Belgium steps up national coordination to protect sport’s integrity
Protecting clean athletes from competition manipulation was the focus of a partnership development meeting organised jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and INTERPOL in Brussels, Belgium, last week.
Another tangible result stemming from Olympic Agenda 2020, the meeting brought together key figures dealing with the national prevention of competition manipulation, including representatives from law enforcement, the Federal Prosecutor's Office, the Belgian Olympic Committee, national sports federations, the Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) Secretariat and the Sports Ministry.
Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant, an IOC Member and member of the IOC Ethics Commission and President of the Belgium Olympic Committee, opened the meeting and said: “Competition manipulation is a huge threat to the integrity of sport and our athletes. It is a complex matter, impeded by criminal networks which operate globally. The meeting focused on optimising our national coordination in order to be best equipped for the prevention and investigation of competition manipulation in Belgium and beyond. Once we have improved our processes at national level, we will also be better positioned for cooperation at regional and international levels.”
During the meeting, the IOC presented strategies and tools available to prevent and investigate allegations or suspicions of competition manipulation, such as the recently published Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions. A new mechanism for reporting potential cases of competition manipulation as well as other violations of the integrity of sport – the Integrity and Compliance Hotline – was also successfully launched by the IOC last year. Moreover, the IOC has reinforced its Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS) and is enhancing monitoring and information exchange between law enforcement agencies, sports organisations and betting operators/regulators.
Read more about the IOC’s efforts to protect sport’s integrity here.
Simulation exercises with real-life scenarios
Facilitated by John Abbott, former Chair of the INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Steering Group, participants also discussed the mechanisms that exist for a national coordinated framework, existing obstacles for cross-sector cooperation and solutions for efficient investigations. Exercises with real-life scenarios allowed the participants to experience how specific operational collaboration between sport, law enforcement and betting regulators and operators can be achieved.
The event, held on Friday 22 April, was preceded by a two-day meeting of the INTERPOL Match-Fixing Task Force, during which the IOC presented the measures it will take to protect sport’s integrity at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. This particular INTERPOL Task Force, set up in 2011, is dedicated to supporting member countries in the fight against competition manipulation.
About the IOC-INTERPOL partnership
The IOC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with INTERPOL in January 2014. Since then, the two organisations have widened the scope of previous activities and drafted a strategy for concrete action over the 2015-2017 period. Among other initiatives, the two organisations are working together to deliver workshops around the world in partnership with National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International and National Sports Federations (IFs and NFs), law enforcement, governmental entities and betting regulators on the risks of match-fixing, manipulation of competitions and related corruption. Workshops such as the one held in Brussels, are currently being implemented in several countries to offer tailored solutions for each national context.
Furthermore, the IOC is developing an e-learning platform targeting all the participants at the Olympic Games – athletes, their entourage as well as NOC and IF officials.