INTERPOL, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNODC have held a workshop to strengthen Nigeria's fight against corruption in sports and competition manipulation

ABUJA, Nigeria - INTERPOL, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNODC have held a workshop to strengthen Nigeria's fight against corruption in sports and competition manipulation.

The workshop brought together 70 representatives from Nigerian law enforcement, government, betting entities and sports organizations, as well as a delegation from Ghana. They addressed current threats to the integrity of sport as well as global crime trends in competition manipulation.

The two day event (23 and 24 May) was hosted in close cooperation with the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).

Opening the workshop, Olushola Subair, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Nigeria and member of INTERPOL's Executive Committee, stressed that the complex issue of competition manipulation was 'rearing its head' and needed to be curtailed urgently. He also expressed a need for enhanced monitoring of sporting activities.

Cheikh Touré, representing the Officer in Charge of the UNODC's Country Office in Nigeria, pointed to the importance of enhancing the capabilities of criminal justice officials and sports officials. "It is crucial for government agencies and sports organizations to introduce preventive measures and to identify and apprehend those behind this increasingly prevalent problem," he said.

Habu Gumel, President of the National Olympic Committee of Nigeria, said: "The boom in sports business has brought an increasing frequency of scandals in bribery, corruption, match fixing, doping and all forms of competition manipulation that have rocked sports globally."

"The true test of integrity lies in its blunt refusal to be compromised. The burden rests on policy makers to create policies that address these challenging and put in place appropriate structures for implementation here in Nigeria," concluded Mr Gumel.

Following the national workshop, partnership development meetings took place between high-level representatives from law enforcement, sporting bodies, justice, and the betting industry to develop a coordinated national approach against crimes in sport.

Participants discussed how the most effective way to deter corruption in sport is by establishing national laws to criminalize such activity. In particular, the need to establishing specific criminal offence concerning match-fixing was identified as being more effective than relying on general criminal law provisions. In this regard, participants were shown examples of model provisions, developed by UNODC and IOC, and which could be used by Ghana and Nigeria. The UNODC-IOC Model Criminal Law Provisions for the Prosecution of Competition Manipulation Booklet can be found here.