of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on promotion of the integrity of sport to fight against manipulation of results, notably match-fixing
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 28 September 2011
at the 1122nd meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
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 which are their common heritage, and of facilitating their economic and social progress;
Bearing in mind the Committee of Ministers’ Declaration on compliance with the commitments made by member states of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 10 November 2004);
In accordance with the Final Declaration of the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg, 10-11 October 1997), which emphasises the standard-setting role of the Council of Europe, in particular to seek common responses to the challenges posed by the spread of corruption;
Considering the conclusions of the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005), which recommended the continuation of Council of Europe activities which serve as references in the field of sport;
Reiterating that Resolution CM/Res(2007)8 establishing the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) assigned to this one the task of developing standards to deal with topical issues in international sport;
Having regard to its Recommendations Rec(92)13 rev on the revised European Sports Charter, CM/Rec(2010)9 on the revised Code of Sports Ethics and Rec(2005)8 on the principles of good governance in sport;
In the light of the work and conclusions of the 11th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport (Athens, 11-12 December 2008), in particular in the areas of match-fixing, corruption and illegal betting;
In the light of Resolution No. 1 of the 18th Council of Europe Informal Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport (Baku, 22 September 2010) on the promotion of the integrity of sport against the manipulation of sports results (match-fixing);
In the light of existing international efforts with regard to the fight against cybercrime;
Acknowledging that, as a general rule, the sports movement is responsible for sport, but that public authorities can, where appropriate, develop co-operation with the sports movement, in order to promote the values and benefits of sport;
Convinced that the implementation by private companies and sports organisations of effective good governance policies, including codes of ethics, would help to strengthen their self-governance in matters relating to sport and would further consolidate their position with respect to states on the basis of mutual respect and trust;
Considering that it is necessary to further develop a common European framework for the development of sport in Europe, based on the notions of pluralist democracy, the rule of law, human rights and ethical principles;
Reaffirming that the nature of sport itself, based on fair-play and equal competition, requires that unethical practices and behaviours in sport be forcefully and effectively countered;
Aware of the pressures which modern society, marked among other things by the race for success and economic profits, brings to bear on sport;
Stressing their belief that the consistent application of the principles of good governance and ethics in sport would be a significant factor in helping to eradicate corruption, manipulation of sports results (match-fixing) and other malpractices in sport;
Acknowledging that attempts to manipulate sports results constitute an important threat to the integrity of sport;
Concerned by the involvement of organised crime in the manipulation of sports results, especially at international level;
Convinced that match-fixing may erode confidence among the public if it perceives sport as a place where manipulation gives substantial financial benefits to certain individuals, rather than as an activity where the glorious uncertainty of sport predominates;
Convinced that dialogue and co-operation between public authorities, betting operators and sports organisations based on mutual respect and trust are essential in seeking effective common responses to challenges posed by the problem of manipulation of sports results;
Recalling that proceeds from lotteries and gambling are a significant source of income for sport in most European countries;
Stressing the right of governments to decide national lottery and gambling policies, in particular to achieve a fair return to sport for grassroots funding as regards betting (for example allocation of sports lotteries and betting proceeds to sport, sponsoring contracts, tax revenues allocated to sports policies in the framework of the budget of the state),
Recommends that the governments of member states of the Council of Europe which have not already done so adopt policies and measures aiming at preventing and combating the manipulation of results in all sports, in the light of the guidelines in the appendix to this recommendation;
Invites 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), Moneyval, the Conference of the Parties of 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), to respond to requests for assistance by the member states’ governments to facilitate the implementation of this recommendation;
Invites EPAS, where appropriate, in co-operation with the competent units of the Secretariat General, to consider monitoring and/or follow-up activities of the present recommendation;
Invites EPAS, where appropriate, in co-operation with other relevant national and international bodies:
− to study specific measures taken by European states and develop good practices on the issue of combating the manipulation of sports results;
– to examine the existent measures and practices in member states undertaken by sports organisations and other concerned bodies and to make an inventory of existing legislation to prevent and combat the manipulation of sports results;
− to carry out a feasibility study, in co-operation with the other concerned bodies, on the basis of this recommendation, on a possible international legal instrument that covers all aspects of prevention and the combat against the manipulation of sports results;
− to provide a platform of exchange and co-operation for governments, sports movement and betting operators, on the issue of integrity of sport, to explore the feasibility of establishing a working structure and to report to the next ministerial conference;
− to explore possibilities to use the Council of Europe initiatives as a starting point towards a global response to the issue;
Calls upon EPAS, in co-operation with the European Union and the sports movement, to promote co-operation between the organisers of sports events and betting operators within the framework of national and European Union law;
Invites governments to consider, as a separate issue, the introduction of a duty on betting operators to provide an economic fair return from their sports bets for the general development of sport;
Asks the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to bring this recommendation to the attention of those states which are parties to the European Cultural Convention but are not members of the Council of Europe.
