The European Professional Football Leagues, gathered on the 7th October 2010 in London for their General Assembly, unanimously approved a joint resolution on Sports Betting Integrity.
The resolution, aimed to safeguard and to further protect the integrity of the Leagues’ competitions, provide a guidance to the European Leagues on the fight against unlawful betting and match-fixing and establish the creation of an EPFL Sports Betting Task Force, which, following proper consultation with the Leagues and co-operation with football governing bodies and other appropriate stakeholders, shall prepare a codified set of recommendations (the ?EPFL Code of Conduct on Sports Betting Integrity?) on sports betting integrity in relation to the EPFL Member Leagues.
Among its tasks, the EPFL Sports Betting Task Force shall address the following issues, when formulating the Code of Conduct:
- an obligation on all participants in the League’s competitions to safeguard the integrity of sport by refraining from any attempt to influence the elements of such competitions in a manner contrary to sporting ethics;
- a clear definition of the individuals and/or entities to whom the League’s sports betting provisions are intended to apply, in order to avoid any ambiguity (e.g. all those connected with football in some way such as, for example, players, club, league and match officials, licensed agents and those connected to the aforementioned persons);
- the extent of the prohibition on betting on football related events which may undermine public confidence e.g. whether this prohibition should relate to only those events in which the participant whom places the bet has confidential information and/or information that is not in the public domain or an ability to affect the outcome of the event, or should the prohibition extend to all football matches and if so how this may be policed;
- the prohibition on the disclosure of any ?insider information? in relation to football with a view to financial gain;
- an obligation on all participants to co-operate fully and, if appropriate, enter into information sharing agreements at a national level with any relevant statutory or governmental authorities or industry regulators, in the context of football betting;
- appropriate disciplinary procedures in the event of a breach of the existing national betting legislation and/or sports regulations;
- an obligation on all participants to co-operate fully with any investigation and those participants will be expected to disclose any information which may be relevant to the case;
- an introduction of guidelines for Member Leagues in relation to agreements with any betting operator or bookmaker at a national level, specifying that there is to be no use of the League’s brand and intellectual property rights without prior agreement and a fair financial return from the betting operator or bookmaker;
- provisions for notification procedures, should any participant suspect or witness the occurrence of irregular betting practices and/or suspect any match fixing; and
- the implementation of information dissemination and comprehensive educational programmes for all participants in football with specific attention being paid to young footballers.
During the General Assembly, the EPFL called once again the European Leagues to make pressure to all competent national political authorities to adopt appropriate legislation to protect the integrity of football and safeguard its economic viability by recognising the competitions organisers’ rights and foreseeing a fair financial return from any betting companies to compensate them for the use of their rights for betting purposes.