olympic opportunities", 7 February 2016, Japan Today, https://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/russian-gangs-set-sights-on-2020-olympic-opportunities

Kenya

No Kenyan football premier league player, referee, coach, or a club owner who will be allowed to bet in the 2016 Kenya Premier League season that kicks off next weekend.

Kenya Premier League Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda says, that this will help curb cases of match fixing, thus ensuring the standards of the game are maintained.

This comes at a time where cases of conflict of interest arise between the running of the league and the current KPL title sponsors Sportpesa.

Source: AP, "KPL Players banned from gambling to avoid match fixing", 4 February 2016, Mediamax network, https://www.mediamaxnetwork.co.ke/k24-tv/197363/kpl-players-banned-from-gambling-to-avoid-match-fixing/

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Australia

Australia has banned women’s cricketer Piepa Cleary for six months, with another 18 months suspended, for placing bets on the third Test between Australia and New Zealand in November. The 19-year-old Cleary, who plays for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers in the Women’s Big Bash League, had placed six bets totalling $15.50 on the match at Adelaide Oval. “CA has imposed a 24-month period of ineligibility on Cleary of which 18 months are suspended on condition that she commits no further offences under the (Anti-Corruption) Code,” Cricket Australia said in a media release on Thursday. “She is also required to participate in anti-corruption player education programs delivered by CA in future.” The penalty bans Cleary from all domestic and international cricket, including cricket-related functions and events. It follows a 24-month suspended sentence given to Sydney-based player Angela Reakes in December for placing five bets worth a total of $9 on the man-of-the-match for the World Cup final last March. Cricket Australia said there were “aggravating factors” in Cleary’s case, including that she had received face-to-face anti-corruption training two months before she placed the bets. “Bets totaling $15.50 might seem small but it doesn’t matter,” Cricket Australia integrity unit boss Iain Roy said. “We take a zero tolerance approach to any form of gambling on cricket by players in order to protect the integrity of the game.

Source: "Australian women's cricketer Piepa Cleary banned for betting on match", 4 February 2016, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/feb/04/australian-womens-cricketer-piepa-cleary-banned-for-betting-on-match

Ghana

Techiman City, who were preparing to play in the Ghana top-flight opener on 20 February, were slapped with the demotion notice along with Wa African United by the Ethics Committee on Wednesday night over a long-standing match fixing investigation. The decision sparks hopes of Real Tamale United playing in the top-flight this season as they could be the beneficiaries of the decision after Techiman City topped their group in the Division One League. The re-constituted Ethics Committee ruled on Wednesday that the two teams were culpable in the offence of bribery and match-fixing, in a ground-breaking ruling expected to shake local football. The judicial body of the Ghana FA has slapped the two clubs with the heavy sanction after evidence was produced of their attempt to fix the game. Techiman City were given the go-ahead to start to prepare for their debut season in the Ghanaian top-flight but that ambition has been quashed. Below is the full ruling delivered by the Ethics Committee of the Ghana FA. The GFA Ethics Committee has found Techiman City FC and Wa African United guilty of bribery and match fixing after investigations into their Match day 22 game played at the Damongo Park. The Committee has therefore pronounced its sanctions on the two clubs and individuals involved in accordance with Article 68(2) of the GFA Disciplinary Code.

Source: AP, "OFFICIAL: Techiman City, Wa African United demoted over match-fixing scandal", 4 February 2016, Ghana soccernet, https://ghanasoccernet.com/breaking-news-techiman-city-wa-african-united-demoted-to-ghanas-third-tier-over-match-fixing-scandal

United Kingdom

Mickleover Sports' Zephaniah Thomas, Worcester City's Tyler Weir and Scott Spencer of Hyde United were charged with failing to immediately report to the Football Association an "approach by a third party related to seeking to influence the outcome or conduct of a match or competition". A statement by the FA said: "It is important to note that the three players were not involved in any attempt to fix matches and did not accept monies or gifts." Weir, who admitted two breaches, has been immediately suspended for six months of which two months will be applied immediately with the balance being suspended until July 1, 2018. Thomas, who admitted one breach, has been immediately suspended for four months, of which six weeks will be applied immediately with the balance being suspended for two years. Spencer, who admitted one breach, has been immediately suspended for three months of which one month will be applied immediately with the balance being suspended until October 1, 2017.

Source: Jefferson Lake, "FA bans for non-league players", 2 February 2016, Sporting Life, https://www.sportinglife.com/football/news/article/165/10152751/non-league-players-banned-over-match-fixing-rule-breach

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