Appendix to Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)10
1. In this document, the expression “manipulation of sports results” covers the arrangement of an irregular alteration of the course or the result of a sporting competition or any of its particular events (such as matches, races) in order to obtain an advantage for oneself or for others and to remove all or part of the uncertainty normally associated with the results of a competition.
2. In this document, the term “athletes” should be understood as sportsmen and sportswomen participating in organised sports activities, their support personnel and sports officials as well as anyone taking part in the activities of sports organisations in any role, including the owners of sports organisations.
3. In this document, the term “insider information” should be understood as any information relating to any competition or event that a person possesses by virtue of his or her position within sports. Such information includes, but is not limited to, factual information regarding the competitors, the conditions, tactical considerations or any other aspect of the competition or event, but does not include such information that is already published or a matter of public record, readily acquired by an interested member of the public, or disclosed according to the rules and regulations governing the relevant competition or event.
4. In this document, “sports betting” covers all sports betting-based games that involve wagering a stake with a monetary value in games in which participants may win, in full or in part, a monetary prize based, totally or partially, on chance or uncertainty of an outcome (namely, fixed and running odds, totalisator games, live betting, betting exchange, spread betting and other games offered by sports betting operators), in particular:
4.1. “legal betting” refers to all types of betting that are allowed in a specific territory or jurisdiction (such as by licence given by a regulator or recognition of licences given by the regulator of a third country);
4.2. “illegal betting” refers to all types of betting which are not allowed in a specific territory or jurisdiction;
4.3. “irregular betting” refers to betting when irregularities and abnormalities in the bets placed or the event upon which the bets are placed can be identified.
B. Sharing responsibilities and co-ordination
5. Responsibility for preventing and combating manipulation of sports results usually falls to non-governmental organisations (sports movements, including professional and amateur national or international sports organisations, clubs, local sports associations, athletes' organisations and event organisers; legal organisations managing lotteries; legal betting operators; supporters' clubs; umbrella organisations of lotteries and/or betting operators; or non-governmental organisations involved in the fight against corruption), as well as to the relevant law enforcement agencies and other public authorities (including government bodies responsible for sports and the regulatory authority of the betting market). Public authorities should, where appropriate, act as co-ordinators.
6. In designing a policy and action to combat effectively manipulation of sports results, an overall approach should be adopted on the basis of clear responsibilities of all those involved, as well as on the definition of means of consultation, exchange of information and co-ordination between the parties concerned, through a framework agreement, for example.
7. In general, each stakeholder should encourage and develop measures to address risks associated with the manipulation of sports results, particularly in the context of the development of betting, and study the setting-up of a viable, equitable and sustainable regulatory framework to protect the integrity of sport.
8. Governments should also support non-governmental organisations, particularly national sports organisations, clubs, athletes’ organisations and organisations fighting corruption, which have the primary responsibility for implementing awareness-raising, educational and information programmes on the manipulation of sports results. Where appropriate, the payment of grants to sports organisations and clubs could be made conditional on a firm commitment and effective action by them to combat the manipulation of sports results and to educate their athletes and officials.
9. Regarding the sports movement at the international level, particular leadership and disciplinary responsibilities lie with sports governing bodies and their affiliated national organisations.
10. Regarding the betting industry at the international level, particular leadership and self-regulatory responsibilities lie with the umbrella organisations of lotteries and/or betting operators, in the framework of the rules set up by their respective national regulators.
11. All measures to combat manipulation of sports results must comply with the relevant European data protection standards, particularly in exchanges of information between stakeholders.
C. Legislative and other measures
12. Member states should ensure that their legal and administrative systems are provided with appropriate and effective legal means for combating manipulation of sports results.
13. Member states should review their existing legislation to ensure that:
13.1. manipulation of sports results – especially in cases of manipulation of competitions open to bets – including acts or omissions to conceal or disguise such conduct, falls within the remit of the national law and can be sanctioned in accordance with the seriousness of the conduct;
13.2. legal persons can be held liable for conduct as referred to in paragraph 13.1.
14. Member states should consider, in accordance with the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (ETS 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), that where the conduct referred to in paragraph 13.1 is a crime which generates proceeds, it could be deemed to be a predicate offence of money laundering.
15. Member states should consider how to make the best use of the existing legislative and/or other measures enabling the preservation of computer data and other records, as well as the application of mechanisms for whistle-blowing and the protection of whistle-blowers, in the area of manipulation of sports results.
D. Law enforcement and preventive activities of member states
16. Member states should review their national law to ensure that law enforcement and prosecuting authorities have appropriate investigative means, such as monitoring of communications, seizing of material, covert surveillance, control of bank accounts and other financial investigations in the fight against manipulation of sports results, especially in cases of manipulation of competitions offered for bets.
