Professional Football Strategic Council
The European football family has decided to join forces in order to tackle the threat of match-fixing, recognising the risk of match-fixing in European football as a global threat and a challenge for the sport in its entirety. The Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) – composed of representatives of the national associations (UEFA), the clubs (ECA), the leagues (EPFL) and the players (FIFPro Division Europe) – unanimously adopted a joint position paper.
A joint action plan with a number of concrete initiatives focusing on education, prevention, monitoring and disciplinary sanctions, designed to protect the integrity of football in Europe, has been developed and will be fully implemented together by all the members of the European football family. However, all four organisations agree that sports bodies do not have the means or the legal jurisdictions to tackle by themselves a problem, which often involves criminal organisations.
'Sports fraud' should therefore be recognised as a specific criminal offence in national legislations throughout Europe, as this would help to ensure a consistent, effective and coordinated means to deter match-fixing. At the same time, European states should consider dedicated prosecution services with a primary responsibility of dealing with sports fraud cases.
Close cooperation involving information exchange between police services, investigating and prosecuting authorities, sports bodies and betting companies is essential. This would help sports bodies in the prosecution of disciplinary cases while at the same time allowing state authorities to benefit from their expertise in order to investigate and prosecute crimes.The complete position paper can be downloaded here.
EPAS initiative: draft international convention to combat the manipulation of sports results
In 2007, the Council of Europe established the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), in order to give fresh momentum to pan-European sports cooperation and address the current challenges facing sport in Europe.
As one of their activities, in 2012, the EPAS programme started the process of negotiating a draft international convention to combat the manipulation of sports results, involving national authorities and their sports, law enforcement and betting regulation sectors. UEFA is an active participant in the drafting group.
The signatory states of the future convention commit to provide, in their internal law, for the most appropriate and effective legal and administrative means against manipulation of sports competitions and to ensure conditions for effective and sustainable cooperation of public authorities, sports organisations, betting operators and other stakeholders, as appropriate, at national and international level in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions.
Recently, the European Commission has earmarked an education and prevention programme called 'Don't fix it' developed by FIFPro and supported by UEFA. The objective of this initiative is to raise awareness of the dangers of match-fixing among players, referees, officials, administrators and public authorities. Currently the project is being developed and should eventually result in a good practice guide and training materials available online for all stakeholders.
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