Friday 23 March 2018

Rio fallout: Boxer Steven Donnelly bet against himself at Olympics

OCI also issue 'severe reprimand' to Michael Conlon over gambling

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Two Irish boxers have been sanctioned for placing bets on fights at the Rio games.

In a judgement released today, the IOC named Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly as the two Irish fighters who violated the IOC rules and gave them a 'severe reprimand'.

Donnelly was found to have placed two bets on his last 16 opponent Tuvshinbat Byamba to win, although the Irish welterweight ended up getting his hand raised, before departing the Olympics at the quarter-final stage.

Donnelly's explanation for betting against himself, given to the IOC in a hearing in Rio on August 15, was that 'he had bet without intending to cheat by losing his match to win his bets, rather, winning the bets would be some compensation in the event he lost his match'.

The IOC found that Donnelly 'placed a large number of cumulative bets ─ eight altogether ─ on various boxing events at the Rio Olympic Games, two of which were on his own match against Tuvshinbat Byamba. The Athlete had bet that his opponent would win. The bets placed were of a relatively low amount of money, yet they had created opportunities to make large amounts of money if they had been successful.'

According to IOC documents, Conlan placed bets on Olympic boxing matches on August 8 and 9, and that at least two were in his own weight class. The stakes were less than €250 and he didn't bet on his own bouts.

All the bets were lost although the judgement states that 'they had created opportunities to make large amounts of money if they had been successful.' Conlan and Donnelly's betting accounts were suspended after the IOC discovered their betting.

Conlan and his father and trainer, John, as well as OCI officials were then required to attend a hearing in Brazil on August 20, where Conlan admitted the offence.

He told the IOC that he had signed documents that outlined the ban on Olympic betting 'without reading them, thus he was in fact not aware of the prohibition'.

He also said that betting was a hobby of his and he engaged in it during the games for fun as 'there was not much to do in the Olympic Village' and he had been 'bored'.

Conlan then expressed his regret and told the IOC that he would 'help educate his fellow athletes using his own experience.'

Conlan and Donnelly have to 'demonstrate, in order to have their accreditation validated for the next edition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, in the event that they are eligible for that competition, that they have successfully followed the educational programme of the IOC' when it comes to betting, although Conlan has already turned professional and Donnelly is expected to follow suit.

The OCI is also 'sanctioned with reprimand' for 'not having properly informed its athletes about the content of the different rules applicable to them on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Rio, as well as about the content of the contract signed with them and is requested to make sure that the team preparation for the Olympic Games (winter and summer) includes complete education on the prevention of the manipulation of competitions and betting on the Olympic Games, using the material provided to the NOCs by the IOC.'

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