Irish boxer sanctioned for making bets on himself to lose at the Rio 2016 Olympics

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Irish boxers Steve Donnelly and Michael Conlan were found to have violated IOC betting rules by making several bets during the Olympics; one of which included making a bet against themselves.

Donnelly was found to have placed bets on August 8 and 9, in which two of them were in his own weight division; including a bet for his opponent Tuvshibat Byamba to win in the last-16 of the competition.

However, the Belfast man beat his opponent before being eliminated at the quarter-final stage.


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During a recent hearing, he told the IOC that his reasoning behind the bet was that: “he had bet without intending to cheat by losing his match to win his bets, rather, winning the bets would be some compensation in the event he lost his match.”

The IOC further concluded that: “The Athlete had bet that his opponent would win. The bets placed were of a relatively low amount of money, yet they had created opportunities to make large amounts of money if they had been successful.”

Donnelly, who attended the Olympics Committee Disciplinary Commission, concluded that he was not aware of the prohibition and signed various documents without reading them. He had intended the bets to be a form of compensation if he had lost the fight, and that he now regrets his actions and hopes he can use the experience to educate fellow athletes.

Conlan was in a similar position in that he made several bets on several Olympic matches; though none were regarding his own weight category.

Speaking at the Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission, he stated that he had also signed documents without reading them and was also unaware on the prohibition.

He further stated the bets were made just for fun and that he regularly made bets on sports, before insisting that he wasn't addicted.

He concluded by saying that he regrets his mistake and will also use the experience to educate fellow athletes.

Neither athletes did receive any money from the bets, however, and both athletes were eventually given a severe reprimand, though since Conlan has already turned professional and with Donnelly intending to go professional soon, the reprimand won’t affect them that much.

The IOC did state, however, the pair will have to “demonstrate, in order to have their accreditation validated for the next edition of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, in the event that he is eligible for that competition, that he has successfully followed the educational programme of the IOC."

This case was soon followed by reports that Great Britain’s Anthony Fowler was also sanctioned and given a severe reprimand.

Donnelly, however, does not seem phased by the situation and tweeted the below picture recently on his social media account.

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