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June 8, 2011
Major Australian sports want jail terms for sports corruption

Former Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league player Ryan Tandy (C) has been charged over his alleged involvement in a failed NRL betting plunge last year. (Photo by Getty Images)

From The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMMPS) MELBOURNE, June 8, 2011 - Australia’s seven major pro sports have called for sports corruption to be made a crime with penalties of up to 10 years jail for very serious cases of corruption.

They outlined their concerns on Tuesday to Federal Sports Minister, Senator Mark Arbib, who will take the proposal to a meeting of all Australian Federal and Territory Sports Ministers later this week.

The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS) said that the trust Australian fans have in the legitimacy of sports results is critical to the survival of those sports.

COMPPS Chairman James Sutherland said there had been few instances of betting-related corruption in Australian sport and major sports had been successful in dealing with the issue to date.

But the growth of sports betting and the increase in the types of bets that can be placed increased the risk that people could be tempted to cheat.

“Even the perception that something could be wrong is enough to undermine a sport’s public credibility,” he said.

The CEOs of the seven COMPPS sports – the AFL, ARU, Cricket Australia, FFA, Netball Australia, the NRL and Tennis Australia – met on Tuesday to endorse a COMPPS Anti-Corruption Working Party paper which has made three major recommendations, that:

1.Nationally consistent, sports-specific criminal legislation

to create an offence of “cheating in connection with sports wagering”

accompanied by severe penalties.

2. Victoria’s Sports Betting Act be adopted in all States and

Territories so that all events on which betting is available are included

and all betting providers are required to enter into an agreement with

sports to enable the exchange of information including providing details

of suspicious betting and to establish a framework for the payment of a

fee for the use of the sport’s intellectual property.

3.Sports have a right to veto types of “spot-betting” in

response to serious integrity concerns.

COMPPS also agreed to establish a Betting Integrity Group (BIG) with one member from each sport to co-ordinate joint activity between members and to use the sports’ collective power to combat corruption in sport.

The recommendations followed COMPPS Executive Director Malcolm Speed chairing of a working party of members from COMMPS member organisations, representatives from betting agencies Tabcorp and Betfair, the Australian Sports Commission and the AFL and NRL Players’ Associations.

The CEOs of the respective COMPPS member organisation met today at AFL House in Melbourne.

“The recommendations detailed in the working party paper set out to preserve the integrity of Australian sport and stem from a desire from professional sports to stamp out betting related corruption,” Mr Sutherland said.

“They are individual and collective actions designed to minimise opportunities for corruption and arm sports governing bodies with the ability to deal with corruption effectively if and when it affects Australian sport.”

“The institution of nationally consistent criminal legislation in relation to sports betting related cheating will ensure that illegal betting activities are uniformly punishable nationwide, creating a strong deterrent for such actions.”

"Adopting the Victorian Sports Betting Act in all states and territories was identified as a priority as it commands sports betting providers to reach an information exchange and product fee agreement with sports prior to providing betting services for an event.

“The availability of detailed betting information through such an agreement empowers sports to better monitor betting activity and investigate instances of corruption.

“The third priority recommendation, the right of veto for sports over types of “spot-betting”, equips sports with the authority to counter one of the areas of sports betting most susceptible to corruption.

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