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INTERPOL: Integrity in sport - bi-weekly bulletin




Did Belgium’s 3x3 basketball team commit fraud to qualify for the Olympics?

Basketball Belgium, the Belgian basketball association and the international basketball federation are conducting an investigation into possible fraud involving the organisation of three-on-three basketball tournaments. The investigations have been launched following allegations of fraud involving the Belgian 3x3 Lions, who shone at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Belgian Lions just managed to qualify for the Olympics and impressed all by securing a 4th place. The daily De Standaard claims that several fictional tournaments were organised in Belgium in order to beef up the Lions’ record ahead of qualification.

The Lions stand accused of registering 27 fictional tournaments with FIBA, the international federation. This allowed the Belgians to qualify for qualification tournaments in Debrecen and Graz.

Qualification for qualification tournaments occurs on the basis of complex calculations. The system has meanwhile also been changed making it hard to track down earlier fraud.

In a press release the Belgian Lions insist that their performance over 2021 showed their worth.

Source: 25 August 2021, VRT

El Salvador

Ex-Salvadoran soccer boss pleads guilty to bribery charge

New York (AP) — The former president of El Salvador's soccer federation pleaded guilty Monday in a U.S. court to a corruption charge in the long-running FIFA bribery scandal.

In remote proceedings, Reynaldo Vasquez pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy for accepting bribes in exchange for awarding media and marketing rights for games played by the Salvadoran national soccer team.

Salvadoran authorities arrested Vasquez at the end of 2015 as part of an international roundup of top officials of FIFA, soccer’s governing body. He had denied the charges while putting up a failed extradition fight in El Salvador.

Vasquez, 65, was extradited in January to the U.S. and pleaded not guilty in federal court.

During Monday's proceedings, Vasquez said that in 2012 he and other soccer officials received approximately $350,000 in bribes for rights to World Cup qualifying matches.

Part of the money Vasquez received was wired through a U.S. bank account, prosecutors said. Vazquez said he also acted as intermediary for other soccer officials to receive bribes.

Vasquez, who said he led the Salvadoran soccer federation from June 2009 to July 2011, agreed to forfeit $360,000. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

He is expected to be sentenced in December by Judge Pamela Chen.

Source: 23 August 2021, Associated Press



GFA issue statement on Ashantigold SC vs Inter Allies FC game

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) wishes to inform all its members and the public that the Association has opened investigations into the Ghana Premier League Match-day 34 game played between Ashanti Gold SC and Inter Allies FC at the Len Clay stadium at Obuasi on Saturday, July 17, 2021.

The GFA has resolved that:

1. The Compliance & Integrity Officer and the GFA Prosecutors will lead the “sporting” investigations by the GFA, and

2. The Association will further lodge a complaint on the match with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana wing of Interpol for the criminal investigation of the game.

The Association will immediately require statements from the two clubs and the players and the technical team members of the two clubs.

The GFA further urges any member of the public, the media, players, technical team members to also send any evidence or information whatsoever connected to the match (a statement, video, audio etc) to assist the investigations through the GFA integrity Hotline and email.

GFA INTEGRITY HOTLINE As provided for in the GFA Statutes and emphasised during all the training the GFA gave to clubs and match officials before the start of the league, one of the core objectives of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is the commitment to promote the integrity of football in Ghana.

The GFA is committed to investigate all reports of match manipulation(s) and bring the culprits before the Ethics Committee of the Association. The GFA is also committed to report to and assist the Ghana Police Service all such cases of match manipulations which violates the criminal laws of Ghana for prosecution.

GFA INTEGRITY HOTLINE GFA Compliance & Integrity Office Hotline: 059 337 1735 WhatsApp: 059 337 1735 Email-

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Source: 29 July 2021, Modern Ghana



Match-Fixing in Dhaka football: 4 footballers get life bans

Four players have been banned for life for match-fixing at the Bangladesh Premier League. The footballers are- Minhazul Islam, Gawhor Jahangir Rusho, Maidul Islam Sheikh (Indian national), and Arif Hossain. Of the players, goalkeeper Apel Mahmud faced the highest punishment. He is banned for 5 matches. Former player Abul Kashem, Al-Amin, Roky, Jahid Hossain, Rahad Mia, Mostafijur Rahman Soikot, Shamim Reza, and Australian citizen Smith Brede Christian have been fined for three years. Besides, 16 more local and foreign players have been punished in various levels. Arambagh Krira Sangha has been demoted to first division and fined Tk5 lakh.

Bangladesh Football Federation doubted that four matches of Arambagh and couple of football matches of Brothers Union were fixed. Later, disciplinary committee took the decision after investigation.

Source: 30 August 2021, Rising BD


Former FIFA official has bribery life ban cut to 20 years

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A Brazilian soccer official indicted by federal prosecutors in the United States in the FIFA bribery case has had his life ban from the sport cut to 20 years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed FIFA's case against Marco Polo del Nero “as to the findings on the merits” but ordered a reduced ban for taking bribes.

Del Nero will turn 97 before the ban expires in 2038, though the former president of the Brazilian soccer confederation reportedly still has influence on his former organization.

Del Nero was on the FIFA executive committee when he fled Switzerland in May 2015 in the fallout of soccer officials being arrested at luxury hotels in Zurich in early morning raids. He was formally indicted six months later, resigned his $300,000-a-year FIFA position and has since stayed in Brazil, where he has avoided being extradited to the United States.

American prosecutors have accused him of taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from commercial deals signed for South American soccer competitions, including the Copa America and Copa Libertadores.

FIFA found him guilty in 2018 on charges of bribery and corruption, accepting gifts and conflict of interest. He was also fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1.1 million), a decision upheld by CAS.

Del Nero is among several Brazilian soccer leaders indicted in the American investigation and later banned by FIFA. Jose Maria Marin was convicted on financial conspiracy charges in December 2017 and sentenced to four years.

During the trial, prosecution witness Jose Hawilla, an influential Brazilian sports marketing executive, testified that Del Nero and Marin were among top South American soccer officials who had to be bribed to secure media contracts.

