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In Indonesia, a court sentenced to jail six people, including a former referee and members of the national soccer association, in the country’s first trial over match-fixing, which was connected to a game in Indonesia’s third tier league in 2018. The suspects were charged under the country’s fraud statute that can result in a maximum jail term of three years.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed Skenderbeu’s appeal against a 10-year exclusion from European competitions as judges agreed UEFA’s ban and fine were proportionate and justified. In Belgium, KV Mechelen have won their appeal at the Belgian Arbitration Court for Sports (BAS) and will not be relegated to the second division as the Belgian Football Association had initially ruled.

A former Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) vice-president has been ordered to pay a US$79 million penalty stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal. The 76-year-old is accused of 12 corruption offences, including racketeering, corruption and money laundering but denies wrongdoing.

Topics such as racism and discrimination have been updated in FIFA’s Disciplinary Code. The fight against match manipulation has also been simplified and the Disciplinary Committee is now the only body competent to deal with match manipulation matters at FIFA level.

Thirty-three countries, INTERPOL, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) joined forces in the Europol-coordinated operation Viribus for a massive crackdown on the trafficking of doping materials and counterfeit medicines. The operation, led by the Italian NAS Carabinieri and co-led by the Financial Unit of the Hellenic Police, is the largest action

The International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS) decided during a meeting of its Steering Committee to set up a new task force in order to increase the cooperation between criminal justice authorities/law enforcement and sport organisations. The new task force will take stock of existing anti-bribery legislation applicable to the private sector, and create a list of existing networks of judicial authorities / law enforcement agencies through which its work could be supported and promoted.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding aiming at strengthening their collaboration on promoting ethics, integrity and good governance, as well as peace and sustainable development in sport.

Lastly, INTERPOL and the IOC have conducted a Law Enforcement Investigators’ Training for agencies across the Nordic-Baltic region, with a focus on sports and competition manipulation, transnational investigations, evidence collection and evaluation, betting monitoring and working with sports authorities. The two-day training brought together 40 representatives from law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 29 July 2019.

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Following earlier media reports on Operation Oikos in Spain, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) released a media statement, commenting on the involvement of their president.

In terms of sanctions, an Australian football player has been handed a 22-game ban and a fine of 20,000 AUD for betting a total of 36 AUD on three games involving his team. Two Bulgarian brothers have been provisionally suspended from professional tennis. A Nigerian tennis player has been suspended for three years and fined $5,000 after admitting to match-fixing and non-reporting offences. Zimbabwe Cricket Board has been suspended with immediate effect by the Sports and Recreation Commission. A Chinese eSports player has been banned for 18 months and had his contract terminated due to accusations of blackmail and match-fixing.

An Olympic marathon silver medalist has been banned for four years for doping. Her younger brother was also banned for nine months for testing positive for strychnine.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that the director general and president of the Romanian National Anti-Doping Agency (ANAD) are both dismissed from their posts. It comes after a second investigatory report found that the body had directed the Bucharest Laboratory to cover up positive doping tests relating to at least three athletes.

A Lithuanian man was intercepted at the Swiss-German border with two bags of banned doping products and close to 100,000 EUR in cash.

Following a four-year investigation in France into doping cover-ups, extortion and bribe-taking in world athletics, the former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president will stand trial on charges of corruption and money laundering. Leaked emails appear to link a member of the Qatari royal family to a deal that is being investigated as part of an inquiry into alleged corruption surrounding bids for the 2017 athletics world championships and 2020 Olympic Games.

A former UEFA president has been detained and questioned by police in France as part of an investigation into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously to implement a recommendation of their executive board to oust the International Boxing Association (AIBA) from the Tokyo 2020 Games over issues surrounding its finances and governance and suspend the body until the issues are resolved. AIBA’s executive committee amended one of its bylaws to keep their former president and blocked him from returning as head of AIBA.

Lastly, the resignation of the Japanese Olympic Committee president took effect this June, three years after allegations first surfaced that Tokyo’s Olympics bidding committee had paid more than $2 million to win the 2020 Olympics.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 15 July 2019.

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The FA recently brought in various amendments to its Regulations on Working with Intermediaries1 and, on 29 June 2019 published guidance notes on them. In this article, Nick De Marco QC (of Blackstone Chambers) who advises the Association of Football Agents along with all the major football agencies, and who was involved in discussions with The FA about the new Regulations, discusses their meaning and likely application.

AuthorNick De Marco QC
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On the 4 June, FIFA informed both Valencia and Villarreal that the investigation procedure initiated in 2015 by the FIFA Transfer Matching Integrity and Compliance Department (the body responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions and the proper use of the FIFA TMS) in relation to the possible violation of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (hereinafter the Regulations) was formally closed.

The investigation concerned the possible breach of Article 108 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code relating to the rules on the registration of foreign minor players. This followed an alleged breach of the following articles of the Regulations:

  • Article 5.1: Obligation to register with the competent association all players participating in organised football.

  • Article 9.1: Obligation to request the International Transfer Certificate (ITC) as a prerequisite for the registration of players from associations other than that of the Club that wishes to register the player.

  • Article 19: Prohibition of international transfers of minor players, except in the cases provided for in the second paragraph.

  • Article 19.3: Prohibition to register minor players for the first time, in the cases provided for in the second paragraph.

  • Article 19.4: in conjunction with Annexes 2 and 3: Procedural rules for the registration of minor players.

  • Article 19bis: Obligation to inform the competent federation about the presence of minor players in academies legally, de facto or financially linked to the club.

In its written pleadings initiating the investigation, FIFA asked both clubs to disclose certain information relating to minors registered with them and urged the clubs to explain the existence or not of any relationship (including legal or financial) with different grassroots football clubs from the Valencian Region of Spain.

In response to FIFA's request, both the clubs submitted on a case-by-case basis the justification for each of the transfers and the reason for their legality.

Within these transfers, FIFA included a large number of national players from the People's Republic of China. This was because both Valencia and Villarreal had signed an agreement with Wanda Group, offering participants a global program of social and personal education as well as sports training. The club’s explanation of the nature of the program indicated that there was no breach of the Regulations with respect to this group of players, since at no time were they part of the clubs nor they were registered with them. Rather, they were in Spain temporarily for the sole purpose of education and sports training.

With respect to the rest of the minors, and unlike the well-known cases of Fútbol Club Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid, Anderlecht and Chelsea (whose sanction has been appealed to CAS), the evidence submitted by the clubs established satisfactorily:

  1. That FIFA Players' Status Subcommittee previously authorised the registration of minor players who were under the provisions listed in Article 19.2 of the Regulations.

  1. That the first registration of minor players in Spain took place neither with Valencia nor with Villarreal, but with other national clubs who had previously registered the minors. Therefore, Article 19 of the Regulations cannot have been infringed.

  1. That the age of minor players at time they were registered with clubs did not require authorisation from the FIFA Players' Status Subcommittee, as FIFA claimed on a number of occasions.

  1. There was neither factual nor legal nor financial relations with any of the clubs in respect of which FIFA requested information.

  1. That both the substantive rules relating to the protection of minors’ interest and the procedural rules laid down in the Regulations for applying for and obtaining authorisation for registration from the competent bodies had been complied with.

In light of this, FIFA Transfer Matching Integrity and Compliance Department acknowledged that neither of the clubs had infringed the Regulations (or its guidelines), and therefore that proceedings would not be opened under Article 108 of the Disciplinary Code.

The authors, Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo Sports Lawyers, represented the clubs during the investigation.

AuthorAlfonso León Lleó
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In recent years, athletes have increasingly been using their cash and kudos to invest in, and help promote, start-up companies. Interestingly, clubs are now increasingly becoming investors too, with a particular focus on the tech industry. Barcelona recently announced that they are looking to raise €100m to launch their own investment fund for new sports technologies and many others are exploring similar opportunities to diversify their income1.

Fledgling businesses are coming up with more and more innovative sports tech products and solutions that enhance participation in, and viewing of, sports. They might range from "get fit" apps and data analytical tools to wearable gadgets and virtual/augmented reality solutions. There are natural synergies between these products and a club’s business, and as a result these tech start-ups are becoming increasingly attractive to clubs looking for investment opportunities and/or to get an advantage over their competitors, whether on or off the pitch.

