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Time to act: Europe’s political response to fighting the manipulation of sports competitions

Recommendation 2178 (2020)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 12 October 2020 (see Doc. 15116, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Mr Roland Rino Büchel).
1. Referring to its Resolution 2336 (2020) “Time to act: Europe’s political response to fighting the manipulation of sports competitions”, the Parliamentary Assembly wishes to emphasise the urgent need to fight the ever-expanding and thriving organised crime, money laundering and illegal betting in sport, which are increasingly used by international criminal networks behind the manipulation of sports competitions at all levels and in all fields. Indeed, these criminal networks benefit from uncontrolled betting markets, a weak culture of governance and compliance by sports governing bodies, loopholes in the legislation of different countries and the absence of more comprehensive and stronger international data exchange and judicial co-operation able to counter them.
2. The Assembly underlines that the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (CETS No. 215, Macolin Convention) is a unique worldwide tool that provides a comprehensive framework for collectively fighting the risks of crimes related to sports betting. Its implementation is of pivotal importance for keeping sport safe, credible and based on fair play.
3. The Assembly remains seriously concerned, however, that one single member State has managed to slow down the ratification of the convention by using its de facto veto powers within the Council of the European Union to block other European Union (EU) member States from becoming parties to the convention. It underlines the long-standing practice of including and involving, on an equal footing, all Council of Europe member States in the drafting, implementation and monitoring of the Organisation’s treaties. It therefore calls on the Committee of Ministers to:
3.1 encourage all member States, which have so far not done so, to ratify the Macolin Convention as urgently as possible;
3.2 allocate sufficient human and financial resources in order to extensively advocate, communicate and support the launching of new relevant convention-based and intergovernmental activities in which member States should be able to participate on an equal footing.
4. The Assembly reiterates its concern already expressed in its Recommendation 2114 (2017) “Defending the acquis of the Council of Europe: preserving 65 years of successful intergovernmental co-operation”, pointing to the fact that the reality of post-Lisbon EU competences is not reflected in the Council of Europe Statute, the Rules of Procedure of the Committee of Ministers or of intergovernmental committees, which creates regular tensions, raises questions and generates the need for legal opinions. Bearing in mind that transparency and dialogue are fundamental to effective co-operation, the Assembly invites the Committee of Ministers to:
4.1 update its texts which do not reflect the reality of EU competences, in particular Resolution CM/Res(2011)24 on intergovernmental committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods, and its own Rules of Procedure;
4.2 draft a common agreement with the European Union defining the general principles of the participation of the European Union in Council of Europe conventions, which could set out the applicable principles and provide for general operating rules such as voting rights, speaking rights, reporting and financial arrangements.
5. The Assembly appeals to the Committee of Ministers not to open discussions on the amendment of any provisions under Article 38 of the Macolin Convention.