By Nick Butler at the Susesi Convention Center in Belek

An entertaining and divisive discussion unfolded over integrity in sport today ©ITGApril 10 - Integrity in sport was roundly criticised this afternoon during the final panel discussion of the SportAccord Convention here as the sports world was accused of "over promising and under delivering" by former NBA player John Amaechi.


A panel which also included World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) President Sir Craig Reedie, International Centre for Security Studies director of sports integrity Chris Easton and President of the European Lotteries Friedrich Stickler, discussed issues spanning doping, match fixing and wider sporting values.

Progress that has been made to combat several of these issues was initially highlighted.

Sir Craig claimed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had put its "money where its mouth is" by setting up WADA in the aftermath of the Festina doping scandal which rocked cycling in 1998, while more recent changes to tackle corruption and match-fixing were also hailed.

But as the discussion moved on to areas where improvements still need to be made the criticism got more venomous.

Most vocal was Ameachi, who since retiring from basketball in 2007 is now managing director of his own firm Ameachi Performance Systems, when he described how "the biggest threat is that people now look at sport and it doesn't stand for what it should."

"It over promises and under delivers," he added.

John Amaechi, pictured playing for England in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, was particularly critical of integrity in sport ©Getty ImagesJohn Amaechi, pictured playing for England in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, was particularly critical of integrity in sport ©Getty Images



The 43-year-old United States-born Briton also rubbished the view sympathy should be felt for people who cheat and take drugs.

"You get people from tough backgrounds who do the right thing, and at a time when so many young people experience difficulty finding jobs, I feel no sympathy for someone travelling around the world playing tennis who decides to cheat," he said.

Ameachi also claimed the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the "world's last remaining plantation" before lambasting sports organisations forcreating "another bloody committee with the title of 'ethics'" instead of introducing real change.

This criticism was supported by the other members of the panel who claimed there is widespread match-fixing across multiple sports, with an allegation some heads of major sports organisations are complicit in the process.

Sir Craig joked he was "beginning to think he was glad to have to deal with anti-doping."

He claimed he was not aware of the head of any international sport who would be implicated in match-fixing.

"I don't know know any President who would do that, you must introduce me to him," he said.

Contact the writer of this story at nick.butler@insidethegames.biz