NZ league catches betting fraudster via social media probe

December 19 – New Zealand is the latest country to face a match-fixing scare in football, again proving that the phenomenon respects no boundaries and is adept at evolving new techniques to prey on players.

While one of the world’s smaller leagues in terms of profile with players all semi-professional, there is still about $33 million bet on the ISPS Handa Premiership worldwide, enough to be of interest to match-fixing syndicates globally.

A number of reports to the New Zealand FA and the New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association (NZPFA) suggested that approaches were being made to players via social media channels.

New Zealand Football (NZF) has a monitoring agreement with Sportradar who conducted an investigation. Sportradar tracked the individual attempting to run the fix and while no link was established with a major match-fixing gang, a scam was uncovered.

“There’s a global practice where people parade through social media that they have information and try to get people to pay them money for that information, which they don’t necessarily have. It’s quite a well-known scam,” said NZF’s David Farrow to Stuff magazine in New Zealand.

Farrow told Stiff the NFA’s strategy takesa four-pronged approach: awareness, education, detection (with Sportradar) and information sharing (with the NZ TAB).

The NZPFA help with education with CEO Harry Ngata saying they use the example of former New Zealand cricketer and confessed match-fixer Lou Vincent a lot.

“There is an example with Lou when he had a pink bat grip on his bat handle and they bet on what colour it would be the next time he came out. It could be a certain footballer wearing an orange wristband for the first five minutes of a game,” said Ngata.

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