Irish boxers Michael Conlan and Steven Donnelly have been admonished by the International Olympic Committee for placing bets on the outcome of fights at Rio 2016, with Donnelly wagering on his opponent in a fight that he went on to win.

Conlan and Donnelly had speculated on the outcome of a large number of fights and had backed their selections in accumulator bets, rather than in single bets on each bout.

Both boxers ended up losing their bets, which were placed for what would widely be regarded as small stakes.

The IOC revealed that Conlan’s total losses were less than £200.

Conlan didn’t bet on any fights in which he was a participant, but had punted on matches in his bantamweight division.  

Donnelly did bet on himself to lose against Mongolia’s Tuvshinbat Byamba in his last-16 welterweight encounter, but the Irishman went on to prevail on a split decision.

British middleweight Antony Fowler also fell foul of the IOC’s betting rules.  

The IOC appears to have accepted that the boxers’ indiscretions were naive rather than malevolent.

Conlan and Donnelly will have to prove that they followed the IOC’s educational programme, which includes rules on gambling, if they are to participate at Tokyo 2020.

They are also required to support education programmes run by the Olympic Council of Ireland, AIBA or the IOC.

Many will regard the IOC's stipulations as moot as Conlan has since turned professional, while Donnelly has already indicated his intentions to join the paid ranks. 

The IOC also issued a warning to the Olympic Council of Ireland for not having properly informed athletes about the rules regarding betting at the Games, while a recommendation has been made to the International Boxing Association to bolster its education and compliance.   

The IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer was first informed of Donnelly’s transgression on 11 August.

The Ballymena pugilist then attended a hearing at the Marapendi Hotel in Rio de Janeiro on 15 August, where he was joined by Ireland’s boxing team manager Joe Hennigan, OCI chef de mission Kevin Kilty and deputy chef de mission Stephen Martin.

In a statement, the IOC revealed that Donnelly insisted that “he had signed the various documents without reading them, thus he was in fact not aware of the prohibition”.

Donnelly had also claimed to have gambled against himself as an emotional hedge to soften the blow of a potential loss.

“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 statement added. 

“He engaged in betting to pass the time; he had been bored in the Olympic Village, as there was not much to do.”

The representatives of the OCI made an admission that “while preparing the team they had placed more emphasis on the issue of doping than on the prohibition of betting”.

The IOC was alerted to Conlan’s contravention of the rules on 17 August and met with the Belfast boxer on 20 August, again at the Marapendi Hotel.  

John Conlan, the fighter’s father, accompanied his son to the hearing and they were joined by Hennigan, Kilty and Martin.

The 24-year-old also cited ignorance of the rules and boredom as key factors in his betting activity.

“He usually bet on sports - on horse racing, football and boxing,” the official IOC statement read. “It was a kind of hobby for him, even if he was not addicted.”

The OCI has revealed that it will not be commenting on today's verdict.