Interview

In November 2013, Austria’s Federal Criminal Police Office succeeded in striking the harshest blow to date against the betting mafia.

Here, in an exclusive interview, Dominique Taboga speaks to the Play Fair Code about how he got caught up in match-fixing, the first match he played in that was fixed – and how he views the situation with hindsight.

What exactly is “match-fixing”?

Match-fixing is defined as the act of influencing the course or result of a sporting event for personal, sporting or financial gain. A wide variety of different actions can fall into the category of match-fixing. These can include acting passively to shape the progress of a match, and deliberately allowing an opponent to score goals or points. A tennis player, for example, could decide to lose the match before even stepping onto the court. If they then placed a bet on their own defeat, they would be guaranteed to profit financially by losing. Two opposing teams colluding in a match, with the aim of preventing one or other being relegated or promoted from one league to another, is also widespread.

Such collusion in sport is far from a new phenomenon. The number of occasions on which contests have been fixed to make a profit by betting on the results has increased sharply in recent years, however. This has been exacerbated by the participation of international organized criminal groups, and the growth and prevalence of online betting markets, both legal and illegal.

The stages of match-fixing

The case of Pape Omar Fayé

Faye describes how he throws his first match. He no longer made an effort to win the ball, and stopped seeking out the most direct route towards the opponent’s goal, passing the ball across the pitch or backwards instead. De facto, of course, you can’t prove a player is actively trying to fix a match purely on the strength of how he or she is playing. Instead – as in Faye’s case – the player has to own up. Since making his confession, Faye has been banned by FIFA from playing anywhere in the world for the rest of his career. A hard lesson indeed for a young man who has not learnt any profession other than football.

Further information find here.

Stage 1 - The Approach

Stage 3 - The Acceptance

Stage 2 - The Offer

Stage 4 - The Delivery

The consequences under association law

Austrian Football Association Disciplinary Regulations

§ 114 Inadmissible Sports Betting

A person placing individual or combination bets with bookmakers or virtual betting providers on matches in which their own club or a club active in the same class is involved, or designating third parties to do so, or passing on non-public information to third parties which could be used in such bets, will be subject to the following punishments:

1. Warning;

2. Ban from a minimum of two official matches;

3. Functional ban lasting a minimum of two months;

4. Fine of up to three times the amount of the bet placed or winnings paid out;

5. Deduction of points;

6. Exclusion from competition;

7. Enforced relegation;

8. Exclusion from the association.

§ 115a Failure of Duty to Report

A person who observes the concepts of fair play being violated by third parties or third parties breaching the regulations of this chapter and fails to report this immediately to the association responsible will be subject to the following punishments:

• Warning;

• Ban from a minimum of two official matches;

• Functional ban lasting a minimum of two months;

• Fine ranging from €500 to €15,000;

• Exclusion from the association.

Offenses according to this regulation become time-barred after 5 years.

The 3 R's

RECOGNIZE

Recognize suspicious or unusual conversational situations with people you don’t know! Be sensitive with information! As an athlete, referee or umpire, or a person in a position of responsibility at a club, you may have information available to you that others do not know (injuries, team line-ups, transfers, who exactly will be refereeing/umpiring an upcoming match). These situations will not involve your sport, but quite possibly have more to do with manipulating your sport, behavior or performance. 

RESIST

Do not accept any benefits, money or other gifts you may be promised.

Avoid dependent relationships of any sort which mean you owe someone a favor.

Refuse such an offer clearly, and close down both the conversation and the contact there and then. 

Say NO!

REPORT

Acting correct and smart in such a situation means reporting that to the appropriate authorities! In football, you are obliged to report such a conversation to the regional association of the Austrian Football Association responsible for your team. 

 

The Ombudsman’s Office of the Play Fair Code can offer help, services and advice regarding such a situation in any other types of sport – 24 hours a day, in complete confidence, and anonymously if you wish.

Ombudsman Office Play Fair Code

Attorneys at law 
Niederhuber & Partner

Wollzeile 24 
1010 Vienna

Austria

  • 24/7
  • E-mail or phone
  • Confidential
  • Anonymous
  • Free of charge

The Ombudsman office advises and offers guidance on how to best handle suspicious and potentially dangerous situations in relation to match fixing.

The Ombudsman office is situated in the law firm Niederhuber & Partner which is obligated to treat all received information confidentially.

Peter Sander | Attorney at law