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Integrity Forum to be set up in Britain to safeguard athletes

(Reuters) - A new cross-sport Integrity Forum will be established in Britain to help tackle issues ranging from match-fixing and doping to athlete welfare, the UK Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) has said.

The move comes in the wake of the scandal that has rocked British Gymnastics, and other concerns around bullying and discrimination in British sport.

UKAD said in a statement Thursday that it had commissioned Swansea University to conduct research to identify if issues such as match-fixing, corruption and misconduct are linked.

The study came up with 24 recommendations for improved governance and revealed that while some sporting bodies spent over two million pounds ($2.64 million) a year on integrity issues, others committed less than 10,000 pounds.

“Anti-doping is just one issue where the integrity of sport is under threat. Safeguarding, discrimination, match-fixing and organisational corruption are all threats to the values we hold dear in sport,” UKAD Chair Trevor Pearce said.

“UKAD wants to bring together a coalition of organisations to start to address and combat sport’s wider problems, with a single effort.”

The Integrity Forum has received backing from the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) and will meet for the first time next month.

“Protecting the integrity of sport is paramount... Our new Sport Integrity Forum will bring together organisations from across the sector to discuss some of the most complex challenges facing sport today,” Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said.

($1 = 0.7572 pounds)

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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