Keeping sport clean needs enhanced policing and prevention, INTERPOL Chief tells summit

25 April 2012

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Sports integrity efforts require all stakeholders to enhance anti-corruption policing and prevention against match-fixing and illegal betting, INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said today.

Speaking at the inaugural International Herald Tribune (IHT) Sports Business Summit (25-26 April) to some 200 senior officials from sports, government, business and the media, Mr Noble said that the global sports community and its partners across the private and public sectors must develop a comprehensive sports integrity infrastructure which embraces law enforcement and prevention training.

“As corruption in sports has become a global concern, our response must also be global and holistic. We need to bring together all stakeholders to develop a proactive and sustainable approach to fight this scourge,” said Secretary General Noble.

“Cooperation and synergy between the police, sports organizations, regulatory agencies and the community in general is vital if we want to prevent sports from losing its true meaning and value,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

“The amounts of money that can be made from foul play are vast, running into hundreds of millions of Euros in any one year. The ability to launder money and make a profit in the process attracts serious and organized crime into the arena and once this money is channeled into crime groups, it can be used for various criminal activities,” warned Mr Noble.

The Head of INTERPOL cited how INTERPOL’s Operation SOGA III (June-July 2010) against illegal gambling in Asia alone had  resulted in more than 5,000 arrests, USD 155 million of bets seized and USD 9.9 million in cash recovered from more than 854 raids.

“At a time when technology and globalization are facilitating physical and virtual mobility as well as communications as never before, we need to ensure the key actors in sports are developing good practices not just to investigate and address suspected corruption, but to stop corrupt activities before they can even begin,” said Mr Noble.

In this respect, officials at the summit heard a key aspect of the INTERPOL – FIFA initiative launched in May 2011 would see  INTERPOL’s Training, Education and Prevention (TEP) strategy underpin its efforts to raise awareness of the problems of corruption, and how to detect and counter it.

INTERPOL entered into a 10-year initiative with FIFA to develop and implement a global training, education and prevention programme with a focus on regular and irregular betting as well as match-fixing.

To achieve this goal INTERPOL launched a dedicated Integrity in Sport unit to develop and implement a training programme within the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation which will open in Singapore in 2014.

In the framework of this initiative, INTERPOL will be conducting training workshops that bring together players, referees, regulators and law enforcement.  Earlier this month, Finland hosted the first INTERPOL-FIFA sports integrity pilot workshop.