Peiris the Lankan hope in swimming

INTEGRITY IN SPORT: TACKLING THE MANIPULATION OF COMPETITION

Stitch in time saves nine 

Global sport is an ever growing and changing entity and for the past almost 125 years. It has grown from an ordinary contest of wits, skills and power to a multimillion industry where the mere human being and been evolved to almost a mechanical thing where the impossible had been transformed into possible. 

Just for instance just think a hundred years ago would anyone had dreamed that the world would create a human being in the calibre of Usain Bolt or for that matter Serena Williams. The only way that we could have convinced ourselves that they belonged to our category of people is because they too aged with time and their threshold of gold grew old.  

When the intensity of competition becomes more and more incomprehensible there is also a category of wannabe’s who would try the backdoor method where avenues other than skill are used as tool to achieve excellence. Yet, when their cover is blown and when the authorities uncovered that it was only a callous artificial achievement they are brought to light and dealt in appropriate manners. This is where Integrity of sport: Tackling the Manipulation of Competition also become a necessary tool in this masquerade.  

In yesteryear time and again even in Sri Lanka people have resorted to devious methods of making the grade but, the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka has embarked on a mission with the International Olympic Committee and the Interpol curb such manipulation and the task baton has been passed on to NOC SL’s probing mind Gobinath Sivarajah to run the extra mile and make an impact.  

The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are currently implementing a Global Capacity Building and Training Programme to assist countries and sports organisations to address the challenge posed by competition manipulation.  

In order to prevent the manipulation of sports competitions, INTERPOL and the IOC organised an online Integrity in Sport Virtual Workshop for participants from Sri Lanka. The workshop provided the forum to exchange knowledge on how to tackle the problem of the manipulation of sports competitions, in particular through fostering cooperation between key stakeholders including sports organizations, law enforcement agencies, criminal justice and anti-corruption authorities, governmental authorities and other stakeholders. 

Under the Integrity in Sport Capacity Building and Training Programme, INTERPOL and the IOC support National Olympic Committees, International and National Sports Federations, law-enforcement agencies, criminal justice authorities, government entities and betting regulators and operators in preventing and addressing competition manipulation and related corruption. 

This tailored workshop is organized as a follow-up to the regional INTERPOL – IOC Integrity in Sports Webinar for countries in the Indian Sub-continent, organized in 2021. 

The subjects at this webinar included:  

  • Understand Competition Manipulation, its typologies and criminal involvement 
  • The importance of specific legislation and regulation, and present model provisions 
  • Understand the importance of national cooperation in a national platform and discuss existing models and examples 
  • Work in an international context with INTERPOL, IOC and Regional Stakeholders Participants in the workshop include national officials representing: 
  • Law enforcement and criminal justice authorities in charge of competition manipulation, organised crime, financial crime, financial intelligence unit; 
  • National Olympic Committee and national sports federation representatives; 
  • National Anti-Corruption Units; 
  • Law enforcement representatives in charge of sports matters; 
  • Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and relevant  
  • Government Department(s); 
  • Gambling and Gaming Regulatory Authority. 

Elaborating further on the Lankan aspect of this challenge Mr. Sivarajah said “As a single point of contact for Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions in Sri Lanka we have developed NOC Sri Lanka’s Code of prevention of manipulations of competitions and it took effect from January 1, 2022. 

“Twenty-three National Sports Federations which directly come within the purview of NOC SL have already adopted the policy. Also, as per the IOC’s guidelines we have appointed ‘Believe in Sports ambassadors’ to create an awareness. Further to this workshop we are hoping to conduct another two workshops within this month in collaboration with the above partners.” 

 “We are very happy to hear from the IOC that so far only a few countries have implemented this scheme as we are proud that we are a pioneering country in this effort.  Our next step is to move with strength and guidance provided by the INTERPOL and the IOC to make this country a place to be proud of”.