Police have been called in to investigate allegations of illegal betting in the National Basketball League.
After inquiries from the Herald, NBL chairman and Basketball New Zealand chief executive Iain Potter today confirmed that the Basketball New Zealand have asked the police to investigate further into the allegations of "inappropriate betting".
"Basketball New Zealand was recently advised of allegations of inappropriate betting activities linked to a National Basketball League game. It is imperative that the integrity of our sport be protected," Potter said.
"We have referred the allegations to the New Zealand Police and they have decided to pursue this further, which we welcome."
In a statement, the police noted that Basketball New Zealand had "concerns about suspicious betting activity relating to a specific game."
Earlier, Potter confirmed to the Herald that the league was looking into a game late last month between the Taranaki Mountain Airs and the Supercity Rangers.
With just two seconds remaining on the clock, a shot from the Airs reduced the Rangers' lead to nine points - 94-85. While teams would traditionally run out the clock when up by a hefty margin with little time left, the Rangers took a timeout, and on the resulting inbounds play, hit a three-pointer on the buzzer to win by 12 points.
One of the popular options available to bet on at the TAB is for a team to win by 11 points or more.
Rangers coach Jeff Green, who has denied any wrongdoing by his team, said the final timeout was called to give a departing player the final shot. Video of the game shows that multiple Rangers players appeared to be furious when the Airs reduced the deficit to nine points with two seconds remaining, while the last-second shot caused scenes of celebration amongst the same players.
Under the anti-match fixing and sports betting policy of Basketball New Zealand's internal regulations, a basketballer playing in a game commits an offence if they wager anything of value in connection with any game or event conducted by or under the auspices of BBNZ, or offer, give, solicit or accept anything of value to or from any person with the intent to influence any player's efforts in a game.
Potter said that Basketball New Zealand and the NZ NBL Board are taking the allegations "very seriously".
"We've been advised to refrain from making further comment while the investigation is carried out. Both parties have and will continue to offer their full cooperation with the investigation."
The police are appealing for any further information in regards to the illegal betting allegations.
"Police are well aware of the potential risk that match-fixing and other related activity can have on the integrity of sporting competition," said National Manager, Financial Crime Group, Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman.
"Police routinely work alongside several key experts and representatives of the sporting community to identify acts of match-fixing and other criminal behaviour. We aim to grow effective information sharing processes between sporting codes and law enforcement.
"Police take match-fixing allegations seriously and are committed to ensuring New Zealand sport is corruption-free. We encourage all those involved in sport who have information about criminal behaviour to contact Police."