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’.
Project partners and staff have gathered in Helsinki, Finland for three days PROtect Integrity Plus Red Button meeting. The project, co-financed by the European Union and the private betting operators ESSA, EGBA and RGA, aims to fight against match-fixing by making sure that the professional and elite players in Europe have a secure and trusted App available to report anything suspicious.
The goal of the meeting was to prepare the seven partner player associations (AJFS, GIBA, HPVPA, HSF, RPA, RPI, PROVALE) to adapt and implement the Red Button app in 7 countries and 5 different sport. EU Athletes works closely with JPY and FIFPro, who have first developed the App, in order to ultimately create a first European-wide player unions-led reporting system across sports.
The project will help improve cooperation with player associations and National Platforms and create new synergies at the European and Global level. Prominent guests and experts, including Tiina Kivisaari (Ministry of Educaton and Culture) Harri Syvasalmi and Jouko Ikonen (Finnish Centre for Integrity in Sports), Martn Rostgaard (Anti-doping Denmark, Danish Natonal Platform), Paolo Bertaccini (Italian Government Office for Sport) have participated in the meeting and shared their achievements and experiences related to fight against match-fixing and dealing with the reports.
The new versions of the App are expected to be ready this summer. Subsequently, partner player associations will provide face-to-face integrity education to more than 3000 professional and elite level players and will introduce the new system to them during team visits.
The staff of our Erasmus+ “2016 PROtect Integrity” project met last week in Amsterdam for the final project meeting. The main goal of the meeting was to review and evaluate the project so far and discuss the remaining actions, including the ongoing research, led by prof. David Forrest and based on responses collected from players’ questionnaires, aiming to evaluate the integrity education delivered by player association during team visits. The paper and other outputs of the project will be published before the end of the year.
Besides project’s main focus on delivering face-to-face integrity education to 15 000 players in Europe, the project has included many other activities and positive developments, such as successful #PROtectIntegrity social media campaign, meetings covering specific issues as well as dialogue and cooperation with essential stakeholders.
With our Erasmus+ project “2016 PROtect Integrity” concluding at the end of the year, we have organized the Dissemination Conference in Barcelona on 25-27th of September. The goal of this event was to share the first results of the project, share best practices and partners’ experiences through the project and to further discuss issues related to match-fixing and the player unions’ role in protecting the integrity of sport.
The Conference has gathered around 50 participants representing national player unions (from and outside project consortium) and other organizations such as FIFPro, IRPA, PPF, World Players, Europol, ESSA, RGA and National Platforms from France and Denmark. The delegates had an opportunity to get an update on completed and ongoing project activities of the project, particularly the academic research led by prof. David Forrest, as well as best practices presented by partner player associations. With the ambition to go further in order to tackle match-fixing, the second day included interventions on initiatives and cooperation against match fixing.
The Conference took place during the European Week of Sport, which is strongly supported by EU Athletes and its members. As a part of the project, we have prepared a short video available here, which features elite players from around Europe, united in the #BeActive and #PROtectIntegrity message addressed to grassroots level and young athletes.
The PROtect Integrity initiative will continue next year, with the Erasmus+ project “PROtect Integrity Plus”.