Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (CETS No. 215)
Every country and every type of sport in the world may potentially be affected by the manipulation of sports competitions (match-fixing).
An effective fight against it requires increased, rapid, sustainable and properly functioning national and international co-operation.
To this end, the Council of Europe member States decided to create the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.
The treaty was opened for signature in the Swiss town of Macolin and is, therefore, also known as Macolin Convention. It entered into force in September 2019 and is open to member States as well as non-member States of the Council of Europe.
Objectives of the Convention
The main objectives of this treaty are to prevent, detect and sanction national or transnational manipulation of national and international sports competitions, and to promote national and international co-operation against match-fixing between the public authorities as well as with organisations involved in sports and in sports betting.
In order to do so, each signatory State is tasked to:
- identify, analyse and evaluate the risks associated with match-fixing
- establish the procedures, rules, and laws necessary to combat manipulation of sports competitions
- encourage sports organisations, competition organisers and sports betting operators to co-operate in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions
- encourage awareness raising, education, training and research to strengthen the fight against match-fixing
Involving sports organisations and competition organisers in the fight against match-fixing
Each signatory State is obligated to encourage sports organisations and competition organisers to adopt and implement rules to combat match-fixing, such as:
- prohibiting competition stakeholders from betting on sports competitions in which they are involved
- prohibiting the misuse and dissemination of inside information
- requiring the reporting of any suspicious activity
- requiring the monitoring of the course of sports competitions exposed to the risks of manipulation
- facilitating the disclosure of any information concerning match-fixing
- protecting whistle-blowers
- raising awareness of the risk of match-fixing
- appointing judges and referees at the latest possible stage
- applying disciplinary sanctions to violations of the internal rules and enforcing them at national and international level
Criminalise the manipulation of sports competitions
Disciplinary liability established by sports organisations shall not exclude any criminal, civil or administrative liability: Each signatory State, therefore, has to ensure that its domestic laws enable to criminally sanction natural as well as legal persons for the manipulation of sports competitions. It also has to consider adopting legal measures for the protection of whistle-blowers, witnesses and their family members.
To prevent conflicts of interest and misuse of inside information by sports betting operators and to oblige them to report irregular or suspicious betting, each signatory State has to adopt the necessary legislative or other measures.
Sports betting operators should also be encouraged to raise awareness among themselves of the consequences of and the fight against manipulation of sports competitions through education, training and the dissemination of information.
Illegal sports betting
Each signatory State has to explore the most appropriate means to fight operators of illegal sports betting. It has to identify one or more responsible authorities entrusted with the implementation of sports betting regulations and has to communicate their coordinates to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Likewise, each signatory State has to identify a national platform which serves as an information hub, co-ordinates the fight against match-fixing, analyses information on irregular and suspicious bets, and alerts the public authorities at national and international level. Its coordinates have to be communicated to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Report to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Each signatory State of the Convention has to provide the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in writing with all relevant information concerning legislative and other measures taken by it for the purpose of complying with the terms of this Convention.
Convention Follow-up Committee
The Convention Follow-up Committee is responsible for the follow-up to the implementation of this Convention. Each signatory State will be represented in it by one or more delegates and has one vote. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as well as other relevant Council of Europe intergovernmental committees, are each asked to appoint a representative as well in order to contribute to a multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach. The Committee may invite any State, international organisation or body to be represented at its meetings by an observer without the right to vote.
The Convention Follow-up Committee will, with the prior agreement of the Parties concerned, arrange visits to the signatory States. In addition, it may
- make recommendations to all relevant parties
- keep relevant international organisations and the public informed about the activities undertaken within the framework of this Convention
- prepare an opinion to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the request of any non-member State of the Council of Europe to be invited to sign the Convention
- arrange meetings of experts
The first meeting of the Convention Follow-up Committee will be held as soon as possible but no later than September 2020. The Committee will draw up and adopt its own rules of procedure and will be assisted by the Secretariat of the Council of Europe in carrying out its functions.
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