The Voice of Great Britain's Elite Athletes
Betfair are supporting the BAC on integrity in sport
Betfair was the very first sponsor of BAC and is proud of the 4 years of support that we have provided. As betting on sport, including Olympic sports, becomes more popular it is increasingly important that participants know the rules with regards to betting on their own sport and that they are alert to the dangers of mis-using inside information. Athletes also need to have sufficient awareness of betting integrity issues to be able to recognise and report any individual who may be trying to illicit information from them or who may be trying to influence them for betting reasons.
Betfair recognises that customers will not bet in markets that they perceive to be suspect; Betfair and the BAC’s goals are therefore wholly aligned in promoting integrity through athlete education.
Estimates of the betting turnover on the London Games in 2012 suggest that over £350m was bet in the UK alone, and it is estimated that UK residents will wager as much as £1bn on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The vast majority of money is bet in a fair manner free of any corruption however these figures show the scale of the sports betting market and demonstrate the need for athlete education and vigilance in relation to corruption threats.
As active participants able to influence events, understanding the rules on sports betting is crucial for both athletes and officials. Ensuring that sports participants receive sufficient training in relation to betting integrity matters reduces the likelihood of athletes inadvertently breaching betting rules in relation to their sport and/or finding themselves open to manipulation through not spotting the warning signs early enough.
Sophisticated technology in the legal and regulated online betting industry means that breaches of betting related rules can be detected and reported to Sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs). Betfair has a dedicated Integrity Team whose role it is to monitor betting markets, investigate anomalies and work with betting regulators and Sports’ NGB partners to investigate betting related concerns. Athletes should be aware that rule breaches in relation to betting will be detected.
Punishments for breaching betting related rules can be severe, including lengthy participation bans.
Below are three examples of athletes who have breached betting related rules in some form or other. As can be seen, involvement in betting related corruption can have career ending consequences.
Stephen Lee: Snooker Player Stephen Lee was found in breach of WPBSA rules in relation to match and spot fixing and was banned from the sport for a total of 12 years. He was also ordered to pay costs totalling £125,000.
Andros Townsend: Footballer Andros Townsend was found in breach of FA rules in relation to betting on his own sport. He received a playing ban of four months (three months suspended) and was fined £18,000.
Mervyn Westfield: Cricketer Mervyn Westfield was banned for life from cricket and was also given a four month prison sentence after being found guilty of being part of a spot fixing scam. He has subsequently worked with the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) in order to educate current cricketers on the dangers players face and the consequences of succumbing to temptation. Details of this work as well as a hard hitting video can be found on the PCA website: http://www.thepca.co.uk/mervyn-westfield-tells-his-story-from-wanstead-to-belmarsh-270913.html.
Some words of advice about betting FROM BAC:
It you want to know the specific rules on betting for your sport you should contact someone in the senior management team of your NGB as the rules are different in every sport. In some cases your sport may not have any specific rules on betting so if in doubt the BAC advises that you should stick to these basic principles:
Members of the BAC in receipt of Athlete Personal Allowances (APAs) are bound by the UK Sport Eligibility Policy 2013 in which it clearly states that any athlete found bringing sport or their sport into disrepute will no longer be entitled to funding. This is applicable to the vast majority of the membership and being found guilty of a breach of betting rules clearly falls into this category.
What should I do if I have more questions, queries or concerns about this?
Both the BAC and your NGB are here to help. If you have any questions or concerns on anything to do with betting you should contact the BAC on 0203 126 4270 or via firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively a senior member of your NGB’s management team.
Any contact with the BAC will be treated with complete confidentiality and we will advise you of how best to deal with your concern including seeking legal advice if appropriate.