CM(2011)116 add final 2 November 20111
1122 Meeting, 28 September 2011
8 Youth and Sport
8.1b Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)
Explanatory Memorandum to Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)10 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on promotion of the integrity of sport to fight against manipulation of results, notably match-fixing
Item prepared by the GR-C
On many different occasions in recent years it has been seen that sport is not immune from types of behaviour which always attract enormous negative attention and sometimes even end in some form of criminal proceedings. Not so many years ago, very few cases of crime in sport were reported and these mainly concerned abuse of different types of drugs. Nowadays, however, we are increasingly faced with the phenomenon of so-called match-fixing – illegally influencing the course and/or the result of a sports match or competition.
The commercialisation of sport, which reflects the very lucrative nature of some types of sporting activities and the even more lucrative gains from sport-related betting, has undoubtedly led to the establishment of commercial structures whose main activities are concentrated in the area of sport. Some of those structures (i.e. legal betting operators) are of a fully legal nature, but many of them – at least according to the latest findings of law enforcement agencies throughout the world – are not.
New developments in this area have given rise to a new challenge for those who are still interested in ethical, objectively competitive and unpredictable sports competitions. It has become obvious that these new threats in the new era of sport pose too many challenges for sports organisations if they are alone in fighting to maintain the real spirit of sport.
Sports organisations therefore require the help of the wider public in the form of state institutions. There is already some evidence that an important private-sector player, namely the betting operators, would also be willing to take part in these actions because of their enormous losses due to illegal betting.
In principle, public authorities should develop mutual co-operation with the sports movement as the essential basis of sport, in order to promote the values and benefits of sport. In many European states, governmental action in sport is taken in order to be complementary to and support the work of this movement (principle of subsidiarity). In such cases, state involvement should be seen as an attempt to defend public order and to assist the sports movement in protecting the essential nature of sport.
Since the problem of match-fixing has clear international dimensions, harmonisation measures will be needed and international legal rules will also have also to be established to deal with the issue.
Background and preamble to the recommendation
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles that are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress, it very soon became clear that the Council of Europe, as a standard-setting body in many different areas of special value to the citizens of its member states, will have to tackle the constantly growing threat posed by the ruthless commercialisation of sport in its illegal forms. This phenomenon has begun to seriously undermine the spirit and nature of sport, which is undoubtedly an activity of special importance to the majority of European citizens – both as a practical form of social life and as an extremely important idea and ideal.
One of the biggest threats to the integrity of sport - as in many other areas - proved to be different forms of illegal behaviour which were and still are bringing substantial financial benefits to certain individuals and eliminating the glorious uncertainty of sport. One of those threats, namely corruption, came under close scrutiny by the Council of Europe very early on because of the danger it posed to pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights and ethical principles.
The Final Declaration adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at their Second Summit, held in Strasbourg on 10 and 11 October 1997, emphasised the Council of Europe’s standard-setting role, in particular to seek common responses to the challenges posed by the growth in corruption.
The Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005) recommended the continuation of Council of Europe activities, which serve as references in the field of sport.
Resolution CM/Res(2007) 8 established the Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe on Sport (EPAS) and assigned it the task of developing standards to deal with topical issues in international sport.
Recommendations R (92) 13 rev on the Revised European Sports Charter, CM/Rec(2010)9 on the Code of Sports Ethics and Rec (2005) 8 on the Principles of Good Governance in Sport were the first Council of Europe documents dealing with sport and the basic principles for ensuring that all sports and sports-related activities and those involved in them are of impeccable integrity.
The 11th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport, held in Athens on 11 and 12 December 2008, adopted a resolution on ethics in sport, which, among other things, drew attention to the issues of match-fixing, corruption and illegal betting as threats to sports ethics and made a political commitment to further address these issues.
The 18th Council of Europe Informal Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport, held in Baku on 22 September 2010, adopted the first resolution (political commitment) dealing specifically with the manipulation of sports results, namely Resolution No.1 on promotion of the integrity of sport against the manipulation of results (match-fixing).
All Council of Europe member states are called upon to adopt effective policies and measures aimed at preventing and combating the manipulation of sports results in all sports, with the support of sports organisations and betting operators, in order to address the issue of manipulation of sports results, while complying, as a minimum, with the guidelines appended to this recommendation.
