The European Parliament has adopted a resolution that calls for a common and concerted approach by stakeholders to combating match-fixing in football and other sports. UEFA is committed to eradicating match-fixing and corruption from the game.
The parliament urged a coordinated and comprehensive approach to the fight against corruption and organised crime – currently undertaken through the efforts of sports organisations, national police, judicial authorities and gambling operators – by promoting discussion and exchanging information and best practices.
UEFA considers match-fixing as one of the main dangers to football’s well-being and integrity, and is determined to protect the proper running of its competitions. In line with one of the motions adopted in the European Parliament resolution, UEFA practises a zero tolerance policy towards those found guilty of match-fixing.
"If the results of matches are known before the matches take place, there would be no point in playing the game," said UEFA President Michel Platini in welcoming the resolution. "Children would have to stop playing football, people would have to stop going to the stadiums. We are determined to combat those who fix matches and cheat, and will hand down severe punishments to anyone found guilty of manipulating the result of a match."
European football's governing body also operates a betting fraud detection system (BFDS) which monitors all matches in UEFA competitions – approximately 2,000 matches a season – as well as over 30,000 domestic league and cup games across 53 member associations. UEFA's approach also includes prevention through education; monitoring and reporting via cooperation with the betting industry; and action through punishment and disciplinary sanctions.
UEFA has also pressed for widespread cooperation between sports and state bodies to root out match-fixing from football, and deploys integrity officers within its 53 member associations who are working against match-fixing at a domestic level and collaborating with UEFA on any integrity matter which arises concerning their matches or their teams participating in UEFA competitions.
The European Parliament resolution calls on European Union member states to include match-fixing in their national criminal law and establish common minimum sanctions; to create specialist law enforcement units to tackle match-fixing and serve not only as a communication and cooperation link with stakeholders but also as an information centre to which gambling operators could give details of irregular gambling patterns.
In the resolution, the EU member states are asked to enhance European law cooperation through joint investigation teams and cooperation between prosecution authorities, and to emphasise the need for measures to combat illegal betting websites and anonymous betting. Information should also be exchanged on persons named in connection with, or punished for, match-fixing offences.
Furthermore, the European Commission and EU member states are urged to begin cooperation with third countries (i.e. non-Union members) to fight organised crime associated with match-fixing. These third countries include what the resolution calls "Asian betting havens" that may raise issues on betting-related match-fixing in respect of sports events taking place within the EU.
Finally, the resolution stresses the importance, in particular for sports organisations, of educating sportsmen and women, as well as consumers, from a young age on the dangers of match-fixing. It recommends that codes of conduct be drawn up for staff, players, referees, medical and technical staff, and club and association leaders – underlining the possible sanctions for match-fixing and making it an obligation to report any approaches concerning, or awareness of, match-fixing.
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