World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) director general David Howman has claimed here today that at least a quarter of all sport played today is controlled by organised crime.
The New Zealander was speaking at the Securing Sport 2014 conference, organised by the International Centre for Sport Security, as part of a session themed “To whom is sport accountable? A transparency body for sport”.
Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, and Michael Hershman, founder of Transparency International, were also on the panel in a session moderated by David Walsh, chief sports writer of The Sunday Times.
“I think, now, organised crime controls at least 25 per cent of world sport in one way or another,” said Howman.
“Those guys who are distributing drugs, steroids, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and erythropoietin (EPO) and so on, are the same guys who are corrupting people, the same guys who are paying money to people to fix games.
“They’re the same bad guys.
“Now, the good guys have to prevail.
“Who are the good guys? Let’s get them together and make sure they can work out a plan.
“Because, otherwise, the bad guys are going to win.”
Speaking after the session, Howman was keen to make it clear that he was not referring to elite-level sport, but sport as a whole.
“The information we get comes from Interpol, from the sport people who are out there now investigating things.
“You don’t want to believe it but if you don’t want to confront it then you’re going to find a growth.”
There have been calls previously for a global body to be established to fight against match-fixing, in the same way that WADA fights against doping.
But, while Howman believes the WADA model of partnering Governments and sport is very successful, he does not necessarily think it can be applied to other areas of sport integrity.
“I’ve never suggested that WADA is the right body to run anything else,” he said.
“Whether you need that same partnership to combat the other aspects of integrity, I think it’s for WADA people to consider.
“But if you just ignore the WADA model, then you’re wasting 15 years of experience and I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”