PtG Article 04.09.2014

EU ministers will discuss sports governance before signing match-fixing convention

European sport ministers gather on 18 September in Switzerland to sign a Council of Europe convention on manipulation of sports competitions. The ministers will also discuss how to achieve better governance in sport.

The conference’s main themes will be match-fixing and good governance in sport, and ministers from the more than 35 member countries are expected to take part in discussions and debates during the one-day conference on 18 September 2014 in Magglingen, Switzerland.

Play the Game’s international director Jens Sejer Andersen will be part of a panel about corruption in sports governance, which will also feature Secretary of the IOC Ethics Commission, Pâquerette Girard Zapelli, Michael Connarty from the European Council’s sub-committee on Education, Youth and Sport and Matthias Remund, director at the Swiss Federal Office of Sport.

Following the panel, there will be a round-table discussion about different aspects of corruption in sports governance, such as how governments can take responsibility for upholding ethics in sport without compromising the autonomy of sport, and whether this is even a relevant question for governments to discuss.  

Other than good governance and match-fixing, the conference will also look into other pertinent issues in world sport such as spectator violence in football, representation of the European public in WADA and cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Union in the field of sport.

Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competition

According to the Council of Europe, the purpose of the convention is to “prevent, detect, punish and discipline the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as enhance the exchange of information and national and international cooperation between the public authorities concerned, and with sports organisations and sports betting operators.”

The convention commits the member states and sports organisations to raise their efforts in the fight against corruption on the sports arena and against illegal betting.

“The signing of the convention is an important step forward and has the potential to make life more difficult for criminal gamblers and fixers. It will be decisive for the success of the convention that the signatory countries start working on the diplomatic front to engage some of the South East Asian countries with the biggest concentration of gambling criminals,” says Jens Sejer Andersen.

He also finds it timely for the governments to focus more on how to fight corruption inside the sports organisations.

“It goes without saying that a corrupt sports organisation cannot be a trustworthy partner in the fight against match-fixing and corruption. On the whole, sport needs better governance to deal effectively with global challenges such as getting more transparent and sustainable mega-events, recruiting more people for physical activity, protect children against abuse and provide equal rights for women.”

More information

  • Read the Council of Europe’s background paper on sports corruption here
  • Read about the convention here
  • Read more about the EPAS here
  • Read more about the meeting here