Since the text of the recommendation will not change anything if it is not implemented, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), where appropriate building on the experience, expertise and activities of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), the European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), the Conference of Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism, the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) and the Economic Crime Division, are mentioned as the Council of Europe bodies responsible for facilitating the implementation of this recommendation.
Monitoring of Council of Europe standards in other areas has proved to be an extremely useful tool for their effective implementation and the possible involvement in this area of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), where appropriate in co-operation with the other competent units, therefore opens up possibilities for future monitoring and/or follow-up.
EPAS is also invited to study specific measures taken by European states, refine and elaborate good practices on the issue of combating the manipulation of sports results, make a feasibility study on a possible international legal instrument2 in this area, provide a platform of exchange and co-operation for governments, sports movement and betting operators on the issue of integrity of sport, explore the feasibility of establishing a working structure for that purpose and promote co-operation between the organisers of sports events and betting operators within the framework of national and EU law.
The recommendation has absolutely no intention of interfering with the right of governments to decide national lottery and gambling policies, and in particular to achieve a so-called “fair return” to sport for grassroots funding as regards betting. It nevertheless expresses a commitment to consider, as a separate issue, the idea of the introduction of a duty of betting operators for an economic fair return from their sports bets for the general development of sport.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)10 to member states on promotion of the integrity of sport to fight against manipulation of results, notably match-fixing at the 1122nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (Strasbourg, 28 September 2011).
In this recommendation the governments of member states are urged to adopt effective policies and measures aimed at preventing and combating the manipulation of sports results in all sports on the basis of the guidelines appended thereto. In addition, national and international sports organisations and betting operators are invited to assist governments in achieving these aims. However, states might, at the date of adoption of this recommendation, already have policies and measures in place that provides effective equivalents to particular provisions of the recommendation and the appendix thereto. Moreover, this recommendation offers the Committee of Ministers the possibility of monitoring its implementation. Being a recommendation, this instrument does not have the legally binding effect of a convention. This will certainly be taken into account in any monitoring procedure.
Structure and content of the recommendation
The recommendation concerns itself with those aspects of the activities of governments, sports organisations and betting operators which can help significantly to limit opportunities for manipulation of sports results. It comprises a number of general rules that should underpin the legislation, policies and practices of states on this subject.
The provisions of the recommendation may be divided into two categories as regards the degree of insistence with which activities are suggested:
First, some provisions use the word “should”, indicating that they advocate a standard generally recognised as desirable and to be achieved as soon as reasonably possible, subject to the existence of an effective equivalent alternative (see paragraph 21 above).
Second, there are provisions that point the way to good practice by using the words “should consider”, “may”, “are encouraged”, “are invited”, “are called upon”, indicating that the addressees of the activities suggested are entitled, if they think fit, to adopt the recommendation contained in the provision.
Saying that the addressees (governments, sports organisations and betting operators) may (or “should consider, “are encouraged”, “are invited” or “are called upon” to) adopt a certain policy or measure does not mean that they cannot adopt a policy or measure that is different, provided of course that the policy or measure is not inconsistent with other principles of the recommendation. Equally, these words allow states, sports organisations and betting operators to remain silent on the matter.
The recommendation is divided into a preamble and an appendix consisting of seven sets of guidelines dealing with:
This section gives definitions of the crucial expressions in the recommendation: “manipulation of sports results”, “athletes”, “insider information” and “sports betting”.
B. Sharing responsibilities and co-ordination
This section concerns the absolute need for co-operation between three different players who can only succeed in fighting the manipulation of sports results by working together: governments, sports organisations and betting operators. It therefore lays down some general rules on this co-operation and the responsibilities of these players.
C. Legislative and other measures
This section contains provisions on possible rules against manipulation of sports results in the legislation of the member states.
D. Law enforcement and preventive activities of public organisations
This section contains articles that are designed to ensure effective and proactive investigative work by the public authorities generally and law enforcement agencies in particular in the fight against match-fixing.
E. Preventive activities of sports organisations
This section contains provisions designed to ensure that effective preventive measures are taken by sports organisations, with particular emphasis on their respective rights, obligations, duties and best practices in their efforts against manipulation of sports results.
