Sport has the virtue of uniting people regardless of cultural, language, religious differences, etc. Unfortunately, integrity in sport is often altered by a series of crimes such as match fixing, illegal gambling and doping.
Interpol has increased its resources and coordination with different police services, while offering a global training, education and prevention service focused on the manipulation of competition, related to improper and illegal gambling.
In this context, a series of initiatives to make people more sensitive to the problems and facilitate exchanges of information, intelligence and better practices are being developed between member countries.
Organised criminal groups that operate in the world of sport do this on a large scale, and focus on a wide range of sports, including – but not limited to – football, athletics, tennis and cycling. In addition, they try to fix sports results with the complicity of players, referee, managers or coaches.
Crime in sport crosses international frontiers and generates enormous profits that are then channelled into other illegal activities. Money made via illegal gambling is estimated to amount to hundreds of millions of euros annually.
Match-fixing and illegal gambling are global challenges, in particular because on line gambling websites have made it extremely easy to bet on sports competitions and matches anywhere in the world.
Interpol’s main objectives in this area are:
- To educate and enable key actors in sport to be able to recognise, resist and report any attempt to tamper with or fix matches.
- Better prepare for the application of the law to investigate and cooperate in corruption-related cases.
- Train actors in the world of sport to begin and develop an internal investigation into suspicions of manipulation of competitions.
- Prepare sports instructors to carry out awareness-raising sessions in their clubs.
Interpol is developing a programme on line to enable players, referees, managers and coaches recognise, resist and report any nature of match manipulation.
As far doping is concerned, the penalty is often that of a crime committed by an individual. The reality is that when an athlete takes illegal drugs – in this section steroids, anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, stimulants and diuretics are included – which enhance performance, this is only a piece of wider criminal network.