Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
Sweden should amend its criminal legislation to deal with the problem of match-fixing, said the crime prevention council (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), which has produced a report into the issue. The Brå pointed out that between 2012 and 2014, there have been over 20 reports of suspected cases of match-fixing, yet there have been no criminal convictions due to the complex and time consuming nature of match-fixing investigations under current legislation, and difficulties in getting people to testify.
The Brå’s report found that match-fixing is mainly a problem in football, but also exists in basketball. Suspected cases of match-fixing have occurred in Sweden’s top football division (Superettan) down to division three, and also in Sweden’s basketball league. Players are subject to threats and extortion by criminal organisations, and the report uncovered examples of clubs recruiting corrupt players.
The report, which is currently only available in Swedish, was produced by the Brå in association with the Swedish sports confederation (Riksidrottsförbundet), the Swedish football association (SvFF) and state-owned gambling operator, Svenska Spel. It said that match-fixing normally originates with organisations outside of sport, but that several promotors both inside and outside of sport have been identified as being complicit.
“Match-fixing can be initiated by both individual players and criminal networks”, said Melai Lehkamo, an investigator at the Brå in a statement. “If the initiators cannot influence events within the plan without using players or officials, recruitment methods range from cronyism and bribery to extortion, threats and – in extreme cases – violence”.
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