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Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Thursday, 27 January 2011

Olympic chief warns of threat of illegal betting

Olympic Stadium
Could illegal betting threaten the integrity of the London Games in 2012?

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge fears illegal betting may threaten the Olympics, possibly as soon as London 2012.

Speaking at a symposium to discuss the issue, Rogge said: "Illegal betting is a major threat for sport, probably at the same level as doping.

"We should not be so naive to think it will not happen to the Olympics in the future, possibly even in London."

The IOC has called a summit on 1 March to decide how to approach the problem.

The summit will be attended by governments and sporting bodies, with a view to hammering out a joint solution.

"We will call upon the support of governments the same way we did in 1998 to create the World Anti Doping Agency," said Rogge at the symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland, organised by the International Sports Journalists' Association (AIPS).

"The sports world cannot solve the problem alone. We have to work with governments, with the lotteries, with bona fide betting companies and everyone concerned about having clean sport."


Rogge said the IOC had been monitoring the problem for some time and had noted nothing to suggest it had affected the Olympics so far.

He claimed individual sports needed to use firm sanctions and criticised some sports for their methods of dealing with the threat.

But he praised soccer, cricket and tennis for taking early action.

Uefa director of communications Alexandre Fourtoy said the European soccer governing body monitored 29,000 matches across its 53 member nations over all divisions in 2009 and found illegal betting patterns in 0.7% of them.

He said 100 million bets were being analysed on a daily basis.

However, he added strange betting patterns did not prove match-fixing or corruption and it was still hard to get proof and sanction offenders.

Thomas Spoering of Fifa's Early Warning System monitoring body for global soccer said betting had changed over the past 15 years and live betting during games had risen from 0% to 60% of the market.

Other speakers at the symposium said illegal betting was a multi-billion-dollar industry and the rise of live betting during matches and spread betting had enlarged the problem of corruption in sport well beyond that of match-fixing.

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see also
IOC 'doesn't care' about legacy
26 Jan 11 |  London 2012
IOC keen to end corruption probe
13 Dec 10 |  Olympics
Rogge re-elected as IOC president
09 Oct 09 |  Olympics

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