Hockey match-fixing in Belarus

  • Two hockey players from Russia and five from Belarus have been suspended until further notice after admitting to fixing a game in November.
  • At the time the game was “fixed”, players were unhappy with the clubs not paying them and decided to throw the game for profit instead.

MINSK, BelarusSeven hockey players are under investigation for fixing a Belarus Extraliga game in November and have been suspended by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) until the case is closed.

The game in question occurred on November 12 in Maladzyechna where HK Dynama-Maladetchna played against HK Mogilev and Dynama was the heavy favorite to win by sportsbooks.

At the beginning of the third period, the underdogs were losing 5-1 but somehow managed to score 6 goals and win the game 6-5 in the end. With such a huge lead and 1 period remaining to allow 6 goals through, people felt something was askew which led to the current investigation.

What Happened?

During the Fall of 2019, the two hockey clubs were unhappy with their salaries being unpaid which is how the idea of fixing a game became a reality.

Two players were suspended from Russia with the other five were from Belarus. The suspended athletes are Stanislav Kuchkin and Alexei Ivanov from Russia and Vyacheslav Lisichkin, Pavel Boyarchuk, Alexei Ivanov, Nikita Ustinenko, Sergei Sheleh, and Alexander Syrei from Belarus.

Although there is an ongoing investigation, each of the suspended athletes has admitted to the wrongdoing.

“During the investigation, each of the players also admitted that they had agreed to exert an unlawful influence on the outcome of the Game in exchange for illegal remuneration,” read a statement from the IIHF.

The suspensions continue even though most of the evidence has been uncovered. The Investigative Committee with the IIHF handed their findings as well as the open cases (which lead to the suspensions) by the Belarusian Ice Hockey Disciplinary Committee to the IIHF for further review of misconduct.

Until the IIHF makes a final judgment on the fate of the players, their suspensions will continue. Those suspensions started on July 2.

The Collateral Damage From The Fixing

A number of wagers were lost on the game with sports betting platforms having to pay out a lot of money to gamblers because of the odds stacked on the underdog coming out victorious.

With each player pleading guilty to their crimes, they were fined outside of the IIHF by the Belarus Federation. Fines were paid in the amount of anywhere from $7-$15K USD.

Along with the fines, players were suspended through May 31 making this their second suspension.

All stats that would have contributed to individual records have been wiped clean as if they did not occur, hurting the stats of all of the players that played well and were not involved in the throwing of the match.

The game itself is listed as a loss by technicality on Dynama’s record.

This problem that the IIHF is facing is exactly what states in the U.S. fear by legalizing sports betting. They believe it will hurt the integrity of the sport.

However, many bills being drawn up as well as those that have made it into law specifically discuss maintaining the integrity of all sports being bet on so that athletes are not tempted to “fix games” for profit, allowing bettors to be protected when participating in the popular pastime.

News tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |