With our Erasmus+ PROtect Integrity Plus project concluding by the end of the year, a final event has taken place in Athens, Greece on 8th of October to share the results and outputs of the project. The conference was attended by player associations and some of the key stakeholders in the fight against match-fixing which was a great opportunity to discuss the progress and further cooperation needed.
PROtect Integrity is a campaign started back in 2010 in cooperation with betting operators, in order to educate players about the integrity and risks of match fixing. Over the years a number of different projects have taken place under the banner, each project building up on its predecessor. PROtect Integrity Plus specifically aims to implement the Red Button reporting app, initially developed by Finish Football Players Association JPY and FIFPro, in 7 different countries and 5 sports, through the work of 8 player associations cooperating with national stakeholders.
In order to see how the match-fixing can affect the careers and lives of athletes, the participants have he from Samir Arab, Maltese football player banned for 2 years for not reporting an approach and Roy Vermeer from FIFPro who was representing Samir at the appeal case in CAS. The story highlights the need for more education, prevention and focus on governance of sport organizations as the sanction of Samir, considering all elements of the case, was widely regarded as unfair and disproportionate.
Subsequently, the results of the project so far were presented, including the Red Button app, research led by prof. David Forrest from the University of Liverpool and the grassroots sport video promoted by player associations during the European Week of Sport in order to broaden the reach of the campaign and raise awareness about the match-fixing. Player associations representatives from AJFSF (Spanish futsal), Rugby Players Ireland and PASAP (Greek volleyball) discussed their experiences and views following the implementation of the project. The case study of a fruitful cooperation between the National Platfrom and the player movement in France was also presented.
The conference concluded with a discussion panel with Matt Fowler (IBIA), Sergio D’Orsi (Europol), George Mavrotas (Greek Government), Mikhael de Thyse (Council of Europe) and Paulina Tomczyk (EU Athletes). The speakers discussed the cooperation between stakeholders in the new environment after the entry into force of the Macolin Convention.
For Paulina Tomczyk, the General Secretary of EU Athletes: ‘I find it really positive and promising for the future that some the main stakeholders in the fight against match-fixing joined the discussion and recognized the essential role that the athletes have to play in this process. We are looking forward to continuing the constructive cooperation with the key actors to protect the integrity of sport’.
The Consultative Committee of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport under the Council of Europe expresses its concern over the sudden closure of the United Nations Office for Sport Development & Peace, which since the beginning of the century has played an important role as catalyst, adviser and advocate for a wide global group of stakeholders committed to strengthening the role of sport in society.
Given that this decision is very recent and very little information has been given to make a balanced assessment of its impact,
The EPAS CC considers nevertheless that this decision might send a problematic message, at a point in time where the awareness about the societal role of sport is growing in general, and where in particular the UN, several governments and numerous organisations from civil society is wishing to focus on how sport can contribute to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The members of the EPAS CC remain committed to the continuation of the work and initiatives developed by UNOSDP and encourage future policies to be defined through a wide collaborative effort among stakeholders in upholding and protecting the role of sport in society.
On behalf of the Consultative Committee, gathered in Limassol, Cyprus, 9 May 2017
Jens Sejer Andersen
International director, Play the Game
+45 20 71 07 01
The Consultative Committee comprises 25 international NGO’s and institutions in the sports field. As a partnership body, it provides advice for the 38 countries that are members of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport under the Council of Europe.
EPAS provides a platform for intergovernmental sports co-operation between the public authorities of its member states. It also encourages dialogue between public authorities, sports federations and NGOs. This contributes to better governance, with the aim of making sport healthier and fairer and ensuring that it conforms to high ethical standards.
The second Catch-up Round Table organized in the frame of our Erasmus+ 2016 PROtect Integrity project has taken place in Milan, 21-22nd of February. The main focus of the meeting was the national cooperation against match fixing and the involvement of player associations within the process. To discuss this topic, we have invited Cassandra Fernandes from the Council of Europe in order to exchange on the added value of the player associations’ involvement in the national platforms. The meeting was equally an opportunity for partners to share their experiences from team visits and implementation the project at the national level. The project staff meeting followed, with the research on the quality of match fixing education, social media campaign planned for the EWoS 2017 and the Dissemination Conference being the main points on the agenda. The final Catch-up Round Table will take place in Stockholm in April.
European Sport Ministers have met on 28-30th of November in Budapest, Hungary for a conference organised by the Council of Europe under its Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport. The main themes of the meeting were the anti-doping, promoting the Convention on match-fixing and good governance in sport. EU Athletes’ policy officer Paulina Tomczyk was there to present our position on anti-doping, with an empasizis on governance deficiencies, lack of appropriate athletes’ representation, neccessity to protect athletes’ rights, inefficiency of anti-doping programmes and need for more research in this field. More pictures and information about the conference can be consulted here: http://epas2016.hu/