Parliament passes bill to protect sports from gamblers

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Sri Lanka parliament unanimously approved the Bill on Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports which was debated on Monday, Nov. 11.

Bill on Prevention of offences in sports presented by the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports, Harin Fernando deals comprehensively with match-fixing, corruption, illegal manipulation, and illegal betting in sports.

The parliament in a specially convened session on Monday passed the Prevention of Offences relating to Sports Bill without any amendments and the National Innovation Agency Bill with amendments.

The parliamentary session on Monday, convened at the request of the Prime Minister, is the final parliamentary session before the Presidential Election.

Sports Minister Harin Fernando, opening the debate on the Bill on Prevention of offences in Sports, said that when the bill is introduced in Parliament to see to the transparency of sports in Sri Lanka, some are attempting to bring in amendments.

Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the Sports Bill was introduced to prevent the corruption in sports of the country without thinking of party differences.

The bill seeks to prevent offences relating to sports including Match Fixing, Sports related Corruption Sports related illegal Manipulation and Sports related illegal betting.

Those who commit a specified offence shall be liable for a fine UP to Rs. 100 million or 10 year imprisonment or both.

Any person who failed to disclosed information to or any of the above offences or any person who failed to cooperate in relation to any investigations in the above offences shall be liable from a fine Rs. 200,000 or 3 years imprisonment.

An independent, impartial, special investigations unit will be established to carry out investigations into offences. Minister shall assign to appoint an Assistant Superintendent of Police and a team of conducting investigators under this Act.

A reward fund under this Act shall be established to encourage the society to find the culprits and support with the rewards.

The Bill also seeks to strengthen national and international co-operation among sports organizations, law enforcement agencies and betting operators to exchange information relating to match-fixing, corruption, illegal manipulation and illegal betting in sports and promote best practices in sports.

It also seeks to conduct programs in order to promote awareness of such issues relating to match-fixing.

Following the passage of the bill on Prevention of offences in Sports, Minister Fernando thanked the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for convening a special parliament sitting to finalize the bill.