Ricardo Teixeira, who joined FIFA in the 1990s and was the son-in-law of then-president Joao Havelange, has also avoided being extradited from Brazil since being indicted in 2015. Teixeira has also challenged his FIFA life ban at CAS.

Teixeira resigned from the FIFA executive committee in 2012 in fallout from a World Cup kickbacks scandal that also removed

Havelange as honorary president.
Source: 2 September 2021, Niagara Falls Review


Kenya suspends five referees over match-fixing charges

NAIROBI - Kenya on Saturday announced the provisional suspension of five top football league referees over allegations of match-fixing and the manipulation of national league results.

Two of the suspended referees, Raymond Onyango and Isaac Memusi, were dropped from the list of FIFA referees at the start of this season after failing match fitness tests.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) said the decision was taken to safeguard the integrity of the sport, which came under the spotlight after four players were banned -- one of them for life -- by FIFA in February 2020 for taking part in "an international conspiracy to fix league matches".

"The federation's Integrity Department, with the assistance of FIFA, has initiated preliminary investigations against the said individuals with a view of establishing their involvement, if any, in the said match manipulation practices," FKF general secretary Barry Otieno said in a statement.

In May, FIFA announced the expulsion of top Kenyan football club Zoo Kericho from this season's Premier League after being found guilty of match-fixing.

Otieno said the federation remains confident about the integrity of the Premier League.

The federation has, with the assistance of FIFA, "established and consistently continues to update its match manipulation

detection platform, with a view of protecting and safeguarding the integrity of its competitions, against global match-fixers". Source: 31 July 2021, EWN


Moroccan player Simohamed Hirs banned for life from tennis

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) confirms that Moroccan tennis player Simohamed Hirs has been banned for life from the sport, following investigations into multiple incidents of match fixing.

The case was ruled on by Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Amani Khalifa and the sanction means that, from 28 July 2021, Hirs is permanently prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis. In addition to the ban, the player has also been fined $35,000.

Hirs who had a highest ATP singles ranking of 1798 was found guilty of three match fixing charges and was also charged with failing to report a corrupt approach as well as soliciting other players not to use their best efforts.

The full breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program that the player has been found guilty of are:

D.1.d. “No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.”

D.1.e. “No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or facilitate any Player to not use his or her best efforts in any Event.”

D.2.a.(i) “In the event any Player is approached by any person who offers or provides any type of money, benefit or Consideration to a Player to (i) influence the outcome or any other aspect of any Event, or (ii) provide Inside Information, it shall be the Player's obligation to report such incident [to the ITIA] as soon as possible.”

The ITIA is an independent body established by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis to promote, encourage, enhance and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide.

Source: 30 July 2021, ITIA


Nigerian coach bags two-year ban for match fixing

A coach of Cofine FC of Akwa Ibom, Remi Amadi, has been handed two-year ban for attempted plan to fix a match between his team and Bussdor FC.

According to the Nigeria Football Federation Disciplinary Committee, the Coach confessed to the accusation.

Amadi admitted to have attempted to manipulate the outcome or result of the match between Cofine FC v. Bussdor FC as seen in the audio conversation between them.

The coach also admitted that if the attempted manipulation had pulled through, the Club, Cofine FC, would have benefited from such manipulation.

Amadi was found guilty for master-minding the attempted match manipulation between Cofine FC versus Bussdor FC in a match played on March 15, 2021 at University of Calabar Stadium, Cross Rivers State.

He was banned for a period of two years from taking part in any football related activities from March 15, 2021 until March 14, 2023.

Amadi’s club was also fined N500,000 for being responsible for the action and inaction of its employee (Coach Remi Amadi) in the said match manipulation.

The result of the match between Cofine FC v. Bussdor FC played on March 15, 2021 at University of Calabar Stadium, Cross

Rivers State was also cancelled.
Source: 17 August 2021, The Eagle Online


Mauricio Echazu Puente from Peru provisionally suspended

Peruvian tennis player Mauricio Echazu Puente has been provisionally suspended from the sport by independent Anti- Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Mr Raj Parker, pending the full consideration of charges against him.

From 6 August 2021, the player is prohibited from competing in or attending any sanctioned tennis events organised by the governing bodies of the sport.

The provisional suspension was granted under section F.3 of the TACP 2021:

“The ITIA may at any time make an application to an AHO for a Provisional Suspension of a Covered Person, including (i) before a Notice of Major Offense has been issued, (ii) before a Hearing or (iii) at any time after a Hearing but prior to the AHO’s issuance of a written Decision. Provisional Suspensions (and challenges and reviews thereof under this Section F.3) shall ordinarily be determined on written submissions unless the AHO considers an oral hearing necessary.”

The International Tennis Integrity Agency is an independent body established by the International Governing Bodies of Tennis to promote, encourage, enhance and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide.

Source: 10 August 2021, ITIA Tennis


Football: Former Singapore international K. Kannan appeals against lifetime ban

Former national footballer K. Kannan has appealed to the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) to have his lifetime ban from football activities lifted.

The 59-year-old was jailed and fined in 1995 for football-related corruption.

Last Friday (Aug 13), he submitted a written appeal to the FAS through his lawyers from Eugene Thuraisingam LLP. This is his fifth attempt after previous appeals to the FAS and Asian Football Confederation from 1999 to 2002 were rejected.

Kannan said: “I’m happy that there are people who still think of me and who care for me.

“I’m already quite old and my best days in football are over. I’ve made a mistake and have paid for it very dearly and I just want to move on with my life.”

Former journalist and ex-opposition politician Jose Raymond had assembled the legal team to help Kannan’s appeal after a friend told him about a letter that the former player had received from the FAS in August last year after “he was spotted playing social football with his friends”, said Raymond in his Facebook post.

The letter, signed by FAS president Lim Kia Tong, stated that Kannan was “permanently suspended from taking part in football management or membership or the activities of the association” on April 18, 1995 following his conviction. It also said that he is aware the ban extends to “all football-related activities”.

However, Kannan’s legal team is disputing that Article 75.8 of the FAS constitution limits the suspension to “football management, membership, or the activities of the FAS”, and as the Indian Association (IA) – where he was playing football – is not an FAS affiliate member, Kannan should not be prevented from playing and assisting in football-related events in IA.

