Australia vows to tackle match-fixing

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Sydney, Feb 11 (AFP) Australian sporting officials saidtoday they had agreed to take a united stance againstmatch-fixing to protect the integrity of the nation''s sport.

Sports minister Mark Arbib said his regional-levelcolleagues had agreed that action was needed to deter andpunish illegal practices.

"Australia is taking the lead on stamping-out matchfixing and illegal betting, much as we have on theinternational stage with issues like drugs in sport," Arbibsaid in a statement.

"Australian sports ministers agree that corruption insport is an emerging and critical issue facing Australian andinternational sport and we must work together to tackle theissue."

Under a national framework to address match-fixing insport, Arbib said the ministers would support anationally-consistent approach to legislation relating to thecriminality of match-fixing.

He said they would also cooperate in information sharingand the development of better networks between governments,major sports, betting operators and law enforcers and developa national code of conduct for sport.

The ministers also agreed to support global efforts tocombat corruption including the establishment of a worldwidecode of conduct and an international body similar to the WorldAnti-Doping Authority (WADA).

Arbib said he would outline Australia''s proposedframework at an International Olympic Committee Seminar onCombating Illegal and Irregular Sports Betting on March 1.

The joint initiative followed lobbying from a bodyrepresenting major sports in Australia, which had called forlegislation to help prevent betting-related corruption.

The Coalition of Major Professional and ParticipationSports (COMPPS) said Friday it had prepared a reportaddressing betting and corruption.

Bookmakers Betfair and Tabcorp and the federalgovernment-funded Australian Sports Commission have also beeninvolved in the COMPPS project.

Corruption in Australian sport has become a major issuein recent months amid a probe into suspicious betting activitysurrounding last year''s National Rugby League game between theCanterbury Bulldogs and North Queensland.

Punters stood to win more than Aus300,000 (300,000)after a series of bets were made on the first scoring play inthe match.

Bulldogs forward Ryan Tandy was arrested and charged withgiving false evidence to a police inquiry. He will face courton March 3.

COMPPS, which has former International Cricket Councilchief Malcolm Speed as its executive director, representsAustralia''s governing bodies for Aussie rules, rugby union,cricket, football, netball, rugby league and tennis. (AFP) PM

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