Soccer-Illegal betting has taken a toll on China, India - Eaton

  • Reuters
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Soccer-Illegal betting has taken a toll on China, India - Eaton

By Mike Collett

DEAD SEA, Jordan, May 3 (Reuters) - Betting fraud and match-fixing are part of the reason why China and India have achieved little in soccer despite their huge populations, anti-corruption expert Chris Eaton said on Sunday.

Eaton, the executive director of the non-profit-making International Centre for Sports Security, urged governments to take more control of the problem and said the sport was a victim and not the cause of widespread betting fraud.

Speaking at the Soccerex Asian Forum, he said countries should follow the United States in moving towards "transparent, legalised, regulated and supervised sport betting, so there will be far less money to fix football or any other sports matches."

Eaton said that more than 80 countries in the world had suffered from match-fixing in the last five years, but the two Asian giants had suffered more than most.

"The innovations being led by Adam Silver of the National Basketball Association (NBA) are important to sport," he told delegates at the King Hussein convention centre on the shores of the Dead Sea, 60km from Amman.

"China must follow. The core crime here is not the match-fix but betting fraud, (betting on the fixed match).

"The frauds are mostly taking place out of money from China. The amount of money gambled in China on sport or by other Chinese in south-east Asia is probably around $800 billion a year.

"They are betting on up to 5,000 sporting contests a week and these criminals are changing their tactics," added Eaton.

"They are now corrupting the sport betting monitors. Law enforcement is so far behind -- its got a long way to catch up globally and governments must take more responsibility and act together."

A huge corruption scandal rocked China earlier in the decade with 33 people banned for life, and a total of 60 punished in a purge that affected 12 clubs.

"After the scandals in China attendances went down to 30 percent of the norm. China should be one of the powerhouses of world football but is not," said Eaton.

"India should also be a powerhouse in world football but it is not, because of match-fixing in cricket for goodness sake.

"The spectators in India have now become very cynical about their sport because they've seen what has happened in their most popular sport and they apply it to other sports."

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