17. In accordance with the national law and on the basis of applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties, member states should make use of effective channels for the exchange of intelligence and information related to the investigation and/or prosecution of manipulation of sports results at national and international levels.
18. Member states should evaluate the possible positive impact of a focal point to advise and support the sports movement seeking co-operation with law enforcement and prosecuting authorities with regard to the exchange of intelligence or possible prosecution, taking into account the existing national structures, and, where appropriate, to designate such a focal point.
19. Member states should consider whether customer identification and sports-bets transactions could be monitored in the framework of the prevention of money laundering.
20. With a view to combating manipulation of sports results, member states are invited to consider 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, in accordance with the fundamental principles of international and national law.
21. Member states may establish the effective fight against manipulation of sports results as a criterion for the granting of public financial support to sports organisations.
22. Member states may help sports organisations to fund mechanisms for combating the manipulation of sports results either through direct subsidies or grants, or by taking the cost of such mechanisms into account when determining the overall subsidies or grants to be awarded to those organisations.
23. Member states should, where appropriate, take steps to ensure that no public financial support is granted to individual sports organisations, athletes or sports officials sanctioned for manipulation of sports results, for the duration of the sanction.
24. With a view to combating manipulation of sports results, member states are invited to explore the possibility of fighting against illegal sports betting by considering the effectiveness and the efficiency of measures such as:
24.1 restricting access to illegal websites (Domain Name System filtering and/or Internet Protocol blocking), while respecting the requirements of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the protection of freedom of expression and access to information;
24.2 blocking financial flows between illegal operators and gamblers;
24.3 prohibiting advertisement for illegal betting.
25. Member states should recognise sports organisations’ regulations as referred to in paragraph 26 of chapter E of these guidelines and, where appropriate, support their enforcement by a designated governmental sports authority or by an umbrella sports organisation.
E. Preventive activities of sports organisations
26. The sports movement should achieve an appropriate level of self-regulation in order to combat the manipulation of sports results. Self-regulation by the sports movement should be encouraged by governments, and possibly backed by public standards or policies.
27. Sports organisations, at national and international levels, should consider the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure good conditions for their professional athletes, notably through schemes aimed at safeguarding their salaries and through bans on participation at different levels of competition for sports organisations failing to fulfil regularly their financial obligations towards their athletes and sports officials.
28. National and international sports organisations faced with cases of manipulation of sports results should clarify and discuss their respective rights, obligations, duties and best practices, in particular:
28.1. rules against manipulation of sports results, in line with the standards adopted by the relevant international sports organisations. These rules should include:
a. rules on the prevention of conflicts of interest of athletes, in particular by:
− introducing bans on betting on their own events and/or competitions;
− restricting the using or passing on of insider information;
− prohibiting 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 offence established in accordance with these guidelines and related breaches of codes of conduct;
c. systems for possible cancellation of sports events or disqualification of competitors where a risk of fraud has been established/identified;
d. obligations for athletes, sports officials and assessors to:
− report full details of any approaches, any invitation to engage in suspicious conduct or any incident that would amount to a breach of the international or national federation’s rules related to the manipulation of sports results;
− co-operate with any reasonable investigation carried out by the international federation concerned;
e. effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for athletes and accessories found to be in breach of these rules, such as temporary or permanent bans on further sports activities, reimbursement of pecuniary damage caused, and so forth;
f. mechanisms for the temporary prohibition from any participation in sports activities of athletes and sports officials under prosecution;
28.2. supervisory procedures in the area of manipulation of sports results, especially the assessment of risks of match-fixing related to competitions or events, for example in the framework of appropriate betting monitoring systems;
28.3. disciplinary procedures in line with agreed international general principles of law and ensuring respect for the fundamental rights of suspected athletes and sports officials. These principles include:
a. ensuring that investigating bodies and disciplinary bodies are distinct from one another;
b. the right of such persons to a fair hearing and to be assisted or represented;
c. clear and enforceable provisions for appealing against any judgment given;
28.4. procedures for the mutual recognition of suspensions and other sanctions imposed by other sports organisations, notably in other countries;
28.5. an invitation to athletes and sports officials to participate actively in the fight against manipulation of sports results;
28.6. mechanisms for swift and effective assistance and exchange of information, including spontaneous exchanges, between relevant authorities on all aspects of concrete cases of manipulation of sport results.
29. Sports organisations are encouraged to select sports officials, especially referees and judges, at the latest possible stage before the competition or event.
30. Sports organisations are invited to consider introducing random financial audits for referees and judges and to ensure regular scrutiny of their field decisions.
31. Sports organisations are encouraged to introduce arrangements for recording and monitoring competitions or events by sports experts where there is risk of fraud, in order to complement the supervision based on betting monitoring systems.
