This month, we followed with close interest several investigations conducted in Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
In Spain, World Rugby launched an urgent inquiry into last month’s 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier between Spain and Belgium at the centre of a Romanian match-fixing
row. In the United Kingdom, police are still investigating 11 people over alleged match-fixing in a Welsh Premier League match which was played two years ago. In India, a group of five people were arrested for fixing matches in the ongoing edition of the 2018 Indian Premier League.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is investigating allegations of match-fixing during a Confederation Cup playoff between Plateau United and USM Alger of Algeria. In this connection, four South African match officials were approached before the game with an offer of $30,000 to fix the result, but they rejected it. The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) is investigating wrongdoings after a FIFA audit into construction of its lavish new Auckland headquarters raised corruption concerns.
In terms of doping, Austrian authorities raided the headquarters of International Biathlon Union (IBU) following a tip from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that its leaders may have been involved with the vast Russian doping scandal. Consequently, IBU’s President has stood down from his role, while the sport’s governing body has also suspended IBU’s Secretary General.
In terms of betting, French ARJEL (Autorité de Régulation des Jeux en Ligne) decided to ban online sports betting on all KF Skënderbeu matches until the end of the championship.
With regards to good practices, worldwide experts from the sporting and racing industries gathered in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a joint Victoria Police and Sport and Recreation Victoria symposium entitled ‘Effective Governance: Preventing Corruption and Maintaining Integrity in Sport’ which addressed corruption in sport issues.
Lastly, Sportsradar’s Head of Esports was fired following a Twitter storm over his use of multiple accounts to bet on esports matches. Sportsradar acknowledged that he had been betting on matches, although it said no evidence had been found that he had been using insider information, or that he had bet on any matches where integrity concerns had been raised.
IPL Match-Fixing Racket Busted in Jaipur
New Delhi, April 15: A group of five people were arrested for fixing matches in the ongoing edition of the IPL 2018 from hotel City Palace in Jaipur. 5 mobiles, set-top box, television and nearly 10 lakh rupees were recovered from the fixers.
The fixing took place for the Mumbai, Delhi match which took place on April 14. Nasim, Imran, Firoz, Irfan and Riyaz are the name of the identified culprits who are being investigated at the Sadar Police Station, according to reports.
Source: India.com Sports Desk, 15 April 2018, India.com
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
Football: FIFA corruption concerns prompt Oceania probe
WELLINGTON: The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) said Monday (Apr 9) it will investigate "potential wrongdoings" after a FIFA audit into construction of its lavish new Auckland headquarters raised corruption concerns.
The move comes after the sudden resignation of OFC president David Chung two days before a meeting to discuss the FIFA findings. Chung resigned on Friday citing "personal reasons", but FIFA subsequently revealed its audit had uncovered "potential irregularities" in the Auckland project.
FIFA said it had temporarily suspended OFC funding, part of a zero-tolerance approach to corruption introduced in response to numerous scandals that have tarnished its reputation in recent years. The OFC said it agreed to meet all FIFA requirements to resume funding, conduct a forensic audit of the case and carry out its own investigation.
"The OFC Executive Committee has appointed an external lawyer to lead an internal investigation into potential wrongdoings and to take legal action if required," it said in a statement.
The FIFA audit raised concerns about construction of a sports hub in Auckland that Chung said would become "The Home of Football" in the Pacific region. With a reported budget of NZ$15 million (US$10.9 million), it was a pet project of Chung, the head of Papua New Guinea football who had led the OFC since 2010.
The New York Times reported that Chung and former OFC general secretary Tai Nicholas awarded contracts for the scheme without tender to companies with no track record in the area. It claimed the audit showed many of the companies were set up just before the contracts were awarded and questioned their relationship with those driving the project.
The newspaper alleged the OFC's executive committee was planning to suspend Chung for "gross dereliction of duty or an act of improper conduct" at a meeting on Sunday before he fell on his sword. Nicholas quietly resigned in December, also citing personal reasons. The OFC has long had issues with governance and transparency.
Chung's predecessor Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was forced out in 2010 after being implicated in a vote-selling scandal during an undercover newspaper sting. In November, former Guam FA president Richard Lai, who served on FIFA's auditing body, was barred from football for life after admitting to accepting almost $1 million on kickbacks.
OFC's current headquarters in Auckland, opened only eight years ago, is named after former president Charlie Dempsey, who created an uproar in 2000 during the vote to award the 2006 World Cup. Dempsey had been instructed by Oceania to vote for South Africa but abstained from the final ballot, effectively handing the 2006 tournament to Germany. He later said he withdrew after being placed under "intolerable pressure" but never fully explained his actions.
