News 7th May 2015

Georgian Police Detain Eight Suspected of Match-Fixing

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs announced on 5 May that eight individuals have been detained by police following an extensive investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency in the cities of Tbilisi and Kutaisi. The suspects were detained due to allegations that they bribed participants of professional sports competitions. The Ministry’s statement named the eight individuals as including the President of the Stu Tbilisi football club, which plays in the Georgian second division, a representative of the Asian betting firm IbtsBet and two players from football club Kharagauli Chkherilema, which also plays in the second division, among others.

According to the Ministry, the investigation in the capital, Tbilisi, and Georgia’s second-largest city, Kutaisi, found that the arrested persons had been involved in prearranging match results and paying substantial bribes of between 10,000 Georgian Lari (€3,800) to 20,000 Georgian Lari (€7,600) to football players in order to fix matches. The suspects are alleged to have then placed online bets with bookmakers on the results of the fixed matches, sharing the winnings between each other.

The eight suspects are accused of breaching Article 203 of Georgia’s Criminal Code, bribing participants or organisers of professional sports competitions, which carries a possible sentence of between four and six years imprisonment. The Georgian football association (GFF) said that it fully supported the Ministry’s action, and was cooperating fully. ‘The sad thing is that some people can not learn from past experiences’, read a statement. ‘Despite the harsh punitive measures and arrests made in recent years, some people still can not comprehend the risks and dangers of match-fixing. We would hope that the national championship players, coaches, referees and club officials realise the damage that has been done to Georgian football, and will refuse to participate in such transactions.’

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