Sunday November 13, 2011 : DOPING REMAINS GREATEST THREAT TO SPORTS INTEGRITY
Betting is definitely not the biggest threat to the integrity of sport…
A report published Thursday and produced by Coventry University’s International Centre for the Business of Sport (CIBS) finds that corruption in sport remains dominated by doping, equating to nearly 96 percent of cases, followed by betting and non-betting related match-fixing with less than 3 percent and the misuse of inside information at around 1.5 percent.
The report’s findings are based on a unique detailed database of 2,089 proven cases of corruption in sport identified during 2000-2010. It found that the ratio of doping to match-fixing cases equates to 35:1 and the ratio of doping to betting related match-fixing cases equates to 60:1.
The European Parliament is presently looking at sporting integrity issues as part of its examination of the European Commission’s Sports Communication and Green Paper on Online Gambling and is due to respond on both issues in the near future.
Professor Simon Chadwick of Coventry University’s CIBS, said “There is growing interest, and indeed concern, in the issue of corruption in sport. Thus far however, there has been no systematic or structured review of corruption and so our study represents the first of its kind.
“The study clearly sheds some light on the nature, type and extent of corruption in sport. This enables us to more clearly identify where there are particular concerns and issues. As such, this should enable organisations involved in sport to more effectively address the challenges posed by corruption.
“For those of us working in the sports industry, the next challenge is therefore to formulate appropriate responses aimed at minimising the threat posed by the various different forms of corruption that our research team identified.”
The report has been undertaken on behalf of leading players in the remote gambling sector: the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the European Sports Security Association (ESSA).
The findings are of particular interest to the licensed betting industry given the increasing and unsubstantiated comments that match-fixing is a greater risk to sport than doping and/or that match-fixing is predominantly betting related, which as the report finds, is far from the truth.
Samantha Gorse, CIBS’s principal researcher, stated that: “From our research it was quickly apparent that doping remained the predominant issue within sport.
"However, in relation to the 3 percent of match fixing cases we were particularly surprised, given the focus of much of the media coverage in recent months, that there was nearly as much non-betting related match-fixing as betting related. Whilst not an attempt to fix the result, the level of the misuse of inside information for financial gain appears to present another important challenge for many sports and licensed betting operators.”
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the RGA, commented: “We are not complacent about match-fixing; quite the opposite in fact, but if the betting and sporting sectors are to combat the threats effectively it is essential that we have a clear view of what they are and what causes them.
"It should be remembered that the betting industry is the victim of such corruption, perpetrated by sports’ own personnel, sometimes colluding with criminal elements.
"However, this research categorically demonstrates that the level and frequency of betting related match-fixing (1.5 percent) is in no way comparable to the problem of doping in sport (96 percent).
"Indeed, European licensed betting operators have been ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting the integrity of sport from betting related match-fixing through early warning systems like the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) that monitors irregular betting patterns. As a result, the risk clearly emanates from criminal networks that profit from irregular and illegal gambling, often outside of Europe."
Sigrid Ligné, secretary general of the EGBA, added: “The education of sportspeople needs to be addressed as a priority to prevent all forms of corruption in sport. Sports participants are the first line of defence against corruption and they need to fully understand the various risks threatening the integrity of sport as well as the consequences of falling foul of their discipline.
"That’s why the European licensed betting industry has been working now for over 2 years with leading professional player associations on an educational campaign which aims to educate via face-to-face meetings over 9,500 sportspeople this year.”