F. Preventive activities of betting operators
This section deals mainly with issues relating to self-regulation of betting operators and transparency of financial information (with due regard, of course, to existing legal provisions and international standards, i.e. on personal data protection) in the framework of betting monitoring systems.
G. Co-operation of relevant stakeholders in the fight against manipulation of sports results
The provisions in this section call for certain specific measures in the area of co-operation between public authorities, sports organisations and betting operators, with the main aims of clarifying their respective commitments, ensuring exchange of information and establishing close co-operation.
Comments on the individual paragraphs are set out below:
Section A – Definition
1. The term “manipulation of sports results” was chosen intentionally because it is wider than the term “match-fixing”, which was simply added to enable the lay (non-professional) reader to understand at a glance what this recommendation is about. The basis for the definition comes from a major European national football league, where it has already proved useful. The definition consists of the following important elements:
The most important element of the definition is the “arrangement on irregular alteration”. This will usually happen before the competition, but it can also happen during it. Without such an agreement we cannot talk about manipulation in this field and “irregular” alteration has to be understood as an agreement not only to break the law of the member state but also to break the rules of the particular sporting activity (discipline) and of the sports competition concerned. Because of the combination of two different elements – agreement and alteration – cases of behaviour by athletes which clearly (and sometimes even quite deliberately) breaches the rules of the game but was not agreed beforehand do not constitute manipulation of sports results.
Alteration may target either the course (e.g. penalties, actions on the field etc) or the final result (e.g. score, ranking etc) of the competition or any of its particular events (e.g. matches, races etc). Both are equally important in the work of betting operators.
The final goal of the arrangement on alteration is to obtain advantage: this may be financial gain or some other tangible or non-tangible advantage (e.g. advancing to a higher level of competition).
The advantage can be obtained “for oneself or for others”: the actual or planned beneficiary of the advantage can be either the person manipulating the match/competition or any other person.
It is obvious that such an agreement, which alters either the course of the competition or its result, harms the essence of any sporting activity since it removes the uncertainty normally associated with the results of a competition. The players involved know perfectly well in advance how the competition will run and what the result will be.
2. The definition of “athletes” was taken partly from existing Council of Europe texts and covers active participants in sports events (sportsmen, sportswomen), support personnel (trainers, medical staff etc.) and sports officials (referees etc) as well as any other person taking part in the activities of sports organisations in any capacity, including the owners of sports organisations.
3. The term “insider information” refers to typical insider information acquired or possessed by persons who were able to obtain it only because they are part of a certain activity, in this case sport. Some examples of such information are given, e.g. information regarding the competitors, the conditions, tactical considerations etc. It does not include information which has already been made public by law or according to the rules and regulations of the relevant competition.
4. The definition of “sports betting” is taken from the world of betting. It refers to betting on games where money can be won owing to their unpredictable nature. Some specific forms of betting are given as examples: fixed and running odds, totalisator games, live betting etc. The expression “betting operators” used in the recommendation therefore covers all kinds of betting operators, such as bookmakers, lotteries, online operators etc.
It is also possible to distinguish between different types of betting according to their legal status. Precise definitions are given for this purpose:
- “legal betting” should be understood as betting which is allowed in a specific territory or jurisdiction on the basis of a licence granted or recognised by an official regulator, which may be the regulator of the country concerned or the regulator of a third country (in the case of recognition of a licence);
- “illegal betting” should be understood as betting not covered by a licence granted or recognised in a specific territory;
- “irregular betting” should be understood as betting which may otherwise be legal but where certain irregularities and abnormalities can be identified either in the bets placed or in the competition on which the bets are placed.
Chapter B – Sharing responsibilities and co-ordination
5. This paragraph clarifies the nature of the partnership between the different stakeholders: non-governmental organisations (sports organisations, betting operators, supporters’ clubs etc.), law enforcement agencies and other public authorities, which should act as co-ordinators of all the stakeholders involved, if appropriate. Such a partnership is similar to the kind of partnership established on other issues where governments have a special public interest to defend, or where governments can only complement the action of the sports movement with specific law enforcement measures, in order to enforce existing legislation in sport. In this respect, a comparison may be made with Recommendation Rec(2000)16 of the Committee of
Ministers to member states on common core principles to be introduced into national legislation to combat the trafficking of doping agents or Recommendation Rec(2001)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the prevention of racism, xenophobia and racial intolerance in sport.
