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First International Forum for Sports Integrity

Lausanne (Switzerland) , 

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There are few experiences in life which can be shared in the way that Sport can.

Few passions which can bridge deep divides in the same way.

We all know the stories about soldiers laying down their guns in World War I…

…to play a game of football on Christmas day.

I have seen for myself – in Bosnia-Herzegovina, after the war…

…how sport can help reconcile communities torn apart by hate.

In an age of Social Networking…

…when our interactions are increasingly fragmented…

…when, thanks to our iPads and smartphones and twitter

accounts we are in a million places at once…

…sport still brings us together, around a pitch, or a court, or in front of the TV…

…sharing in the same moment, at the same time.

And, in that moment, we are all equals.

Because, whether you are a king or street sweeper…

…it is not going to help your team win.

It is because of this rare power to unite…

…and to inspire trust…

…that we must keep sport clean.

Sometimes people ask me why the Council of Europe has an interest here:

Aren’t you about political systems and human rights?

Yes, we are.

And anyone in the business of helping create strong and stable societies…

…built on trust, law and faith in institutions…

…has to care about the integrity of sport.

So I want to say a huge thank you to the IOC for its leadership here.

Its President, Thomas Bach deserves immense personal credit.

I also want to pay tribute to all of the bodies and businesses represented in this room.

I lead an intergovernmental organization…

…made up of 47 member states…

…representing 820 million people…

…in which we have a Court, a Congress, a Committee of

Ministers, a Parliamentary Assembly…

…and I think our governance structures are probably still less complicated than the sporting world’s!

And yet everyone is pulling in the same direction…

…and I am delighted that the Council of Europe is your partner in that.

The one issue I would like to single out today is match-fixing.

Because, if sport creates trust…

…match-fixing is what destroys it.

Manipulating competitions involves serious, transnational, organized crime.

And stopping it requires a level of international co-operation we have never seen or needed before in sport.

For that reason, a few years ago the Council of Europe began working on this.

We worked with States in and out of Europe;

UNESCO, INTERPOL, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the EU;

We brought together public authorities, the private sector, representatives from the sporting world;

We put our best people on it:

  • our anti-corruption teams,
  • data-protection,
  • money-laundering,
  • Criminal law,
  • cybercrime;

And, last year, we introduced the world’s first ever international treaty to clamp down on match-fixing…

…known as the Macolin Convention, after the Swiss town in which it was launched.

Macolin does many things, but let me just mention three.

First, it closes legal loopholes across States.

It obliges governments to prosecute criminal acts which surround match-fixing.

So not just throwing a game…

…but bribing players, for example; blackmailing them; threatening to hurt their families too.

And by harmonising national laws…

… Macolin makes it infinitely easier for our police to catch these criminals…

…and for our courts to bring them to justice.

Second, under the Convention, States must identify a national betting regulator…

…subjecting the industry to independent oversight.

It is worth saying that national oversight bodies are important even in countries where gambling is prohibited:

If you host competitions, those competitions can be fixed…

…and someone, somewhere, is getting paid.

Third, Macolin ensures the exchange of information between all the relevant groups…

So that we can spot suspicious activity and raise the alarm.

This, of course, needs to be handled carefully.

Sports bodies need information in a timely way…

… and in enough detail to identify irregularities.

Betting operators have business interests to protect…

…and are wary of unduly affecting the market.

And individuals have data protection rights which must be upheld too.

To get the balance right, the Convention provides for the creation of new, national platforms, to act as co-ordinators.

States can design them as they see fit:

Some will put them in Ministries, in others National Prosecutors may take the lead.

But they are based on the principles of collaboration and shared responsibility…

…which we saw work excellently as the “Joint Assessment Unit” during the London 2012 Olympics…

…and which we should now replicate.

So Macolin has been a watershed:

We now have a shared, international approach…

…involving all of the right people…

…closing the gaps criminals can exploit.

On its first day the Convention received 15 signatures.

For people who don’t spend their lives following International Treaties – that’s a lot.

In less than 7 months, we now have 18 signatories and one State has already ratified…

…with others soon to follow.

This is excellent progress – by any standards.

But I want us to be limitless in our ambitions for this Treaty.

I want all Council of Europe members to sign up …

…and I want countries outside of Europe to join too.

Macolin is open to all States.

Europe does not have a monopoly on this problem…

…and nor do we have a monopoly on the solution.

And it is only by working together that we can ensure…

…that the racketeers and the crooks have nowhere to hide.

So, today, I have one big message for you:

The people and organizations in this room have proved yourselves to be a force to be reckoned with.

Join us in the effort to get as many countries behind Macolin as possible.

States in Europe, states outside.

It is time for us to go global in our crack down on match-fixing.

For the sake of sport.

For the rule of law.

For trust.

Thank you.