The manipulation of sports results, or “match-fixing”, is defined as “illegally influencing the course or the result of a sport match in order to obtain advantage for oneself or for others”.
Action against it has often been left to the respective sport’s governing bodies, despite public fears of cover-up. Some European countries seem preserved, whereas in others controversies have prompted public authorities, including criminal law bodies, to act. Match-fixing also occurs in international competitions. It has become commonplace in Asian sport and action is needed to ensure that the same does not happen in Europe.
The abolition of borders and liberalisation of betting markets, along with developments in betting technologies (e.g. via the internet or mobile phone) create new risks requiring initiatives to limit manipulation of sport results.
Match-fixing undermines the fundamental values in sport the Council of Europe upholds. The Parliamentary Assembly already expressed concern in this area, for instance in its Opinion No. 241 of 2002, recommending to the Committee of Ministers that the draft Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption apply to domestic and foreign referees and other sports officials.
Time has come for examination by an international body and the Council of Europe is the adequate forum. There is no need to change national and international criminal legislation, but there is an urgent need to enhance co-operation among governments, sports organisations and betting operators and to establish an international mechanism for the co-ordination and monitoring of implementation of legal instruments.
The Assembly therefore calls on the Committee of Ministers to start consultations on establishing a committee to identify best practices against manipulation of sports results, measures the Council of Europe could take to reduce risks of manipulation, including a convention, and the form of a possible international mechanism to co-ordinate the fight against manipulation of sports results.