In addition, they are requesting that the life ban be overturned, as Kannan wants “to try and give back to the footballing fraternity and to pass on the love of the game to younger footballers”.

The appeal is also backed by testimonials from former national players Malek Awab, Jai Prakash and E. Manimohan.

Responding to queries, the FAS clarified that the letter had also said that it had been informed that Kannan had been involved in “football management and football activities (including as a player) at the Indian Association”. This was a “clear violation” of the ban and the letter was sent because he was found to have been involved in the mentioned activities following the complaint.

Noting that Kannan’s appeal to the AFC and three previous appeals to the FAS were rejected after being “carefully considered by the presiding FAS Council”, the association said he is “not unfamiliar with the ban”.

The FAS said: “Thus, when the complaint was received, it was incumbent on the FAS Council at that time to write to K. Kannan to inform and to remind him of the ban on football-related activities imposed on him.”

The association said it has received his latest appeal and “the matter is currently undergoing the due process”.

Before his conviction, Kannan was an accomplished striker who represented Singapore at the 1981 and 1983 SEA Games, winning a silver at the latter edition.

He played for Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in the M-League and Malaysia Cup, winning the golden boot in 1987 and the league and cup double in 1989 for the Malaysian side.

In 1995, he was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $40,000 on a joint conspiracy charge, and to 18 months’ imprisonment and fine of $5,000 for bribery. In total, Kannan was jailed for no less than 14 months and was released in 1997.

There are currently 16 players or officials serving life bans. There is one reported case of a successful appeal against permanent suspension in 2009, when the FAS lifted Australian former player Abbas Saad's ban after an appeal to the council. In 1995, Abbas was convicted of corruption for match-fixing, fined $50,000 and handed a global football ban, which included a lifetime suspension from football-related activities in Singapore. Source: 17 August 2021, The Straits Times Football

cook islands

Oceania football bans official for corruption

WELLINGTON (AFP) - Football’s scandal-plagued Oceania confederation Monday banned a former top official for six years after finding him guilty of bribery and corruption.

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) said Lee Harmon of the Cook Islands -- a one-time member of the influential FIFA Council -- would also face hefty fines over his conduct.

“The ethics proceedings are part of an extensive investigation,” the confederation said in a statement.

The governing body did not outline the ethics violations, saying only that they occurred before 2019 and included conflicts of interest, offering and receiving gifts, as well as bribery and corruption.

It said he would be banned for six years and must pay US$75,000 in fines and US$28,000 in costs.

Harmon -- a former OFC vice-president and president of the Cook Islands FA -- had previously been suspended by FIFA for three months for reselling tickets to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The 11-nation OFC is the poorest and weakest of FIFA’s six continental confederations, consisting mainly of small island states. Former OFC general secretary Tai Nicholas was banned for eight years in 2019 for misappropriating FIFA funds and bribery.

Two ex-OFC presidents, David Chung and Reynald Temarii, also left the game under a cloud after receiving lengthy bans for corruption.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino warned during a visit to Auckland in 2018 that the world body had seen enough corruption in the

OFC and it was on a “last opportunity” to clean up its act.

Source: 23 August 2021, Dunya News



Canada to permit single-game sportsbetting from as soon as August 27

In Canada and a senior minister in the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reportedly announced that local sportsbetting aficionados could be allowed to begin legally placing single-game sports wagers from as soon as August 27.

According to a Thursday report from Vancouver radio broadcaster CKWX, Justice Minister David Lametti made the revelation during a press conference at the 374-room Fallsview Casino Resort following the passage in June of Bill C-218. The source detailed that this measure, which was alternatively known as the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, is due to permit punters to lodge legal bets on single football, baseball and ice hockey events as well as a range of action from other sports.

Clandestine competition:

A member of the ruling Liberal Party, Lametti reportedly declared that the nationwide implementation of Bill C-218 is destined to allow his fellow Canadians to wager on individual games ‘in a regulated and safe environment’ while helping the giant nation’s casino industry to begin clawing back some of the millions of dollars that are annually spent via a slew of illicit offshore online sportsbetting sites.

Lucrative lure:

The legalization of single-game sportsbetting in Canada has been many years in the making with venues now reportedly moreover hopeful that the move will help them to attract punters living in American states where sports wagering remains illegal despite the 2018 invalidation of that nation’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protections Act (PASPA). The effort to get Bill C-218 passed was purportedly supported by the influential National Hockey League (NHL) and Canadian Football League (CFL) and has so far maintained tentative backing from the country’s tight-knit equestrian community.

Waugh way:

Canada had previously limited single-event wagers to horseracing as part of a long-running campaign to help stamp out suspected instances of match-fixing. But, the passage of Bill C-2018, which was put forward by Conservative parliamentarian Kevin Waugh (pictured) and received its required royal assent at the end of June, reportedly left the federal government to come up with a new set of sportsbetting rules that encompassed legal bets on solo matches.

Criminal concerns:

The Canadian Gaming Association, which was an early proponent of Bill C-218, reportedly estimates that Canadians annually lodge approximately $11 billion in wagers with a range of offshore operators. The advocacy group purportedly furthermore believes that illegal land-based bookmakers with ties to organized crime groups could also be processing a significant portion of these bets.

Honest indicator:

The broadcaster finished by reporting that Canadian digital media innovator Score Media and Gaming Incorporated has recently been gunning for a portion of the sportsbetting market in the neighboring United States due to the fact that over 24 of this nation’s states currently allow punters to place single-event wagers. To highlight the lucrative nature of this giant sector and it purportedly disclosed that the firm last week heralded the signing of a $2 billion cash and stock deal that is to see it become part

of American land-based casino operator Penn National Gaming Incorporated.
Source: 13 August 2021, World Casino Directory



FIA launches #RaceAgainstManipulation e-learning platform to prevent risk of competition-manipulation

As part of its ongoing mission to uphold integrity in motor sport, the FIA is pleased to announce the launch of a dedicated e- learning platform #RaceAgainstManipulation to raise awareness of the risks of competition-fixing.