6. In order to ensure co-ordinated policy and action against the manipulation of sports results, an overall approach has to be adopted that clearly identifies the responsibilities of the stakeholders involved (mentioned in paragraph 5), their means of consultation, ways of exchanging information and ways of ensuring co-ordination. A framework agreement is mentioned as an example of how this can be achieved.
7. It is the task of each stakeholder individually to make its contribution to the effectiveness of measures to address the risks associated with match-fixing – especially in the context of the development of betting - by encouraging and developing such measures and studying the establishment of a viable, sustainable and equitable regulatory framework protecting the integrity of sport.
8. Bearing in mind that sports and other (e.g. anti-corruption) non-governmental organisations were the first to raise awareness and provide education and information about the dangers related to manipulation of sports results, governments should support their efforts in different ways. If the support is of a financial nature, it could be made conditional on a firm commitment and effective action by sports organisations to fight match-fixing and educate their athletes.
9. Sports governing bodies at international level and their affiliated national organisations have particular leadership and disciplinary responsibilities with regard to the fight against manipulation of results. This will ensure international harmonisation of disciplinary measures and policies against match-fixing, especially within specific branches of sport.
10. In the area of betting, the umbrella organisations of lotteries and/or betting operators have particular leadership and self-regulatory responsibilities at international level. In discharging these responsibilities, however, they must respect the rules put in place by the respective national regulators of these lotteries and/or betting operators.
11. The fight against manipulation of sports results involves not only lively exchanges of information on different issues among different stakeholders, but other measures too. Some of the measures, and particularly some of the information subject to exchange, fall under the protection of existing European data protection standards (i.e. the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, CETS No 108). As a general rule applying to all actions of all stakeholders based on this recommendation, such activities must comply with existing and future data protection standards. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Chapter C – Legislative and other measures
12. Member states should ensure that their legal and administrative systems are equipped with the most appropriate and effective legal means for the fighting match-fixing. These can be means already in place but also means yet to be developed on the basis of this recommendation.
13. The purpose of this paragraph is to ensure that match-fixing is properly covered by criminal provisions and that offences related to manipulation can be punished according to the seriousness of the acts committed. The existing Council of Europe anti-corruption conventions – the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and its additional protocol (CETS Nos 173 and 191) and the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (CETS No 174) – do not cover criminal offences in the area of sport. Consequently, they cannot be used as a basis for establishing offences.
There are also some other international legal instruments in this area (i.e. the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the EU Convention on the Protection of the European Communities’ Financial Interests and its additional protocols, the EU Convention on the Fight against Corruption involving Officials of the European Communities or Officials of Member States of the European Union etc). However, they are much narrower in scope and also do not cover the issue of match-fixing.
Analysis of the United Nations Convention against Corruption shows that although this international legal instrument is the widest in scope, it does not completely cover all possible forms of manipulation of sports results either.
The UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime offers considerably more possibilities for punishing match-fixing: according to this Convention match-fixers can be punished for the criminal offences of bribery, trading in influence, fraud, participation in an organised criminal group and money laundering. Everything depends on their actions and intent.
Bearing in mind all the conventions mentioned above, if effective action is to be taken against match-fixing internationally, there is obviously no need for far-reaching changes in the criminalisation of this problem at the level of international legal instruments. There is no major need for radical changes in national legislation either. Many countries in different parts of Europe are already successfully prosecuting existing cases of manipulation of sports results.
The idea of this paragraph is therefore only to urge member states to review their existing legislation in order to ensure that manipulation of sports results is covered by their national legislation and that it can be punished with effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in accordance with the seriousness of the acts committed. This review will have to address all forms of complicity in the principal offence and all possible forms of acts or omissions committed with the intention of concealing or disguising such conduct.
This review will also have to ensure that a corporate responsibility (either a criminal or a non-criminal corporate responsibility - that will be for each country to decide) is established for all the offences mentioned.
The purpose of the review is to ensure proper punishment of all forms of manipulation of results, but there should be special emphasis on punishment of manipulation of sports results open to betting, which clearly represents the biggest social danger.