32. Sports organisations are called upon to raise awareness and knowledge among their athletes of the issue of manipulation of sports results and its consequences, through education, training and publicity.
33. Sports organisations should ensure transparency in the financing of sports. It would therefore be appropriate to ensure that ownership structures of clubs are best suited to protect stability and safeguard sporting principles.
34. Sponsorship contracts should state that the sponsor plays no role in, and will exercise no influence on, the sporting decisions taken by the sponsored team or individual. This should not exclude holding discussions on the timings of events with sponsors. Sports organisations should not accept betting operators as sponsors unless they have an official licence, which is recognised in accordance with national and international legal provisions.
F. Preventive activities of betting operators
35. Betting operators should achieve an appropriate level of self-regulation in order to combat manipulation of sports results. Self-regulation by betting operators’ organisations should be encouraged by member states, especially their regulatory authorities, and possibly strengthened by public standards or policies.
36. The organisation of bets should be restricted to official and significant sports events (unless minors compete in a competition for adults), possibly above a certain level of competition.
37. In the framework of betting monitoring systems, betting operators should ensure transparency of all financial transactions related to betting in order to monitor suspicious bets (for example, the amount of the stakes on any one bet, discrepancies between the distribution of the bets and the expected logical behaviour following the odds, very high amounts placed, or the geographical distribution of suspicious bets) with the relevant member states or sports organisations. 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 set up confidential systems to determine whether there is a case to answer before making any public statements, and give consideration to developing and monitoring strict protocols to prevent any leaks.
38. Betting operators should report suspicious bets swiftly to the competent governmental authorities, as well as to their betting monitoring systems.
39. Member states should adopt legislative measures to ensure that betting operators and sports organisations which do not voluntarily co-operate in submitting data in their possession or under their control are obliged to do so, in the framework of betting monitoring systems, in compliance with the relevant data protection standards. Betting operators and sports organisations should be subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions or measures, including pecuniary sanctions, in the event that they do not co-operate with government authorities or if they hinder the collection of electronic evidence in the field of sporting bets.
40. Betting operators should immediately stop the validation of bets placed on matches for which a high probability of manipulation of sports results has been determined by the betting monitoring systems.
41. Betting operators and regulators of the betting market should adopt adequate regulations to prevent conflicts of interest and misuse of insider information by their owners and employees. In particular, they should prevent them from:
41.1. betting on their own products;
41.2. influencing any sporting decision taken by any athletes or teams in competitions open to bets;
41.3. taking part or acting as referees in events and/or competitions for which they have been involved in compiling the odds (applies also to players, managers, coaches, etc.).
42. If abuse of position by a betting operator which is also a sponsor, owner or part-owner of a sports organisation takes place, leading to the manipulation of results, regulators should take action against the operator which might involve withdrawal of the operator's licence.
43. Betting operators should also take measures to prevent sports organisations from having a controlling interest in their companies.
44. Teams or individual competitors under investigation or subject to sanctions for manipulation of sports results based on betting should be excluded from the betting offer.
45. Betting operators are invited to adopt self-regulatory rules, to comply with legislation and with the agreements concluded with sports organisations in accordance with paragraph 20, among others, on:
45.1. the prevention of conflicts of interest for themselves, their owners and employees;
45.2. the prohibition of high-risk bets;
45.3. the limitation of the amounts of certain bets that are more risky (for example “fun bets”);
45.4. the systematic use of credit cards or bank transfers for financial transactions above a certain amount;
45.5. the introduction of additional preventive measures for certain types of bets (for example for live betting);
45.6. the establishment of betting monitoring systems and the establishment of co-operation with the sport or governmental monitoring systems in order to identify suspicious bets;
45.7. mechanisms for sharing collected information with relevant public authorities, sports organisations and betting monitoring systems;
45.8. the development of channels for regular reporting of their findings on manipulation of sports results to the public.
46. Betting operators should increase awareness among their employees on the issue of manipulation of sports results and its consequences, through education, training and publicity.
G. Co-operation of relevant stakeholders in the fight against manipulation of sports results
47. Co-operation should be developed between sports organisations and betting operators in the fight against manipulation of sports results in order to:
47.1. clarify the respective commitments of both partners to combat manipulation of sports results;
47.2. ensure that the exchange of information is sufficient to ensure that the betting monitoring systems referred to in paragraphs 28.2, 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 45.6 and 45.7 of these guidelines allow sports organisations to apply sanctions and other measures from paragraph 28.1 of chapter E of these guidelines.
48. Member states and sports organisations should work together to establish close co-operation involving exchange of information between law enforcement or prosecuting authorities and sports organisations.
49. The relevant stakeholders are invited to consider establishing a permanent international body for the fight against manipulation of sports results.