Action needed on corruption threat: AOC boss
A NEW national anti-corruption watchdog with the powers to tap phones is needed to combat the scourge of match-fixing and illegal betting in sport, says Australian Olympics boss John Coates.
A meeting of sports industry heavyweights at the International Olympic Committee ( IOC) headquarters in Switzerland was told by Interpol that an estimated $ US140 billion was spent worldwide on illegal betting last year.
Coates and Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib represented Australia in the four-hour session in Lausanne that was viewed as the first step in addressing the global problems associated with irregular and illegal betting.
The relationship between gambling and match or spot-fixing has been a hot topic in recent months with illegal online gambling in particular becoming a major headache for sporting bodies as it is so difficult to monitor.
‘‘ These are the same issues as we had with doping,’’ Coates said following the meeting of governments, sporting organisations and major betting companies.
‘‘ I think there needs to be some body that is monitoring and some body that is there to investigate it.
‘‘ We don’t have those resources, you really need to tap into the ( Australian) federal police and be able to phone tap and I think legislation that compels people to come forward with information.’’
player Ryan Tandy, who is due in court this week, is staring at a jail sentence for providing false evidence to a law enforcement agency in an NRL betting probe.
And three leading Pakistani cricketers were all effectively banned for five years last month by the International Cricket Council for their involvement in spot-fixing.
Arbib said an anti-corruption body, solely concentrating on match-fixing and illegal betting, was an option being considered by the Federal Government.
One of the major talking points premeeting was the setting up of a global body to tackle the problem, such as the way the World Anti-Doping Agency deals with illegal drugtaking.
The complications of different laws around the world, plus the work of Interpol and the United Nations means that there is no guarantee such a body will be formed.
Interpol has pulled off a number of successful operations in closing down illegal gambling operations in Asia over the past three years.
IOC president Jacques Rogge reiterated that illegal betting was a serious threat to sport’s credibility.
‘‘ I think that sport is in danger, it is not about the Olympic Games, it is about sport in general,’’ said Rogge, who emphasised that sharing information between nations was crucial.
‘‘ It is a problem in the entire world, there is no safe haven, there is illegal betting where there is the internet.’’