Switzerland: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Jacques Rogge says the Olympic movement cannot be naive as far as the menace of illegal betting is concerned as it could raise its ugly head at the world's biggest sporting festival.
"Illegal betting is a major challenge for sport, at the same level as doping. We should not be naive. It will happen some day and we've got to be prepared for it," Rogge said at a seminar organised at the Olympic Museum by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) on Thursday.
Rogge said the IOC had been monitoring the problem of unfair play, including illegal betting, for a few years and was organising a conclave on March 1 with governments and sporting bodies to formulate a programme for tackling the menace that has begun affecting several sports.
Inaugurating a seminar on illegal betting in sport, Rogge said "illegal and irregular betting should be taken as a major threat by all involved in sports.
"We will call upon the support of governments the same way we did in 1998 to create the World Anti Doping Agency," said Rogge. "The sports world could not solve the problem alone. We have to work with governments, with the lotteries, with bonafide betting companies and everyone concerned with having clean sport."
"In the Olympic movement, we have adapted our rules and regulations to give us the juridical power to sanction athletes coaches and everyone else if need be. There has never been a case of any suspicious betting in the Olympics but it has to happen some day and we will have to be prepared."
"Illegal or irregular betting which should not be confused with the legal and regular betting offered by national lotteries and private entities that is a major source of financing to sport is potentially crippling. At its worst it can deter people from participating in sports in the first place," he said.
Rogge said the IOC had tackled the issue since 2007 by adapting rules and regulations to sanction everybody if need be. He said they had established a network with the international federations.