International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach and INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble met today at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to advance collaboration on the protection of sport from corruption, particularly the manipulation of competition through betting.
Today’s discussion focused on the parameters of collaboration to be implemented in the coming years. The main areas of focus are awareness-raising among members of the Olympic Movement of the risks related to the manipulation of competitions, intelligence gathering, the conducting of investigations and prosecution procedures. Law enforcement authorities will be trained in parallel with the sports movement as the manipulation of sports competitions is often linked to criminal activities. INTERPOL’s expertise in overseeing and conducting investigations and in the exchange of intelligence is therefore critical.
The approach is based on the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding the IOC and INTERPOL signed in January. The MOU widened the scope of previous activities between the two organisations and paves the way for future collaboration on the security and protection of the integrity of competitions at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. It includes measures to improve governance through sport regulations and state legislation; ensuring regulatory enforcement through intelligence and investigations; and enhancing awareness among, and providing training to, Olympic Movement stakeholders and law enforcement agencies.
“Protecting the clean athletes from all forms of corruption and manipulation is our top priority,” said President Bach. “Our increased collaboration with INTERPOL serves to safeguard the integrity of sport. We are very satisfied with the determination being demonstrated by INTERPOL to team up with the IOC in this fight for the clean athletes. Together we continue to call on all governments, police authorities and betting regulators to join us.”
“Building on the close collaboration between INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee is crucial to turning back crime threatening the integrity of sport,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Noble. “Wider global law enforcement support will also help ensure that fans, competitors and officials can safely enjoy international sports events.”
“Our joint action against threats such as illegal and irregular betting will help underpin confidence in fair play by the public and all those who have a stake in keeping sports clean and safe,” the Secretary General added. “The role of INTERPOL is to ensure that the rule of law is respected; the role of the IOC is to ensure that the rule of sport is respected. So it is a perfect marriage.”
As the world’s largest international police organization that works to connect police for a safer world, INTERPOL has worked closely with the IOC in the past to protect Olympic competitions from manipulation.
One of the IOC’s latest efforts to protect clean athletes was the establishment of the “Integrity Betting Intelligence System” (IBIS), which has been fully operational since the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Designed to become the primary source of betting information for the Olympic Movement, IBIS collates alerts and information on manipulation through betting on sport. Betting operators and regulators that have signed MoUs with the IOC are responsible for monitoring betting activity on all major international sports events and alerting IBIS directly when suspicious activity is detected. IBIS is a permanent mechanism that is available to all International Federations (IFs). The goal is to have all Summer and Winter IFs join the system by the end of 2015. The collaboration with INTERPOL will strengthen the efficiency of IBIS through the training and support of IFs, national sports organisations and law enforcement agencies.
Looking ahead, the IOC fully supports the signing of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions by all states represented at the 13th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport in Macolin/Magglingen, Switzerland on 18 September 2014. The convention will mark a key milestone in the cooperation between governments and sport in the joint fight against manipulation in sport.
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