Tougher laws are needed if Russia are to make progress in fighting match-fixing, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Friday.
Fixed results have long been claimed to be widespread in sports such as football, hockey and tennis in Russia, but few perpetrators are ever brought to justice.
A new law set to come before parliament this month would increase the maximum penalty for match-fixing to seven years in prison and make it an offence for athletes, coaches and sports officials from betting on their own sports.
“If this law is enacted, then I think we will start serious work on fixed matches. We need the regulations,” Mutko said.
He suggested that current laws did not allow authorities enough freedom to investigate and bring charges against match-fixers.
Mutko said that Russia was not a special case, despite the notoriety of match-fixing claims in the country.
“Illegal betting, outside influence on the result, biased results, it’s no longer just a sports problem at all, it’s a world problem,” he said, adding that fixed results were a bigger threat to sporting integrity worldwide than doping.
Match-fixing is openly discussed in the Russian press and by fans, who highlight videos of supposedly suspicious results on popular websites.
Football is the most common subject of allegations and the Russian FA has brought in measures to fight it in recent years, including increasing the powers of its Ethics Committee, but it is extremely rare for authorities to identify a fixed result.