PtG Article 23.04.2012

New in Knowledge Bank: Threats to sporting integrity: doping, match-fixing and corruption

In a presentation given at the Crime and Sport Research Conference in Canberra, Australia on 23 March, Sport and Anti-doping Consultant Catherine Ordway discusses the threat of corruption in sport.

With a point of departure in IOC president Jacque Rogge’s statement from 2010 that “cheating driven by betting is undoubtedly the biggest threat to sport after doping,” Catherine Ordway presents her view on corruption in sport. 

In her presentation, she argues that we need to focus on stamping out corruption in sport in all its forms, and not just limit ourselves to ‘match-fixing’. Breaches of the rules, such as doping and match-fixing, are threats to sport which Ordway argues are merely symptomatic of bigger corruption and lack of transparency issues. 

To illustrate her point, she presents a long line of cases from the International Handball Federation (IHF) arguing that the leadership by the IHF president appears to have created a culture where referees are found to have been paid off to unfairly penalise one team, teams turn a blind eye, or actively encourage, athletes to dope, and the President himself is under suspicion of having benefited from his position in irregular manners.

None of these examples directly refer to betting, or to organised crime, but it is not too much of a stretch to imagine that organised criminals are lurking somewhere behind this picture. She ends her presentation by discussing the proposal of establishing an anti-corruption unit along the lines of the International Anti-doping Agency (WADA), the challenges and benefits of such a unit and how this might be put into use in the fight against corruption in sport across national borders.

Read the full presentation here