Match-fixing working group meets

The UEFA working group on match-fixing has strengthened its call for criminal provisions against sporting fraud to be included in pan-European legislation.

Deliberations at the working group meeting in Porto
Deliberations at the working group meeting in Porto ©UEFA

The UEFA working group on match-fixing has held its latest meeting in Porto and has reinforced its call for criminal provisions against sporting fraud to be included in pan-European legislation.

UEFA integrity officials convened in Portugal with state and national football association prosecutors, police, crime prevention agents and betting and gambling experts from various European countries. The aim of the working group is to develop a framework and strategy for the fight against match-fixing.

Those present agreed that it was essential to make the public aware of the seriousness of match-fixing and that organised crime is involved. The European Union's law enforcement agency Europol explained that they saw links in several cases to their organised crime investigations. All participants agreed that while there are draft laws in several countries, there is still a lot to do to establish a comparable legal framework across Europe.

Proposed integrity activities for UEFA EURO 2016 in France were discussed. These include a comprehensive education programme involving all stakeholders, the implementation of a working group during the tournament and the monitoring of matches, including friendlies, in the build-up to the tournament.

Participants heard a positive analysis of UEFA's betting fraud detection system, which monitors more than 30,000 fixtures across Europe each season. Professor David Forrest from the University of Liverpool welcomed the efficiency of the system which, he said, had proved its worth in detecting a number of potential match-fixing situations.

The meeting heard that 19 countries had so far signed the Council of Europe convention against the manipulation of sports results, and that two more had ratified the convention. The working group supported the idea of national platforms as a new and promising way of co-operation and exchanging information among the stakeholders in the countries. At the same time, the group agreed that investigations would have to remain confidential until completed.