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IOC wish they had enough betting interest to warrant anti-corruption measures

Fair play to the IOC for being proactive and wanting to avoid any match-fixing scandals from ever tainting an Olympic Games. But it's a bit rich to single out betting as the evil one when over the years there have been numerous suspicious judging decisions in athletics, boxing and other sports to satisfy political agendas. Not to mention the old junkets and favours which used to be exchanged in order to succeed with a bid to host the Games.

IOC sets up system to watch for illegal betting

At last year's Beijing Games, the IOC used a system set up by FIFA for soccer to watch for irregular betting on Olympic competitions. The monitoring found that a wide array of bets were offered for all Olympic sports, but that bets laid were generally small — between $7 to $70, the IOC says. It says there were no cases of irregular betting.


Firstly the title of the article is wrong - you can't 'monitor' illegal betting, the whole point of black market betting is that it's untraceable! The only firms involved in the monitoring system will be licensed to do so, but that's just a journo error, no doubt written by a Yank who thinks legalised sports betting only exists in Vegas.

The IOC need to realise from the highlighted paragraph above that bookies aren't suddenly going to risk hundreds (or even tens) of thousands of pounds on a sport they never bet on. Football, tennis and to a lesser extent, basketball and ice hockey are big betting sports, and this will translate to the Olympics when big names are involved. Good luck getting on to win more than a couple of grand if you are lucky (unless your account is marked 'MUG') on athletics, swimming, boxing, judo etc. Is an athlete competing for worldwide fame and glory really going to sacrifice their dream for a few grand?

And a useless comment from some spokesman:

The senior vice president of the World Lottery Association, Risto Nieminen, told the AP that the problem of match-fixing and irregular betting in sports "is far more serious than people understand."

"It's a much larger threat to sport than doping," said Nieminen, whose association groups state lottery and gaming organizations from 76 countries. "It is really worrying. I think the most worrying part is if there is a connection to organized crime."


I disagree. Match-fixing relating to betting has the potential to ruin a handful of sports; there aren't that many sports around where big betting exists. Sure a bookmaker might list 30 sports they bet on, but most have little interest and they'd be lucky to hold £1000 on a good weekend. Doping can affect just about every sport. Athletics, cycling and weightlifting are three sports which have been decimated by it. Usain Bolt has done an enormous amount to fix athletics all by himself. Cycling will struggle for years to come, it did nothing about the problem for decades and major race winners won't be assumed as clean for a few years yet. Weightlifting had huge issues with it with systematic steroid abuse from several countries. Bringing in a rule of three positive tests from one nation and the country gets kicked out of competition put a stop to that. Biathlon and winter endurance sports have had their share of scandals with blood-doping and EPO/CERA abuse by Austrian and Russian athletes in recent years, plus one Finnish athlete (where I assume Mr Nieminen is from by his surname) who was TWICE busted for it.

Then we look at swimming where medals are decided by which brand of suit they are sponsored by, because FINA were too slow/lame to ban them when they first came out. Or boxing, where the sport is just a joke because of suspicious judging and way too many 'world' organisations meaning that title belts are virtually meaningless with the exception of a handful. No wonder Ultimate Fighting (UFC) has taken off so quickly. The list goes on. Betting has the potential to cause scandal, but don't treat the public as so naive and stupid to believe that it is the only cause of artificial results in sport.

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