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IOC 'prepared' for illegal gambling threat, says Rogge

updated 1:04 PM EST, Sun January 15, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • IOC chief Jacques Rogge says illegal gambling and doping damage credibility of sport equally
  • IOC taking "all precautions" to prevent illegal betting and match fixing
  • Rogge prefers drug cheats not to compete at Olympics, but respectful of recent court ruling
  • IOC will work with police to root out scourge of drugs and illegal gambling

(CNN) -- Illegal gambling threatens the integrity of all sport says International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, but he's confident that the London Olympics can remain free from the scourge which has tarnished the reputation of cricket and football in recent months.

In his first international interview of 2012, Rogge told CNN that he ranked illegal betting on a par with drug abuse, but not above it.

"I don't think you have to make a ranking between doping and match fixing and illegal betting," Rogge told CNN's Don Riddell.

"Both are very dangerous for the credibility of sport, but you know there is not one that supersedes the other one," he added.

All precautions are being taken to prevent illegal bookmakers cashing in on this year's games he says, which get underway on July 27th.

"You know we already monitored the Beijing Games and the Vancouver Games with a special unit who looked at the results but also who looked at the betting patterns with betting companies," Rogge said.

You have to be prepared and that's the reason why the IOC is working very closely with governments, with betting operators, to try to have prevention
Jacque Rogge, IOC President

In both cases no instances of illegal betting were found he says.

"But you have to be prepared and that's the reason why the IOC is working very closely with governments, with betting operators, to try to have prevention," he said.

Asked about the Court of Arbitration for Sport's recent overturning of the IOC's lifetime ban on convicted drug cheats, Rogge says he respects the decision but would still prefer that athletes caught cheating were banned from competing.

We're not speaking about light infringements like inadvertent use of banned substances, but when you speak about EPO (Erythropoietin) or (other) anabolic steroids this is a big infringement," he said.

"We would prefer not to have these athletes. However, we are respectful for the decisions of the Court of Arbitration (for Sport)."

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While the IOC will do all it can to root out drug cheats, Rogge says he can only go so far.

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"Once you get into the phase, a kind of 'drug mafia', distributing and selling the drugs to the athletes then you need the support of police because only police can tap telephones or issue a warrant. These are things that we cannot do," Rogge said.

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Towards the end of last year it was reported by some UK media that anti-doping officials were educating cleaning and security staff at London 2012 in how to spot suspicious behavior or materials. But Rogge is keen to stress the importance of fair play on and off the track.

"We have to take care of human rights. We have to take care of the laws of the country," he said.

"You know under British law, it is not allowed for sports organizations to search a room. We cannot search luggage. Only police can do that.

"If we suspect something like we had with the Austrian team in Torino, we would advise the police, the police would then take the action they need to take but it is going to be their decision, not ours, because British laws does not allow it for a private organization like us."

To watch the full interview with IOC chief Jacques Rogge watch CNN's Aiming for Gold on Thursday January 19.

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