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Friday 15 December 2017

'I know nothing about it mate. Lol' - Irish Olympian at centre of betting investigation

This is not the first time an Irish Olympian has become embroiled in a betting controversy. (Stock picture)
This is not the first time an Irish Olympian has become embroiled in a betting controversy. (Stock picture)

Kevin Doyle and Martin Grant

Two members of Team Ireland have been reprimanded at the Olympic Games for placing inappropriate bets.

In the latest controversy to hit the Games, the Irish Independent has learned that the Olympians were subject to an investigation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It is understood that the two under investigation are boxers.

They were detected placing bets while resident in the Irish camp in Rio de Janerio.

While this is not against the law, such practices are banned by the IOC and can result in athletes being banned from the Games.

In a statement today, the OCI said: "The OCI can confirm that two Irish boxers at Rio 2016 were spoken to about inappropriate betting activity during the Games.

"The matter is still under review so there will be no further comment at this stage."

Read More: OCI confirms that two Irish boxers were spoken to about 'inappropriate' Rio betting 

The IOC set up a special unit to monitor betting in the athletes village ahead of the Games in Rio which was supported by Brazil's Department of Federal Police, the national secretariat for security at major events, and Interpol.

Athletes and officials are forbidden from betting on the Olympics and the IOC has been co-operating with legal betting agencies in the past few Games to monitor betting patterns for any suspect or unusual wagers.

Sources said the Irish participant was only placing "minor bets". The IOC is understood to have suggested that they take part in an education programme on best practice for sports people.

"The IOC handled the issue. It was a stupid thing to do. The person was not betting huge sums or anything like that," said a source.

When contacted last night, the Olympian at the centre of the controversy replied by text message, saying : "I know nothing about it mate. Lol."

Meanhwhile the Irish Athletic Boxing Association today released a statement, saying: "The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has been made aware of allegations that two members of the Irish Olympic Team may have placed a bet on an event during the Rio Olympic Games.

"The IABA would be very disappointed if any members of the team have engaged in a prohibited activity under the Conditions of Participation.

"The IABA has not received any notification from the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) regarding this allegation but understand that the matter is under review.

"For athletes participating in the Olympic Games, any form of gambling is prohibited as per the OCI’s Conditions of Participation.

"Any potential disciplinary action would be undertaken by the OCI, not the IABA, as per the Conditions of Participation.

"It is therefore not permissible for the IABA to comment further at this time."

Since 2006, the IOC code of ethics prevents all athletes at the Olympic Games from betting on an Olympic event.

Controversy

The organisation says it is the responsibility of the Olympic Movement to ensure that betting does not "infringe" on the "course or result of the competition".

"With the rise of the internet, sports betting has gone global," the IOC said.

This is not the first time an Irish Olympian has become embroiled in a betting controversy.

On the eve of the London 2012 Olympics, it emerged that sailor Peter O'Leary placed a €300 bet on his opponents Iain Percy to win in an event he completed in at the Beijing Games in 2008. O'Leary's solicitors said the allegations had been made out of "vengeance and spite".

The IOC Ethics Commission decided that O'Leary's action did not have an impact on the game.

The OCI said in a statement this morning: "OCI can confirm that two Irish Olympians at Rio 2016 were spoken to about inappropriate betting activity during the Games.

"The matter is still under  review so there will be no further comment at this stage."

Irish Independent

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