Reports in German media in 2015 alleged Dempsey had been paid $250,000 on the eve of the vote by a sports marketing firm linked to the German bid.
Source: AFP, 9 April 2018, Channel News Asia
SA referees offered R360K to fix game in Nigeria
Johannesburg - Four South African match officials were offered $30 000 (R361 461) to fix an international club game in Nigeria this weekend, their country's national soccer association said Thursday.
Referee Victor Gomes, assistant referees Johannes Moshidi and Athenkosi Ndongeni, and fourth official Thando Ndzandzeka were offered the bribe in cash ahead of Nigerian team Plateau United's Confederation Cup game against Algerian club USM Alger in Lagos on Saturday, the South African Football Association (SAFA) said.
SAFA said Gomes immediately reported the incident to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), which runs the Confederation Cup. CAF has opened an investigation. No details were given on who was suspected of offering the bribe. Plateau United won the game 2-1. The second leg is next week in Algeria.
The playoff will decide who reaches the main group stage of the Confederation Cup, Africa's second-biggest club competition after the African Champions League. Africa has been a fertile ground for match-fixing in recent years.
A World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal in 2016 was ordered by FIFA to be replayed after Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey was found guilty of fixing the game by awarding Bafana Bafana a penalty for a non-existent handball by a Senegalese player.
It was the first time a top-level soccer game was replayed because of match-fixing. Lamptey was later banned for life by FIFA, which detailed other games stretching back years where his actions came under suspicion.
This month, the referees' body in Malawi asked the national soccer association to increase the amount it pays referees and match officials, which is currently about $5 (R60) each per game. The referees' body argued that the low wages increased the likelihood of match officials fixing games for money.
That request by the Malawian referees union followed a case in the southern African country last year when four match officials were banned for life for agreeing to fix a club game for a total of $20 (R241) between them.
Source: 12 April 2018, Sport24.co.za
World Rugby launches an urgent inquiry into controversial World Cup qualifier between Spain and Belgium at centre of match-fixing row
Spain submitted an official complaint following their qualifying loss to Belgium
Romanian referee Vlad Iordaeschu is at the centre of the controversial match
Romania required Spain to lose in order to qualify for the 2019 World Cup
World Rugby have concluded the game should be replayed due to the referee
World Rugby has launched an urgent inquiry into last month’s Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifier between Spain and Belgium at the centre of a Romanian match-fixing row. Spain submitted an official complaint outlining 19 "unfair" decisions by Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu, whose own country were set qualify after Spain lost 18-10.
The governing body concluded that the game should be replayed because of a "non-neutral" referee – however that has been overtaken by further allegations of ineligible players. The allegations are understood to surround Romania and Belgium and, if found guilty, any offending nations could be kicked out of the competition outright.
World Rugby chiefs Bill Beaumont and Gus Pichot have taken the matter out of the hands of Rugby Europe, whose president Octavian Morariu is also Romanian.
A World Rugby spokesman said: "Having considered all available information, the World Rugby Executive Committee and Rugby World Cup Board felt that a replay would be in the best interests of the game.
"Since expressing that view, new information relating to player eligibility in the Rugby Europe Championship has been presented to World Rugby by the participating unions.
"Given this information concerns potential breach of World Rugby regulations, and given the complexity and interconnectivity of the issues, a full and independent review is warranted.
"World Rugby’s independent Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan QC has been asked to form and convene the disputes committee, as permitted under the Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification terms of participation, on an emergency basis in order to achieve certainty as soon as possible."
Qualifying is understood to be worth around £1.5million in sponsorship and funding for Spain. A separate panel has been set up to investigate the conduct of Spain’s players who chased Iordachescu off the pitch after the final whistle.
Source: Nik Simon, 5 April 2018, Daily Mail
No charges in two-year Port Talbot v Rhyl match-fixing probe
Police are still investigating 11 people over alleged match-fixing in a Welsh Premier League match which was played two years ago. No-one has been charged since betting patterns on the Port Talbot Town v Rhyl match sparked a police probe.
Port Talbot lost 5-0 to Rhyl, who had not won in 17 games, on 9 April 2016. South Wales Police said a file had been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, but the CPS said it had not received a full file of evidence. This means prosecutors are not in a position where any charges could be considered.
