Cricket in with Olympic shot
Lausanne - The criminal convictions of three Pakistan players for fixing should not damage cricket's hopes of becoming an Olympic sport, IOC President Jacques Rogge said on Wednesday.
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Rogge praised the International Cricket Council for "working very well" against corruption.
The Pakistan case would "definitely ... not be held against (the ICC) because we know they participate in the fight" against fixing and illegal betting, Rogge said.
A London court found Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif guilty on Tuesday of conspiracy to cheat and accept corrupt payments in connection with a Test match against England at Lord's last year. Mohammad Amir earlier pleaded guilty in the betting scam.
Rogge has previously suggested cricket's shorter Twenty20 version could seek future Olympic status. The earliest opportunity for cricket to get onto the Olympic program would be the 2024 Summer Games.
Rogge, who has made tackling fixing and illegal betting a priority ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, said the Pakistan case confirmed what sports leaders knew of the problem.
"We knew there was an endemic illegal betting in sport, not just in cricket. There has been match-fixing in many, many sports," the International Olympic Committee president said. "Cricket and the ICC are working very well against that, and they are really doing their best efforts."
Rogge spoke on the sidelines of a promotional event for the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games, which open on January 13 in Innsbruck, Austria.
French freestyle skier Kevin Rolland was named as the fourth athlete ambassador for the event, joining Olympic downhill champion Lindsey Vonn of the United States, two-time Alpine gold medalist Benjamin Raich of Austria and women's figure skating champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea.
"You couldn't dream of a better team of ambassadors," Rogge said at the Olympic Museum, flanked by Rolland and Kim.
Rolland, a two-time champion in skiing superpipe at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, said he could advise youth athletes "how to manage stress, how to be when you are nervous and how to handle the media."
"Like Yu-na, we're young and we feel close to this generation of young athletes," said the 22-year-old Frenchman, a likely medal favourite when ski halfpipe joins the Winter Olympics program at Sochi in 2014.
The Winter Youth Olympic Games will see more than 1 000 teenage athletes from 67 countries competing in 63 events.