So, if you’re in-house at a club and your CEO needs you to support an investment, or if you're a sports tech entrepreneur looking for investment, where do you start? This article takes a high-level look at the different stages of equity investment in private UK companies and the key considerations and documents involved.

AuthorSusie Jarrold
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France's Service Central des Courses et Jeux (SCCJ) opened an investigation for organized crime, bribery and money laundering following the football matches between Sochaux-Grenoble and Rodez-Lyon Duchère.

The President of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) will be investigated as part of wider probe into corruption in La Liga. The former president of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF) has been banned from soccer for life after FIFA’s ethics committee found him guilty of abusing his position and sexually abusing female players.

In Georgia, five soccer players have been banned after admitting their role in a match-fixing case. In Russia, three soccer players have been banned for three years each in a match-fixing case.

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) found Black Dragons guilty of unsportsmanlike behaviour and providing misleading information during a LATAM Pro League Season 9. As a result of the ruling, Black Dragons have received two major penalty points in total, one for not being able to show up on schedule, and the other for deliberately causing internet issues that led to them intentionally forfeiting.

In the United States, seven individuals were arrested for their involvement in an illegal New York gambling operation that was linked to Costa Rica.

Italy is the 6th state that ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, following ratifications by Norway, Portugal, Ukraine, Moldova and Switzerland.

Betting integrity body ESSA has relaunched as the International Betting Integrity Association in June 2019. Track and field's world governing body will change its name from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to World Athletics in October 2019.

In view of protecting and safeguarding the integrity of the FIFA Women’s World Cup FranceTM, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has put together a taskforce, composed by key organisations, including French authorities (ARJEL, FDJ, police), INTERPOL, the Council of Europe’s Group of Copenhagen (GoC) and the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS).

INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have provided integrity in sport investigators’ training for law enforcement agencies and sports governing bodies to strengthen Portugal’s efforts in investigating and sanctioning competition manipulation in sports. The two-day event <https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2019/INTERPOL-and-IOC-enhancing-sports-corruption-investigation-in-Portugal> (4 and 5 June) was hosted in close cooperation with the Portuguese Judiciary Police and the Olympic Committee of Portugal, with the support of Sportradar.

Lastly, we would like to share with you the Badminton World Federation (BWF) 2018 Annual Report, in particular Chapter 5 <https://annualreport.bwfbadminton.com/2018/80-1> which includes the integrity report Sport Integrity – Clean and Fair Competition.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 1 July 2019.

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The Spanish National Police arrested several first- and second-division soccer players and officials on suspicion of forming a match-fixing group to profit from betting on games. Operation Oikos involved nine raids across the Spain and an expected 11 arrests. La Liga, Spanish football’s governing body, had contacted the authorities about a possible illegal scheme and had worked with them on the operation.

In Georgia, 11 soccer players have been arrested on suspicion of match-fixing and face lengthy prison sentences. In Australia, the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit (SIIU) detectives have charged a man in relation to alleged harness race fixing.

Belgian club Mechelen, who recently won the Belgian Cup, were stripped of their promotion to the Belgium top league and banned from European competitions. Mechelen were implicated in an investigation into suspicions of fraud related to the payment of salaries, commissions to agents and the suspected rigging of two games in March 2018.

A German tennis player has been suspended for nine months after being found to have committed a corruption offence under the terms of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program. A Russian tennis official has been found guilty of failing to report a corrupt approach to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). A Ukrainian tennis player has been handed a lifetime ban and $20,000 fine after being found guilty of match-fixing and related offences by the TIU.

The Kenyan track team coach who was sent home from the 2016 Olympics was banned for 10 years for seeking a bribe of $12,000 to help athletes beat doping tests.

In Morocco, a new anti-doping agency will be soon created. Russia is facing a ban from the 2020 Olympics over allegations that its top athletics officials oversaw the cover-up of a doping offence by a high jumper who had been tipped to win gold at the Games.

In Turkey, a total of 113 suspects were detained while 709 people wanted for various crimes were captured in the crackdown on illegal gambling dens.

The Malta Gaming Authority has signed an agreement with the Malta Police Force to strengthen the exchange of information relating to illegal gaming activities.

