The CIA, FBI, SIS, M16, CID, SVR, Mossad, Nia, the Malaysian Special Branch and even the KGB, if they are still active, can all step aside.
The International Olympic Council (IOC) has just initiated their very own intelligence unit – the Sports Investigators Network (SIN).
IOC president Thomas Bach announced the launch of the unit during the International Forum for Sports Integrity (IFSI) yesterday.
The newly established network would see 200 trained sports investigators from international and national sports federations as well as from the national Olympic councils and sports’ disciplinary bodies, investigating wrongdoing in sport.
SIN’s task would be to share information, intelligence and best practices to tackle competition manipulation and related corruption in sport.
“It is another example of the spirit of IFSI partnership in action,” said Bach.
The IFSI brought together more than 100 key leaders from sports and international organisations. It also included those from INTERPOL, as well as sports betting operators and the United Nations Office o Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Bach said: “This gathering today reflects the very nature of the IFSI, which is cooperation and partnership. We are a community which shares a common goal to protect competitions from manipulation and from related corruption.”
At the forum, a new publication, “IOC-UNODC Reporting Mechanisms in Sport: A Practical Guide for Development and Implementation”, was also launched.
The guide provides information on good practice for sports organisations with regard to receiving and handling reports of wrongdoing, including competition manipulation, harassment, doping and corruption.
Bach praised the close cooperation with the many stakeholders. “In the spirit of this cooperation, we have taken many measures together since the launch of the IFSI in 2015,” he said.
“The most obvious example is the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, which came into effect last month and is already being implemented in a large number of countries. This is an example of the IFSI in action.”
Ronan O’Laoire, the Global Coordinator for UNODC’s Global Programme for Safeguarding Sport from Corruption and Crime, pointed to the importance of developing effective reporting mechanisms in sport.
“It is crucial for government agencies and sports organisations to identify and apprehend those responsible for wrongdoing in sport, including competition manipulation. Having effective reporting mechanisms in place to facilitate this is essential, and we believe that the Guide on Reporting Mechanisms in Sport, developed through our partnership with the IOC, sets out a highly effective basis to do just that,” he said.
During the Forum, the IOC and EUROPOL also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a mutual cooperation framework between the two organisations.
It would facilitate the exchange of expertise, the dissemination of information and the engagement in joint endeavours related to the field of manipulation of competitions and related organised crime.
On the signing of the MoU, Europol’s Deputy Executive Director, Wil van Gemert, said: “Corruption in sports is a global criminal phenomenon perpetrated by organised crime groups operating cross-border and often involved in other crimes. Working closely together in coalition with key partners, like the IOC, is crucial in the fight against corruption in sports. Combating sports corruption means not only defending the integrity of sports, but also protecting the public from criminals who cause significant damage to the safety, security and well being of the EU citizens.”
The Forum also heard first-hand testimonials from four-time Olympian hammer thrower Jennifer Dahlgren. Dahlgren acts as an ambassador for the “Believe in Sport” campaign, led by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC).
Launched last year, the “Believe in Sport” campaign aims to raise awareness about the threat of competition manipulation among athletes, coaches and officials. It will again be activated at the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 in January and, in collaboration with the various Olympic International Federations (IFs), in the run-up to and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
In addition, all accreditation-holders at next year’s Olympic Games will have to respect a Code of Conduct and the “Tokyo 2020 Betting Rules”. The Olympic competitions will be monitored closely in real time.
Should any potential breaches be detected by the OM Unit PMC’s Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS), disciplinary processes are in place to follow up swiftly.
Furthermore, the IOC’s Integrity Hotline enables everyone to report suspicious activities, including ones related to competition manipulation and any other infringements of the IOC Code of Ethics.
Also actively involved in reaching out to her fellow athletes at the recent Pan-American Games, Dahlgren said: “There are a lot of athletes who are vulnerable because they simply lack information about competition manipulation, an issue that can put them at serious risk. I accepted to be one of the 17 Believe in Sport Ambassadors as I realised athletes need to be more aware of this topic. We are engaging them directly during international and regional competitions, and these interactions prove to be beneficial for all of us.”