“I did not agree with the practice,” he testified, “but unfortunately, you are practically forced to do that.”

Mr. Warner was indicted but is fighting extradition. Mr. Blazer pleaded guilty in 2013, became a government witness and died last year.

There have been 24 publicly announced individual guilty pleas in the case so far.

Mr. Hawilla was born on June 11, 1943, in São José do Rio Preto, Brazil, in the northwestern part of the state of São Paulo. His father, Fuad Elias Hawilla, was a salesman and small-business owner, and his mother, Georgina (Atra) Hawilla, was a homemaker.

Mr. Hawilla was a radio sports journalist before attending law school in Itapetinga, Brazil, and later covered sports on television. He then bought Traffic, a bus-stop advertising company, and branched into billboard advertising in soccer stadiums. He built it into what is believed to be Brazil’s largest sports marketing company, specializing in the rights to major international soccer tournaments.

He eventually expanded to the United States, where a subsidiary of his company, Traffic Sports USA, became a financially influential force in the North American Soccer League and bought one of its teams, the Carolina RailHawks, in 2010. Aaron Davidson, the president of Traffic Sports USA, became the chairman of the league.

But the team was sold five years later after the Justice Department revealed that Mr. Hawilla had pleaded guilty and Mr. Davidson had been indicted; Mr. Davidson pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire-fraud conspiracy and admitted to paying more than $14 million in bribes to soccer officials.

In March 2014, Mr. Hawilla recorded a conversation with Mr. Davidson in which they discussed whether a bribe to someone they referred to as Jeff had been paid; Mr. Davidson said that Jeff was angry because he had wanted more.

THE poor old Socceroos drew three teams in the world’s top 12. This group only has one — and it’s debatable whether Poland should even be there.

Group H does promise to be one of the more competitive though. Poland, Colombia and Senegal all have legitimate chances of topping it. Japan should be competitive as well.

It’s been a long time since Poland reached a finals let a lone did anything of significance but with Robert Lewandowski in their ranks, they will be favourites.

But if James Rogriguez repeats his heroics from Brazil four years ago or Sadio Mane reprises his form from Liverpool, then Colombia and Senegal can cause real problems.

KEY GAME: Poland v Colombia (Monday, June 25, 4am, Kazan): It’s probably safe to say the winner of this will be in prime position to claim the group. Both should post victories in their opening games, setting up a virtual winner-takes-all contest. It could mean the difference of playing Belgium or England in the round of 16.


Robert Lewandowski has an incredible goalscoring record.
Camera IconRobert Lewandowski has an incredible goalscoring record.Picture: AFP


It’s hard to justify how Poland are ranked so highly by FIFA but the benefit of their top 10 placement is a group where they will be overwhelming favourites to progress as winners. They looked good in qualifying — especially with star striker Robert Lewandowski contributing 16, including three hat-tricks — eventually finishing five points in front of Denmark, but they haven’t even reached the finals in the last Cup editions. They did reach the quarterfinals of Euro 2016 before going out on penalties to eventual winners Portugal.

Key player: Lewandowski is a genuine superstar. His speed, movement and goalscoring instincts are perhaps only bettered by Ronaldo and Messi. He has scored 52 goals in 93 games for Poland, although he was far from his best at Euro 2016. The Poles are far from a one-man band though. In Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski they have two well-credentialed goalkeepers. Kamil Glik provides a commanding presence in defence while Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski is emerging as a real talent on the international scene.

Recent form: The goals dried up after qualification, with the Poles going three games without finding the back of the net. They did though put three past South Korea in their most recent match at the end of March. Lewandowski remains the linchpin and he got on the scoresheet again — although they faded badly in the final 10 minutes and almost let the Koreans back into the game.

World Cup history: Back in the days of Grzegorz Lato, Kazimierz Deyna and Zbigniew Boniek, Poland were among the best teams in the world. They finished third in both 1974 and 1982 but haven’t risen even remotely close to those heights since. They failed to qualify for the last two editions in Brazil and South Africa and went out meekly in the first round in both Germany and Japan/South Korea before that.

Coach: Did you know Adam Nawalka was voted to the team of the tournament at the 1978 World Cup as a 19-year-old? Injuries ruined the rest of his career but he has certainly made an impression as a coach. The 60-year-old has been with the national team since October 2013. He has presided over 24 wins from 45 games.

