The convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, or Macolin convention as it is known, was adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2014 but is yet to be ratified by all its members.
Speaking in Brussels, Gabriella Battaini-Dragon, deputy Secretary-General of the Strasbourg-based CoE, said the convention is the only international, legally binding instrument “that can secure and sustain global cooperation to fight manipulation of sports competitions effectively.”
She added, “Its ratification and entry into force are now urgent.”
She was speaking alongside European education, culture, youth and sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics at a European Parliament event on match-fixing and the manipulation of sport.
Battaini-Dragon said, “The treaty adopts a human rights-centred approach that considers the ways in which manipulation impacts on sport, athletes and society. The scope of manipulations is large, including match-fixing, using clubs as shell companies, influencing player agents, athletes, use of insider information, conflict of interests, illegal betting and bad governance.
“It draws on the Council of Europe’s experience and capacity to develop an inclusive cooperation framework with states and other international stakeholders.”
To date, 29 of the CoE’s 47 member states have signed it and three have ratified. Two more ratifications are needed for its entry into force, and this is expected to happen imminently.
Almost all EU member states have expressed their intention to sign it and many have already become compliant with its objectives and principles. However, ratification is currently blocked at the EU level.
Battaini-Dragon said, “I hope that the present institutional deadlock will be resolved soon.”
This was important because it would allow “EU citizens to benefit from the EU contribution to the fight against corruption in sport.
“By becoming parties to the convention, EU states would have the possibility to influence important decisions at the critical stage of the convention’s entry into force. Certainly, it will be difficult for EU citizens to understand why they are not part of a treaty that the European Union itself had a hand in drafting.”
She added, “We are pleased by the strong interest in the convention from sports organisations including the IOC and Uefa - with whom our Secretary General last month signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on our joint cooperation - and Fifa, with which we are also working on an MoU.
“As an advocate of sports that are open, fair and clean - and the representative of an organisation that advances human rights, democracy and, crucially, the rule of law, I believe that this is in the interests of everyone who values fair sports and open societies.”
Her speech earlier this week comes after claims that a “tsunami” of match fixing is plaguing lower-level tennis events.
This was alleged by an investigator in a long-awaited report into corruption in the sport.
But the Independent Review Panel (IRP) found no evidence of a cover-up of these issues by governing bodies or the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The two-year review spoke to more than 100 players.
It also surveyed more than 3200 professionals. Of those surveyed, 464 said they had first-hand knowledge of match-fixing.