Match-fixing, cheating at sport and sports betting have been at the forefront of media attention over the last year, both internationally and in Australia and involving a number of different sporting codes including rugby league, cricket and soccer.
More recently, it emerged in September 2013 that the Victorian police had uncovered a syndicate conducting multi-million dollar match-fixing activities involving Victoria’s Premier League soccer division. Six individuals associated with semi-professional football team, the Southern Stars Football Club, including four players, the head coach and the alleged syndicate ringleader in Australia, were arrested and charged under new Victorian match-fixing laws for allegedly fixing five Victorian Premier League Matches.
These individuals are the first to be charged under new criminal offences for match-fixing set out in legislation relating specifically to match-fixing that was passed in Victoria earlier this year
The Victorian Police’s Purana Taskforce and Sports Integrity Intelligence Unit commenced an investigation in August 2013 after being alerted by Football Federation Australia (FFA). FFA CEO David Gallop indicated that the Victorian police were contacted immediately after receiving data from Sportsradar about suspicious betting patterns involving Southern Stars matches.
Reports have indicated that more than $2 million in betting winnings has been collected by the syndicate, with much of the money and bets on the Southern Stars matches originating from overseas.
Notably, of the eleven individuals originally arrested (nine players, their Australian head coach and the “ringleader”), the majority are foreign citizens. The majority of the players are British nationals, including the four players who faced the Australian courts. The remaining four players arrested have left Australia and have returned to Europe.
The alleged ringleader, Mr Segaran “Gerry” Gsubramaniam is a Malaysian national and is said to have been the liaison between the Southern Stars team and the match fixers in Hungary and Malaysia. It is alleged that he provided instructions to the team, including players to orchestrate pre-determined score lines in five matches between 21 July 2013 and 13 September 2013.
Mr Gsubramaniam and the Southern Stars coach, Mr Zia Younan, were charged with ten breaches each – five counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and five counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts a betting outcome. There was a separate charge for each football match that was fixed.
Each of the players has eight different charges brought, with four counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and four counts of facilitating conductthat corrupts a betting outcome.