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Olympic boxers reprimanded for betting at Rio Games

Published 28/09/2016

Team GB boxer Anthony Fowler
Team GB boxer Anthony Fowler

The International Olympic Committee has issued "severe reprimands" to Team GB boxer Anthony Fowler and Irish fighters Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly for betting on the boxing competition at Rio 2016, contrary to Olympic rules.

As there is no suggestion they were trying to fix results, the trio have escaped without bans but have been told they must take part in "integrity education programmes".

Fowler placed seven bets on bouts during the first week of the boxing competition, including at least one unsuccessful wager involving a British team-mate.

Conlan, who recently turned pro, made a number of bets during the first weekend of the competition, all for relatively small amounts.

Donnelly, however, actually bet on himself to lose his first-round fight against Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia but avoided a more serious sanction as he won the fight. His bets were accumulators that would have returned a large payout if he had got every result right.

Donnelly told the panel he had not read the gambling rules properly and had only made the bet against himself as it would have been "some compensation" if he had lost. He also said he placed the bets because there was not much to do in the athletes' village.

As well as punishing the boxers, there are also reprimands for the British Olympic Association and Olympic Council of Ireland for failing to educate their athletes that they are not allowed to gamble on Olympic events.

Boxing's governing body AIBA was also told to check its rules comply with the IOC's and that it has sufficient education programmes in place.

"Protecting the integrity of sport at the Olympic Games is a top priority for the International Olympic Committee," the IOC said in a written statement.

It added that a number of new measures were put in place for Rio 2016, including a "joint integrity intelligence unit" and a "reinforced integrity betting intelligence system".

These reprimands cap very disappointing Games for the fighters, particularly the highly-fancied Conlan. A bronze medallist at London 2012 and world champion in 2015, the 24-year-old bantamweight was controversially beaten in the quarter-finals by Russian Vladimir Nikitin.

Conlan reacted furiously to a result that looked even stranger a day later when AIBA sent several judges and a leading official home amid widespread criticism of the scoring.

The 25-year-old Fowler, a cousin of former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, was well beaten in his only fight in Rio, while Donnelly also lost in the quarter-finals.

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