Conventions on Sport

The Council of Europe and Sport

On the one hand, sport is an element of social integration and cohesion, which furthers tolerance and understanding and thus contributes to the promotion of the core values of the Council of Europe – Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.

On the other hand, there are some serious human rights violations connected to sport as well – chief among them spectator violence, doping and corruption. In order to combat some of the most severe offences, the Council of Europe has set up several conventions over the years:

 

European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches (CETS No. 120)

The convention entered into force in 1985 and centres around three main themes: Prevention, Co-operation and Repression.

Prevention includes deploying public order resources in stadia and along the transit routes used by spectators; segregating rival groups of supporters; controlling ticket sales; excluding trouble-makers from stadia and matches; prohibiting the introduction and restricting the sale of alcoholic drinks in stadia; conducting security checks; clearly defining responsibilities between organisers and the public authorities; designing stadia in such a way as to guarantee spectator safety.

Co-operation between sports clubs, police and authorities of all countries concerned during the organisation of major international sports events is crucial in order to identify and eliminate possible security risks.

Repression is about the identification of trouble-makers and their exclusion from stadiums and matches; the transfer of legal proceedings to the country of origin for sentencing, extradition or the transfer of those found guilty of violence.

Monitoring Body

Responsible for the monitoring of the obligations stipulated in the convention is a Standing Committee, made up of one or more national delegates nominated by the governments of the States parties to the Convention. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), UEFA (European Union Football Association) and FSE (Football Supporters Europe) have observer status.

At major international tournaments – World Cups, European Championships – an ad hoc working group is set up within the Standing Committee to evaluate the security provisions and, after the event in question, to evaluate the lessons learnt from them. These evaluation reports are then published.

 

Monitoring Programme

In 1998, a special monitoring programme, aimed at studying how member States are implementing the convention, was launched. This programme includes the following mechanisms:

Annual reports: Each member state submits an annual report to the Standing Committee on the steps it is taking to implement the provisions of the convention.

Consultative visits: These country visits are organised in order to assist member states in the implementation of the convention.

Evaluation visits: During its visit, an evaluation team takes stock of the situation, discusses its findings with the country in question and then publishes a report. The evaluated country is asked to hand in a follow-up report on the progress made within two years after the visit. This report is published as well.

Auto-Evaluations: Member states may decide to hand in auto-evaluations in order to provide the Standing Committee with detailed information on their actions taken with regard to combatting spectator violence.

Country profiles: The country profiles put together by the Council of Europe give an overview of the measures taken by each member state to ensure safety and security at sports events. Profiles are published and include information on:

  • Legislations regulating safety and security of sport events
  • Domestic co-ordination
  • Policing of sport events
  • Sanctions
  • Stadia and equipment
  • Stewarding and hospitality
  • Preventive measures
  • Safety and security in general

 

Anti-Doping Convention (CETS No. 135)

Resolution (67)12 on the doping of athletes was the first Council of Europe document, dealing with sport. It wasadopted by the Committee of Ministers in 1967, following the death of a professional cyclist in the Tour de France. Since then, doping has developed into a true scourge for many competitive sports, and jeopardises the health of millions of young athletes. Doping is also cheating: It stands in the way of fair play, equal chances and loyal competition and damages the image of sport.

The Council of Europe’s Anti-Doping Convention entered into force in 1990 and has been ratified by all Council of Europe member states. It lays down binding rules with a view to harmonising anti-doping regulations, in particular:

  • making it harder to obtain and use banned substances such as anabolic steroids
  • assisting the funding of anti-doping tests
  • establishing a link between the strict application of anti-doping rules and awarding subsidies to sports organisations or individual sportsmen and sportswomen
  • regular doping control procedures during and outside competitions, including in other countries

In addition, the Convention contains a reference list of banned substances, which is regularly updated.

Monitoring Body

Responsible for the monitoring of the obligations stipulated in the convention is a Monitoring Group, consisting of governmental experts and officials from anti-doping organisations as well as sports federations. The Monitoring Group is also responsible for the regular re-examination of the list of banned substances contained in the convention.

Monitoring Programme

In 1998, a special monitoring programme, aimed at studying how member States are implementing the convention, was launched. This programme includes the following mechanisms:

Annual reports: Each member state of the convention is asked to submit an annual report on the state of its national anti-doping policies and practices to the Monitoring Group via an on-line questionnaire.

Consultative visits: These country visits are organised in order to assist member states in the implementation of the convention.

Evaluation visits: During its visit, an evaluation team takes stock of the situation, discusses its findings with the country in question and then publishes a report. The evaluated country is asked to hand in a follow-up report on the progress made within two years after the visit. Both reports are published.

Auto-Evaluations: Member states may decide to hand in auto-evaluations in order to give detailed information on their anti-doping activities. The Monitoring Group will examine the information and then publish its opinion.

 

Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (CETS No. 215)

 

In order to further protect the integrity of sport and sports ethics, the Council of Europe has drafted its Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.

 

 

 

The main objectives of this convention are:

  • to prevent, detect and sanction national or transnational manipulation of national and international sports competitions
  • to promote national and international co-operation against manipulation of sports competitions between the public authorities concerned, as well as with organisations involved in sports and in sports betting

The Convention has been opened for signature in 2014 in the Swiss city of Macolin, hence it’s also known as Macolin Convention. It is open to members as well as non-members of the Council of Europe. The Convention will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by five signatory states, including at least three member states of the Council of Europe.

 

Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)

Based on the existing Council of Europe sports standards, the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) was established in 2007 in order to give fresh momentum to pan-European sports co-operation, address the current challenges facing sport in Europe, make sport healthier and fairer and ensure that it conforms to high ethical standards.

More information on the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) is available on this website in the section on International Treaties: Partial Agreements.

 

Convention on an integrated safety, security and service approach at football matches and other sports events (CETS No. 218)

In the run-up to the EURO 2016 football tournament, the Council of Europe kicked off a new international convention. The Convention on an integrated safety, security and service approach at football matches and other sports events commits signatory States to:

  • encourage public agencies and private stakeholders to work together in the preparation and running of football matches
  • ensure that stadium infrastructure complies with national and international standards and regulations, for example regarding crowd management and safety
  • make stadiums more accessible to children, the elderly and people with disabilities
  • prevent and punish acts of violence and misbehaviour
  • step up international police co-operation

The convention was opened for signature on 3 July 2016 at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis and will enter into force as soon as three Council of Europe member States have ratified it. The new treaty will eventually replace the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehaviour at Sports Events and in particular at Football Matches (CETS No. 120).

 

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Photos © Police in the Stadium: dpa; Bribing: Picture Alliance; Illustrations: Council of Europe