World agency to fight sports betting corruption mooted

Europe's major sporting bodies have taken the first steps to set up a global body to combat sports betting corruption, an article in The Telegraph newspaper reported this week.

The piece refers to a meeting in Brussels last week in which representatives from football, rugby and cricket owners associated with the Sports Rights Owners Coalition addressed fears about match-fixing and gambling corruption in sport, and delivered a report to the European Union designed to protect the future.

A plan formulated by the group suggests a global anti-corruption agency which will be able to use state powers of investigation, force strict licensing on bookmakers and, ultimately, have the power to exclude nations that do not comply from major tournaments such as the World Cup.

"The meeting in Brussels saw the international sports community unite to urge politicians to apply the same focus to tackling betting corruption as they have to doping," said an adviser to the British National Governing Bodies of Sport. "Just as the fight against doping turned the corner when every country's government signed up to take action, a similar approach is needed with sports betting. This means that an approach similar to that taken by the World Anti-Doping Agency is needed.

"Match-fixing is worse than doping because it is cheating to lose, rather than cheating to win."

The Telegraph reports that all the heavyweights of world sport were represented at the meeting – Fifa, Uefa (see previous InfoPowa report), the Premier League, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the International Rugby Board and British horse racing – with fears growing about the way the Internet has enabled access to foreign bookmakers that do not fall under national jurisdictions.

The Football Association, for example, called a halt Friday to their investigation into alleged match-fixing in the October 4 Norwich City v Derby County game, having failed to gain significant information from any Asian bookmakers on which extraordinary betting patterns were observed.

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