Putin submits match-fixing bill to parliament

Moscow, Jan 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian president Vladimir Putin Wednesday submitted a bill to parliament containing a raft of strict measures aimed at stamping out match-fixing.

The legislation attacks the supply and demand ends of the problem simultaneously by targeting sporting federations, athletes, and betting shops as Russia seeks to put an end to years of grappling with the scourge.

Russian football in particular is persistently dogged by claims of match-fixing, including in the Premier League, although few of the accusations are ever upheld by the authorities.

The bill, a set of amendments to the law “On Physical Culture and Sport in the Russian Federation”, proposes disbanding federations that fail to ban athletes or team officials suspected of taking bribes, or fail to report fixing cases to the police.

Players, athletes, coaches and other people with the ability to affect a result would be forbidden from placing bets on their form of sport.

At the bookmakers, winnings will only be paid out to people who show identification, which will then be logged for tax-collection purposes.

The betting agents themselves would have new responsibilities too, with the proposed law obliging them to inform the police about large payouts on outside bets.

The legislation would also eliminate loopholes in existing bribery laws, and toughen up the sanctions they carry.

Bills must pass three readings in the lower house of parliament before they go to the upper house for approval and then to the president for signing into law.

Last month, Russian Football Association (FA) chief Nikolai Tolstykh dissolved its committee against match-fixing after the head, Anzor Kavazashvili, had been very vocal on a case involving Anzhi Makhachkala.

Anzhi’s 2-1 league win at Amkar Perm in November was assessed by the FA and pronounced clear of suspicion before reports emerged in the Russian media that a former Amkar player was among several people to place unusually large bets on Anzhi.

At the time, many bookmakers suspended betting on the game.

If there was any fallout, it was kept firmly behind closed doors in a typically murky case that left many questions unanswered.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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IANS