UEFA News: UEFA today congratulated the Council of Europe for approving a landmark recommendation on combating match-fixing in sport. UEFA President Michel Platini delivered a keynote speech right after the vote in Strasbourg. Commenting on the result of the vote, President Platini said: “I am delighted to see European politicians taking the threat match-fixing poses to sport seriously (UEFA welcomes Council). The world of sport is united in its condemnation of match-fixing but we need politicians to join our efforts to combat this scourge. The Council of Europe has today taken the political lead in the fight against this menace to the future of sport, and I hope the EU institutions to follow.”
The European Commission adopted a Green Paper on On-line Gambling in the Internal Market in March this year, which launched a consultation process on, amongst other points, match-fixing. The European Parliament is due to express its views on the green paper later this year.
Another area where the Council of Europe has set a political landmark is combating violence, discrimination and hooliganism in stadiums. However, the Council of Europe’s European convention on spectator violence dates back to 1985. UEFA pledged today to work with the Council of Europe if it decides to update this convention. President Platini said in his speech to the Committee of Ministers: “The merits of this text are numerous. However, more than a quarter of a century after its adoption, it is perhaps necessary to update it, reinvigorate it and adapt it to the demands of the 21st century. This is what we are committing ourselves to do today, hand in hand with the Council of Europe.”
Earlier this year, UEFA’s Executive Committee approved the setting up and funding of a network of integrity officers at European level. As well as acting as liaison officer and coordinator between the football authorities and state law enforcement agencies in suspected match-fixing cases, integrity officers will exchange information and expertise with the UEFA administration. They will monitor disciplinary proceedings, as well as organise educational programmes for players, referees and coaches as part of an effective preventative strategy.