By Duncan Mackay in Munich
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

September 1 - Cricket's hopes of regaining its place in the Olympics for 2020 have been badly damaged by the current betting scandal involving Pakistan, Sir Craig Reedie has warned.

A News of the World sting published on Sunday (August 29) led to allegations that Pakistani players deliberately bowled no-balls at specific points during the fourth Test against England at Lord's last week.

Three players facing claims they were involved in the alleged scam, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, could be banned for life if they are found guilty.

There is a campaign within cricket for Twenty20 to launch a bid to get onto the Olympic programme for the 2020 Games, when New Delhi could be among the bidders.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are keen for greater penetration in India, the second most populous country in the world, where cricket remains almost a religion among many sports fans.

The value of cricket's Indian Premier League is estimated at $4.13 billion (£2.68 billion) and, according to global sports salaries review, is the second highest-paid league in the world behind basketball's NBA in the United States.

Any bid, however, could now be dead before it has even started, warned Sir Craig, a member of the IOC's ruling Executive Board.

"This has not been helpful in any way," Sir Craig told insidethegames during at the Sponsors Sports Venue Summit at the Allianz Arena, where he was giving a presentation on London's preparations for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

The betting problem in cricket is caused mainly by unregulated bookmakers in India.

Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC, has consistently warned that betting corruption is the biggest danger the Olympic Movement faces after doping.

The IOC set-up a new system last year to watch for corrupt betting linked to Olympics competitions and it was used for the first time in Vancouver earlier this year.

A new Swiss company, International Sports Monitoring, has been established to oversee the system, which will also be used for the London 2012 Games.

Cricket has only appeared on the Olympic programme once, at Paris in 1900 when a team from Devon and Somerset Wanderers representing Britain beat France.

Twenty20 cricket is due to make its debut at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November but hopes that that will be the launchpad for a bid for Olympic inclusion are now in doubt.

"The basis of the cricket philosophy is that the game is absolutely huge on the Indian sub-continent where - if you can take to this large number of people - their sport into to the Games you take the Olympic Movement into the biggest democracy in the world," said Sir Craig.

"But the Olympic Movement will be wary of getting involved with a sport that has these kinds of problems."

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