FIFA ranking: 10

Betting: $67

Sadio Mane will be key for Senegal.
Camera IconSadio Mane will be key for Senegal.Picture: AP


No matter what they achieve in the future Senegal will always have 2002. Sixteen years ago they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Cup history when they toppled world champions France in the opening game. It’s been slim pickings since but there is renewed hope, especially with Sadio Mane leading the line. They were unbeaten — four wins and two draws — in the final round of qualifying but only reached the quarterfinals of the African Nations Cup last year in Gabon.

Key player: Easy choice! Sadio Mane has been a revelation for Liverpool this season, scoring at will and is one of the main reasons why they reached the Champions League decider. While he hasn’t been as prolific on the international stage — and hasn’t really been tested outside of Africa — he is sure to pose a huge threat to sluggish opposing defences.

Recent form: They have played sparingly of late — and hardly against top-class opposition. With s Mane absent, they held Uzbekistan to a 1-1 draw in Morocco. Four days later they drew 0-0 with Bosnia Herzogovina.

World Cup history: It all boils down to one year — but what a year it was. They drew the opening game of the tournament in Seoul and left a lasting impression, beating defending champions France thanks to a goal from Papa Bouba Diop. Not content with that result they then drew 1-1 with Denmark before a double from the redoubtable Diop ensured a 3-3 draw with Uruguay — and progression to the round of 16. There they faced Sweden and a golden goal deep into the first period of extra time by Henri Camara propelled them into the final eight. But their luck ran out against Turkey when a golden goal four minutes into extra time from İlhan Mansız eliminated them.

Coach: Former national skipper Aliou Cissé — who led the side to their biggest achievement on the world stage in 2002 — has been in charge since 2015.

FIFA ranking: 28

Betting: $250

Can James Rodriguez reproduce his 2014 heroics in Russia?
Camera IconCan James Rodriguez reproduce his 2014 heroics in Russia?Picture: AP


The Socceroos got a good look at them in London recently and were very fortunate to emerge with a draw. One of star performers four years ago in Brazil, Colombia could well take this tournament by storm as well, especially if James Rodriguez is in the mood. Qualification though got a bit nervy in the end. In fact they only guaranteed automatic entry in the final game in Peru. Rodriguez scored the decisive goal in a 1-1 draw. To say their campaign was inconsistent would be a massive understatement. They couldn’t get things going at home especially, but picked up points when they needed them most to take fourth spot.

Key player: Attacking dynamo Rodriguez took the 2014 tournament by storm, scoring one of the goals of the tournament against Uruguay. He has subsequently had an underwhelming stint for Real Madrid before rediscovering his best for Bayern Munich. He remains one of the best players in the world.

Recent form: It’s been a little up and down. They turned on the style to memorably topple France in Paris with some clinical breakaway goals — and that came after a 4-0 hammering of China. But mixed in with those have been the scoreless draw against the Socceroos and a surprise 2-1 loss to South Korea.

World Cup history: Hosts of the 1962 World Cup, Colombia had only once made it past the group stages prior to 2014. That was back in 1990 when they qualified for the round of 16 as one of the top third place finishers. There though they succumbed to a Roger Milla double in extra time as Cameroon caused a huge boilover. Their campaign four years later in the USA was marred by an early exit and the subsequent murder of defender Andres Escobar after he scored an own goal against the hosts. Four years ago in Brazil though was a different story. Stacked with top-class talent like Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado and Carlos Valdes, they won all their group games before a Rodriguez double propelled them past Uruguay in the round of 16. Matched against Brazil in the quarterfinals, Colombia gave a good account of themselves and were perhaps a little unlucky to lose 2-1.

Coach: Veteran Argentinian Jose Pekerman is in his sixth season in charge. He is so revered in his adopted homeland that he received his Colombian citizenship from the country’s president.

FIFA ranking: 16

Betting: $41

The Japanese will be expecting plenty from Shinji Kagawa
Camera IconThe Japanese will be expecting plenty from Shinji KagawaPicture: AAP


Their lowly ranking can be a little deceiving. As the Socceroos can corroborate, the Blue Samurai are an impressive outfit. They bounced back from an opening match home loss to the United Arab Emirates to qualify top of their group. That defeat proved a mere aberration as the only other points they dropped along the way were to Australia (1-1 draw in Melbourne), Iraq (1-1 in Tehran) and then Saudi Arabia (1-0 in Jeddah in a largely meaningless game at the end of the group stage). Their best performance came when it really mattered, a 2-0 win over Socceroos in Saitama. But this is a tough group to emerge from and another first round exit looms large.

