By Nick Butler

Cue sports are aiming to boost their Olympic inclusion by demonstrating their commitment to fighting match fixing ©Getty ImagesA partnership between the World Professional Billiard and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has been renewed in order the help safeguard the integrity of the sport.

The partnership, first unveiled during the 2013 Indian Open in New Delhi, has seen the two bodies work together to deliver a range of "innovative new programmes and initiatives", including integrity awareness training, such as seminars and advice to tour players, coaches, officials and administrators.

The two also join forces to combat intelligence issues concerning match fixing within cue sports, which will involve the Doha-based ICSS continuing to oversee the WPBSA's betting monitoring programme.

"On behalf of the WPBSA, I am delighted to have renewed our partnership with the ICSS, who are one of the world's leading experts in the area of sport integrity," said WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson.

"Extending this partnership with the ICSS demonstrates the WPBSA's strong and ongoing commitment to safeguarding the sport of snooker and represents another important step in the WPBSA's integrity strategy.

"I look forward to working closely with the ICSS's team of sport integrity experts and Sportradar to ensure that snooker continues to take a strong and proactive stance in safeguarding its integrity."

Cue sports have faced several match fixing scandals in recent years, most notably involving Englishman Stephen Lee, who was handed a 12-year ban in 2013 for arranging the outcome of seven matches between 2008 and 2009.

Quinten Hann and John Higgins are other leading names in snooker to have been implicated.

Stephen Lee is one leading snooker player to have been involved in a match fixing scandal ©Getty ImagesStephen Lee is one leading snooker player to have been involved in a match fixing scandal ©Getty Images

The renewal of the partnership comes as the WPSBA, in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee recognised World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), continues its unlikely campaign for Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020. 

Baseball and softball, along with the likes of karate and squash, seem far more likely to be added to the Games in the immediate future, but a demonstration of the WPSBA's commitment to tackle lingering problems will be a good step.

Match fixing has been highlighted by successive IOC Presidents Jacques Rogge and Thomas Bach as among the greatest threats to the integrity of the Olympic Games.

"On behalf of the ICSS, I would like to thank the WPBSA for extending their partnership with the ICSS and would like to applaud them for their continued commitment and leadership in ensuring the highest levels of integrity in snooker," said ICSS President Mohammed Hanzab.

"Whilst many acknowledge the challenges faced in safeguarding sport, the WPBSA are one of the leading governing bodies in the area of sport integrity and continue to take proactive steps to protect snooker against the very real and emerging threats that are challenging all sport today.

"Continuing to support the WPBSA in advancing their integrity capability is important for the ICSS and I hope that many more organisations in sport will follow the WPBSA's lead in this area."

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