Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
FIFA has extended sanctions levied by four national associations on 27 players for match-fixing to have a worldwide effect. The sanctions extended concern proceedings conducted by the Estonian (EFA), Latvian (LFF), Swedish (SVFF) and Czech Republic’s (FACR) football associations.
On 5 December 2014, the EFA sanctioned 21 players, including nine lifetime bans, two six-year bans (ending December 2020), six four-year bans (ending 5 December 2018), two two-year bans (ending 5 December 2016) and one one-year ban (ending 5 December 2015). The bans followed an investigation opened by the State Prosecutor in 2011 into allegations of fraud. FIFA had already extended the bans on 13 of these players to have a worldwide effect on 25 September 2014.
Of the 21 players, 16 are Estonian nationals and five have ‘undefined citizenship’, which the EFA said denotes a post-Soviet form of statelessness. ‘The sanctions related to the manipulation of matches in the Estonian top league, the Meistriliiga, the Estonian Cup and Estonian U21 national team matches’, read a FIFA statement. ‘Four of the players appealed against the decisions taken by the EFA Disciplinary Committee and, on 12 January 2015, the EFA Appeals Committee rejected their appeals’.
In Latvia, the LFF Disciplinary Committee sanctioned players Jevgēnijs Kosmačovs and Aleksandrs Vlasovs and officials Jevgēnijs Klopovs (Latvia) and Ivan Tabanov (Moldova), following the arrest of eight people on 24 October 2014 as part of a police investigation into allegations of match-fixing. The LFF rejected appeals by the players and one of the officials on 21 November 2014.
In Sweden, the SVFF sanctioned Serbian player Adnan Ajrovic on 7 November 2014 with a two-year ban, running from 12 September 2014 to 11 September 2016, in relation to the alleged manipulation of a game in Sweden’s second division, the Superettan. On 3 February 2015, the Swedish Sports Tribunal (Riksidrottsnämnden) rejected his appeal against the decision. An attempt to convict players on criminal charges under the same investigation failed, as the criminal offence of bribery requires money to have been directly offered.
In The Czech Republic on 6 March 2014, the FACR sanctioned David Placák with a five-year ban ending 6 February 2019, in relation to two 2013 matches in the Czech football league. Article 78, paragraph 1(c) and Article 136ff of FIFA’s Disciplinary Code allow FIFA to extend match-fixing sanctions to have a worldwide effect.
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