Council committed to fair play invites to act against match-fixing

According to the conclusions set by the Council in its meeting by the end of November, match-fixing is besides doping one of the most significant threat to contemporary sport. It damages, not only the image of sport, but it also puts into question competitive sport and fair play. For that reason, the Council has invited the European Commission to study this problem and to promote actions in order to tackle its consequences.

In the meeting of EU ministers of education, youth, culture and sport held in November where the new agenda for adult learning was adopted by the Council, national ministers in charge for sport also addressed the issues raised by the fight against match-fixing in competitive sports.

In their conclusions, published in the Official Journal on 23 December, ministers stressed the importance of taking measures in this regard and recalled the implications which match-fixing has not only in the integrity of sport, but also in areas such as online gambling in sportive competitition. Ministers also recalled that certain actions have already been taking in this regard, such as the policy debate on sport related aspects of on-line betting, or the the Commission's Green Paper on Online Gambling in the Internal Market.

According to the Council, in order to fight against match-fixing it is necessary to fix appropriate, effective and dissuasive sanctions, including criminal and disciplinary ones. They also highlight the importance of good governance in sport as an essential component in the fight against match-fixing, given that these kind of situations seem to occur less frequently where good governance standards are met, such as the ban on betting on one’s own sport, regular payment ofsalaries to players, financial stability and transparency.

For those reasons, the Council has invited the Commission to promote the fight against match-fixing in the framework of its dialogue with sport stakeholders and to consider testing transnational projects in support of the prevention of match-fixing, aimed in particular at awareness raising among athletes and sports officials. As it has already been done, for example, with the study of some illicit practices related to certain aspects of the transfer of players, it has also been suggested to launch a study mapping the situation with regard to match-fixing in the EU and beyond, identifying the existing problems as well as existing initiatives.