By Nick Harris
23 February 2011
David Howman, the director-general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has today called for the establishment of a global anti-corruption agency to tackle malpractice ranging from match-fixing to institutional corruption.
In a statement released at the European Union Sports Forum, which concluded today in Hungary, Howman says he has ‘compelling information’ including from a recent briefing with American enforcement agencies, that the same figures from ‘criminal underworld’ who are involved in trafficking in steroids are also involved in match fixing.
He proposes the establishment of a body – called the World Sports Integrity Agency – which would tackle illegal betting in sport, and also bribery and corruption.
Separately, the IOC will meet in early March at a pre-planned seminar to discuss the issue of establishing a global anti-corruption agency.
Howman’s statement in full:
“Our compelling information, and that includes an extensive briefing I had last week from American enforcement agencies (which added to the information we received from the Major League Baseball investigators) is that the criminal underworld is now heavily engaged in ways that, if unchecked, will seriously jeopardize the future of modern sport.
“The same people who are trafficking in steroids and encouraging athletes to cheat by doping, are the ones who are engaged in illegal betting. This is essentially money laundering, bribery and corruption in relation to match fixing and spot fixing.
“To properly fight this phenomenon, I propose that we in the sports world establish an international body (the World Sports Integrity Agency) that would have an overarching governing board made up of Sport and Governments similar to the WADA Board.
“One arm of this possible new organization could be WADA, which would continue its work in its current form. Another arm could deal with the issue of illegal betting and be funded substantially by the regulated betting industry and the other arm should engage in the fight against bribery and corruption which could be funded by the collection of monies recovered as a result of the investigations.
“The success of WADA with a combination of Sport and Government is such that we ought not re-invent the wheel to deal with these other aspects of challenge to the integrity of sport.
“The key issue is that the criminal underworld is engaged in clear and serious efforts to corrupt the sporting world. Sports organizations do not have the experience, the resources or the legal jurisdiction, to deal with those issues alone. However, the money that the criminal underworld has is considerable. Thus it needs governments, sports organizations and the legitimate gambling industry to unite together to save sport.
“If we do not do this, we face a very rocky future.”