Under the leadership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the sports movement today agreed on a series of recommendations aimed at protecting and maintaining the integrity of sport if and when put at risk by irregular betting.
These recommendations, which will serve as guidelines for all stakeholders involved, call for prevention, education and information for all involved in sport, as well as increased collaboration with governments.
Gathered in Lausanne to look at the current opportunities and challenges posed by betting in sport, representatives of the IOC, International Sports Federations (IFs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the betting sector and public authorities held constructive discussions throughout the day.
IOC President Jacques Rogge, who opened the seminar, said:“It is clear that betting, through the financial benefits it generates, provides huge opportunities to sports organisations. However, there is a significant problem when betting leads to the manipulation of competitions and therefore threatens the integrity of sport. Cheating driven by betting is undoubtedly the biggest threat to sport after doping.”
“For the sports movement it is crucial to develop a unified strategy and to collaborate closely with public authorities and the legal gambling industry. Only then will we be able to address efficiently this complex issue,” Rogge concluded.
The seminar held in Lausanne, focused on the economic and legal aspects of the financing of sports organisations through betting activities as well as on
finding solutions to combat the risks inherent to irregular betting.
The IOC has approached the topic of irregular betting in a preventive way to protect the Olympic Games. The IOC requires that all athletes, coaches, officials and journalists agree not to engage in Olympic-related betting or promote betting companies during the Games. The IOC Code of Ethics also prohibits betting on any Olympic competition by IOC members, IOC staff or any accredited IF and Olympic Games Organising Committee.
For the Games of the Olympiad in Beijing in 2008 and the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver last February, the IOC set up a dedicated monitoring system. No irregular betting patterns were reported during these events.
The seminar produced a list of recommendations that address the necessary actions to be taken by the IOC, the IFs and the NOCs.
The constituents of the Olympic Movement are asked to adopt internal legislation to safeguard the integrity of the athletes, their entourage and officials, and to put in place educational measures for these groups.
The Olympic Movement will also study the possibility of creating a harmonised monitoring system of irregular betting in sport.