The FIA is taking a proactive approach with the launch of #RaceAgainstManipulation, the latest development of a long-running partnership with Sportradar Integrity Services – the global supplier of sports integrity solutions – that includes monitoring of events with its Fraud Detection System (FDS).

“Safeguarding the integrity of motor sport worldwide is of paramount importance,” said FIA President Jean Todt. “No reports of betting manipulation in motor sport have been received to date but we must be vigilant. And the best way to achieve this is through education. #RaceAgainstManipulation will help stakeholders to recognise potential threats, assist them in the reporting of misconduct. It is an essential tool in the fight to maintain sporting integrity and I advise everyone involved in our sport to use it.”

“This user-friendly platform is a milestone for the FIA and the motor sports world as it will help raise awareness of the specific contents of the International Sporting Code on this topic and in particular what competition manipulation means in an informative and entertaining approach. I thank Pierre Ketterer, Head of the FIA Governance, Integrity & Regulatory Affairs Department and the FIA team for their proactive process to this important matter.” said the FIA Secretary General for Sport, Peter Bayer.

#RaceAgainstManipulation is targeted at drivers competing in national and international competitions, team personnel, officials, volunteers, event organisers and FIA staff and consultants, as well as the wider motor sport community including national sporting organisation (ASN) staff and consultants, media and fans around the world.

The first briefing concerning the use and the contents of the e-Learning platform was provided to the Formula 1 drivers on Friday 27 August 2021 at SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium.

This e-learning platform consists of a 30-minute tutorial during which participants learn what constitutes competition manipulation, how to identify the behavior of competition fixers, become informed of their obligations and duty to report, and learn about the serious consequences arising from breaches of regulations. After having completed the tutorial, each participant will receive an FIA certificate.

Click here to start the e-learning experience.
Should you have any questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Should you need to report any issues related to the manipulation of FIA competitions, please use the FIA Ethics and Compliance

Source: 27 August 2021, FIA



A sticky wicket: How cricket is making inroads in Europe

KREFELD, Germany — In the week France’s basketball and handball teams were fighting for gold in Tokyo, its other national team was playing a match thousands of miles away, in slightly more modest circumstances.

The French men’s cricket team was battling Germany and Norway in a triangular series at the Bayer Uerdingen Cricket Ground in the outskirts of Krefeld, a small city on the Rhine, near Düsseldorf. The venue was wedged between a windmill on one side and an open field on the other. Uninterested teenagers were practicing football drills on the side. Emergency services, required to be present, were slumped in their deckchairs much of the time.

The setting may have been indifferent, but the profound changes to the world economy, including the rise of India as a powerful, global player, and to Europe’s politics and demographics in the last decade, left an outsized imprint on the teams in Krefeld and the sport they were playing.

Cricket is arguably the second-most popular sport in the world after football, but it is not popular in Europe. Only one country on the Continent, the Netherlands, has participated in the World Cup.

Usman Shahid, a French player, acknowledged that the game itself, with complicated rules and field positions known as “silly point” and “fine leg,” doesn’t lend itself to easy uptake. “Cricket’s rules are such that there are some even us players don’t understand, there’s such a thick rulebook.”

Europeans’ impressions of cricket fall broadly into two camps, and neither is appealing: The first is of a silly, incomprehensible game played by posh British men in sweaters. The second is based on the way India plays and enjoys it, basically as an extension of Bollywood.

But now, South Asians who love the sport — mostly Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans and Afghans — are spurring the development and spread of cricket in Europe. Large diaspora communities, recently boosted by the influx of refugees and migrants in 2015, are organizing themselves to establish, institutionalize and expand the sport. In Germany for example, where the government sees sport as a way to integrate its hundreds of thousands of new arrivals, clubs and teams are given money to recruit from migrant communities.

That has been good for the development of the sport and for the players who find a community and a place to express themselves. But its development is being held back by a lack of inroads with native populations, a lack of funding, and by India’s outsized influence on cricket’s governance and its finances. India’s role, directly or indirectly, limits the funding that national associations can access, and has also failed to draw a line under corruption scandals like match-fixing.

‘A sense of belonging’

In the three teams, almost every player was of South Asian descent. Like the cricket ball, languages — Tamil, Norwegian, Urdu, English, German, Pashto, French — were flying across the field.

The teams’ composition is diverse. There are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians; Bengalis and Punjabis; middle class players — mostly doctors and engineers — who arrive on student or work visas and decided to stay; working class players, either first or second generation who work in shops and factories or drive taxis; and refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, who either receive stipends from the state or work as gardeners, janitors and bricklayers.

“For men’s cricket, there was this huge surge four, five years ago and loads of people came in,” said Anuradha Doddaballapur, the captain of the woman’s team. While critics fretted about the effects the large influx would have on European society, for cricket it was an unqualified success. “I think it’s also wonderful for them to have a sport. In a new country, they feel at home and it’s a sense of belonging, which is fantastic.”

Fueled largely by South Asians, German cricket has expanded from 30 registered teams in 1988, to more than 400 today, and is reported to be the fastest-growing sport in the country. The boost has led the women’s team to rise up to 25th in the global rankings, above China and below Hong Kong. (The men’s team is 33rd, below Uganda and above the United States.)

But for many players, it’s also a place to find a community of like-minded people that can help offset the difficulties of moving to an unfamiliar — and occasionally hostile — place.

Shahid, the French player, is 29. Born in Pakistan, he moved to France when he was 13, and said he only picked up the sport

after he arrived in Paris. “In 2009, I found out that there’s cricket in France,” he said. “And I went and played for the first time.

And since then, I stayed in the system.”

For its part, the German government has made valuable funding available to sports associations, including the Cricket Federation, to focus on recruiting refugees.

Getting money for refugees is “easy in this country,” Franz said. “If you’re a targeted club, you get €12,000 every year to help the refugees. Most of the clubs, they invest in refugees because it’s easy to make money.”

Franz mentioned a program called “Desi CricBeat” (desi is the catchall term South Asians use to refer to themselves) specifically targeting Muslim women to come play cricket, inviting them to a women-only indoor party with Bollywood music and cricket. “It’s a safe space so that their husbands would allow them to go,” Franz said.

