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Sport (Integrity and Reputation)

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

5. What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's measures to protect the integrity and reputation of sport. (310891)

It is the responsibility of sport’s national governing bodies to run their sports in a way that protects their integrity and reputation. Government will assist where appropriate and where it is necessary to safeguard those involved, not least participants and spectators. Recent measures include setting up the anti-doping agency to tackle the traffic and supply of doping substances and commissioning an independent report on sports betting integrity.

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer, but he will be aware of what effect internet gambling could have on sport in years to come. The Government have set up the Sports Betting Integrity Panel. When can we expect its report so that we can find out exactly what is going on and protect the integrity of sportsmen and women?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. I know that he is keen on sport and the integrity of sportsmen and women. We are dealing with the issue in a particular way because we want to ensure that those people who participate in sport know the dangers of betting issues. I commissioned a report by Rick Parry, which I hope will be delivered soon. There are issues relating to the work of the Gambling Commission to be ironed out, but we expect the panel’s report very soon. I think that most sport is clean, but the panel will set about ensuring that people who participate know the rules and the penalties if they do not operate properly and that sports have the right rules for dealing with integrity issues.

Given that bookmakers are usually the victims when there is any such cheating in sport, and given that the Government are trying to extricate themselves from a levy on horse racing, does the Minister agree that it would be completely wrong to have a sports levy?

The hon. Gentleman has been involved with such issues for some time; indeed, as a member of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, he has taken evidence on them. There must be a fair return to sport, and I am keen to ensure that. I would prefer it to be through a voluntary arrangement, but we must ensure that where the Government are involved—he is right that we want to extricate ourselves from the levy, but that is proving more difficult than we thought it might—there needs to be a balance between racing and betting. I hope that both parties can work together.