Home > The IOC > Commissions > Ethics

Ethics Commission










The International Olympic Committee is committed to fighting all forms of cheating in sport. Cheating linked to betting activities has become an area of great concern in recent years and, like doping, threatens the very integrity of sport.

Betting on sport is not negative in and of itself. Legal betting is one way the public can demonstrate its attachment to sports and athletes and the services offered by national lotteries and private operators are one of the main means of financing sport in many countries. The problem occurs when betting leads to the manipulation of competitions. The very essence of sporting competition is the uncertainty of the result. When that uncertainty is removed, it renders sport a meaningless endeavour.

The sports movement therefore has the duty and obligation to ensure that betting activities do not infringe in any way upon the course or result of the competition.

What are the risks?

Cheating is no myth:
We have all heard stories about athletes, referees, coaches, etc., being offered money or advantages in order to manipulate the result or course of a competition. The threat is real and poisoning sport in every corner of the world.

Vicious circle:
When an athlete agrees to cheat once, it becomes increasingly difficult to refuse any subsequent proposition.

Money talks:
The amount of money involved can be enormous, making the lure of manipulation more attractive. The huge sums also attract organised crime.

In collaboration with members of the Olympic Movement and other partners such as governments, international organisations and betting operators, measures have been taken to raise awareness throughout the world of sport and among the general public and protect the integrity of sports competitions.

For more information on these measures, please read the press release issued on 14 May 2013, which details the recommendations approved at the fourth meeting of the Founding Working Group on the fight against irregular and illegal betting. Formulated by sub-groups of experts, the recommendations focus on three main issues: education; monitoring and the exchange of information and intelligence; and legislation. They are now in the process of being implemented.

What does the IOC during the Olympic Games to safeguard the sport integrity?

Rules related to betting

The IOC Code of Ethics was amended to forbid all participants at the Olympic Games from betting on Olympic events and to avoid any unsporting behaviour, including the disclosure of inside information.

Specific rules are published for each edition of the Olympic Games:

The Rules of Application for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi outline the ban on betting linked to the Olympic Games and any form of cheating that would affect the results of Olympic competitions in the context of betting.

For the Sochi edition, these rules have been strengthened and clarified. Some points have been highlighted, in particular the responsibility of the participants to report any attempt at match-fixing they have witnessed or been exposed to, and the obligation to cooperate in the event of an inquiry.

The IOC is collaborating closely with the Russian authorities to ensure that all the necessary conditions are fulfilled so that the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games set an example in terms of integrity.  

Mechanism in place :

Since the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, all Olympic competitions are monitored and any irregular pattern is reported and analyzed, with national and international police forces, including Interpol, playing a vital role. In the event an irregular pattern is detected or serious suspicion raised, a disciplinary commission can be called by the IOC President.

During the Games, any information related to cheating should be reported to the IOC ethics commission by email at integrityprotection@olympic.org or by phone at +41 800 12 14 16. Confidentiality is ensured.

Information and education of the athletes:

The IOC has several educational tools in place for the athletes:



Actions by international organisations

Because of the scale of the problem, several international organisations are studying the best legal means to combat match-fixing on an international level. This involves closer cooperation between the sports movement, governments, police forces and legal bodies to respond more efficiently to this complex issue. The IOC actively supports these steps.

IOC/UNODC Study: Criminalisation approaches to combat match-fixing and illegal/irregular betting: a global perspective

This joint study was the result of work undertaken by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and supported by the IOC.

It compiles criminal law provisions on match-fixing and illegal betting from existing legislation in UNODC Member States, and identifies discrepancies and similarities in legislative approaches. You will also find model criminal law provisions on match-fixing and irregular betting in Annex 2 of the document.