Corentin Segalen, Pat Myhill and Andrew Ephgrave on LAW ENFORCEMENT AND REGULATIONS

Corentin Segalan, who works for the French national agency against corruption, explained that the Group of Copenhagen represents a network of international platforms. He said: “It’s important to work together because often there is dissemination of suspicious betting in a lot of countries. We have the expertise together to work on sports manipulation. We’re working together to get all information in the same place, and we have the best opportunity to combat it.”

Pat Myhill said that UKAD has to deal with matters that can also be criminal offences, such as abuse of Class C drugs. “That becomes more important when we’re talking about trafficking and importation. We don’t have the power or the resources to investigate, so we need to work in partnerships. When we engage with UK law enforcement agencies, they’re busy with their own areas of responsibility or they’ve been disbanded in favour of human trafficking or modern slavery issues. We do need partnerships.”

Andrew Ephgrave said that cricket doesn’t get the same alerts in terms of match-fixing as other sports. “We need to build trust and engagement with our players and persuade them that we’re working in their interests. In Sri Lanka we were able to develop a piece of legislation criminalising match-fixing together with the government and Sri Lanka Cricket Council. Because you’re doing it in the interests of protecting the sport, you get a better buy-in.”

Segalen said that in the Group of Copenhagen there is a system of ‘notices’ in a log book relating to match-fixing and that as a result the group has a very good idea of which events are being manipulated. “Sometimes it’s difficult to prove the match was fixed. So, what we are doing is completely changing our strategy to work with the athletes, referees and coaches because it’s much easier to identify the corrupt networks when they approach the athletes. That’s why we’ve launched a project to find the best way to motivate the athletes to report when they are approached and maybe to reward them when they do.”

Myhill said that UKAD has to be careful not to overload itself with “lower-level doping” in the lower tiers of sport, which occupies a lot of time with little effect.,

Segalen said that in 2018 the Belgian police arrested a man known as The Maestro who is suspected of fixing hundreds of matches. The trial has not yet taken place and some of the players concerned are still competing. “In many countries the speed of justice can take a long., long time. But in the case of The Maestro, just the arrest was helpful. The next year there was a drop of 47% in the number of alerts around tennis.”

Myhill said that one of the fundamental questions in anti-doping is the prevalence of doping. WADA is doing some work on the issue at present, and those in the anti-doping world are hopeful that it will provide some results. “It’s a sad situation that we don’t think we are getting on top in the anti-doping war at present.”

Ephgrave said that “integrity means doing the right thing when no one else is looking. No one goes in to play cricket with the intention to become a match-fixer or to dope. But there are external pressures and that’s why collectively we need to work tother to combat them.”