Key player: Easy to say Shinji Kagawa, or Keisuke Honda, Genki Haraguchi, or even Leicester’s Shinji Okasaki — but Japan just may go with a bunch of young guns. Names like Yosuke Ideguchi — who is playing in Spain on loan from English club Leeds United — and 23-year-old Takuma Asano — who will play on loan in Germany next season from Arsenal — will demand attention.

Recent form: Japan have certainly been one of the more busy teams in recent times. And wins have been few and far between. Ukraine and South Korea have beaten them while unheralded Mali held them to a 1-1 draw. In fact they have lost five of the 10 matches played since they beat Australia in November last year.

World Cup history: First made the big show in 1998 in France but dropped all three group games to Argentina, Croatia and Jamaica. They haven’t missed an appearance since. On home soil four years later they stormed into the round of 16, topping a group that featured Belgium, Russia and Tunisia. But they were knocked out by Turkey. Famously part of the Socceroos’ group in Germany in 2006, they failed to win a game. But in South Africa in 2010 — where they fielded perhaps one of their greatest teams of all time, they beat both Cameroon and Denmark to reach the round of 16. There though they fell to Paraguay on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Their efforts four years ago in Brazil were forgettable as defeats to Colombia and Ivory Coast consigned them to an early exit.

Coach: Japan sensationally sacked Vahid Halilhodzic only last month and appointed former technical director Akira Nishino as his replacement until the end of the their Cup run.

FIFA ranking: 60

Betting: $251


June 20: Colombia v Japan, Saransk

Poland v Senegal, Moscow

June 25: Japan v Senegal, Yekaterinburg

Poland v Colombia, Kazan

June 29: Japan v Poland, Volgograd

Senegal v Colombia, Samara


SportsPulse: Supreme Court reporter Richard Wolf breaks down the SCOTUS ruling on sports betting in the United States, and what it could mean for the future of gambling in professional and college sports. USA TODAY Sports

OXON HILL, Md. – Tom McMillen is CEO of an association of college athletics directors, a former Congressman, a former NBA player – and now, unofficially, an odds-maker.

“I’ll give you something that I’ll put 100% odds on,” he said the other day. “If gambling on colleges is in 20 or 30 states there is probably a 100% chance of a point-shaving scandal at some school.”

McMillen was part of a panel discussion at last month’s annual conference of the Sports Lawyers Association. He stopped short of offering an over/under as to how soon he thinks such a scandal could come now that the Supreme Court has ruled states are free to allow gambling on sports, including college sports.

The calculus behind McMillen’s assertion is simply this: Athletes in the major team sports are paid so much that they are unlikely to risk their careers by fixing games or shaving points, whereas college players are vulnerable to illicit offers because of NCAA limits on their compensation.

More: Your state-by-state guide to sports betting in light of Supreme Court ruling

More: States where sports betting may be ready in time for NFL season

More: Why legalized sports gambling is a win for millions of fans

“I’m just sitting here smiling,” said Kate Lowenhar-Fisher, a Las Vegas attorney, “because if the problem is amateur athletes are susceptible to corruption because they’re not getting paid, then we could fix it by paying them.”

Laughter and light applause washed the room at the Gaylord National Harbor Resort and Convention Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. McMillen represented the area in Congress during the era when he voted for 1992’s Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That’s the law that effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states – and which the Supreme Court recently overturned as unconstitutional.

Delaware announced Thursday that it will launch full-scale sports betting next Tuesday. New Jersey, which pushed its case to the Supreme Court, hopes to begin later in June. At least 20 states are at various stages of considering or implementing sports betting, according to information compiled by the USA TODAY NETWORK.

Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association, rejected McMillen’s premise that wider legal sports betting is likely to lead to scandal. She said college athletes are already susceptible to inducements from illegal gamblers.

“I’m not sure what’s changed,” she said, “other than having more data to see when something could potentially be happening.”

Slane’s point is that it will be easier for the gaming industry to track irregularities when it has a pool of transactions wider than Nevada’s to study. Point-shaving scandals have dogged college basketball for generations, from CCNY in the 1950s to Boston College in the 1970s to Tulane in the 1980s.

McMillen is president and CEO of the LEAD1 Association, which represents 130 athletics directors and programs of the Football Bowl Subdivision, including college sports’ best-known brand names. He said the association surveyed its athletics directors and found 80% oppose legalized sports betting on colleges. They worry about point shaving, McMillen said, but also about the added expense of educating athletes and monitoring them.