The women’s team has a different makeup. Doddaballapur said that while the men’s team had ready recruits, the women’s team did not. The influx of refugees did not boost the women’s game like it did the men’s, and Doddaballapur, who also coaches, had to try harder to recruit from native groups. While that meant more work, it also resulted in the women’s team being better at introducing cricket to the uninitiated.

The German team warms up before its final match against Norway | Saim Saeed/POLITICO

“I think it comes down to the fact that we’re a bit more easy for beginners to come and play with, we’re a bit more welcoming,” she said.

The relative lack of a welcoming atmosphere for beginners has conversely made it harder for the men’s team to attract natives, which has meant the organization has struggled to attract sponsors and eyeballs. The players were sporting jerseys that looked like they were sponsored by Moneygram, but Franz said that deal expired and they didn’t have new kits yet. Most companies aren’t interested in sponsoring a sport no one watches. Adidas, a German sporting giant, is a big player in international cricket, sponsoring Indian and English players, but refused to supply kits to the German team, Franz said.

One recent photo-op involved the German football club Borussia Dortmund and its star player Marco Reus, who played around with a cricket bat. But that was more about Dortmund trying to make inroads in the Indian market than cricket making inroads in Germany.

The Federation has plenty of solutions: grassroots recruitment in schools, separate training and sessions with beginners (complete with post-match beer and barbecue), full-time coaches. But all that requires money, which the federation does not have enough of.

All roads lead to Delhi

The one thing that can boost cricket’s profile and allow it access funding is getting the sport in the Olympics. The German government, Franz explained, does not fund sports unless they’re a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, and cricket isn’t.

That’s not the fault of the sport — which featured in the 1900 games in Paris for the first and only time — but India’s.

It’s counter-intuitive to think that the country with the biggest cricket fan base in the world wouldn’t want to see the sport at the Olympics. But reports suggest that the country blocked the sport’s bid to enter the Olympics because its national governing body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, did not want to hand over some of its authority to India’s Olympic committee and its anti-doping agency. England, the inventor and official rulekeeper of the sport, also initially opposed the bid because the Olympics would interrupt its national team’s schedule, and asked for $160 million in compensation.

That’s now changing, Franz said, after India dropped its opposition. He said he hoped cricket could make an entrance at the Los Angeles games in 2028, or in Brisbane, in 2032.

Inadvertently, India is both driving the sport in Europe, and inhibiting it. Not being in the Olympics severely restricts the visibility and development of cricket in Europe. On a more basic level, Germans won’t be able to watch their team play on the biggest stage. It also means national cricket boards rely on funding from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s international governing body, which in turn overwhelmingly relies on India for its own income.

“It is not possible without the help of the ICC, and again not without the help of India,” Franz said.

Even though the games are free to watch on livestream, it’s mostly Indian audiences, and Franz acknowledged that their reasons for watching may not be love of the game. “There are probably 4 million, 5 million people watching it, but not in Germany. It’s India again,” Franz said. “I don’t think they’re interested, probably. They’re interested in betting ... With corona, there was no cricket everywhere but we were allowed to play here, so we had millions and millions of watchers, but not probably of our such fantastic cricket.”

According to the Danish Institute of Sports Studies, match-fixing, mostly connected to groups in India, already plagues Europe’s nascent cricket leagues. When they were first broadcast, there was a 20-second lag between the action on the pitch and the stream, allowing agents, some hiding in bushes at the match, to report the game in real-time, and allowing bookies to place instant bets.

In other cases, players were paid to ensure a particular outcome in a game. A Cypriot team was suspended after reports of fixing emerged that were likely connected to a betting ring in India. In Germany, at least seven players are being investigated for match-fixing in an ongoing investigation.

While match-fixing has been a fixture of elite cricket as well, the unique vulnerability of the players, Franz argued, made European leagues susceptible.

“You have a poor guy from Afghanistan, a refugee, living on government money, and he has to send money home. Someone offers you 5,000 euros, you might think twice.”

Since the Cypriot case, the organizer said it was stepping up its anti-corruption measures. In Krefeld, no one except the match officials were allowed to approach the team enclosures during the match. The players’ phones were confiscated during the game, and an official had to escort players to the bathroom.

Despite the scandals and chronic lack of funding, the players and staff are optimistic. Shahid, the French captain, said the game’s brilliant enough on its own for people to sign on. The challenge is just to make it visible.

“If someone enjoys chess, and is involved in sports, this is the best game to play,” he said. “If someone’s intelligent, they must play cricket. They can’t stay away.” Source: 15 August 2021, Politico Cricket


SBC Digital Italia: ‘International cooperation definitely key’ to combat globalisation of sports fraud

With the effects of the coronavirus crisis still being felt throughout the world of sports, authorities and governing bodies are facing more pressure than ever in the fight against match-fixing and sports corruption.

Delving into the ongoing challenges that authorities face when combating the manipulation of competitions, a panel titled ‘Match-Fixing Phenomenon at the time of COVID’ at SBC Digital Italia Summit saw Italy’s leading integrity figureheads discuss the globalisation of match-fixing and its demands on sporting authorities.

Moderating the discussion, Ludovico Calvi, President of the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), expressed his view that ‘international communication is definitely key’, citing the ‘success of the Italian model’ in tackling match-fixing and other sports- related crimes.

Taking a ‘special view’ of the situation, Claudio Marinelli, Project Manager at Criminal Intelligence Officer Interpol, noted the ‘resurgence’ of match-fixing among other integrity issues during the pandemic, adding that fraudsters are finding new ways to manipulate fixtures.

“I feel like I should say that using the internet and new technologies has actually boosted sports fraud and as the police, we need to intercept these signals in a different way, so through our cyber investigations which can have an impact on cybercrime,” Marinelli remarked.

He added: “With regards to COVID over the last 18 months, but especially at the beginning of the pandemic, the signals that we received from GLMS were numerous and important regarding several sports. This made it possible for us to intercept them and to develop them from an investigational point of view using all the tools available to use at Interpol and Interpol works through a colour coded system.

