Is corruption the new doping?

Published 13 October 2009

By Gary Rice, Beauchamps Solicitors

There is a view that match fixing is worse than doping because it is cheating to lose rather than cheating to win. The issue arose recently before CAS which partially upheld the appeal filed by tennis player Mathieu Montcourt against the decision of the Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer of the ATP suspending him for eight weeks from 11th August 2008 for wagering on several tennis events during the summer of 2005.

He was also ordered to bay a fine of $12,000. While upholding the fine, CAS reduced the suspension to slightly less than six weeks and acknowledged that Montcourt had clearly breached ATP anti-corruption rules. CAS took into account a number of factors, including the small amounts gambled (a total of $192), the absence of influence of the bets on the matches in question and the fact that Montcourt did not bet on his own matches or on matches in tournaments in which he was participating. This was not a case of match-fixing or asserting undue influence. CAS also considered that the sanction was imposed by the ATP more than three and a half years after the infraction and prevented Montcourt from participating in a Grand Slam tournament. Elsewhere, six football players are due to answer Football Association charges that they breached FA regulations against betting on the player’s own team or on matches in which the player is participating. 

The heads of several European sports bodies (the Sports Rights Owners Coalition) have joined forces and are seeking to compel the EU to combat the problem of sports betting corruption. One recommendation is the creation of an agency which would work globally to stop corruption through the sports betting industry. A number of measures were suggested including the forced licensing of bookmakers in all countries and the ability to exclude nations from major sporting events if they did not act within the parameters of the anti-corruption agency. The Sports Minister in the UK is planning to establish an expert panel of eight to ten people which would consist of betting personnel, sportspeople and members of the police, and which would work alongside, as well as advise and support, the Gambling Commission which regulates gambling in the UK. The Minister also acknowledged the difficulty in obtaining evidence when investigating claims of suspicious betting. To date the Gambling Commission has investigated approximately fifty cases of suspicious betting activity and had difficulty obtaining evidence of corruption in each of these resulting in no successful prosecutions.

Article obtained from www.beauchamps.ie, the website of Beauchamps Solicitors. Article reproduced with their kind permission.
For more information, contact Gary Rice
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