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Northern Ireland boxer Steven Donnelly bet against himself at Rio Olympics - Michael Conlan also sanctioned for gambling

OCI also issue 'severe reprimand' to Michael Conlan over gambling

Published 28/09/2016

Standing tall: Stephen Donnelly reached the quarter-finals
Standing tall: Stephen Donnelly reached the quarter-finals
Michael Conlan

Two boxers from Northern Ireland have been sanctioned for placing bets on fights at the Rio Games.

In a judgement released on Wednesday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) named Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly as the two Irish fighters who violated its rules.

Donnelly was found to have placed two bets on his last 16 opponent Tuvshinbat Byamba to win, although the Irish welterweight ended up taking the victory.

Donnelly's explanation for betting against himself, given to the IOC in a hearing in Rio on August 15, was that he "he had bet without intending to cheat by losing his match to win his bets, rather, winning the bets would be some compensation in the event he lost his match".

According to IOC documents, Conlan placed bets on Olympic boxing matches on August 8 and 9, and that at least two were in his own weight class. The stakes were less than €250 and he didn't bet on his own bouts.

All the bets were lost although the judgement states that "they had created opportunities to make large amounts of money if they had been successful".

Conlan's betting account was suspended after the IOC discovered his betting.

Conlan and his father and trainer, John, as well as Olympic Council of Ireland officials were then required to attend a hearing in Brazil on August 20, where Conlan admitted the offence.

He told the IOC that he had signed documents that stated the ban on Olympic betting "without reading them, thus he was in fact not aware of the prohibition".

He also said that betting was a hobby of his and he engaged in it during the games for fun as "there was not much to do in the Olympic Village" and he had been "bored".

Conlan then expressed his regret and told the IOC that he would "help educate his fellow athletes using his own experience".

In order to compete at the 2020 games both boxers must demonstrate that they have been educated through an IOC programme. Although Conlan has turned professional and Donnelly is likely to follow suit and both are unlikely to compete in Japan.

The OCI was also "sanctioned with reprimand" for not having properly informed its athletes about the content of the rules.

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