News 8 June 2016

Sports Integrity Briefs – 8 June 2016

• Brazil federal police have raided ‘the offices of the consortium responsible for Olympic construction projects’ in Rio de Janeiro, Reuters reports. Federal prosecutors have reportedly said they found evidence of fraud in earthmoving services at one of the sites set to host Olympic events. Last month Brazilian authorities announced that they had expanded a corruption probe into the 2016 Rio Olympics to cover ‘venues and services financed with federal funds’.

• The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that ‘it is doing absolutely everything in its power to fight the threat of corruption’ following criticism of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) by former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in a speech on Monday. McCullum, who delivered the prestigious Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s, complained that a testimony he gave in 2014 was leaked to the Daily Mail, but the ICC said that a ‘probe proved that the origin of the leak was not from within the ICC’. The ICC also said that a ‘comprehensive review’ of the ICC’s ACU had occurred in 2014 and commended McCullum for his ‘brave, courageous and principled stand against corruption’.

• Klubi Futbollistik (KF) Skënderbeu, a professional football club from Albania who won their sixth national title in succession earlier this year, have confirmed that they have been banned from UEFA competitions for a year following charges of match-fixing. In May the club confirmed that they were being investigated by UEFA following information received from betting companies as well as allegations on social media and in the written press.

• Spanish distance runner Jesús España has launched a petition to request the Provincial Court of Madrid to allow the transfer of the evidence in the Operación Puerto case (blood bags and plasma) to the anti-doping authorities. On 30 April 2013, when sentencing Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes following a 2006 raid in which over 200 bags of blood and plasma were seized, a Spanish court ruled that the blood bags should be destroyed. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Spanish anti-doping agency (AEPSAD) were among those to appeal.

• The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has formed a new committee designed to investigate the threat that private companies organising sporting events poses to sport’s sovereignty, reports Inside The Games. The formation of the group comes a day after a Munich regional court banned the international basketball federation (FIBA) from threatening to issue sanctions to those who wished to join the rival Euroleague competition. It also follows an IOC agreement with 27 international federations to collaborate on content for an Olympic TV channel. The international football confederation, FIFA, and the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) have yet to sign.

• Formula One has been urged to use Azerbaijan’s inaugural Grand Prix on 19 June to speak out on the country’s human rights record. Sport for Rights, which was initially formed to draw attention to human rights abuses in connection to last year’s inaugural Baku European Olympic Games, has written to F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone and performers scheduled to play at the Grand Prix. “We have called on Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone to publicly speak out on human rights issues in Azerbaijan and to call for the release of political prisoners”, the Sports for Rights campaign co-ordinator, Rebecca Vincent, told The Guardian.

• French newspaper L’Equipe have reported that Mamadou Sakho, the Liverpool footballer suspended by UEFA following a violation of its Anti-Doping Regulations, requested his own provisional suspension. UEFA Chief Medical Officer Marc Vouillamoz told the newspaper that ‘some substances cause an automatic suspension, others not. And in this case, the player wished to be suspended temporarily, of his own will, and UEFA acceded to his request’. Under Article 7.3 of the World Anti-Doping Code, to which UEFA is bound, where an athlete has been notified of a violation that does not result in a mandatory provisional suspension the athlete should be offered the opportunity to accept a provisional suspension pending the resolution of the matter. A final hearing on the case is expected soon.

NRL match-fixing update: the odds on a 2015 NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and South Sydney Rabbitohs dropped significantly in the two days prior to kick-off, Australia’s ABC News reports. The match is one of two that New South Wales (NSW) Police are investigating following match-fixing allegations, and the police are reportedly aware of these abnormal betting patterns. The Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police has also said that they will only contact Manly Sea Eagles, the NRL club around which most of the allegations revolve, when ‘they need answers that will come from the club’. Meanwhile the Sydney Morning Herald reports that the NRL is ‘seeking access to players’ bank accounts and phone records’ in upcoming negotiations with the Rugby League Players’ Association in order to help combat corruption in the sport.

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