14. If the conduct referred to in paragraph 13.1. (match-fixing and concealing or disguising it) is classified as a criminal offence in national legislation, member states should consider the possibility of establishing it as a predicate offence of money laundering in accordance with existing international conventions (the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (CETS No 141) and the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No 198)).
15. Most member states already have – legislative and other – measures in place which enable them to preserve not only computer data but also other records in different areas. In order to act effectively against match-fixing, states should consider how to make the best use of such measures in the area of manipulation of sports results. This applies, for instance, to states which have ratified the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime of 23 November 2001 (ETS No185), which provides for measures to preserve computer data and other records relating to possible offences.
Member states should follow the same suggestion where whistle-blowing is concerned: those which already have – legislative and other – measures in place enabling them to introduce mechanisms for whistle blowing (i.e. channels for reporting wrongdoing) and for the protection of whistleblowers (i.e. legal and actual protection of whistleblowers who report in good faith and on reasonable grounds) should also consider how to make the best use of these measures in the area of manipulation of sports results.
Chapter D – Law enforcement and preventive activities of public organisations
16. In order to ensure that their law enforcement agencies and prosecuting authorities have appropriate investigative means at their disposal for investigations into match-fixing, member states should review their national legislation. Some of the most useful investigative means are listed as possible examples (monitoring of communications, seizure of material, covert surveillance, monitoring of bank accounts and other financial investigations), but the list is not exhaustive. In their reviews member states might therefore identify and introduce other investigative means in addition to those mentioned, if they deem them useful.
Although the investigative means mentioned above should not be used solely for investigations into match-fixing in connection with competitions open to betting, special attention should nevertheless be devoted to that area.
17. All member states have already established various channels for the exchange of intelligence and information in the area of law enforcement. They should therefore ensure that these channels are also used for the investigation and/or prosecution of manipulation of sports results at national and international level, while complying fully with their national legislation and any applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties.
18. In some member states, special focal points might be needed to improve co-operation between sports organisations and law enforcement agencies on exchange of information or possible prosecution. Member states should therefore evaluate the possible positive impact of such a focal point in terms of advice and support to sports organisations, while taking account of existing national structures. Such a focal point may be designated where it is found to be appropriate and useful in the fight against match-fixing.
19. Two measures which have proved to be very useful in the prevention of money laundering in general are customer identification and monitoring of transactions. The competent authorities should consider whether such measures might be applied to sports betting in order to prevent money laundering in this area.
20. It is not possible to combat match-fixing if no one knows which competitions are open to betting and what kinds of bets are available. Member states are therefore invited to explore the possibility of ensuring that no betting is allowed on a sports event unless the organiser of the event has been informed and has given prior approval to the betting operators or to their representative bodies, in accordance with the fundamental principles of international and national law. Such a procedure will also ensure the establishment of contact and facilitate co-operation (e.g. exchange of information) between the betting operators and the organiser of the sport event.
21. There are different ways of preventing and eliminating manipulation of sports results, but sports organisations can undoubtedly do a lot in this area. Member states should therefore consider the possibility of establishing effective action against match-fixing as a criterion for the granting of public financial support to sports organisations. This criterion could be positive (sports organisations which undertook to follow a certain principle or implement a programme would be entitled to public funding) or negative (withdrawal of public funding from sports organisations which were involved in or failed to prevent manipulation through complicity or negligence).
22. The establishment and operation by sports organisations of mechanisms for combating the manipulation of sports results (e.g. betting monitoring systems, monitoring of competitions by experts, preventive programmes) inevitably requires financial resources. In order to strengthen this “first line of defence”, member states might help sports organisations in funding these mechanisms, either through direct subsidies or by taking the cost of such mechanisms into account when determining the overall subsidies or grants to be awarded to those organisations.
23. In addition to the general measure provided for in paragraph 21, member states should, where appropriate, take steps to ensure that during the period in which individual sports organisations or athletes are subject to sanctions for manipulation of sports results, they are also banned from receiving any kind of public financial support.
