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Sports Betting Integrity Panel

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 24 June 2009

The Government are determined to ensure that everything possible is done to maintain the integrity and reputation of sport. I am therefore delighted to announce that I am bringing together a new sports betting integrity panel under the chairmanship of Rick Parry. This panel will include representatives of the betting industry; sports governing bodies; players; the Gambling Commission; and the police. The panel’s main focus will be the design and implementation of an integrated strategy to uphold integrity in sports and associated betting.

The vast majority of sports betting is legal and fair, and enhances the enjoyment of sport for many fans. But betting also provides an opportunity and an incentive for corrupting sport through the use of unfair or illegal betting practices.

The Government are concerned that, although considerable progress has been made in recent years by sports governing bodies, the betting industry and the Gambling Commission, the possible threat to the integrity of sport remains an ever present and complex problem requiring multi-agency solutions.

If the UK is to maintain its reputation as a jurisdiction where fair play is the guiding principle for both sport and betting, it is vital that the risks of corruption arising from all sources are reduced as far as possible.

The sports themselves—governing bodies, clubs and players—the betting industry and enforcement authorities, principally the Gambling Commission and the police, all play important roles. To help co-ordinate the work of those parties, and to facilitate collaboration between them, the panel will bring together key people from the principal organisations involved, under the chairmanship of Rick Parry, to look at these issues and make recommendations on how the various bodies concerned can work together more effectively.

Within six months the panel will recommend to me a practical, effective and proportionate plan of action that has the support of those responsible for delivery.

Mr. Parry is currently chief executive of Liverpool football club and has many years’ experience in professional sport at a senior level. I believe this experience makes him an ideal person to chair the panel and I look forward to working with him.

The members of the panel will include:

Nic Coward, Chief Executive, BHA

Simon Barker, Director of the Professional Players Federation and ex-pro footballer

Ian Seabridge, Asst Chief Constable, ACPO lead on Gambling

Darren Bailey, Director of Governance, The FA

Mark Davies, Managing Director, Betfair

Chris Caisley, Partner, Walker Morris Lawyers—Head of Sports Law Group

Dave Boyle, Chief Executive, Supporters Direct

Nick Tofiluk, Director of Regulation, Gambling Commission

Ben Gunn CBE QPM, Sporting Integrity Expert

Mike Smith, Chairman, Tote

Mike O’Kane, Trading Director, Ladbrokes

Bill South, Director of Security, William Hill