The newly-formed Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), set up earlier this year to help protect the sport's image, will monitor more than just doping at this year's International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, they have revealed.
The AIU, which claims to be independent of the IAAF, will also investigate any reported suspicious or irregular betting activity related to the Championships, due to start at the Olympic Stadium on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday (August 4).
The AIU, which the IAAF claims is at the heart of its integrity reforms, will work principally with the sports betting intelligence unit of Britain’s Gambling Commission with whom formal information sharing protocols are already established.
Arrangements will also be in place to share information with the UK's criminal authorities where potential breaches of criminal law are identified.
"It is our responsibility at the AIU to stamp out any and all forms of corruption and ethical misconduct in athletics, and that includes illegitimate betting practices," said AIU chairman David Howman.
"The Gambling Commission can gather information and intelligence about potential breaches to betting regulations that could be very valuable to the AIU and the sport of athletics as we look to protect the World Championships from corrupt behaviour.
"It is the duty of the AIU and its partners to pursue a programme that upholds the integrity of the sport and puts clean athletics first.
"That is what this partnership with the Gambling Commission aims to achieve."
Athletics has so far avoided any serious connection with match-fixing, unlike football, cricket and tennis, but with gambling on sport worldwide estimated to be more than $146 billion (£110 billion/€124 billion) annually it cannot afford to be complacent.
Under the arrangements of the partnership with the British Gambling Commission, any reported suspicious or irregular betting activity related to the Championships will be investigated by the AIU and disciplinary proceedings brought if necessary under the integrity code of conduct.
"We welcome the proactive steps taken by the Athletics Integrity Unit to protect and deter against betting-related corruption throughout the IAAF World Athletics Championships," said British Gambling Commission programme director Richard Watson.
"With the Championships taking place in the United Kingdom and events being televised, it’s likely there will be an increase in betting volumes on athletics.
"We have agreed reporting mechanisms with the AIU to identify and escalate any potential risks or threats to sports betting integrity."
The Commission will also be supported by a number of its European partners throughout the Championships via the Council of Europe’s Copenhagen Group.
This is the first time that the AIU has conducted a betting integrity exercise with a Gambling Commission and it aims to be the start of a long-term strategic partnership.
Earlier this week, the AIU revealed details of its anti-doping programme during the Championships.
The programme, run in conjunction with UK Athletics, will include the collection of more than 600 blood samples prior to the start of the Championships for the purpose of continuing to build athlete biological passport profiles and to detect prohibited substances, such as human growth hormone.
A further 600 urine tests will also be conducted onsite at the Olympic Stadium during the competition in order to detect a wide range of substances, including erythropoietin and anabolic steroids.
The AIU claims to have already overseen an intelligence-led out-of-competition testing strategy enacted in the 10 months prior to the Championships, with testing targeted at athletes likely to compete in London.
This included over 2,000 blood tests and approximately 3,000 urine tests.
The AIU also collaborated with National Federations and national anti-doping organisations to ensure that its own out-of-competition testing would be maximised, and to concentrate on filling the gaps where no effective national testing programmes exist.
Capitalising on the 10-year statute of limitations set out in the World Anti-Doping Code, the AIU has promised to continue the strategy first initiated by the IAAF at the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005.
All samples collected at these Championships will be transferred to, and stored in, a dedicated and secure facility for the purpose of re-testing at a later date after the initial analyses.
To-date, the re-testing policy established by the IAAF in 2005 has resulted in 27 positive cases.
The AIU also plans to replace the traditional paper-based collection of doping control data with, what they claim, is a more streamlined, harmonised and "real-time" paperless process supported by established technology.
The paperless process will reduce the possibility of human error and increase effectiveness of the doping control process, they claim.