International edition
September 21, 2020

The Games open on July 27

London plans daily meetings to combat Olympics betting cheats

(UK) - Gambling authorities, police, government and Olympic officials are to hold daily meetings at the London Games to monitor betting patterns for any suspicious activities linked to athletes' performances.

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ritish Olympic Association (BOA) chairman Colin Moynihan told reporters at a briefing this week that "a comprehensive structure of support" was being put in place to combat the threat of match-fixing and illegal betting.

"Every morning there will be a meeting of the Gambling Commission, who will work with the Metropolitan police and (organisers) LOCOG, the border agency and IOC representative on that working group to analyse any unexpected or significant movements in the markets," he said.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge has warned that illegal betting poses as big a threat to the integrity of sports as doping and could one day hit the Olympics. The Games open on July 27.

With every heat scheduled to be broadcast, Moynihan warned of the "possibility of betting to lose" and said British athletes would be banned from any gambling activities during the Games under their contract with the BOA. Those who had made bets before selection would be asked to declare their position to avoid any problems once the Games start.

Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson told reporters that illegal betting had not been a huge problem so far at Olympics but recognised it was a "new and evolving threat."

The issue made headline news last year when Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed after being found guilty of fixing parts of a test match against England in 2010.

Betfair, the world's largest betting exchange, said last month that it had agreed to share information with the IOC on potentially suspect gambling at the London Games. Sport betting is legal in Britain and Robertson cautioned that the authorities might be unable to do anything until a crime had been committed.

"Clearly the issue of the stage at which you stop is as much a judgment for those involved on the criminal side," he added. "The initial advice I have had is that it would not have been possible to prosecute the Pakistani cricketers in the same way had they not been allowed to commit the offence."

Moynihan said there was currently no guidance on what happened to information assembled by the gambling commission, and who it should be passed on to. He said the BOA was seeking clarification from the IOC.

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