South Wales Police's economic crime unit started the investigation after receiving information from the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and the Gambling Commission. Eight men and three women - including players, staff and associates - were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.
At the time, Rhyl had not won a league match since they beat Airbus Broughton UK 1-0 on 23 October 2015. Port Talbot were one place and 12 points ahead of Rhyl and had beaten them 4-0 less than two weeks before the match in question. The FAW said it would be inappropriate to comment while the police investigation was ongoing. The Gambling Commission would not comment on the matter.
Source: 9 April 2018, BBC News
IBU president Besseberg steps down amid police investigation
Anders Besseberg has stood down from his role as president of the International Biathlon Union (IBU), while the sport’s governing body has also suspended secretary general Nicole Resch.
The news comes after the IBU confirmed on Wednesday that the Austrian Federal Criminal Police conducted a raid on its headquarters in Salzburg as part of an investigation targeting its leadership.
The IBU did not specify what its headquarters were being searched for, although Austrian police have since said that the investigation relates to possible doping, fraud and corruption involving Russian athletes.
Besseberg, who has led the IBU since its formation in 1993, told the Reuters news agency: “It is related to some doping issues, that we have not have not been following up on suspicious blood samples and such matters.”
The Norwegian added that the best way forward would be for him to relinquish his role pending the outcome of the investigation. “I personally will plan to lay down the presidency,” he said. “Personally, I think this is the right thing to do.”
According to the New York Times newspaper, the Austrian police raid followed a tip-off from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that the IBU’s leaders may have been involved in the Russian doping scandal.
Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistleblower behind the uncovering of Russia’s state-sponsored doping scheme, provided details of transgressions in biathlon, according to his lawyer Jim Walden.
"Dr Rodchenkov has been cooperating with the investigation of the International Biathlon Union, and with other investigations," Walden said in a statement reported by the New York Times. "We are hopeful that all doping fraud and corruption in international sports is fully exposed, and we will continue to work diligently to make that a reality."
The IBU noted in a statement that it was "fully cooperating with the investigation and the office remains operational during normal business hours".
The statement added: "The IBU executive board is taking the matter extremely seriously and continues to be committed to operating under the highest standards of good governance and transparency."
Source: Sam Carp, 13 April 2018, SportsPro
DÉCISION DU 9 AVRIL 2018
Le président de l’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne ;
Vu la loi n° 2010-476 du 12 mai 2010 relative à l’ouverture à la concurrence et à la régulation du secteur des jeux d’argent et de hasard en ligne modifiée, notamment le V de son article 12 ;
Vu le décret n° 2010-483 du 12 mai 2010 relatif aux compétitions sportives et aux types de résultats sportifs définis par l’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne ;
Article 1er – Sont interdits les paris sportifs en ligne portant sur les rencontres du championnat albanais de premier niveau (Kategoria Superiore) auxquelles participe l’équipe KF Skënderbeu.
Cette interdiction s’applique jusqu’à la fin du championnat et entre immédiatement en vigueur.
Article 2 – La présente décision sera publiée sur le site de l’ARJEL.
Source: 9 April 2018, Arjel
In Austria, Police Raids Stemming From Russian Sports Corruption Inquiries
The authorities in Austria raided the headquarters of biathlon’s global governing body following a tip from the World Anti-Doping Agency that its leaders may have been involved with the vast Russian doping scandal that continues to roil international sports.
The Salzburg-based International Biathlon Union, which has long had close links to Russian sports, confirmed the investigation in a news release on Wednesday, in which it also announced that its longtime secretary general, Nicole Resch, had requested a leave of absence. The I.B.U. said the investigation focused on Resch — who had publicly questioned sports regulators’ conclusions about Russia’s systematic cheating — and the group’s president, Anders Besseberg, a former biathlete and cross-country skier who is also a board member of the antidoping agency.
The raid escalates the Russian doping scandal at a time when sports officials have tried to put it in the rearview mirror. Investigators have established that huge amounts of corruption within Russia’s system tainted track and field. The raid in Austria signals that the investigation has extended to other sports’ governing bodies and could raise additional questions about possible bribery in other federations.
Biathlon had been at the center of a number of allegations related to Russian doping years before the 2016 revelations of a state-sponsored scheme that corrupted dozens of sporting events, including to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The raid on the biathlon organization came after the antidoping agency gave details gleaned by its own investigation team to law enforcement officials in Norway — where a raid also took place — and Austria, as well as the global police organization Interpol.