24. The issue of illegal betting needs to be addressed. Illegal betting operators do not comply with integrity standards and regulations. They operate without any control, do not co-operate with the sports movement and represent a threat in the area of manipulation of sports results. The development of higher standards to defend the integrity of sport, which calls for regulations, costs and controls, should not push gamblers into the hands of illegal betting operators. As a minimum response to such activities, member states are invited to explore the possibility of fighting them by considering the effectiveness and efficiency of various measures such as restricting access to illegal websites (Domain Name System filtering and/or Internet Protocol blocking, while complying, of course, with the requirements of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the protection of freedom of expression and access to information), blocking financial flows between illegal operators and players and prohibiting advertisements for illegal betting. Since these are serious restrictions, it goes without saying that the fundamental principles of international and national law will have to be fully respected.
25. Member states can do a lot to combat match-fixing by supporting various activities of sports organisations, and especially by recognising their regulations as referred to in paragraph 26. In addition, and if they deem this appropriate, they can also assist sports organisations by supporting the enforcement of these regulations by a designated governmental sports authority or an umbrella sports organisation.
Chapter E – Preventive activities of sports organisations
26. Since sports organisations are the most important players in the fight against manipulation of sports results, they must be able to meet this challenge. They must do it in a way which does not threaten their autonomy and, for that purpose, they need to achieve an appropriate level of relevant self-regulation. In doing this, they should be encouraged by governments, and possibly also backed by public standards or policies.
27. In some parts of Europe, there is one problem which is responsible for most of the other problems related to match-fixing: sports organisations do not have enough funds for regular payment of salaries to their professional athletes, who in order to survive (provide for themselves and their families) fix their own matches and collect money from betting operators. There is no simple solution to this, but some steps can nevertheless be taken. Sports organisations at national and international level should therefore consider the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure good conditions for their professional athletes, including the introduction of schemes aimed at safeguarding their salaries, mainly, but not exclusively, in the form of “safety funds”, from which athletes would receive minimum payments if their individual sports organisations (clubs) were unable to pay their salaries (e.g. such payments might be made on the basis of a loan granted, usually, by the national organisations to the clubs in question, which would have to be repaid at the end of the season). Another measure which should also be considered is bans on participation at different levels of competition for sports organisations failing to regularly fulfil their financial obligations towards their athletes (if they were unable pay their athletes, clubs would not be allowed to continue competing at a certain level and would be relegated). This is something which is already producing excellent results in some sports organisations at international (UEFA) and national level.
28. National and international sports organisations faced with cases of match-fixing should clarify and discuss their respective rights, obligations, duties and best practices, in particular:
1. rules against manipulation of sports results, in line with the standards adopted by the relevant international organisations; these rules should include:
a) prevention of conflicts of interest relating to athletes, particularly through the introduction of bans on betting on their own events and/or competitions, restrictions on the use or passing on of insider information and prohibition of the provision or receipt of any gift or other benefit in circumstances that might reasonably be expected to bring them into disrepute;
b) rules on the prevention and punishment of any offences established in accordance with these guidelines and related breaches of codes of conduct;
c) systems for possible cancellation of sports events or disqualification of athletes where a risk of fraud has been established/identified. One of the most important issues here will be the degree of suspicion needed to trigger the cancellation or disqualification: although it is impossible to foresee all possible factual circumstances, at least the basic criteria for such a decision will have to be established in advance;
d) an obligation for athletes to blow the whistle (report full details of any approaches or invitations to take part in breaches of the international or national federation’s rules on match-fixing) and to co-operate fully with any reasonable (meaningful) investigation carried out by the international federation;
e) a system of effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for any breaches of the rules mentioned in this paragraph, which should at least include temporary or permanent bans on further sports activities and reimbursement of any pecuniary damage caused;
f) mechanisms for temporary prohibition of participation in sports activities of athletes under prosecution, in order to ensure complete objectivity in the prosecution and avoid possible infringement of law enforcement measures;
2. supervisory procedures in the area of match-fixing, especially the assessment of risks of match-fixing related to specific competitions or events, which will usually, but not exclusively, be possible on the basis of appropriate betting monitoring systems;
3. disciplinary procedures, which will have to respect the fundamental rights of suspected athletes in accordance, at least, with agreed international principles of law, including a mandatory distinction between investigative and disciplinary bodies, the right to a fair hearing and legal assistance or representation, and clear and enforceable provisions for appealing against any judgment given by the disciplinary body;
4. procedures for mutual recognition of suspensions and other sanctions imposed at national and international level;
5. an invitation to athletes to participate actively in the fight against match-fixing, accompanied by proper education and awareness-raising (see paragraph 32).