“They would have to hire a lot of people to bird-dog this,” he said, “because a scandal at a university is catastrophic.”

‘Brave new world of issues’

Just how newly legalized sports betting will shake out is hard to say, perhaps more so for colleges than for major pro sports.

“This opens up a whole brave new world of issues – intellectual property issues, commercialization issues, how injuries are reported” in college sports, said Gary Roberts, president of Bradley University and a longtime sports lawyer and professor. “It’s too early to sort through all of them, but I know that it’s going to create an industry of people dealing with all of the spin-off issues.”

Injury reports, frequently perused by bettors, are a staple of the NFL. Gabe Feldman, director of the sports law program at Tulane Law School, said greater privacy interests and legal rights afforded to students could well lead to colleges deciding against making such information public.

If the lack of injury information “dissuades some people from betting on college sports,” he said, “I don’t think the NCAA would be unhappy about that. Now could an individual conference decide they wanted to provide more injury reporting? I don’t know.”

Sometimes fellow students are in the best position to know if the quarterback wrenched a knee — or broke up with his girlfriend. That sort of information could be valuable to gamblers.

“Who would have better inside information than fellow students?” said John Wolohan, professor of Sports Law in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University. “But, once again, I think we still see that happening today” before legal sports betting goes wide.

Feldman said the NCAA will be able to continue its ban on sports gambling for student-athletes, even in states where it’s legal. He pointed out the NCAA already does that with certain performance-enhancing drugs that are otherwise legal.

“It’s not illegal to fall below a certain GPA, but they can still put requirements in that if you don’t meet those standards, you’re not eligible,” Feldman said. “Likewise, if you gamble on sports, you’re not eligible.”

Whether student-athletes will be allowed to bet legally on sports other than their own “are going to be interesting questions that will have to be addressed,” Roberts said. “There are a lot of nuances and a lot of rules that are going to have to be reconsidered.”

No betting on in-state schools

The proposed gambling law in New Jersey would prohibit betting on schools in the state, such as Rutgers and Seton Hall, as well as college games played in the state. Delaware’s law excludes collegiate sporting events that involve a Delaware school.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see other states kind of tailoring their legislation to protect their own college athletes,” Wolohan said. “The idea is if there’s going to be corruption, or the game is going to be corrupted somehow, it’s OK if it’s up in Syracuse or Ann Arbor, just not if it’s down in New Brunswick.”

Nevada originally had a similar betting exemption for colleges in the state but no longer. The gaming industry opposes these kinds of carveouts.

“You can’t have certain teams that you aren’t able to offer bets on because all that’s doing is fueling the illegal market,” Slane said. “Someone is going to take a bet somewhere if it’s not through the legal, regulated operators.”

Athletics directors would like to see laws that exempt college sports, McMillen said, but they “are also realists. They know 30% to 40% of the book in Vegas is college sports. And it’s not likely that the states are going to carve them out of this.”

The NBA and MLB have advanced the notion of so-called integrity fees, perhaps 1% of a sports book’s handle. McMillen said schools would like to be paid for what he calls increased monitoring costs as well.

If colleges are “able to get a piece of that pie, that could potentially generate hundreds of millions,” Wolohan said. “That’s still a lot of money not going to the athletes. And once again that will be one more thing the athletes point to and say, ‘We need a piece of this.’ ”

That’s if sports books ever have to pay such fees. The gaming industry will fight them. Slane said 1% “sounds like a drop in the bucket” but that comes before winners and taxes are paid. “If you want to shut down the illegal market,” she said, “we have to be able to compete.”

Another potential source of revenue for colleges from legalized sports betting is fees for official data, which the pro leagues are advocating for, but it’s not clear where the line is between public information and proprietary data.

Additionally, schools and conferences may decide they’d be willing to accept advertising or other forms of sponsorships from sports betting enterprises. The Pac-12, for instance, wholly owns its conference television networks, the Big Ten partially owns its network and other conferences have a say in the types of advertising their television partners can accept. There already are many schools that have sponsorship agreements or other types of relationships with casinos, casino hotels and/or state lotteries.

“I also suspect, knowing how entrepreneurial many of our universities are, that they will figure out a way to monetize this gambling,” Roberts said. “They oppose gambling, but if there’s going to be gambling on their events, they want to figure out some way to make some money off of it. So, we’ll already take a highly commercialized aspect of our universities and even make it more commercialized.”

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