The government investigation began in 2017 and resulted in surveillance of potential targets late last year, according to three people familiar with the case.
Continue reading the main story.
“WADA confirms that the issue is linked to doping but as the police investigation is ongoing, the agency can make no further comment at this stage,” the organization said in a statement.
The Norwegian broadcaster NRK, citing a news release from the country’s financial crimes investigator, reported that the police there were providing assistance to Austrian authorities who suspected Norwegians “of economic crime.”
Besseberg, 72, is from Norway, and is one of the longest-serving sports federation presidents. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Late last year, after the International Olympic Committee had banned the Russian Federation from the 2018 Winter Olympics, Besseberg announced that Russia’s biathlon organization had been relegated to “provisional membership” — a largely symbolic suspension that did not limit Russia’s ability to host events. That prompted an outcry from some sports officials and boycotts of competitions in Russia by American and Canadian biathletes.
This week’s raid came as another prominent Norwegian sports figure — Linda Helleland, the nation’s minister of children and equality, who also serves as the vice president of the antidoping agency — proposed an overhaul of global sport’s antidoping system in the wake of the Russian doping scandal.
“Why has it been so difficult to secure universal acceptance of the facts?” Helleland wrote in a proposal circulated privately among WADA executives and obtained by The New York Times. Her analysis of the scandal is expected to be discussed at the organization’s foundation board meeting next month. “How can we avoid the confusion that arose when Russian athletes were treated differently from sport to sport and sometimes within one sport?”
In an interview in Austria in December, Besseberg called the rash of Russian doping violations damaging and said that in reviewing suspicious cases, he had considered each athlete’s circumstances individually.
“We are handling cases and taking our decisions,” he said. “WADA can appeal if they don’t agree with our decisions.”
The full scope of the Russian doping program was revealed by Grigory Rodchenkov, a former director of the country’s antidoping laboratory. Rodchenkov, who is in hiding in the United States, provided details of abuses in biathlon, according to his lawyer, Jim Walden.
“Dr. Rodchenkov has been cooperating with the investigation of the International Biathlon Union, and with other investigations,” Walden said in a statement. “We are hopeful that all doping fraud and corruption in international sports is fully exposed, and we will continue to work diligently to make that a reality.”
In an interview published earlier Wednesday, Rodchenkov told NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster, that biathlon officials had ignored suspicious blood passport results registered by Russian biathletes. Instead of investigating the anomalies, officials simply sent the information to Russia’s antidoping agency, which was itself at the center of the cheating scheme.
“Russia received sensitive information from I.B.U., with a message to take care of it,” Rodchenkov said, according to NRK. Rodchenkov’s claims of a sophisticated scheme to replace drug-tainted samples with clean ones was validated by three separate independent investigations.
Doping by Russian athletes infected biathlon for years, and even after the wider doping program was unmasked, the I.B.U. faced repeated criticism from many of its own members for what they perceived to be weak antidoping policies, and a soft stance toward Russia. That prompted teams from the United States, Ukraine and the Czech Republic to withdraw from last month’s season-ending event in the Russian resort Tyumen.
In 2011 Jacques Rogge, then the I.O.C. president, was so concerned about Russia’s biathlon federation that he urged the country’s president at the time, Dmitri A. Medvedev, to take stronger action. Rodchenkov said in a sworn statement that the billionaire owner of the Nets, Mikhail D. Prokhorov, played a role in obscuring the scheme when he led the Russian Biathlon Union. Prokhorov, who denies the claim, is helping to finance a New York defamation suit against Rodchenkov by three banned biathletes.
In investigating corruption related to Russian sports doping, the Austrian and Norwegian authorities have joined French and American officials, who have conducted their own inquiries dating back several years. While French authorities initially centered their attention on track and field officials, they later broadened their scrutiny of other sports.
Source: TARIQ PANJA and REBECCA R. RUIZ, 11 April 2018, The New York Times
Sporting integrity experts gather for Melbourne symposium
A number of the world’s foremost experts from the sporting and racing industries will gather in Melbourne today as part of a joint Victoria Police and Sport and Recreation Victoria symposium focusing on sporting integrity issues.
This year’s symposium is titled "Effective Governance: Preventing Corruption and Maintaining Integrity in Sport" and will highlight domestic and international efforts to combat sports corruption.
Presentations at the event will cover a range of topics including the regulation of illegal offshore gambling, development of match fixing legislation, drug testing and more.
The symposium will include presentations from Victoria Police, as well as several distinguished local and international guest speakers.
