How to protect integrity in sport
Doping and match-fixing are major problems, potentially set to get worse, according to panellists at a session on 'Integrity in Sport' at Doha GOALS.
Olivier Rabin, Science Director, World Anti-Doping Agency, said with reference to performance enhancing drugs, that the problem was bigger than the one to two per cent that was generally accepted as the proportion of athletes who took the drugs.
"Studies based on scientific and social approaches show that it could be as high as five, seven or evern 15 per cent," he said. "If you believe some accounts, in some sports and in some countries, it is much more."
Turning to solutions, he said youth and athlete education was paramount, to explain about the values and rules of sport, while more testing was also key to also show the credibility of those who did not use performance enhancing substances.
"Finally, we have to do more investigations to reveal the full scale of the problem, producing proof rather than just samples."
Rabin also said that the World Anti Doping Code was being revised and by November next year would potentially double sanctions from two to four years' ban for those caught: "Sanctions often bring down sporting heroes and we lose part of the dream of sport," he said, adding that it was preferable to a life-time ban by offering an opportunity for athletes to come back to their sport clean.
Turning to match fixing, panellists from FIFA, Interpol and Betfair agreed that the Internet was favouring criminals and that more co-operation was needed between the worlds of sport, police and governments.
Laurent Vidal, Chairman, Sorbonne-ICSS Research Program on Ethics and Sport Integrity said that betting in 95 per cent of countries worldwide was not regulated: "The sports world does not have the tools to fight match fixing," he said.
"Match fixing to lose means you have to identify someone who is faking on the field and that is not quantifiable so few are caught."
On behalf of the betting industry, Andy Cunningham, Global Head of Integrity at Betfair said one key measure was to educate sports men and women themselves about match fixing and betting: "At Betfair, we have funded a programme for young athletes to understand the rules of betting, the possibility of corruption and inside information," he said.
"Now an EU initiative is underway, jointly funded with the betting agencies, to extend this to more athletes throughout Europe."