Umbrella organisation European Lotteries (EL) has shown its commitment to the fight against match-fixing by spreading awareness about #EUSportIntegrityDay.
Secretary General Arjan van ‘t Veer commented: “Today on EU Sport Integrity Day, EL emphasises the importance in the fight against match-fixing, particularly during a global pandemic when there are heightened betting corruption and financial risks.
“Looking ahead there is a need for increased vigilant monitoring and closer cooperation with the law enforcement and sports sectors to safeguard sport integrity and fight against match-fixing.”
According to EL, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased difficulties for sport in general and sports betting in particular because of match-fixing.
The lack of sports betting openings over the past year has forced operators to offer betting opportunities on unusual competitions, which has caused an increase in financial vulnerabilities and betting corruption risks. Lockdowns worldwide also changed gambling habits with new player groups discovering new digital opportunities.
As a founding member of the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), EL continues to work to fight against match-fixing and to protect the values and integrity of sport. The sports betting operations run by its members incorporate the highest integrity standards, providing secure and fair operations and managing the risks of fraud and other forms of crime.
Giancarlo Sergi, GLMS General Secretary, stated: “A constant cooperation is crucial between GLMS and both its Collective Members – EL and World Lottery Association (WLA) – and its individual members the state lotteries.
“This applies whether it concerns timely monitoring and exchanging information on the various competitions and reports or whether it involves education and facilitating the exchange of good practices. It is also of paramount importance to help our members develop better relationships with other relevant national stakeholders.”
In March, EL organised its sports betting webinar with WLA where lottery professionals gathered online to discuss the importance of closer collaboration to safeguard sport integrity.
Last year, lottery professionals came together in a series of webinars to address other topics such as the impact of COVID-19 on the sports betting sector and how stakeholders are adapting to the pandemic, looking closely at the importance of closer cooperation to safeguard sport integrity.
Gilles Maillet, Director of Sport Integrity, La Française des Jeux (FDJ), said: “Lotteries are key players in the fight against match-fixing as they do not act only to preserve the honesty of sports betting but, above all, to promote the positive values of sport.
“Contributing to Society is in our DNA. Both IOC and UEFA representatives who attended our last EL/WLA Sports Betting Webinar know that even in this difficult time of a pandemic, they can trust our sincere commitment to protect the integrity of the Tokyo Olympic Games and the Euro 2020.”
Back in 2019, the global lottery community (EL-GLMS-WLA) welcomed the entering into force of the Macolin Convention, the only legally binding international treaty promoting global cooperation to tackle the manipulation of sports competitions.
The Convention covers all topics relative to the fight against match-fixing and, since its drafting phase, the global lottery community has fully supported the initiative and assisted the Council of Europe (CoE) in its efforts to promote the Convention and support states with the implementation of its provisions.
EL has also been working closely with the European Sports NGO (ENGSO) since 2009 in order to work on a common front to safeguard the integrity of sport and to strengthen the link between voluntary non-profit sports organisations. The two organisations support each other in the area of the EU sports policy and co-operate in event and project management.
Stefan Bergh, ENGSO President, stated: ”Sport has the power to develop and enhance social cohesion of communities – but only if its integrity is protected. At ENGSO, we believe the integrity in sport must be respected at all levels; from grassroots to elite.
“Therefore, we sincerely appreciate the support and the long-term partnership with European Lotteries, especially in regards to safeguarding the integrity, ethics and fair play in sport, and strengthening the link between voluntary non-profit sports organisations.”
EL is also a partner of the co-funded Erasmus+ Programme SPIRIT which aims to challenge the normalised practices in organised sport environments which are harmful to the mental well-being of their participants. In the past, it has partly funded projects such as “What National Networks to Fight against Match-fixing in the EU”.