Brussels, 18 September 2014
New milestone in the fight against match-fixing
The European Commission today welcomes a new milestone in the fight against match-fixing, with the launch of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. The Convention will be declared open for signature this afternoon at a Council of Europe conference of Sport Ministers in Macolin, Switzerland. Over the past two years, the European Commission has played a key role in the preparation and negotiation of the agreement.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner responsible for sport, said: ''Match-fixing is a cross-border problem and action at European level is essential if we are to combat this scourge. We need to ensure that everyone involved in the fight against the fraudsters works together as a team. This Convention will help to increase cooperation between the sport movement, betting operators, law enforcement authorities, governments and the European institutions. It's a fight we have to win."
The Convention, launched under the auspices of the Council of Europe, was jointly prepared by the Commission and the Member States at EU level. It aims to prevent, detect and fight match-fixing and the manipulation of sport competitions. It calls on governments to launch measures to prevent conflicts of interest among sports betting operators and sports organisations, as well as to encourage sports betting regulatory authorities to step up the fight against fraud and illegal betting.
At the conference, Commissioner Vassiliou will also present new EU initiatives supported by the Erasmus+ programme to promote sport and physical activity, including the European Week of Sport. Over 50 Ministers of Sport and leading representatives of the European sport movement are participating in the conference.
Ministers were also due to discuss a revision of the Convention on Spectator Violence. Since its adoption in 1985, this Convention has played a significant role in raising awareness of good practices in combating violence at sporting events. But Ministers have called for it to be updated and for its scope to be extended to reflect developments and improvements in areas such as security, technology and hospitality. The agenda also includes discussions on how to further strengthen co-operation between the European Union and the Council of Europe, and European representation in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The opening for signature of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions is the first step towards its entry into force. For this to happen, the Convention will need to be ratified by five parties, of which at least three must be Member States of the Council of Europe. All parties involved in the drafting of the Convention will be able to sign it. Given the global nature of match-fixing, it will ultimately be possible for any country to sign the Convention.
Erasmus+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport includes a dedicated budget of €265 million for sport during 2014-2020. Erasmus+ aims to develop the European dimension in sport by helping to address cross-border threats such as match-fixing and doping. It will also support transnational projects involving organisations in grassroots sport, promoting, for example, good governance, social inclusion, dual careers and physical activity for all ages.
For more information:
European Commission: Sport website
Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU