15 February 2011
Match-fixing and betting-related corruption have been cited in recent years by various senior sports figures as the biggest threat to sport in the near future. Michel Platini, the head of Uefa, has said so numerous times now, including in this interview from November 2010, when he said: “To fix a game is to attack the soul of football.”
The SROC (umbrella of major sports governing bodies, said it as far back as March 2009, in this article linked here.
IOC president Jacques Rogge warned as recently as January 2011 that illegal betting may threaten the Olympics.
Governing bodies, governments and individuals are now taking the threat seriously. Sportingintelligence has covered betting-related corruption and integrity issues extensively, and will continue to do so, hence the following list, to be regularly updated, of cases under investigation across sport in 2011. A year ago, we published a ‘snapshot’ of 10 cases with links to British sport.
Date of ‘incident’ or most recent action / SPORT / details, current update, links
14 December 2010 FOOTBALL The Association of British Bookmakers said it was looking at irregular activity after bets on a red card in the SPL game between Motherwell and Hearts. BBC report here. Motherwell’s Steve Jennings was sent off after a series on unusual bets on the game; Jennings has consistently denied wrongdoing. The ABB / Scottish FA / Gambling Commission continue to look at the case. Sources say one of those who placed bets on the Motherwell-Hearts red card has links to England players.
28 January 2011 SNOOKER The game’s governing body, the WPBSA, said on 29 January that it had “been made aware, by bookmakers, of suspicious betting patterns on the match between Jimmy Michie and Marcus Campbell at the Snooker Shoot-Out on Friday evening. The match in the one-frame knockout tournament in Blackpool was won by Campbell, 32 points to 21. An usually high number of bets had been placed on Campbell to win the match. The matter has been passed on to David Douglas, head of the WPBSA’s Integrity Unit, for a thorough and immediate investigation.”
5 February 2011 CRICKET Three Pakistan cricketers hear verdicts from an ICC tribunal ‘trial’ into allegations of spot-fixing at the Lord’s Test last summer. Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif effectively receive bans of five years each (Butt and Asif get 10 years and seven years, but parts suspended). The trio now face criminal charges, beginning with a scheduled initial hearing on 17 March 2011. More on the case here.
11 February 2011 FOOTBALL OWNERSHIP In a case that throws the spotlight on general integrity rather than any betting incident, the Wikifrauds.net website explores the activity of Ahsan Ali Syed, a one-time bidder for an English Premier League club who has since taken control at Racing Santander in Spain.
11 February 2011 FOOTBALL The national associations of Estonia and Latvia announce they have asked Uefa and Fifa to investigate the circumstances of their friendly matches, respectively against Bulgaria and Bolivia, in Antalya, Turkey; both games were played there on Wednesday 9 February, with Estonia drawing 2-2 and Latvia beating Bolivia 2-1, with ALL seven goals being scored by penalties. Unusual betting was reportedly recorded on both games. The Latvian FA said the games had been arranged by a Thai-based agency, Footy Sport International. By 14 February, Fifa confirms an investigation is underway, with speculation surrounding the identity (disputed) and involvement of the referee – the same official taking charge of both games. The Bulgarian FA and the Estonian FA were saying the referee was Hungaria’s Krisztian Selmecz, but the Hungarian referees’ chief, Laszlo Wagner, and the Hungarian media, said the referee was Selmecz’s fellow countryman Kolos Lengyel. Wagner said that all three match officials involved would now be suspended; Wagner also said he was ‘shocked’ about the officials’ involvement as he did not know they were officiating at the games.
Update on 26 Feb (see third item in the linked column)
Update on 11 March / and 12 March
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