New FBI Unit Emerges Targeting Sports Corruption

New FBI Unit Emerges Targeting Sports Corruption

From Legal Sports Report –

As part of a still-developing story of match-fixing within esports, details of a new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) unit came out. The exact scope of the new unit is not yet known.

However, according to a Washington Post story, the Unit was formed in the lead up to the passage of the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act and will have a focus on sports corruption-related crimes.

What is the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act?

The Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act was the United States’ response to allegations that the Russian government had engaged in state-sponsored doping. The law sets out criminal penalties for certain individuals who commit “international doping fraud conspiracies.”

The argument in favor of this legislation is that doping conspiracies harm the integrity of sport, and these effects extend beyond the competition and “clean” athletes but also harm the commercial relationships that have created a $500 billionindustry centering on sports.

Controversial criminalization of sports rules?

There have been some critiques of efforts to criminalize sports rules, in particular rules relating to doping in sport. However, as the legislation notes in its findings, the whistleblowers who came forward with evidence of state-sponsored doping by Russia lacked many protections, which would now be available to future whistleblowers.

The law effectively enables the federal government to protect whistleblowers under “existing witness and informant protection laws.”

The Rodchenkov Act is named for the whistleblower, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. The law is narrow in its scope to apply to doping; however, it does not appear that the FBI’s unit is quite so narrowly focused.


The new unit

The new FBI Unit is headed by Joseph Gillespie, according to the Post, and he will be part of the newly launched bureau Sport and Gaming Initiative.

While the broad scope of the new unit’s authority appears focused on transnational sports competition, this law indeed provides a national law enforcement agency great authority both domestically and abroad.

Not just doping

The focus of the Unit will extend beyond doping conspiracies and include “an interest in potential match-fixing and gambling-related crimes.”