Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions

Brussels, 2 March 2015

Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions with regard to matters related to substantive criminal law and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

Match-fixing is widely regarded as one of the major threats facing contemporary sport. Match-fixing undermines the values of sport such as integrity, fair play and respect for others. It risks alienating fans and supporters from organised sport. Moreover, match-fixing often involves organised criminal networks active on a global scale. It is a problem that has now become a priority for public authorities, the sport movement and law enforcement agencies worldwide. To respond to these challenges, the Council of Europe invited parties to the European Cultural Convention during the summer of 2012 to begin negotiations for a Convention of the Council of Europe against the manipulation of sports results. Negotiations began in October 2012 with the first meeting of the drafting group of the Council of Europe.

On 13 November 2012 the Commission adopted “the recommendation for a Council decision authorizing the Commission to participate, on behalf of the Union, in the negotiations for an international convention of the Council of Europe to combat the manipulation of sports results”. The Commission’s recommendation was transmitted to the Council Working Party on Sports on 15 November 2012. Following discussions in the Council Working Party, the Council split the draft Council decision into two decisions due to the addition of substantive legal bases by the Council, including a legal basis stemming from Part 3, Title V TFEU. One decision on matters relating to betting and sport was adopted by the Council on 10 June 2013. The other decision was adopted by the Council on 23 September 2013 and concerned matters related to cooperation in criminal matters and police cooperation.

The Commission, in accordance with the relevant Council decisions, took part in the subsequent negotiations, which culminated on 9 July 2014 with the adoption by the Ministers’ Deputies of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions. The Convention was subsequently opened for signature on 18 September 2014 at the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport. According to its Article 32 (3), the Convention is open to signature of the European Union. Since then a number of parties have signed the Convention, including some Member States.

Given the international dimension of match-fixing, the Convention is also open to nonEuropean countries. This aspect is crucial since world-wide cooperation, notably with countries where sports betting is widespread such as South-East Asian countries, is considered an essential element in effectively fighting trans-national organised crime networks involved in match-fixing and operating in different continents. The Commission considers that the Convention can be an effective instrument in the fight against match-fixing…

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