“Thanks to the signals received from the GLMS at the beginning of the pandemic that we are still receiving, we now manage to disseminate and notice a specific modus operandi regarding sports fraud regarding sports, and this enabled us to be ahead of everybody. We had an advantage and managed to acquire further information that enabled us to develop investigations that are important and involve many sports.”

Interpol’s observations were confirmed by Ugo Taucer, Attorney General at CONI, who described the relationship between authorities and stakeholders as a ‘bilateral communication’ between parties to protect the integrity of sports.

In its 2021 Mid-Term Monitoring and Intelligence Report, the GLMS revealed that across the first six months of 2021 there were 680 alerts and notifications for 10 sports, 56 of which were sent out to members and partners following its in-depth analysis, justifying suspicious odds movements where appropriate and delivering integrity reports where needed.

Moreover, out of the 680 alerts and notifications that were generated in Q1 and Q2, 515 were created before the start of the match.

Within the report, Europe was the region that generated the most alerts with 373, followed by Asia with 116, South America with 99, North America with 32, Oceania with 19 and Africa with 18. A further 23 alerts were classified as international, highlighting the ‘globalisation’ of sports fraud.

Of the 373 alerts in Europe, football led the way with 255 alerts, followed by basketball with 58, esports with 27, ice hockey with 15, tennis with 14, volleyball with three alerts and handball with a single alert.

Luca Turchi, Director at the Games Control Office of the Games Directorate, Agenzia Dogane e Monopoli, highlighted the ‘many potential problems’ that authorities faced when battling against match-fixing throughout the recently completed tournament – which saw Italy crowned the champions of Europe – and the ‘repercussions’ from other countries.

“It is clear that in general, society has become more globalised and more specialised,” Turchi said. “Sport is the same and betting is the same, therefore, we need to face a global market in which the regulator must indeed be able to exchange and discuss with all the other subjects what we call in English stakeholders.”

However, he added that there are ‘some abnormalities’ in laws and legislations at international level and the ability to use ‘a system which is recognised by 195 countries is remarkable’.

“We have a very tight and deep conversation with our colleagues of other national contexts and realities. So, hence the importance to recognise the likes of Interpol and other bodies which have various administrations within.

“Talking about globalisation, I would like to mention a couple of examples. For instance, the analysis of abnormal notifications during the last period, talking about the period from September to August, saw that the majority of crime notifications relate to matches which have teams or athletes which are totally exclusively not Italian, which is something that explains how it is crucial to protect the market and not just the market, but the sport itself, and we are working mainly to protect sport.” Source: 29 July 2021, Insider Sport All Sports

Stats Perform

Stats Perform and Signify Group collaborate on social media abuse prevention service

Today Stats Perform, the sports tech leader in data and AI technology, and Signify Group, a British ethical data science company, announce a unique partnership to bring a best-in-class social media abuse monitoring service to the sport market.

Social media abuse is now recognised as one of the most serious problems facing sport, with calls from fans, players, teams, leagues, and even governments to take action. Stats Perform recognizes that the sports integrity field needs to expand to include an increased focus on this issue, especially given its impact on sport and its participants. As a result, Stats Perform’s Integrity Unit will be partnering with Signify to address the issue head on, leveraging AI and Machine Learning to monitor and identify abuse in real-time.

Stats Perform will work with Signify to expand access to Signify’s Threat Matrix, a proprietary service using AI technology to detect online abuse at scale, by focusing on providing sports industry stakeholders, such as rights holders, teams, player associations, international federations and governing bodies, with the service to unmask abusers and identify trends, tactics and technology used to send hate online. Those involved in sport need support and protection to help evidence, deflect and report abuse. Threat Matrix offers this service, stripping anonymity from perpetrators and ensuring that abusers do not go unpunished.

Threat Matrix provides proactive monitoring and analysis of millions of open source social media posts across multiple platforms. Service capabilities include images and emoji recognition, as well as keywords, phrases and a long list of abusive words, terms and profanities in multiple languages. The service has been developed over the last 2 years and is built on an evidence based and defensible expert approach to the screening and assessment of inappropriate, threatening and unwanted communications directed at public figures.

Signify have conducted projects across multiple sports including Athletics, Basketball, Cricket and Football. They have run international Open Source investigations for FIFA and are working with Premier League clubs to protect players from online hate. The Professional Footballer’s Association (PFA) partnered with Signify to carry out the most comprehensive study of its kind into online abuse. The report, analysing 6 million tweets over the 2020-21 season has led to the removal of thousands of posts and accounts from social media platforms, whilst initiating club sanctions and criminal investigations.

Threat Matrix joins Stat Perform’s existing portfolio of integrity services offerings including Betting Market Monitoring, Performance Integrity Analysis, Intelligence and Investigations, that are already used by some of the world’s leading rights holders such as The Championships, Wimbledon, as well as La Liga and MLS.

Carl Mergele, Stats Perform CEO, said: “Our Integrity work at Stats Perform focuses on the protection of sport and that includes athletes and other participants. Sports are under increasing pressure from fans and sponsors to demonstrate moral and social responsibility and our partnership with Signify Group will see the deployment of game-changing AI to protect players, athletes and officials from online racist, homophobic, sexist and other abuse. We are very proud to bring this offering to our clients and it blends perfectly with our approach to sport integrity and our wider ESG commitments.”

Jonathan Hirshler, Signify CEO, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Stats Perform to offer Threat Matrix to their unrivalled portfolio of clients. The combination of Stats Perform’s sports industry expertise and Threat Matrix’s bespoke AI powered proactive monitoring and analysis capabilities provides sports stakeholders with an industry leading solution to help protect their athletes and staff from online threat and discriminatory abuse.”

United Kingdom

Investigation reveals how football can be used to launder money

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposes the murky world of club ownership in England and how rules can be abused. English football clubs can be bought by criminals to launder the proceeds of their crimes, an Al Jazeera undercover investigation has revealed.

The investigation delves into the murky world of club ownership in English football and exposes how rules are being abused. The Men Who Sell Football, by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit), shows middlemen telling undercover reporters how they can hide a criminal’s money and identity behind offshore trusts and submit fraudulent due-diligence reports to English football authorities.

