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Swiss consider amending laws to fight corruption in sport

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland is considering tightening the rules to prevent match-fixing and cheating in sport, including possibly amending legislation to make Swiss-based international associations subject to Swiss criminal law.

In a report, officials found that measures currently taken by international associations were insufficient, and the government has tasked the defense ministry, which also oversees sport, to draw up regulatory proposals.

"Sport has to take more robust action against corruption in its own ranks," the government said in a statement, adding that measures such as making fraud in sport a criminal offence were being considered.

"What is at stake is not just sport's integrity but also Switzerland's reputation as the home to numerous international sports associations."

Many international sporting federations and associations are based in Switzerland, including soccer's international governing body FIFA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), cycling's Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They chose Switzerland as their base due to its favorable legal framework and tax regime.

Some in Switzerland urged closing the loophole for sporting bodies in its anti-corruption law following 2010 allegations of bribery among FIFA officials for bids to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Swiss government report said harmonized and binding systems of good governance were needed at all levels of organized sport.

The IOC was tainted by a vote-selling scandal involving the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002.

Match-fixing and other forms of cheating have plagued sport around the world, with cricket, cycling, soccer and baseball among the sports involved in controversy.

American cyclist Lance Armstrong was recently stripped of his record seven Tour de France wins and handed a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency on charges he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Despite very tight controls to prevent cheating, around a dozen athletes were excluded from this year's London Olympics after testing positive for doping.

(Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto, editing by Ed Osmond)