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The need to combat match-fixing

Resolution 1876 (2012)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 25 April 2012 (14th Sitting) (see Doc. 12891, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Ms Brasseur). Text adopted by the Assembly on 25 April 2012 (14th Sitting). See also Recommendation 1997 (2012).
1. Sport provides a fundamental way of expressing culture and is a factor which helps to structure our democratic societies. Practicing sport in a healthy way and on a regular basis helps to keep people in good physical condition, prevent certain diseases and improve mental balance. Spectator sport and sport as a leisure activity are enjoyable for people of all ages. Thus sport contributes to the well-being at both individual and social levels. It is of significant economic importance, for not only are sports events generating ever-increasing revenue (ticket sales, television broadcasting rights, advertising, sponsorship, merchandising), but the world of sport also creates jobs and invests in the development of facilities.
2. Nevertheless, the greater commercialisation of sport and the lure of financial gain have encouraged the development of new forms of corruption. The considerable sums of money spent on sports betting are of growing interest to criminal groups. The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned about the present scale of match-fixing. This problem and the illicit profits from sports betting are jeopardising public order and the rule of law; they are tainting sport’s values and the reputation of sportsmen and women, the sports movement, international sport organisations and betting operators. Therefore, match-fixing must not be regarded as a minor offence.
3. In Resolution 1602 (2008) on the need to preserve the European Sport Model, the Assembly emphasised that “recent scandals in several European countries, involving illegal betting and manipulation of results, have seriously damaged the image of sport in Europe. A number of mutually-reinforcing mechanisms are needed to reduce the risk of match-fixing, illegal betting or other forms of corruption.”
4. Four years on, the situation has got worse. Only 10 countries in the world have passed legislation sanctioning sports frauds as such. States should adapt their legislative frameworks and ensure their harmonisation. At international level, greater efforts need to be made to bring to a rapid conclusion the work on introducing measures enabling match-fixing to be combated successfully, including – ultimately – the introduction of a binding international legal instrument and of a stable co-operation platform to preserve sport’s integrity and values.
5. The United Nations Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime (General Assembly Resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000) and against Corruption (General Assembly Resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003) should cover in clear terms cases of manipulation of sport results and corruption among sportspeople and match officials.
6. The Assembly therefore asks the member States of the Council of Europe to:
6.1 apply without delay the measures recommended in the appendix to Recommendation CM/ Rec(2011)10 on the promotion of the integrity of sport against manipulation of results, notably match-fixing, and to take due account of the recommendations by international and European organisations, such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord;
6.2 if they have not already done so, accede to the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS);
6.3 if they have not already done so, ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198) and ensure that, in their respective legal systems, the mechanisms for which this convention provides are applicable to illegal betting and to the profits from manipulation of sports results;
6.4 ensure that training and awareness-raising programmes for young amateur and professional sportspeople (in accordance with the kind of programmes developed by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) for the under-17 and under-19 age groups or SportAccord education programme) are introduced, and that these effectively teach those sportsmen and women about the risks of accepting money in return for altering their performance;
6.5 prohibit betting on those competitions most vulnerable to attempted corruption, namely: specific youth competitions (for sportspeople aged under 18), amateur competitions and, for some sports such as football, lower-division professional competitions;
6.6 establish a national betting-regulatory authority in every country and consider setting up in each country an “integrity of sport” monitoring centre and a “sports betting” working group, the activity of which should be co-ordinated by the national regulatory authority, with a view to Europe-wide networking of information;
6.7 develop, in co-operation with sports institutions, appropriate rules and mechanisms to ensure that any disciplinary penalties imposed by federations’ committees and any criminal law penalties for corruption are a sufficient deterrent and are effectively applied;
6.8 promote mutual recognition of criminal, administrative, disciplinary and sports penalties by States and sports federations;
6.9 ensure co-operation between judicial authorities and national and international police, particularly Interpol, Europol and Eurojust, to enhance the effectiveness of investigations into and the prosecution of match-fixing cases;
6.10 work with national and international betting operators to introduce effective procedures for detecting suspicious betting;
6.11 call for an extension to match-fixing of the United Nations Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and against Corruption, with a view to encouraging the reforms needed to enable this problem to be effectively combated worldwide.
7. Furthermore, the Assembly calls on international sports federations to:
7.1 act together in a co-ordinated manner to combat match-fixing, while defining the expected contributions and specific role of each international federation, of SportAccord and of the IOC, which should continue to co-ordinate actions;
7.2 adopt a code of ethics drawing on the IOC Code of Ethics and on the “Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement”;
7.3 draw up guidelines to ensure that sportsmen and women undergo awareness raising and training, with particular attention being paid to young sportspeople;
7.4 set up a supervisory body within each sports federation, with proper powers and means;
7.5 co-operate actively with government agencies, facilitate the access of the competent national authorities to disciplinary files and report to them any suspicious operations;
7.6 develop a set of progressive, but deterrent, penalties and apply these unhesitatingly when offences are proven;
7.7 ensure harmonisation of disciplinary and sports sanctions;
7.8 prohibit sportspeople and officials from betting on competitions in which they are involved.
8. The Assembly also calls on national sports federations to:
8.1 conduct a regular examination of the decisions taken by match officials and judges;
8.2 appoint persons responsible for matters relating to “sports betting and the integrity of sport” (a kind of ombudsperson) and establish links with outside companies which monitor sports betting;
8.3 set up a telephone assistance service for sportspeople subjected to pressure or blackmail.
9. Finally, the Assembly recommends that sports betting operators:
9.1 co-operate with public authorities, sports authorities and bodies by systematically reporting any suspicious operations;
9.2 refrain from offering opportunities to place bets regarded as “very risky”, with high initial stakes and long odds, and limit those bets already regarded as “risky”;
9.3 clarify any situations of conflict of interests in which they may find themselves, and adopt a common position on this subject;
9.4 contribute a proportion of their profits towards financing the setting up and operation of supervisory bodies responsible for ensuring the integrity of sport and the prevention of the manipulation of sports results.