Jenny - Clean

THE Victorian racing watchdog and an international sports integrity organisation will join forces to muscle up against organised crime figures, amid growing fears about doping and race fixing.

NINO BUCCI reports for FAIRFAXS MEDIA that Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna will announce on Tuesday that the International Centre for Sport Security will work as the commission's independent integrity adviser.


The ICSS played a crucial role in the investigation into the Southern Stars, the Victorian Premier League soccer team at the centre of Australia's largest match-fixing racket.

The agreement will give the ICSS permission to collect intelligence relating to harness, thoroughbred and greyhound racing, and access to intelligence collected by the commission.

The ICSS, a Qatar-based not-for-profit organisation, will also educate racing officials and participants about integrity.

Mr Perna said the international reach of the ICSS was significant, as it gave the commission greater insight into how organised criminals were targeting sport.

In the past year, racing has been rocked by the detection of the banned drug cobalt in thoroughbreds trained in some of the nation's most famous stables, a harness-race-fixing probe involving the revered Cramp family, and the greyhound live-baiting scandal.

"No matter what sport it is, be it professional or semi-professional, there are now huge challenges that face the integrity of sport and sport governing bodies on a daily basis," Mr Perna said.

"As part of my remit as the Racing Integrity Commissioner, it is my responsibility to do what I can to ensure the highest levels of integrity are maintained to protect all three racing codes in Victoria from the many national and international potential threats that they may face."

The agreement further strengthens the intelligence gathering ability of the commission. Last year, Mr Perna signed a memorandum of understanding with Victoria Police which gave his office access to police intelligence. 

Police uncovered evidence of a possible race-fixing syndicate when investigating the murder of racing identity Les Samba in 2011, but Mr Perna was frustrated at the time that the commission could not access much of the force's intelligence.

ICSS sport integrity director Chris Eaton said the commission was one of the most significant integrity organisations in Australia.

The growing influence of organised crime and illegal betting on sport had to be met head on, he said.

"Governments and law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to confront these two very serious threats and ensure sports governing bodies and competitions are properly protected."

Concerns about racing integrity reached a head in the week before the Melbourne Cup carnival, when the house of Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey was targeted in a shooting.

Armed crime squad detectives are still investigating the shooting of Mr Bailey's front door in Templestowe on October 25.

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