Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has clarified that it reported allegations of an illegal approach towards two players to fix games to police authorities in June, and has since been cooperating with an ongoing police investigation. ‘In June this year, the BWF was notified – under its Betting “Whistle Blower” System – by two players that they were approached and invited to conspire with other persons to fix badminton matches’, read a 12 October BWF statement. ‘The players declined to get involved in match fixing. Acting upon legal advice, the BWF informed the appropriate police authorities of what they had been told, lodged a report and handed over related documents. Thereafter, the BWF informed the two players of what actions had been taken and that the matter is being investigated.’
‘The person soliciting the players’ involvement is a person outside the badminton community and it is therefore not possible or legal for BWF to investigate this matter any further’, continued the statement. ‘Therefore, BWF has turned the case over to the appropriate police authorities, who have the necessary legal jurisdiction to investigate it and pursue any legal action. Up until now, the BWF has opted not to publicise this situation in order not to compromise the ongoing police investigation or to prejudice any potential legal action. The players who reported the case have, however, unilaterally chosen to communicate details of the case to media and BWF has, as a reaction to this public approach, decided to provide this statement to explain the factual circumstances around the case. BWF does not want to disclose any names or further details around the case as a precaution regarding this investigation.’
Two Danish players, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Kim Astrup, told the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) that they were approached by a Malaysian man on Facebook shortly before June’s Japan Open. According to DR, Vittinghus reported the approach to the BWF immediately, but Astrup decided to get some more information in order to report this to the BWF. According to DR, the Malaysian man told Astrup that he had previously fixed games in the Thomas Cup and Singapore Open. He offered Astrup €3,000 per match.
“BWF is very satisfied that the players who were contacted about the match-fixing offer completely rejected it and also reported the case through the BWF “Whistle Blower” System that has been set up precisely to handle such incidents”, said BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer. “While BWF does not think it is advantageous for the resolution of this case that details have been publicised, we do view this as an opportunity to highlight even further to the badminton community that they must be aware of threats from external criminal sources. It is especially important that players are aware of the adverse effects of match fixing and that the only safe route is to reject any approaches from individuals soliciting their involvement in match fixing. Such activities are not only contrary to BWF’s integrity principles but also clearly pose risks to the safety of players who become entangled with criminal syndicates.”
A joint investigation by Europol, Spain’s Guardia Civil and the Spanish tax agency has uncovered...