Match-fixing is widely recognized as a major threat for today’s sport, undermining the integrity of the game. Because of organized crime involvement, it can put athletes and other individuals at serious danger. If not acted upon, it could destroy sports that we all love because of the loss of public faith that can be caused by corruption. Therefore, any action to promote and sustain the fight of this threat is paramount and beneficial for all the stakeholders in the sport sector, including player associations.
Every year since 2014, the 15th of April is the day dedicated to sport integrity. The #EUSportIntegrityDay, promoted by EU Athletes, is an occasion to show the commitment and make a stand against the against match-fixing. The initiative aimed at raising awareness consists of a social media campaign that can be supported by all stakeholders: public authorities, sports organizations, betting operators and regulators, athletes, coaches, referees, fans and all the other organizations and people who care about the integrity in sport.
This year, the campaign has seen a significant support, with the hashtag #EUSportIntegrityDay reaching over 800.000 potential impressions on social media on he 15th of April alone. Many player associations actively promoted the #EUSportIntegrityDay message, as well as organizations such as the European Commission, The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Betting Integrity Association and many others.
For more info about the campaign, you can visit the website.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in the World of Sport has taken place from 20th to 22nd of January in Geneva, Switzerland. The report ‘Decent work in the world of sport’ was a basis for discussions between the employers (IOE), workers (World Players Association and its affiliates) and the governements. Additionally, sport bodies including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), World Rugby and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) have joined the disucssion about how the ILO labour standards apply to the work of athletes.
Athletes are workers and they need to have their fundamental rights protected. This is a key message from the report that includes references to key research from EU Athletes as well as FIFPro, FICA and International Rugby Players, giving an insignt into decent work challenges faced by athletes in different sports around the globe. The main findings include that professional athletes often face issues such as infufficient representation, disguised employment, discrimination, harassement, abuse, late payement of wages and unenforcable contracts as well as serious occupational health and safety risks as well as lack of effective remedy.
The report also acknowledges Universal Declaration of Players Rights (UDPR) adopted by World Players Association and its affiliates as a tool to address the labour and human rights challenges facing athletes. A core pillar of the UDPR is dedicated to labour rights which includes; the right to work, the right to organize and collectively bargain, the right to share in the economic activity of sport, the right to decent fair and just conditions and the right to physical health, mental health and social wellbeing.
Our General Secretary Paulina Tomczyk participated in the meeting as a worker representative alonglisde EU Athletes members Paul Flynn (GPA) and Dejan Stefanovic (SSS) and a number of World Players Association affiliates, with FIFPro General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffman leading the delegation. ‘Protecting athletes’ rights as people and workers is the main mission of EU Athletes. The challenges that the players face when it comes to decent work demands actions at national, regional and international level and it is very promissing that the ILO decided to support a dialogue dealing with this important topic.’ she said after the meeting.
After three days of work, the Forum adopted Points of Consensus which will be taken under consideration preparing the further work and possible follow up from the social partners, governements, and other stakeholders when it comes to assuring decent work for athletes.
EU Athletes took part in the Seminar about “Specificity of Sport”, organized by the European Commission on the 17th of December. The productive day was organized in three different panels about the definition of specificity of sport, how national institutions are taking it into account and how should it be protected.
no need to describe this panel, better to say generally who was taking part, what kind of organizations, how many participants etc
In the first panel, which theme theme was “How to define specificity?”, EU Athletes joined the discussion with Antoine Duval (asser Institute), Niels Nygaard (Vice President of EOC), Ana Garcia Castillo (DG COMP, European Commission), Julien Zylberstein (UEFA) and Alexander Bielefeld (FIFPro). The interesting exchange of opinions from different stakeholders in the sport industry has been very stimulating and engaging, raising many questions from the audience.
EU Athletes, as representative of professional players, remarks that, whenever the principle of specificity of sport is applied, the rights and the interests of the athletes must be considered and protected in order to take fair and equal decisions for them.
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.
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.
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.