WPBSA announces partnership with ICSS to curb fixing menace

PTI| Updated: Oct 15, 2013, 20:03 PM IST

New Delhi: The menace of match fixing has not only threatened popular games such as cricket and football but the dark clouds are also hovering over other minor sports like snooker.

Professional snooker has recently got embroiled in the match-fixing controversy that threatens the credibility of the game over the involvement of a leading player throwing matches with a dishonest intent.

Former World No 5 Englishman Stephen Lee was found guilty of fixing offences at an independent hearing arranged by Sports Resolutions UK and served with a 12-year-long ban from snooker for throwing away seven matches in 2008 and 2009. He was also ordered to pay ?40,000 in costs.

To combat match-fixing in snooker, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has entered into a partnership with the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), the international governing body for professional snooker and English billiards, to protect and enhance the integrity of professional snooker.

The global integrity partnership was announced today at the Indian Open here. It will include specific areas of activity and collaboration, including integrity training and education, monitoring of international betting on Snooker, investigation advice and support, and intelligence gathering, that will take advantage of the ICSS global source network.

"It`s more to do with intelligence sharing, players` education, and maintaining integrity around sport. We want to ensure that snooker continues to remain a gentleman`s game," Nigel Mawer QPM, who leads the WPBSA on anti-corruption and discipline issues, told PTI.

This initiative has been developed in order to enhance monitoring and detection mechanisms of international snooker and will safeguard the WPBSA`s position as one of the world`s leading sports in anti-corruption strategies.

Nigel, who works as a freelance specialist advisor in the areas of sport regulation, integrity in sport, anti-corruption, economic and e-crime, said his mandate would be to talk to the cueists and know from them whether any suspected approach has been made to them or not.

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the WPBSA, said the new agreement with the ICSS demonstrates the WPBSA`s commitment to integrity and our message to those who think about fixing matches is clear.

"The issue we are dealing is historic. There have been old cases which we are cleaning up. We don`t have very big problem of match-fixing in our sport and we are very proud of that. This relationship will allow us to protect the integrity of our sport. It`s about educating the players, talking to them about what to do when someone approaches them," he said.

Mohammed Hanzab, President of the ICSS, said, "On behalf of the ICSS, I would like to thank the WPBSA who have already shown their commitment to safeguarding the integrity of sport."

"Whilst many acknowledge the challenges the sports industry faces, the development of comprehensive integrity programmes not only shows strong leadership, openness and transparency but the determination to eradicate behaviour that threatens the very foundation of sport and its core values."

Chris Eaton, Director of Sport Integrity at the ICSS, said that it is crucial that sport governing bodies show proactive leadership in the area of betting and match-fixing.

"This landmark partnership clearly demonstrates to all stakeholders that the integrity of the sport is of the utmost priority for the WPBSA. I look forward to working with the WPBSA to develop new programmes that build on the work already being carried out by Jason Ferguson and his team," said Eaton, FIFA`s former head of security.

The ICSS is an international, not-for-profit institution that aims to help event organisers to stage safer major sporting events. The Centre`s mission is to improve security, safety and integrity in sport by addressing real issues and providing world-leading services, skills, networks and knowledge.

The ICSS team brings together some of the world`s leading sport security and integrity experts and has access to a worldwide network of specialist practitioners, offering expertise in every aspect of sport security and integrity.