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  • IOC Launches Betting Task Force


    (ATR) A task force will tackle illegal and irregular sports betting in the wake of a Tuesday summit called for and chaired by IOC president Jacques Rogge.

    IOC president Jacques Rogge called for Tuesday's summit at a January symposium on sporting integrity, during which he likened the threat of illegal and irregular betting to that of doping. (IOC)
    “What we heard this morning is a clear signal coming from the governments, coming from international bodies like Interpol and coming from international federations that there is illegal betting and irregular betting that threatens the credibility of sport,” Rogge told reporters in a conference call afterwards.

    “It’s nothing to do with the Games. The Games are an important part of sport, but we see with a global vision.”

    The sport ministers of Australia, France, Britain and Switzerland were in Lausanne alongside leaders from the international federations for tennis, basketball, soccer, athletics, rugby and rowing as well as the NOCs of Italy, France, Britain, China and Germany.

    Officials from the European Union, United Nations, Interpol and two betting operators also joined in Tuesday's meeting and will likewise participate in the forthcoming task force.

    “[This will] only work with close cooperation between the three partners, being the sports movement, the betting operators and the public authorities,” Rogge said.

    After playing down suggestions Monday that a World Anti-Doping Agency-style body may emerge from such cooperation, the IOC president reiterated Tuesday that the answer to what he estimates is a $140 billion a year problem isn’t simply to form a second WADA.

    “Creating a new body is not creating [another WADA] because there is a huge difference between what WADA is and what this eventual body would be,” he explained.
    Rogge highlighted the September suspensions of Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt as an example of cooperation between the sports movement and government authorities. (Getty Images)

    “We work in WADA with one finger on the doping code, with one finger on a list of accredited laboratories, one finger on the list of forbidden drugs and one on a list of sanctions. Here in illegal betting we are much more closely working on a national basis because of the national legislation that exists in some countries.”

    Rogge fell short of singling out any specific problem sports or problem countries but did highlight the prevalence of illegal bets on European soccer originating from elsewhere in the world.

    The more popular the sport, the greater the likelihood of illegal and irregular betting, he explained, but not necessarily on top-tier play.

    Rogge said most suspicious bets are placed on second, third and even fourth tier matches because of their lesser exposure, supervision and attendance.

    The Olympics have yet to suffer a betting scandal large or small, and he insisted the timing of Tuesday’s summit had nothing to do with the Olympic calendar.

    “There is a sense of urgency, but I would not pin it down to London Olympics because after London you have Rio,” he said.

    “It’s going to be an ongoing process.”

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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