Europe has fallen victim to the phenomenon of manipulations of sports competitions, notably due to the impact of related crimes on the economy and society. Substantial efforts are being invested by relevant public and private stakeholders but these are insufficiently co-ordinated trans-nationally.
The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (STCE No. 215) was adopted in 2014 to provide a legal framework for co-operation. The Parliamentary Assembly has played a key role in this process by first advocating for the drafting of this Convention (Recommendation 1997 (2012)), and then calling upon States to swiftly ratify it (Opinion 287 (2014)). In four years, 32 States have signed the Convention but only three have ratified it; a total of five ratifications are necessary for the Convention to enter into force.
European Union member States have played an important role in the process leading up to the Convention’s adoption. However, they are today prevented from ratifying the Convention, apparently due to an institutional deadlock at European Council level because of controversial interpretations of European Union law and the veto of one country.
This situation is unacceptable. It nurtures a detrimental perception of European institutions incapable of providing a sufficient response to a public issue. Meanwhile, criminal networks are taking advantage of the absence of an international legal framework to corrupt sports competitions. Furthermore, if a collective deadlock of ratifications due to a single country veto can be achieved, it would threaten the Council of Europe’s capacity to establish standards.
The Assembly has a commitment regarding inter-institutional co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union and supports the standard-setting function of the Council of Europe; it can therefore help by condemning the situation and urging concrete steps towards the ratification of the Convention.