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Doping remains greatest threat to sports integrity


10 Nov 2011



A report published today and produced by Coventry University’s International Centre for the Business of Sport (CIBS) finds that corruption in sport remains dominated by doping, equating to nearly 96% of cases, followed by betting and non-betting related match-fixing with less than 3% and the misuse of inside information at around 1.5%.

The report’s findings are based on a unique detailed database of 2,089 proven cases of corruption in sport identified during 2000-2010. It found that the ratio of doping to match-fixing cases equates to 35:1 and the ratio of doping to betting related match-fixing cases equates to 60:1. The European Parliament is presently looking at sporting integrity issues as part of its examination of the European Commission’s Sports Communication and Green Paper on Online Gambling and is due to respond on both issues in the very near future.

Professor Simon Chadwick of Coventry University’s CIBS, said “There is growing interest, and indeed concern, in the issue of corruption in sport. Thus far however, there has been no systematic or structured review of corruption and so our study represents the first of its kind. The study clearly sheds some light on the nature, type and extent of corruption in sport. This enables us to more clearly identify where there are particular concerns and issues. As such, this should enable organisations involved in sport to more effectively address the challenges posed by corruption. For those of us working in the sports industry, the next challenge is therefore to formulate appropriate responses aimed at minimising the threat posed by the various different forms of corruption that our research team identified.”

The report has been undertaken on behalf of the leading players in the remote gambling sector: the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the European Sports Security Association (ESSA). The findings are of particular interest to the licensed betting industry given the increasing and unsubstantiated comments that match-fixing is a greater risk to sport than doping and that match-fixing is predominantly betting related, which as the report finds, is far from the truth.

Samantha Gorse, CIBS’s principal researcher, stated that: “From our research it was quickly apparent that doping remained the predominant issue within sport. However, in relation to the 3% of match fixing cases we were particularly surprised, given the focus of much of the media coverage in recent months, that there was nearly as much non-betting related match-fixing as betting related. Whilst not an attempt to fix the result, the level of the misuse of inside information for financial gain appears to present another important challenge for many sports and licensed betting operators.”

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, stated that: “We are not complacent about match-fixing, quite the opposite in fact, but if the betting and sporting sectors are to combat the threats effectively it is essential that we have a clear view of what they are and what causes them. It should be remembered that the betting industry is the victim of such corruption, perpetrated by sports’ own personnel, sometimes colluding with criminal elements. However, this research categorically demonstrates that the level and frequency of betting related match-fixing (1.5%) is in no way comparable to the problem of doping in sport (96%).”

Indeed, European licensed betting operators have been ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting the integrity of sport from betting related match-fixing through early warning systems like the European Sport Security Association (ESSA) that monitors irregular betting patterns. As a result, the risk clearly emanates from criminal networks that profit from irregular and illegal gambling, often outside of Europe.

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA, added: “The education of sportspeople needs to be addressed as a priority to prevent all forms of corruption in sport. Sports participants are the first line of defence against corruption and they need to fully understand the various risks threatening the integrity of sport as well as the consequences of falling foul of their discipline. That’s why the European licensed betting industry has been working now for over 2 years with leading professional player associations on an educational campaign which aims to educate via face-to-face meetings over 9,500 sportspeople this year.”

Please see report attached.


Notes to Editors

This four types of corruption in sport as outlined in the report are defined as follows:

- Match-fixing (betting related) – results are manipulated to secure financial reward through betting operators for those involved

- Match-fixing (non-betting related) – those cases where results are fixed to ensure a match or league victory over a rival or influencing the actions of officials to ensure victory for one party

- ‘Inside information’ – misuse of information for betting purposes

- Doping – the use of performance-enhancing substances

For enquiries about the statistics and methodology used in the production of this report, please contact Professor Simon Chadwick on (+44) 024 7688 8486.

About Coventry CIBS

The Centre for the International Business of Sport (CIBS) delivers high quality applied research, training, consultancy and networking outputs across a range of sports and in a number of different disciplines. More information on CIBS’s aims, scope, services and activities can be found via:

About the RGA

The RGA is the largest online gambling trade association in the world representing around 30 of the largest licensed and stock market-listed remote gambling operators and software providers (see The organisation provides the remote gambling industry with a single voice on all issues of importance to regulators, legislators, and key decision makers around the world. For further information, please contact Jason Foley-Train, RGA Head of Communications +44 (0) 20 7831 2195.

About EGBA

The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators, BetClic, bwinparty, Digibet, Expekt, Interwetten, and Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 79.6 Billion GGR in 2009 to € 83 Billion GGR in 2012, thus keeping the lion’s share with 87% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, April 2010. For further information or comment please contact: Sigrid Ligné: +32 2 554 08 90

About ESSA

The European Sports Security Association (ESSA) was established in 2005 by the leading online sports book operators in Europe to monitor any irregular betting patterns or possible insider betting from within each sport. To achieve this goal ESSA implemented an early warning system between its members that highlights any suspicious betting activity. The Early Warning System allows ESSA to work with the sports regulators and their disciplinary and legal department, ensuring that when an alert is given the regulator is informed immediately which may prevent the possibility of any game manipulation on a given event. So far, ESSA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with FIFA, UEFA, EPFL, The FA, DFB, ATP, ITF, and WTA and has established close relations with the IOC and many other sports regulators. ESSA members include: Bet365, Betclic; Bet-at-Home;; Digibet; Expekt; Goldbet; Interwetten; Ladbrokes; Paddy Power; Sportingbet; StanJames; Stanleybet, Unibet and William Hill. For more information on ESSA please go to the ESSA website or contact Khalid Ali, Secretary General at +32 2256 7565


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