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European Commission funds betting industry-backed player education project

Nov 11, 2015 | Uncategorized

The joint EU Athletes and regulated betting sector’s pioneering player betting integrity education programme has received a huge boost in funding from the European Commission. The five-year-old programme has received €488,305, ensuring that it continues for another 2 years, kicking off in January 2016 until the end of 2017.

EU Athletes programme is backed by the private betting sector trade bodies, the RGA, EGBA and ESSA, which between them will also commit additional funding on top of what has already been committed by the European Commission.

Jean-François Reymond, General Secretary of EU Athletes, welcomed the European Commission’s decision, stating: “This is the second allocation of significant funding by the Commission to this project. It’s a recognition of the success of our partnership with the betting sector. It will allow us to improve our education tool set, enhance our outreach programme directly to players and also increase the visibility of the #PROtectIntegrity campaign. Players associations are in the front line to preserve the integrity of sporting competitions in Europe.”

EU Athletes will now set about developing and implementing a range of new and existing tools to communicate its 5 key concepts: know the rules; don’t bet on your sport; be careful with inside information; fixing any part of a match is a serious offence; and report anything suspicious. Of particular interest is an exciting new social media campaign  #PROtectIntegrity specifically designed to help EU Athletes to expand the project to new sports and countries and target larger audience.

Khalid Ali, Secretary General of ESSA, one of the betting sectors’ funding partners, praised EU Athletes education programme, “It is a world leader in its field and continues to innovate and deliver effective and focused programmes safeguarding both sport and betting markets. Many of the education projects initiated by other bodies are based on the core components of the EU Athletes programme, underlining its impact.”

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA added: “Continued cooperation between the European Commission, betting operators and athletes associations is vital to safeguarding the integrity of sports in Europe. We are therefore delighted that funding of the betting integrity education programme for a further two years is to be provided jointly by the Commission and by representatives of the licensed betting industry.”

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA said: “The EU athletes programme ensures young athletes are educated on the risks of match fixing. The continued private and public funding by Europe’s betting industry and the European Commission allows this essential programme to continue for another two years.”

The European Commission’s Erasmus+ funding results can be accessed here.

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Notes to Editors

The project will provide face-to-face education to close to 15,000 European elite level and youth athletes in 11 countries and at least 10 different sports.  It has a total budget of €488.305 and will be co-financed by the European Commission, the EGBA, RGA and ESSA.

Building upon best practice, the education campaign will be delivered by people the players trust and respect – their national sporting trade unions. The countries and sports targeted are listed below. For a full list of the associations see link:

Sweden (Ice Hockey)
France (Handball, Rugby, Cycling, Basketball, Football)
Italy (Volleyball, Basketball, water-polo)
Spain (Indoor Football, Handball, Cycling)
Ireland (Gaelic sports, Rugby)
United Kingdom (Cricket, Rugby)
Slovenia (Ice hockey, Football, Basketball and individual sports)
Denmark (Handball)
Greece (Volleyball)
Iceland (football, basketball)
Norway (Handball, football, athletics)

All 21 qualifying player associations in EU Athletes will take part in a big tutor training conference co organised with Interpol in Lyon (France). Smaller conferences will allow associations  to share best practice; hear from  national regulators, police and sports betting operators; and potentially learn from the mistakes of athletes who got caught up in match fixing.

The education will be supported by athlete friendly key messages on posters, social media and an upgraded version of the internet site (www.protect-integrity.com) that is already accessible from smart phones and tablets.

About EU Athletes
The European Elite Athletes Association is a federation of independent athletes associations from all over Europe with member associations from 15 European countries representing over 25,000 professional athletes. Among the sports represented are basketball, cricket, Gaelic sports, handball, ice hockey, rugby and volleyball. EU Athletes has member associations in for example Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Sweden.For more information, please visit http://www.euathletes.info/ or follow us on twitter @EUAthletes

About ESSA
ESSA is a key player in the fight against betting related match-fixing. It represents many of the world’s biggest regulated sports betting operators, serving over 40 million consumers in the EU alone. Concerned regulated bookmakers created ESSA in 2005 to monitor betting markets and alert sporting bodies and national regulators to suspicious betting patterns. The goal was and is to protect consumers from potential fraud caused by manipulating sporting events. ESSA helps to combat this with evidence-based intelligence it provides to sporting bodies and regulators

Every year, our members invest over €50m in compliance and internal security systems in order to help combat fraud. They also give back to sport and society by spending €400m on sponsorship around the world – €250m of that in Europe alone. This increases substantially when advertising and photo and video-streaming rights are taken into consideration. ESSA and its members also co-fund an education programme on gambling with EU Athletes that reaches out to 15,000 athletes/players across at least ten different sports in 13 EU countries.

ESSA members include the ABB, Betclic, Bet-at-Home, Betsson, Bet365, BetVictor, Betway, bwinparty, Digibet, Expekt, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Interwetten, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, PMU, Sky Bet, Stanleybet, Unibet and William Hill.

For more information see ESSA’s website at www.eu-ssa.org or visit us on twitter: @ESSA_Betting

About EGBA
The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators Bet-at-home.com, BetClic, bwinparty, Digibet, Expekt,and Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 71.9 Billion GGR in 2010 to € 79 Billion GGR in 2015, thus keeping the lion’s share with 86% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, September 2011.

For further information or comment please contact: Maarten Haijer +32 2 554 08 90

About the RGA
The RGA is the largest online gambling trade association in the world, representing the world’s largest licensed and stock market-listed remote gambling operators and software providers. The organisation provides the remote gambling industry with a single voice on all issues of importance to regulators, legislators, and key decision-makers.

Further information about the RGA can be found at www.rga.eu.com. For further information, please contact Brian Wright on +44 (0) 203 585 1240