6. mechanisms for swift and effective assistance and exchange of all information, including spontaneous exchanges, among all relevant authorities on all aspects of specific cases of match-fixing.
29. In order to minimise the risk of possible manipulation, sports officials, and especially referees and judges, should be assigned to a specific competition or event at the latest possible stage before the competition or event takes place.
30. Random financial audits of referees’ and judges’ assets and regular monitoring of their field decisions are effective methods for preventing them from manipulating sports results. Sports organisations are invited to consider these two measures. The second is the exclusive responsibility of sports organisations, while the first, if introduced, will have to be applied in complete compliance with the fundamental principles of international and national law (e.g. on protection of privacy).
31. Recording and monitoring by sports experts of competitions or events where there is a risk of fraud might be another successful mechanism not only for preventing but also possibly for punishing cases of match-fixing. Sports organisations are encouraged to introduce relevant arrangements.
32. Education, training and publicity are measures which sports organisations are called upon to adopt in order to increase awareness and knowledge among their athletes about the issue of manipulation of sports results and its consequences.
33. The financing of sport has become an extremely important issue in recent years owing to the intense commercialisation of almost all sports activities. The most important general rule which sports organisations should observe is transparency of financing. In order to achieve this, sports organisations should ensure that the ownership structures of clubs are best suited to protect stability and safeguard sporting principles.
34. Sponsorship represents a useful source of sports financing, but is a threat to the autonomy of sport if the sponsor interferes with the sporting decisions of the sponsored sports organisations or athletes. Sponsorship contracts should therefore state that sponsors will play no role in and exercise no influence on the sporting decisions of the sponsored team or individuals, although the timing of events can be discussed with sponsors. Betting operators without an official licence (recognised in accordance with national and international legal provisions) should not be accepted as sponsors.
Chapter F – Preventive activities of betting operators
35. Alongside sports organisations, betting operators are another important “line of defence” against manipulation of sports results, and they should therefore also be able to meet this challenge. They must do this in a way which does not put their economic freedoms under threat and, for this purpose, they should achieve an appropriate level of relevant self-regulation. In doing this, they should, like sports organisations, be encouraged by public authorities, and especially the regulatory authorities, and possibly be backed by public standards or policies.
36. Illegal betting operators in particular misuse the whole diverse range of sports activities and accept bets on all of them. This significantly reduces the possibilities for relevant organisations and authorities to identify all the sports events which might be endangered through match-fixing. Low- profile sports events where there is little or nothing at stake in sporting terms and little or no financial interest are more vulnerable to manipulation. Betting operators should therefore restrict the organisation of betting to the results of significant official sports events for adults (unless minors compete in a competition for adults), possibly above a certain level, e.g. events organised officially, by designated sports organisations as part of official competitions (leagues, cups, qualifiers etc).
37. Betting operators should ensure transparency of all financial transactions related to betting under systems for monitoring betting so as to identify suspicious bets (e.g. the amount of the stakes on any one bet, discrepancies between the distribution of bets and the expected logical behaviour following the odds, very high amounts placed, geographical distribution of suspicious bets), together with relevant public authorities and sports organisations.
Certain information may be disclosed to the public. The procedure for public disclosure of information should be regulated by a non-disclosure agreement established in compliance with the relevant national and international legal provisions. The agreement may also set up confidential systems to determine whether there is a case to answer before making any public statements. Consideration might also be given to the possibility of developing and monitoring strict protocols to prevent any leaks of sometimes quite sensitive information.
38. If betting operators identify suspicious bets, they should immediately report them to the competent (and relevant) public authorities and to their betting monitoring systems.
39. It is desirable for betting operators and sports organisations to co-operate voluntarily with the public authorities in exchanging relevant information. Since not all do so, public authorities should ensure their co-operation by adopting legislative measures to oblige them to submit data in their possession or under their control, in the framework of betting monitoring systems and in compliance with the relevant data protection standards.
If betting operators and sports organisations do not co-operate with government authorities or if they hinder the collection of electronic evidence in the field of sporting bets, they should be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions and measures, including pecuniary sanctions.
