HomeSportsYoung man who had manipulated sports event jailed six months

Young man who had manipulated sports event jailed six months


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A man was jailed for six months and interdicted for life for match-fixing, after his punishment was increased on appeal.

During his arraignment in January 2021, 24-year-old Rudgear Scerri, then 21 and a committee member of Attard Football Club, had been charged with involvement in the manipulation of a sporting event, failing to pass on information to the police authorities, as well as conducting unlicensed gaming, namely taking bets. He had pleaded guilty.

Scerri had been arrested after the police, acting on a tip-off, raided the residence he had been sharing with his girlfriend.

Some €20,000 to €30,000 were confiscated in the raid, along with electronic devices.

Attard FC had distanced itself from Scerri and removed him from the committee by a unanimous vote.

As a result of the match-fixing scandal, the club had been stripped of nine points, fined €1,000 and prohibited from participating in international tournaments for five years.

The Attorney General had subsequently filed an appeal to Scerri’s sentence, arguing that under the Prevention of Corruption in Sport Act, the crime of manipulating a sporting event was punishable by a prison sentence of up to three years.

Individuals convicted of offences under that law also had to be prohibited from participation in any sport in Malta for a long time.

Presiding the Court of Criminal Appeal, Mr Justice Neville Camilleri noted that, in terms of that law, a prison sentence was mandatory.

While noting Scerri’s clean criminal record and early guilty plea, the Court of Appeal said that the Attorney General was also correct in arguing that the punishment of perpetual general interdiction was also obligatory in terms of law.

Upholding the appeal, the court sentenced Scerri to jail for six months and prohibited him from attending any sporting event or being present in the same building as one for 10 years, also ordering his perpetual general interdiction.

Lawyer Herman Mula was parte civile representing the MFA. 

This was the first case where the new legislation against match-fixing was used. The new law enacted in 2018 lays down mandatory imprisonment for match manipulation.

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