Illegal betting could hurt Olympics, says Rogge

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Lausanne (Switzerland), January 28 (PTI) InternationalOlympic Committee (IOC) president, Jacques Rogge says theOlympic movement cannot be naive as far as the menace ofillegal betting is concerned as it could raise its ugly headat the world''s biggest sporting festival.

"Illegal betting is a major challenge for sport, at thesame level as doping. We should not be naive. It will happensome day and we''ve got to be prepared for it," Rogge said at aseminar organised at the Olympic Museum by the InternationalSports Press Association (AIPS) yesterday.

Rogge said the IOC had been monitoring the problem ofunfair play, including illegal betting, for a few years andwas organising a conclave on March 1 with governments andsporting bodies to formulate a programme for tackling themenace that has begun affecting several sports.

Inaugurating a seminar on illegal betting in sport, Roggesaid "illegal and irregular betting should be taken as a majorthreat by all involved in sports.

"We will call upon the support of governments the sameway we did in 1998 to create the World Anti Doping Agency,"said Rogge. "The sports world could not solve the problemalone. We have to work with governments, with the lotteries,with bonafide betting companies and everyone concerned withhaving clean sport."

"In the Olympic movement, we have adapted our rules andregulations to give us the juridical power to sanctionathletes coaches and everyone else if need be. There has neverbeen a case of any suspicious betting in the Olympics but ithas to happen some day and we will have to be prepared."

"Illegal or irregular betting � which should not beconfused with the legal and regular betting offered bynational lotteries and private entities that is a major sourceof financing to sport � is potentially crippling. At its worstit can deter people from participating in sports in the firstplace," he said.

Rogge said the IOC had tackled the issue since 2007 byadapting rules and regulations to sanction everybody if needbe. He said they had established a network with theinternational federations. .

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