Collective global efforts to protect sport are necessary and urgent

Chris Eaton at the 2012 Soccerex conference. Photo credit: Kirsty McGregor / Soccerex via Action Images


By Play the Game
At the sports minister conference, MINEPS V, in Berlin yesterday, Sport Integrity Director Chris Eaton presented his views on what the global society must do in order to preserve the integrity of sport.

“Sport integrity solutions must be as big, global, organized and as harmonized as the criminal predation itself is”, Chris Eaton told the participants at the fifth World Conference of Sports Ministers, MINEPS V, in Berlin yesterday. Eaton, who is the director for sport integrity at the Qatar-based International Center for Sports Security (ICSS), was invited to the conference as an expert speaker. Here, he argued that it is now a universally acknowledged truth that there is a pressing need for more integrity in sport, pointing to match-fixing and betting fraud as some of the greatest challenges faced by sports today.

These problems are not limited to certain nations and regions, are not caused by a few individuals or groups and are not confined to a few sports or betting operators. These are organised criminal efforts operating on a global scale, Eaton said.

However, Eaton argued, the problems of match-fixing and betting fraud are often viewed to simply and in a too small context. Therefore, the proposed solutions have so far also been far too simple and far too small.

“These twin problems are just too big, too global and too organized, for anything but collective and multifaceted solutions to be successful at a global level. Hence, why we are here today.”

The betting industry has a market-driven morality and there is little hope that betting operators will join their efforts to tackle this problem so long as there is no collective global strategy and government intervention, Eaton argued.

“Many individual governments and national regulators around the world are closely looking at how to protect sport. However, this effort is uneven across jurisdictions. A collective global strategy led by world governments seems to be not only necessary, but urgently so”.

In order to effectively combat this problem, Eaton encouraged the MINEPS V participants to formally recognise the global scale of this problem and to recognise “that an independent and neutral international platform or global compact of some design, that draws together key stakeholders for their collective protection, should be considered”.

The full, unedited speech by Chris Eaton has been published in Play the Game’s Knowledge Bank

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