Final results of the PROtect Integrity Plus Erasmus+ project

Final results of the PROtect Integrity Plus Erasmus+ project

“Protocoles on players reporting match-fixing concerns” and “Report on PROtect Integrity Plus: roll out of the Red Button App to new sports and new countries” published at the end of last year were final outputs of the PROtect Integrity Plus Erasmus+ project.

The Protocole follows on the document first drafted in 2014, which aims to give guidance and share best practices related to dealing with the issue of reporting of match-fixing concerns. The document has been updated over the course of 2 years of the project, following discussions and consultations with the staff and partner player associations, as well as external stakeholders during the Dissemination Conference in Athens.

The academic report, prepared by David Forrest and Babatunde Buraimo from the University of Liverpool, followed a research including the literature review, consultations, interviews with National Platforms and other stakeholders as well as player focus group and player questionnaires. The report provides an important evaluation, suggestions and conclusions that will allow the player associations to further improve their work when it comes to the fight against match-fixing.

PROtect Integrity Plus Erasmus+ project, co-financed by the Erasmus+ programme and private betting operators EGBA, RGA and IBIA, allowed the Red Button App (initially developed by JPY and FIFPro) to be implemented in 5 new sports (handball, volleyball, futsal, rugby, basketball) and 7 different countries (UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Greece).

For Paulina Tomczyk, the Project Manager and the General Secretary of EU Athletes: “We are are very proud of this innovative project that allowed us to further advance the fight against match-fixing. It demonstrates a crucial role that the player unions have in the process and we were very happy with the tremendous work done by our national player unions as well as the cooperation with FIFPro. A focus on cooperation with all relevant stakeholders has also been a major part of this initiative and we are looking forward work further on this area”.

To consult the documents:

REPORTING-PROTOCOLE-FINAL-31.12.2019

REPORT ON PROTECT INTEGRITY PLUS (FINAL) 19.12.19

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Statement on Bye-law 3 to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter

Statement on Bye-law 3 to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter

Following the developments related to the modification of the Olympic Charter’s Bye-law 3 to Rule 40 (Rule 40) and inquiries about its incompatibility with the European Union (EU) law, we would like to underline our opposition to the above-mentioned rule, emphasize our support for the European Commission for protecting athletes’ rights against the abuse and express an openness to a dialogue and negotiations on this matter.

Athletes that we represent are among those that are obliged to comply with Rule 40 in order to compete at the Olympic Games. Following the German Bundeskartellamt ruling earlier this year, it is increasingly clear the Olympic Rule 40 is in breach of the EU competition law. Despite the recent changes, Rule 40 remains unduly restrictive of athletes’ economic rights and their commercial opportunities.

We are strongly of the opinion that Rule 40’s continued excessive restrictions are a result of the flawed decision-making process within the Olympic movement. Independent athlete associations, who do not support Rule 40, were excluded from the process. Mere consultation of athlete commissions, which are a part of the Olympic movement themselves, is unacceptable when it comes to rules that affect all athletes participating at the Olympic Games. By choosing to ignore independent athlete associations, the IOC’s approach is not compatible with the principles of good governance and the fundamental right of freedom of representation.

While the IOC indicates that the athletes should negotiate directly with their National Olympic Committees (NOCs), it is apparent to EU Athletes, and probably the European Commission, that it is Rule 40 itself that is under question as a source of infringement of athletes’ rights. IOC, as the leader of the Olympic Movement and organizer of the Olympic Games, must assure that the athletes’ rights are respected in this context. At the same time, the European Commission has a responsibility to help protect the economic rights of European athletes and is uniquely placed to do so by ensuring that sport organizations comply with EU competition law. It is unacceptable for sport organisations to abuse their dominant positions to pursue their own commercial interests to the detriment of the rights of athletes.

From our side, EU Athletes is committed to advancing the rights of the athletes in Europe and is committed to discussion and negotiation in order to reach a long-term solution that is compatible with the EU law and fundamental rights as well as the interests of the stakeholders.

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PROtect Integrity Plus comes to an end but is ready for future challenges

PROtect Integrity Plus comes to an end but is ready for future challenges

On the 13th of December at FIFPro House in Amsterdam, EU Athletes organized the wrap up meeting for the Protect Integrity Plus 2018, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, which aimed to adapt and implement the Red Button App in seven different countries and five sports. The app, previously developed by FIFPro and the Finnish Football Players Association (JPY), is a match-fixing reporting tool exclusively for athletes.

Over the two years, the project has involved 8 players associations across Europe: Hellenic Professional Volleyball Players Association (HPVPA), French Player Rugby Union (Provale), Danish Handball Players Association (HSF), Italian basketball Players Association (GIBA), Rugby Players Ireland (IRUPA), The Rugby Players Association (RPA), Spanish Futsal Male Players Association (AJFS) and the Spanish Futsal Female Players Association (AJFSF). The partners presented the Red Button App to the players during the team visits and encouraged them to report anything suspicious. The other actions implemented by the players unions concerned the social media campaign and grassroots videos to raise awareness among the youngest people about the importance of the integrity of sport. Furthermore, an academic research has been carried out by Professor Forrest, from University of Liverpool, through questionnaires and interviews with players and the entities designated as the recipients of the reports.

The final staff meeting, including EU Athletes, FIFPro, Finnish football players Associations (JPY) and the University of Liverpool, was focused on the overall project assessment, the evaluation of the partners’ performances and the recommendations for the final report. Furthermore, due to the encouraging results achieved, we decided, in accordance with our leading partners, to continue the project for a future development in other sports and countries, drawing the focus to different aspects that are crucial to make the project successful.

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EU Athletes in Lithuania for the third awareness raising session of Integrisport Erasmus+

EU Athletes in Lithuania for the third awareness raising session of Integrisport Erasmus+

The third awareness raising session on combating sport manipulation and match fixing, within the framework of EU-financed Project Integrisport Erasmus+, was held in Vilnius, Lithuania, between 2-4 December. It was co-organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Lithuanian Sport Centre, together with CSCF-Foundation for Sport Integrity.

The productive debate was an occasion to discuss, with the representatives of Lithuanian Law Enforcement and Judiciary, the problematics concerning sport manipulation and match fixing, providing them with insights and recommendations to face and combat this spreading issue.

As representative of players, EU Athletes has been called on stage to share the perspective of the athletes and the work that, alongside its members, is carrying on to fight against match fixing. PROtect Integrity, the project founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, was presented to the audience, depicting the key aspects and benefits for the professional athletes, including the player=led Red Button reporting App.

The Integrisport Erasmus+ awareness raising sessions provide the local law and juridical enforcement with a better knowledge and comprehension about the dangers of sport manipulation on society.

The next session will take place in Helsinki in February 2020.

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EU Directors General for Sport discuss the fight against corruption in sport

EU Directors General for Sport discuss the fight against corruption in sport

A meeting of Directors General for Sport took place on 9-10th of December in Helsinki. Corruption in sport was one of the main topics addressed by the Finnish Presidency, and the discussions came very timely after the adoption of the Council Conclusions on combating corruption in sport. EU Athletes was invited to take part in the debate as a part of the structured dialogue with the sport movement, in order to present the athletes perspective and the work done by the player unions when it comes to fighting corruption in sport. EU Athletes General Secretary Paulina Tomczyk presented the Erasmus+ PROtect Integrity Plus project and the Red Button Reporting App that contributes to the prevention and detection of sport manipulations. She also emphasized on the need to address corruption holistically, focusing on the need to improve the governance of sport organizations and protect the athletes’ rights.

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