Russia toughens law against match-fixers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Match-fixers in Russia could face seven years in jail under new legislation submitted to the state parliament by President Vladimir Putin.

The new law bans officials and athletes from betting on sports events they are participating in. Offenders also face fines of up to one million roubles (S$40,500), according to documents in parliament's database made public on Wednesday.

Widespread match-fixing and corruption are rife in Russian sport, experts say, as the country prepares to host several major events including the 2014 Winter Olympics and football's World Cup in 2018. However, rarely has anyone been convicted or brought to trial.

Only one football team, second-division side Iriston Vladikavkaz, have been found guilty of attempted match-fixing. They were thrown out of the league in 1997 but later reinstated in a lower division.

FIFPro, the global union for professional footballers, published a survey of nearly 3,400 players from Eastern Europe this year that said match-fixing in Russia was as high as 43.5 per cent.

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