Illegal betting in sport generates a turnover of around 140 billion US dollars a year worldwide, according to IOC president Jacques Rogge. Speaking after a meeting in Lausanne with government ministers, Interpol and European bodies on illegal and irregular betting practices, Rogge said action had to be taken to counter the threat.
”(What) we heard from Interpol is that illegal betting is on the rise, we absolutely have to fight that, there is a sense of urgency and it's going to be an ongoing process, he said.
Sport is in danger. It is not about the Olympics, it's not about the Games, it's about sport in general.
Rogge said it had been agreed to set up a task force to tackle the problem and repeated the call he made before the meeting for governments to collaborate. The task force would include members of sports federations, governments, international organisations such as Interpol and betting operators, he said.
There is a need for education among athletes, for the sports movement to monitor the competitions and to report anything suspicious, he said.
There is a need to rely on governments for judicial support, for telephone tapping, for search warrants and other things we cannot conduct.
He added that the problem was widespread.
There is illegal betting and it threatens the credibility of sport, he said. There is no safe haven... It's a big problem in the entire world.
There have been documented cases in sumo wrestling and physical cases in cricket. We know there are people in other continents betting on European second and third division games.
The IOC introduced irregular betting early warning systems during the Beijing 2008 and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and neither Games showed anything suspicious.
In a column published in The Independent newspaper on Tuesday Rogge conceded that a first betting scandal to hit the Olympic Games was inevitable, and the IOC was taking steps to be as best prepared for it as possible.