November 3, 2013 / 4:48 PM / 5 years ago

IOC sets up illegal betting unit to protect Games

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will set up a special unit to tackle illegal betting and match-fixing in a bid to make sure it does not become an issue in future Games, it said on Sunday.

The IOC held a meeting in Lausanne with its stakeholders including soccer’s ruling body FIFA, the governing authority of athletics the IAAF and Olympic Committee chiefs from Russia and the United States among others.

“It was agreed the IOC will set up a special unit to coordinate efforts (on match-fixing and illegal betting),” the IOC said in a statement.

“This unit will work on risk prevention and the dissemination of information and will support the harmonization of rules of the Olympic and sports movements.

“These rules will be based on examples from some of the international federations already working on this issue, such as (FIFA) which has already applied severe sanctions.”

The Olympics have been largely unaffected by illegal betting or match-fixing although last year badminton came under fire at the London Games when four women’s doubles pairs from South Korea, China and Indonesia deliberately played to lose their matches in order to get a more favorable draw.

All four pairings were disqualified and banned.

Athletes and officials are forbidden from betting on the Olympics and the IOC has been co-operating with legal betting agencies in the past few Games to monitor betting patterns for any suspect or unusual wagers.

Irish sailor Peter O’Leary escaped with a warning after betting on a direct competitor to win at the 2008 Beijing Games.

O’Leary had placed two bets worth a total of 300 euros ($400) on a British boat to capture the gold medal in the Star class at odds of 12-1.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Tony Jimenez

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