It also shows how the same middlemen use “dirty tricks” and can obtain new passports for the criminals – with new names – to deceive football authorities.

“Football fans should be angry because the investigation shows the ... vulnerability of the English football system to funds from dubious origins and unsuitable owners for their clubs,” Transparency International’s Ben Cowdock, who investigates money laundering, said.

“Al Jazeera’s investigation into football club ownership will be of great interest to the police and also the English football authorities.”

The Magician

Posing as agents for a fictitious wealthy Chinese criminal, I-Unit’s undercover reporters contact a middleman, Christopher Samuelson who helped them get to the brink of a deal to buy Derby County, one of England’s oldest football clubs and twice England champions in the 1970s.

Samuelson is a trust fund manager and football deal-maker known as “The Magician”.

According to offshore finance analyst Adrian Gatton, it has been said of Samuelson that he “can make an elephant disappear”, a reference to his skills in concealing funds using trust accounts.

This “ultimate man in the shadows”, was the subject of money-laundering investigations in several European countries but has never been charged.

The reporters told Samuelson their client, “Mr X”, had been convicted, and given a seven-year jail sentence, in absentia for bribery and money laundering, and had smuggled money out of China through casinos in Macau.

Now, he wanted to launder it by buying a football club, Samuelson was told. The English Football League’s (EFL) Owners’ and Directors’ Test bars anybody who has an unspent criminal conviction with a sentence of more than 12 months from owning a club.

Unfazed by the client’s crimes, Samuelson gave a step-by-step guide on how he can use offshore trusts to hide the investor’s money and identity.

To hide Mr X’s conviction, Samuelson proposed using two so-called minority investors to “front” the Derby County purchase as joint shareholders of an offshore company.

They would sign a “Declaration of Trust” that they are holding shares for Mr X. Under this arrangement, Mr X’s identity would be concealed.
‘We’ll just manufacture it’

Samuelson told the undercover reporters he would make sure that the criminal investor would be approved by the EFL.

“I’ll come up with an idea of how we can structure it so we defeat the EFL. I can pressure the football league,” he told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters. “We’ll manage it. We’ll just manufacture it.”

Samuelson took the reporters to Derby, where they met Mel Morris, owner of the club, to discuss a 99-million pound ($137m) deal to buy Derby County. Morris suggested he become a minority shareholder.
Samuelson introduced Al Jazeera’s reporters to Derby County FC owner Mel Morris, left [Al Jazeera]
Brink of ruin, ‘dirty tricks’

Samuelson has long been a player in international business. In the 1990s, he helped build Valmet, one of the world’s biggest offshore trust companies.

His companies moved hundreds of millions of dollars out of Russia for oligarchs, including Boris Berezovsky and “Badri” Patarkatsishvili.

In 2004, he arranged a deal using opaque offshore trusts for a secretive Russian tycoon to buy Premier League club, Everton. The deal fell through after the tycoon’s name, Boris Zingarevich, was leaked to the media.

In 2012 and 2016 respectively, he set up deals for the purchase of two English clubs – Reading and Aston Villa. Both were taken to the brink of financial ruin under mysterious new owners.

Samuelson told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters how he and an associate, private investigator and former Scotland Yard detective Keith Hunter, use “dirty tricks” to seal the deals.

During a meeting with Al Jazeera undercover reporters, Hunter confirmed that he obtained a British journalist’s private telephone records to find the “mole” who leaked Zingarevich’s name.

In the case of Aston Villa, “we were monitoring what the football league was saying behind the scenes”, Samuelson said. “They didn’t know this, of course,” he added.

An internal Scotland Yard report obtained by the I-Unit shows that Hunter was investigated, but not charged, by the anti- corruption team and was suspected to be “an aggressive corruptor of serving Metropolitan Police Service staff”.

Cypriot passport

Samuelson and Hunter said they could help the undercover reporters obtain a new passport for their client, and give him a new name to completely deceive the football authorities.

“We’ve done this many, many times for others who, I can assure you, are in a worse position than your boss,” Hunter said.

Hunter then introduced Al Jazeera’s undercover operatives to contacts in Cyprus.

In a series of meetings, a network of enablers, including an MP and the de facto deputy president, expressed willingness to help the non-existent criminal investor obtain an EU passport with a new name, even though a criminal conviction should disqualify someone who applied through the country’s passport-for-investment scheme.

This investigation into Cyprus passports was released in October 2020 and led to high-level resignations, EU and Cyprus government investigations, the scrapping of the passport scheme and weeks of anti-corruption demonstrations in Cyprus. Responses by those involved

In response to the I-Unit’s findings, Samuelson’s lawyers said he was never told that Mr X had a criminal conviction for money laundering and bribery and that, had he known of any criminality, he would have ended discussions immediately.

Hunter refused to engage with the details of our findings but said that he strongly disputed most of them. Hunter said he left the police with an exemplary record.

Morris told Al Jazeera the club would only be sold to “appropriate custodians” and that they had not had any “formal

association” with Samuelson for some time.
Source: 9 August 2021, Al Jazeera



Match-fixing allegation: Ghana FA loses $5m headline sponsorship deal - Reports

The Ghana Football Association [GFA] have lost a headline sponsorship deal worth $5m over the allegation of match-fixing. The 2020/21 football season was staged without a headline sponsor.

However, the country's football governing body were on the verge of sealing a headline sponsor for the Ghana Premier League but the deal has been scrapped over the allegations of match-fixing.

A report by Kumasi based Pure FM indicates that the FA have lost the deal which is worth $5m.

Over the years, the Ghana FA have struggled to secure a headline sponsor for the local league due to hooliganism at the various stadia.


In the matchday 34 games, which was the last games of the season, Ashgold hosted Inter Allies at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium.

However, the game produced a 7-0 cricket scoreline, aided by Musah’s bizarre own goals.

The first of Musah’s own goals came with Ashgold leading 5-0 in the 78th minute, with the second coming four minutes later.

The player has since justified his actions, stating in an interview with Kumasi FM that he put the ball past his own goalkeeper twice to ruin an apparent bet that had been made prior to the game, predicting a 5-1 scoreline.

He said his actions were as a result of his derision for gambling.

“I heard it in our hotel that a bet had been made for a correct scoreline of 5 goals to 1 against my club Inter Allies.

“I decided to spoil that bet because I don’t condone betting,” he is quoted as having said in the interview.

He said his technical team commended him for his actions after the game.

“After the game, my technical team commended me for spoiling the bet they had staked.

I promised my coach that if he allows me to play from the bench I will spoil the bet. And after the game, my team congratulated me.” he added.

The Ghana FA, however, said in a statement that its Compliance & Integrity Officer and the GFA Prosecutors and the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service would handle the matter and the two clubs involved would also be required to give their statements on the issue.

In a statement, the GFA also said it will lodge a complaint with the police for a criminal probe to commence.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) wishes to inform all its members and the public that the Association has opened investigations into the Ghana Premier League Match-day 34 game played between Ashanti Gold SC and Inter Allies FC at the Len Clay stadium at Obuasi on Saturday, July 17, 2021. The GFA has resolved that:

1. The Compliance & Integrity Officer and the GFA Prosecutors will lead the “sporting” investigations by the GFA, and

2. The Association will further lodge a complaint on the match with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana wing of Interpol for the criminal investigation of the game.

The Association will immediately require statements from the two clubs and the players and the technical team members of the two clubs.

The GFA further urges any member of the public, the media, players, technical team members to also send any evidence or information whatsoever connected to the match (a statement, video, audio etc) to assist the investigations through the GFA integrity Hotline and email.

GFA INTEGRITY HOTLINE As provided for in the GFA Statutes and emphasised during all the training the GFA gave to clubs and 

match officials before the start of the league, one of the core objectives of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) is the commitment to promote the integrity of football in Ghana.

The GFA is committed to investigate all reports of match manipulation(s) and bring the culprits before the Ethics Committee of the Association. The GFA is also committed to report to and assist the Ghana Police Service in all such cases of match manipulations which violate the criminal laws of Ghana for prosecution.

GFA INTEGRITY HOTLINE GFA Compliance & Integrity Office Hotline: 059 337 1735 WhatsApp: 059 337 1735 Email- This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

However, both clubs in separate statements denied any allegations of betting.

Ashgold statement read: "We take notice of the video circulating in relation to our game against Inter Allies and wish to state unequivocally dissociate ourselves from any wrongdoing," a club statement on Monday read.

"Ashantigold played competitively in the entire duration of the game, with our players scoring five great goals through hard work and team effort in the 15th, 26th, 42nd, 49th and 77th respectively.

"We have no idea as to why the opponents' player scored two own goals after we were up by five goals with 13 minutes to end the game.

"We demonstrated throughout the game we were determined to play to the best of our abilities, and not to play any predetermined scoreline as it's been circulated.

"We therefore vehemently dissociate ourselves from any match-fixing and wish to urge all persons and organizations wrongfully accusing the club of match-fixing to desist from that, as we won't hesitate to take legal action against such parties.

"As a renowned sports brand, we have always believed in fair play and would continue to act in the good interest of the game."

Inter Allies, who have been relegated from the top-flight also in a quick response also said they will investigate the allegations internally.

"The attention of the management of Inter Allies Football Club has been drawn to a video in circulation concerning the Ghana Premier League game between the Club and Ashanti Gold SC at the Len Clay Stadium on 18th July, 2021.

"The said video shows a player of Inter Allies, Hashmin Musah scoring 2 deliberate own goals.
"The Management condemns any such conduct and activity that compromises the integrity of the game.

"Without any prejudice to Ghana Football Association’s investigation, the Management of the Club has instituted an internal inquiry headed by Paul Parker Atitsogbui Esq to look into the matter and advise management accordingly.

"We wish to state that any official or player found culpable of having played any role in the said matter shall be reported to the Ghana Football Association for appropriate sanctions.

"Once again, the Management wishes to dissociate ourselves from such unprofessional conduct.

"We thank you for your attention."
Source: 2 August 2021, Modern Ghana

United States

US Department of Justice awards FIFA Foundation USD 201 million compensation

The United States Department of Justice has awarded the sum of USD 201 million to the FIFA Foundation as compensation for the losses suffered by FIFA, Concacaf and CONMEBOL as victims of decades of football corruption schemes. This money was seized from the bank accounts of former officials who were involved in, and then prosecuted for, years of corruption schemes in football. The funds will go into a newly formed World Football Remission Fund, established under the auspices of the FIFA Foundation to help finance football-related projects with positive community impact across the globe.

“I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “I want to sincerely thank the US Justice authorities for their efforts in this respect, for their fast and effective approach in bringing these matters to a conclusion, and also for their trust in general. The truth is that, thanks to their intervention back in 2015, we have been able to fundamentally change FIFA from a toxic organisation at the time, to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body. Thankfully, we are well past that unfortunate period in history now and it’s great to see significant funding being put at the disposal of the FIFA Foundation, which can positively impact so many people across the football world, especially through youth and community programmes.”

The FIFA President added: “Since 2016, FIFA and the United States Department of Justice have been in close cooperation, and I believe this decision also acknowledges the significant progress we have made in terms of good governance and transparency, all of which was discussed and presented by FIFA officials and me in meetings with the authorities. Today, they know that with the FIFA Foundation this money is in good hands and will serve the purpose it is intended for.”

“On behalf of all future beneficiaries around the world, I would like to thank the US authorities for the trust placed in FIFA, and we will make sure that these funds are used properly and bring tangible benefits for people who really need it,” concluded the FIFA President.

The World Football Remission Fund will be operated under the auspices of the FIFA Foundation, which is an independent foundation aimed to promote positive social change around the world through football. The Fund, which is intended to have a particular focus on youth and community programmes, will have earmarked amounts to projects within Concacaf and CONMEBOL, given that they suffered significantly as a result of the criminal activities. In addition, all projects will be submitted

to strict monitoring, auditing and compliance checks to guarantee full transparency and accountability.
Source: 25 August 2021, FIFA


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