Convicted match-fixer rues harsher penalties in Facebook post

Former AFM soldier convicted of match fixing says paedophile got less than five years’ jail proposed for sports corruption charges

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
29 August 2017, 7:30am
Ronnie Mackay is at the centre of one of Malta’s most notorious sports corruption cases
Ronnie Mackay is at the centre of one of Malta’s most notorious sports corruption cases
Convicted match-fixer Ronnie Mackay has taken to Facebook to lament the imbalance in criminal penalties for different offences.

Mackay, the man at the centre of one of Malta’s most notorious sports corruption cases, is fighting an appeal against a two-year prison sentence and €2,000 fine that he received in July after being found guilty of fixing the outcome of a Malta Under-21 football game against Montenegro, for a Chinese betting syndicate.

A new updated law will impose harsher penalties on match fixing, extending Maltese jurisdiction on persons implicated in corruption, and offer protection to whistleblowers who speak out against corruption.

They include a five-year jail term for athletes and club officials guilty of sport corruption, and a hefty fine running into thousands of euros, which are harsher than those envisaged in the existing laws. The penalties will be harsher for club and match officials, athletes, including those who have retired, and individuals with no direct connection to a sporting organisation but who stand to benefit from corruption.

But the ex-soldier took to Facebook on Wednesday evening after reports of a proposed increase in punishments for those found guilty of corruption in sporting events.

Convicted match-fixer Ronnie Mackay’s Facebook post, complaining about harsher penalties against corruption in sport
Convicted match-fixer Ronnie Mackay’s Facebook post, complaining about harsher penalties against corruption in sport
“You can get five years in prison and a €150,000 fine over a football game and then some guy who sexually abused six kids and admitted it gets four years. He fucked up six kids’ lives. Mickey Mouse country. There is no other way of putting it: Mickey Mouse justice. Well done.

“And then in Italy… with football played for millions, not peanuts like here – go see if [disgraced former Juventus general manager Luciano] Moggi spent an hour in prison. Well done. It must be a sign that Maltese football is better than Italian and after all, charity begins at home.”

The former soldier ended his rant with an ominous and enigmatic prediction: “My dears, you know who I am talking about. One day the volcano will erupt and a lot of lava will spew out and the bigwigs that are there will have to pay.”

Mackay, a former AFM soldier dismissed in 2014, was in the past also found to have made several attempts to bribe players in another game, against Czech Republic, in March 2016.

In 2014, Mackay and two other AFM soldiers were also convicted of attempted theft from a Victoria showroom and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Mackay also stood accused of bribing Naxxar player Sunday Eboh prior to a First Division game against Gzira in September 2012. The MFA’s Integrity Officer Frans Tabone had received a phone call from the president of Naxxar Lions FC in September 2012, informing him that one of the club’s players, Sunday Eboh, had been approached and offered a bribe.

Eboh, determined to blow the lid off the actions of Mackay and co-accused Chris Brincat, had insisted on going to police. Eboh had told the police he was called up by teammate Jermain Brincat and told to meet him in Gwardamangia, where on arriving he found Chris Brincat and Ronnie MacKay, who offered him a bribe to play badly against Gzira.

MacKay was jailed for 18 months and fined €1,500, while Brincat was sentenced to one-year imprisonment suspended for three years, and ordered to pay a €1,500 fine.

Mackay has in the past told the court of his addiction to gambling having led him into a downward spiral that left his family “financially ruined” and in serious debt with three banks and various loan sharks. After serving his sentence, he told Magistrate Joe Mifsud that nobody was willing to employ him as he had a criminal record.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...