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France steps up sporting integrity efforts ahead of Rio Olympics

French gambling regulator L’Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne (ARJEL) is to offer operational and practical training to the country’s sporting federations and professional leagues as part of a drive to stamp out sports-related corruption ahead of this summer's Olympic Games.

The agreement to provide the training was finalised at a meeting earlier this month, attended by integrity officials from France’s sports federations and leagues and ARJEL president Charles Coppolani, alongside representatives of the Central Service for the Prevention of Corruption.

Organised by France’s Olympic Federation, the meeting was designed to take stock of efforts to stamp out the manipulation of sporting competitions before the start of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

To ensure France’s Olympic team behaves with the utmost integrity the Federation’s secretary general Jean-Michel Brun has voluntarily appointed an integrity officer. He explained that such measures were necessary to “halt a scourge that has become a parasite in […] society.”

French Secretary of State for Sports Thierry Braillard established a national integrity platform in January this year, allowing athletes and officials to easily access advice and report offences. For the duration of the Olympics, an official will be available around the clock to the team’s integrity officer to address any concerns.

“Sports must serve as the commander-in-chief in the fight against manipulation,” Coppolani said.

He added that by using this national platform, athletes would be able to recognise when they are faced with manipulation or attempted manipulation of a match, as well as understanding their role in helping prevent such offences.

Brun added that all Olympic participants are banned from betting for the duration of the games and are also prohibited from sharing or using privileged information, with a duty to warn the International Olympic Committee of any suspicious activity.

The initial meeting will be followed by two training sessions, the first to take place this Friday (May 20th). Coppolani will hold an operational training day in ARJEL’s offices, which will be followed by a second session focused on training to coordinate the fight against sporting manipulation. This will take place on May 31st in the French Ministry of Sports.

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