Denmark urges EU states to do more in the fight against sports corruption

Denmark’s delegation to the Council of Europe has urged European Union (EU) member states to address further matters surrounding the fight against corruption and sports integrity, ahead of the implementation of the Macolin Convention.

The legislation has aims to establish a cross-border legal framework to combat match-fixing. The Danish delegation has recently stated that it believes the convention has been widely supported by EU member states, but still contains a number of contentious elements.

From an information note from the Danish delegation, it states: “While the convention has been widely supported by EU Member States, it has however until now not been possible to reach the requested unanimity in the Council in order for the EU to accede to the Convention.

“The present situation threatens the ability of the EU as well as the international community to combat match fixing globally and it is furthermore a problem for the credibility of the EU in the area of sports.”

It has been found that Denmark has requested that EU Member States play more of an active role in the Follow-up Committee, which will convene after the Macolin Convention comes into force on September 1. Representatives of public authorities responsible for sport, law enforcement or betting regulation can sit on the committee.

The information note added: “Several key issues in the Convention remained unresolved and have been left to the discretion of the “Convention Follow-up Committee”. These include important issues such as the list of sports organisations to be covered by the convention (art. 31.2.), and which criteria are met by Sports organisations to meet in order to benefit from the exchange of this information (art. 31.3a).

“In order to promote the EU’s interests and to ensure that the Convention will be a strong and relevant instrument in the international fight against match fixing, it would be essential that the EU and its Member States are able to play an active role in the Convention Follow-up Committee from the beginning.

“Denmark is confident that European governments have a common vision of a sport without corruption and match fixing as well as a common interest in working towards this vision.

“In light hereof, Denmark would invite the Council Member States to discuss in the near future next steps towards ensuring EU’s full participation in the Convention in order to accelerate the fight against match fixing and to preserve the integrity of sport at an international level.”

Despite Brexit looming, the UK government are still set to support inter-state cooperation networks established by the Macolin Convention. While former-Sports & Civic Society Minister Mims Davies are signing the UK up to Macolin cooperation frameworks in December 2018.

Switzerland became the fifth Council of Europe member to ratify the document, following Norway, Moldova, Portugal and Ukraine, with Italy expected to ratify in the coming months.

37 other countries, including Australia, have now signed the convention. Other non-European countries, including Cape Verde and Morocco, have also expressed an interest in joining.