Council Of Europe Convention On Match Fixing Well Received

Welcomed by industry associations although some areas may still need to be refined

The Council of Europe's Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, which has been two years in the making, was widely accepted as a positive step towards fighting match fixing and other sports related manipulation, this week.

The Convention, presented in Switzerland at a European Sports Minister's meeting, was prepared by the European Commission, European Union member states and other members of the Council of Europe.

It sets out responsibilities in preventing the manipulation of sports results and other instances of sport and betting fraud as well as increasing co-operation between sporting entities, betting operators, Governments and law enforcement authorities across Europe.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner 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. It's a fight we have to win."

The European regulated betting industry welcomed the Convention, saying it represents a relatively positive and potentially significant development in the fight against sports and betting related fraud.

However, the EGBA, ESSA and the RGA voiced their concerns on the compatibility of the definition of "illegal sports betting" with EU law, saying "the application or at least this provision should be postponed until the CJEU has provided legal clarity."

Khalid Ali, Secretary General of ESSA said while the association welcomed the development it noted the importance of not imposing unnecessary restrictions that could drive consumers to unregulated markets.

The Convention, which will come into force on January 1, 2015, was adopted by fifteen countries on Thursday.

"This convention is a major step forward for integrity, ethics and transparency in sport," concluded Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.

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