40. It is pointless to establish a betting monitoring system if betting operators are not in a position to adopt certain decisions once it has been established that there is a high probability of manipulation of a future sports event. One of the most effective solutions is the possibility of stopping the validation of bets placed on matches for which a high probability of manipulation has been established. The criteria for establishing a “high probability” of manipulation have to be set in advance and the level of probability required for a decision to stop validation has to be much higher than the level required for merely reporting suspicious developments to the public authorities.
41. Betting operators and betting market regulators should adopt adequate regulations to prevent conflicts of interest and misuse of insider information by their owners and employees, in particular with the aim of preventing owners and employees from betting on their own betting products, influencing sporting decisions by athletes or teams in competitions open to betting or taking part in any capacity (players, managers, coaches, referees etc) in events and/or competitions for which they have been involved in compiling the odds.
42. Betting operators in some countries are quite often sponsors, and may even be owners or part-owners of sports organisations. If they abuse that position in order to manipulate sports results involving teams they sponsor or own, betting market regulators should take action against them. One of the possible consequences, which has to be considered when deciding what action to take, is withdrawal of the betting operator’s license.
43. It could have extremely negative consequences if sports organisations (whose competitions are open to betting) were to control betting operators (which are taking bets on those competitions). Betting operators should therefore take measures to prevent those organisations from having a controlling interest in their companies.
44. The investigation or punishment of teams or individual competitors for match-fixing based on betting should be followed by their exclusion from the betting offer.
45. In order to comply with legislation and agreements concluded with sports organisations on the basis of paragraph 20 above, betting operators are invited to adopt self-regulatory rules on various issues, including:
1. the prevention of conflicts of interest for themselves, their owners and their employees,
2. the prohibition of high-risk bets,
3. limitation of the amounts of bets involving an increased risk (e.g. “fun bets”),
4. systematic use of non-cash transactions, such as credit cards or bank transfers, for financial transactions above a certain amount,
5. additional preventive measures for certain types of bets (e.g. live betting),
6. the establishment of betting monitoring systems for identification of suspicious bets and co-operation with the corresponding sport and governmental monitoring systems for identification of suspicious bets,
7. mechanisms for sharing collected information with relevant public authorities, sports organisations and betting monitoring systems,
8. the establishment of channels for regular reporting of their findings on match-fixing to the public.
46. Betting operators should increase awareness among their employees on the issue of match-fixing and its consequences through education, proper training and publicity.
Chapter G – Co-operation of relevant stakeholders in the fight against manipulation of sports results
47. Sports organisations and betting operators should establish co-operation in the fight against manipulation of sports results in the following two main areas:
1. it has to be clear to both partners what their tasks and obligations are,
2. the exchange of information has to be sufficient to ensure that betting monitoring systems (referred to in paragraphs 28.2, 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 45.6 and 45.7 above) allow sports organisations to develop an effective response (see paragraph 28.1 above).
48. It is easier to fight match-fixing if public authorities in the member states and relevant sports organisations co-operate closely in this area. They should therefore establish such co-operation, which should involve exchanges of information between law enforcement agencies and sports organisations.
49. Relevant stakeholders are invited to consider the idea of establishing a permanent international body to combat match-fixing. Such a body would have to include all relevant stakeholders (member states, international governmental and non-governmental organisations, betting operators, international sports organisations and federations). Since it is obvious that the organisers of sports events (e.g. the Australian Open) and international sports federations (e.g. UEFA) are already involved in some very enthusiastic efforts to fight match-fixing and corruption in sport in general, and since it is obvious that those efforts will sooner or later have to be harmonised, the setting up of a international body in this area seems to be one of the best possible solutions for the development of an effective and co-ordinated approach to manipulation of sports results. Initially, it would not have to be a fully institutionalised body, but could take the form of an international ad hoc platform for the basic exchange of information, best practices and other useful data. Liaising with the relevant betting operators, international sports organisations and federations might even decrease the member states’ financial burden drastically, since some of the betting operators and sports organisations have enormous budgets and they are obviously very interested in the fight not only against match-fixing but (more generally) against all corruption in sport.
1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.
2 In the terminology of the Council of Europe the wording “international legal instrument” covers both legally binding instruments (e.g. conventions) and legally non binding instruments (e.g. Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states).