21st January 2020

Sports Integrity Briefs – 21 January 2020

• A 33 year old football player has been arrested as part of an investigation into two football matches with ‘intense’ betting activity, Cyprus police announced on Twitter (below). The Cyprus Football Association (CFA) received a suspicious betting report from UEFA regarding a 12 January match between Aris Limassol and Karmiotissa Polemidia in the B Championship a day earlier, and sent the alert on to police. On Saturday, the Ministry of Justice announced that football matches would resume after an attack on a referee. Amongst other measures, the Ministry of Justice has introduced a confidential service allowing the reporting of any match-fixing attempts to police. “Now is the time to speak, gentlemen”, said George Savvides, Minister of Justice, in a message to the country’s clubs. “We need to stop the guilty silence”.

Pavel Kolobkov is to step down as Russia’s Minister of Sport as part of a resignation of Russia’s entire government, after President Vladimir Putin proposed changes to the Russian constitution in his State address to Parliament. It is understood that Putin has proposed a referendum on reforms to the Russian Constitution that would give the State Duma greater responsibility for the appointment of the Prime Minister and their cabinet. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev later announced on State television that he would step down and the government would resign. Insiders suggest one possibility being considered is the replacement of the Ministry of Sport with a Federal Agency for Sport.

• The Premier League has been urged to examine whether USM’s £30 million purchase of an option to enter a naming rights contract for Everton’s planned 52,000-seat stadium, set to open for the 2023/24 season, constitutes a breach of financial fair play rules, reports the Daily Mail. USM, which is owned by Alisher Usmanov, also sponsors the club’s training ground. Usmanov has business connections to Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri. Under Premier League and UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations, transactions with a ‘related party’ must be proven to not exceed ‘fair market value’ in order to avoid investors bankrolling clubs through such sponsorship deals. 

• The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) has confirmed that Gabriel Sîncrăian has returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for metabolites of stanozolol and metenolone due to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) retesting of samples given at the London 2012 Olympics. The Romanian weightlifter has already been disqualified from the Rio 2016 Olympics due to an AAF for exogenous testosterone, and has lost the bronze medal in the 85kg event.

• An Italian beach soccer player and a marathon runner have been sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs), Italy’s national anti-doping organisation (NADO Italia) announced. Ovidio Alla, who has played for the national team, was sanctioned with a four year ban after returning an adverse analytical finding for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine. Ilaria Pizzulli, a distance runner, was sanctioned with a one year ban expiring 19 November 2020.

• A number of Russian sporting federations have confirmed that their athletes will join the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s (RUSADA) appeal against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision to declare it non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code for a four year period, reports State news agency TASS. WADA sanctioned RUSADA after it was found that Russian authorities had continued to manipulate Moscow Laboratory data until the day before it was retrieved by WADA. RUSADA confirmed that it would appeal against the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Christmas Eve.

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