Protecting the purity of the Olympics

Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor, April 14, 2015.

Fans of the Olympics will be able to more than simply watch the next summer Games, which are being held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The International Olympic Committee decided this week to set up a hot line for anyone to report match fixing and other manipulation of the athletic competitions.

The IOC, which is the umbrella organization for the different sports in the Games, has lately become very worried about the corrupting influence of sports betting worldwide. Scandals have hit several professional sports in recent years, especially soccer, setting off alarms about whether criminal gambling syndicates might reach the amateur athletes, coaches, judges, and others who participate in the world’s most prestigious sport event.

Last year, the IOC began official cooperation with Interpol, the international police agency, to fight off sports fixing and other corruption. And it wants each of its 28 sports federations to participate in its “Integrity Betting Intelligence System.” This electronic network was set up to monitor suspicious betting activity across major sports. The new hot line is just one part of the alert system. The IOC promises “100 percent anonymity” for any whistle-blower.

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