Sports Betting Integrity

EPFL calls on Governments and EU Commission to tackle Illegal betting and abusive exploitation of sport’s property rights

Emanuel Macedo de MedeirosThe EPFL CEO, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, urged all European Governments and EU institutions to join forces with Sport at the forefront of the fight against the growing threat of illegal betting and unauthorized exploitation of the Leagues’ property rights.

In a vigorous speech delivered this week at the Play the Game Conference, held in Coventry, England, Medeiros stressed that “the good name of Sport must be protected against betting cheats” and, in plea addressed to the European and national political authorities, asked them to establish proper regulation and discipline in the sports betting market in Europe, to ?enable sport to preserve the integrity of its own competitions and protect its legitimate property rights”.

 ‘s port is confronted with a threat of paramount proportions. It cannot be neglected nor swept under the carpet. Nice words of circumstance are taken by the wind. What we expect from the political sphere is real and firm action!? added the Chief Executive of the EPFL on behalf of the major 28 European Leagues and more than 930 clubs that they represent across Europe.

Enhanced cooperation is vital
Emanuel Medeiros also guaranteed that “the whole Sport is united” in this quest and highlighted the role of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition (SROC), an informal grouping gathering over 40 national, European and global sporting organisations, including the EPFL and several member Leagues, besides UEFA, FIFA, FIA, British Horseracing Authority, Six Nations Rugby, Cricket Australia, etc.

The EPFL believes that enhanced cooperation between sports bodies and the licensed betting companies is vital to ensure the integrity of the game. To this end, the EPFL has signed, on July 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Sports Security Agency (ESSA) to detect irregular betting patterns and ensure, as much as possible, that Professional Football is clean and free of corruption. As a result of that, a number of irregular betting practices have been signaled and brought to the attention of the concerned leagues for adequate and prompt action.

EPFL recommends integrity protection measures to member Leagues

In order to ensure a proactive, coordinated and efficient response, the EPFL CEO announced that a series of key measures are being recommended to the Leagues.

This includes the development appropriate educational policies, addressed to players, referees and other relevant officials; the establishment of stricter rules and regulations to efficiently prevent and dissuade situations of potential conflicts of interests, insider betting and, in general, any situation capable of undermining Football’s credibility; as well as the appointment by each League of a contact person to act as their interlocutor vis-?-vis the EPFL for betting related issues.

The EPFL is also working on the creation of a comprehensive database and assessing the different regulatory frameworks as concerns club ownership and fit and proper persons test to ensure that clubs remain independent and free from any detrimental control and influence.  

EPPL urges Governments and European authorities to follow France’s example

In a keynote speech given to an audience of more than 300 participants, the EPFL CEO praised the proactive approach taken by the French Government and expressed public support to the draft bill presented, last March, by the Finance Minister Eric Woerth, containing strong measures to protect the integrity of sporting competitions and ensure that competitions organizers get a fair return from betting companies for the commercial exploitation of their fixtures list and other property rights. 
 
The alluded legislative initiative foresees that online sports betting will be permitted in France, but subject to a new licensing and regulatory regime, and consecrates an express recognition of the property rights of the competition organizers, ensuring their involvement in the licensing process and in the decision as to what type of bets (if any) are to be allowed on their events.

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