Finland’s National Police Board and the Finnish Transport and Communications Authority (Traficom) are committed to increase their efforts to crack down ads of illegal gambling operations on TV and radio.

In Sri Lanka, ten leading sports organizations launched the Association of Sports Federations Society (ASFS) in order to promote a multi-sports culture in the country while fighting corruption.

A former FIFA committee member from New Zealand and Oceania Football secretary general has been given an eight-year ban from all football-related activities and fined $75,000 by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The chief executive of a Qatari media group was handed preliminary charges of corruption as part of a French investigation into the bidding process for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Qatar. He is being prosecuted for corruption for his alleged participation in the payments of large sums to a Senegalese company belonging to the son of a former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president.

FIFA is restoring the offense of “corruption” to its code of ethics, almost one year after facing criticism over the symbolic removal of the term.

Lastly, we would like to share with our readership an article <https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/06/03/how-football-leaks-is-exposing-corruption-in-european-soccer> on how Football Leaks is exposing corruption in European soccer.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 17 June 2019.

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The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) suspended and fined a Colombian tennis coach after being found guilty to have traded wild cards in return for payment at a number of tennis tournaments in 2017. The TIU found an Egyptian tennis player guilty of three charges, including attempting to contrive the outcome of a match, failing to report a corrupt approach and failing to disclose knowledge of the corrupt activity of another party. Another Egyptian tennis player has received a suspended sentence and fine after being found guilty of failing to report corrupt approaches to the TIU.

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) temporarily suspended three referees due to bribery allegations. The Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) decided to throw out club Vereya of their domestic league after repeated warnings from Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) over suspected match-fixing.

Police in Hong Kong (China) arrested 135 individuals during raids on illegal gambling dens. In China, police dismantled a $312 million gambling ring that was associated with a betting website in the Philippines.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) successfully retrieved 2,262 samples from the Moscow Laboratory. The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that a Slovenian rider has been suspended for potential doping violations along with other cyclists from Slovenia, Italy and Croatia who have been provisionally suspended as part of Operation Aderlass doping inquiry.

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, also known as the Macolin Convention, will enter into force on 1 September. Switzerland recently became the fifth Council of Europe (CoE) member state to ratify the convention – following Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine – triggering its entry into force.

With Japan set to host major sports events such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2019 Rugby World Cup, INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have organized an event (15-16 May 2019) on protecting the integrity of sports where more than 80 representatives from Japanese law enforcement, government, sports federations, the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Olympic movement were present.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 3 June 2019.

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On 30 April 2019, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) delivered its award in the case of Caster Semenya & Athletics South Africa v the International Association of Athletics Federation, dismissing Ms Semenya’s request for arbitration and upholding the validity of the IAAF Regulations for Female Classification (Athletes with Differences of Sex Development) (the DSD Regulations).

In one of the most controversial sporting disputes in recent years, Ms Semenya sought to challenge the DSD Regulations, which place restrictions on the eligibility of women to compete as women in certain sporting events. The finding against her means that, unless she takes measures to reduce her endogenous testosterone levels, she will be unable to compete in events between 400 meters and one mile at the international level.

While the CAS’s full award is yet to be published, the reasons offered for the decision to date make for an interesting read and are considered below. The Executive Summary and Press Release are available here and here, respectively.

AuthorCelia Rooney
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I spend a fair amount of time speaking, mentoring and coaching enthusiastic law students, athletes and professionals who are considering becoming a sports lawyers. In my experience there are some basic, but effective, steps that aspiring sports lawyers can take that will get their career off to a flying start. However, these steps can be easily overlooked. Therefore, I thought I would take the opportunity to share ten tips on how to start a career as a sports lawyer. This is an updated take on the original "Top 10 tips on how to become a sports lawyer" I wrote back in 2013.

The following advice comes from my personal experience having worked in the legal sector for over 20 years and having worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers from all parts of the world since launching LawInSport back in 2010 and LawInSport Recruitment in 2018. A lot of this work has consisted of helping sports lawyers to articulate the value they bring to sports clients and in turn, help them to build their profiles and their careers. I have also been fortunate enough to receive the benefit of advice from some of the most prominent and influential sports lawyers across the world that I have interviewed or worked with during this time.

AuthorSean Cottrell
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