Professor Richard H McLaren will discuss his investigation into doping in Russian sport and David Howman will present on the subsequent creation of the international Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
Delegates will also hear about integrity in racing and successes in this field, governance and integrity in professional women’s sport, and the work of Victoria Police’s own Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.
The symposium will be officially opened by The Honorable John Eren MP, Minister for Sport and closed by Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Paterson said the day-long conference provides valuable opportunities for key stakeholders from law enforcement, the sporting and racing codes, and government officials working in the field of sports integrity to share ideas and learn from common experiences.
“Sporting integrity is an increasing focus of law enforcement both here in Australia and overseas,” AC Paterson said.
“We see examples of match fixing being detected around the world on an almost daily basis.
“Melbourne is considered the sporting capital of Australia and we take great pride in that, however we also have a responsibility to ensure that love of sport is not compromised by organised crime groups and criminal activity.
“We want to make it as difficult as possible by creating a hostile environment where those groups can’t profit from their attempts to infiltrate sporting events in Victoria.
“Sport should be something enjoyed by everyone from spectators at local games through to participants at the highest level, without worrying that it is linked to criminal activity.”
AC Paterson also said a number of growing trends will also be covered during this year’s presentations.
“Sports corruption remains a concern, especially in relation to gambling,” he said.
“Online sports betting is a rapidly growing market and organised criminal syndicates are fully aware of the profits that corrupting a sporting event can return from offshore wagering operators.
“This year we’ll also have presentations relating to the governance and integrity within professional women’s sport, an area which continues to grow at a rapid rate.
“It’s important that we continue to monitor those emerging trends in sporting integrity and the only way we will see sustained success is through a co-ordinated and inclusive partnership response across all agencies and organisations.
“We take great pride that the Victoria Police Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit is recognised internationally as a leader in the investigation and disruption of sports corruption, and today’s symposium highlights our continued commitment to this issue.”
The Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) was established in 2013 and since that time has had a number of successes both in Victoria and in working with other law enforcement agencies, sporting and racing bodies.
The SIIU’s investigations have involved soccer, tennis and harness racing, as well as proactively working with the Asian Football each year in relation to the Australian Open.
The SIIU also has a strong focus on assisting stakeholders with education and training in order to prevent and disrupt match-fixing approaches, including the use of the Crime Stoppers network.
Source: Natalie Webster, 11 April 2018, Victoria Police News
ODDS AND ENDS
Global Integrity Firm Sportsradar’s Head of Esports Fired for Betting on Matches
Sportsradar Head of Esports, James Watson, was fired this week following a Twitter storm over his use of multiple accounts to bet “aggressively” on esports matches.
Sportsradar is a sports data monitoring and intelligence company, supplying some of the world’s biggest sports federations, leagues, clubs and state authorities with solutions to fight betting-related match-fixing and corruption. All Sportsradar employees are prohibited from betting on sports of any kind.
But on March 14, Rahul Sood, CEO of Nevada-based, Maltese-licensed esports betting platform Unikrn took to Twitter to accuse Watson of multi-accounting on his site.
“Then he blocks me after I call him out. Sportradar is this the integrity you want to portray? … Because if someone worked for us and did sh*t like this he or she would be looking for a job in another industry.”
Sportsradar’s high-level data analysis can provide employees with highly privileged information – for example, alerting them to suspicious betting patterns that could indicate a certain match has been fixed prior to kick off. Its reputation as a high-profile integrity company necessitates its staff must be beyond reproach.
This week Sportsradar acknowledged Watson had been betting on matches, although it said no evidence had been found that he had been using insider information, or that he had bet on any matches where integrity concerns had been raised. Neither was there any evidence he had attempted to manipulate betting market prices by his multi-accounting.
Nevertheless, said the company, “Sportradar has a strict policy in relation to employees betting and takes the integrity of its operations very seriously. As a result, it has been mutually agreed that James will leave Sportradar.”
Esports has had its fair share of match-fixing scandals, and the rise of esports betting has facilitated the need for monitoring services, such as those provided by Sportsradar. In 2016, the 2014 Starcraft world champion and 2015 runner-up, Lee “Life” Seung Hyun, was arrested in South Korea on charges of throwing matches and imprisoned for 18 months.
The relatively low prize money on offer to top players, particularly in smaller tournaments, makes esports particularly vulnerable, while the “top heavy” prize structure in the past has encouraged players to cheat to mitigate financial risk.
Source: 4 April 2018, Casino.org eSports