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Disciplinary regulations

Published: Wednesday 1 May 2013, 12.01CET

UEFA has enacted Disciplinary Regulations, applicable to the competitions that it organises, to combat the risk of match-fixing. Several rules have been introduced, which have also been added to the various competition regulations.


For example, it is required that anyone bound by a football association or league's rules and regulations must refrain from any behaviour that is a potential risk to the integrity of matches and competitions. Thus, Article 5 of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations reads as follows:

Member associations, clubs, as well as their players, officials and members, shall conduct themselves according to the principles of loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship. For example, a breach of these principles is committed by anyone (...) who participates directly or indirectly in betting or similar activities relating to UEFA competition matches, or who has a direct or indirect financial interest in such activities;

There is also a requirement to cooperate and report to the relevant competition organiser any suspicious approach, failing which serious disciplinary sanctions can be imposed.

Article 6 of UEFA's general terms and conditions for referees obliges a referee to report to UEFA any approach, failing which they will risk disciplinary sanctions:

Any referee who is the target, or considered to be the target, of attempted bribery shall notify UEFA immediately.

In addition, the assignments of referees are now made only shortly before each round of matches.

The most important rules can be found here.

The need for EU and state intervention
European institutions have frequently expressed concerns about risks to the integrity of sporting competitions, particularly as a result of the evolution of the betting market. Thus, there is now a consensus in favour of a firm and coordinated policy to deal with this matter. While efforts towards the adoption of an international convention on match-fixing under the auspices of the Council of Europe should be encouraged, additional action should tackle the issue as a priority.

Specific criminal provisions dealing with match-fixing
In recognition of the growing problems associated with match-fixing, some European states have introduced a specific criminal offence dealing with the manipulation of the result of a sporting competition. At present, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey have adopted such provisions, while Russia and Switzerland seem inclined to do so as well, since general offences (such as corruption, fraud, money laundering or insider trading) cover match-fixing only partially or incompletely.


The Council of Europe

In its resolution on 22 September 2010, the Council of Europe invited its member states to establish the manipulation of sports results as a specific criminal offence.

Since sports fraud is not uniformly regarded as a distinct criminal offence, differences in national legislation and criminal procedures can give rise to inconsistencies in the investigation and prosecution of cases. Therefore, the use of standard definitions would facilitate the sharing of information and experience as a means to tackle the problem effectively. This would, in turn, simplify international cooperation in this field.

It is fair to say that the major political institutions in Europe share the opinion that measures can and should be taken to persuade national governments to establish sports fraud as a criminal offence and tackle it effectively in a consistent manner.

Last updated: 08/07/13 17.10CET
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