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Integrity in sport

Sport brings people together, transcending differences in language, culture and beliefs. Unfortunately, the integrity of sport is undermined by a number of crimes, including match-fixing, illegal gambling and doping.

Organized criminal syndicates operate on a massive scale, targeting a wide range of sports, including (but not limited to) football, athletics, tennis and cycling. A number of different figures are at risk of being approached by criminals who wish to manipulate the outcomes of matches, for example, players, referees, managers and coaches.

Crimes in sport cross international borders and generate huge profits which are then channelled into other illegal activities. Estimates of the money made through illegal betting alone run into hundreds of millions of euros annually.

  • Match-fixing and illegal gambling are global challenges, especially as online gambling networks have made it extremely easy to bet on sporting competitions and matches anywhere in the world. We have developed online training for players, referees, managers and coaches on how to recognize, resist and report any form of match manipulation.
  • Doping is often viewed simply as a crime committed by an individual. The reality is that when an athlete takes illegal performance-enhancing drugs, this is just one piece in a larger network of crime.

INTERPOL’s response

At INTERPOL, we run a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the issues and to facilitate the sharing of information, intelligence and best practices among our member countries. We also conduct joint investigations and operations to dismantle the organized networks behind crimes in sport. 

International cooperation

A coordinated prevention strategy for protecting the integrity of all sports is vital, and must involve a wide range of stakeholders on national, regional and global levels.

We work with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to identify and address crimes in sport. Cooperation was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in January 2014.

Within the partnership with IOC, INTERPOL will provide additional support to the Brazilian authorities in ensuring the safety and security of the Olympic Games (Rio 2016) as well as providing them with specific training on how to counter corruption, competition manipulation and doping.

We would also like to acknowledge the Netherlands (the Dutch National Police) who have contributed funding in support of activities related the fight against sport competition manipulation.

In partnership with the Council of Europe and other relevant partners, we are working on the implementation of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions.