On 18 and 19 September in Paris, the Network of Magistrates/Prosecutors Responsible for Sports (MARS), set up under the Council of Europe's Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS), is gathering for its second meeting to discuss the latest trends in threats and challenges to sport integrity with a focus on the manipulation of sports competitions, anti-doping, and safety, security and service at major sports events, and the related actions in investigations and prosecutions.
On the first day of the event, the French Ministry of Justice hosted a conference in the Court of Appeal of Paris where its General Prosecutor, Marie-Suzanne Le Quéau welcomed some 100 participants from 35 countries. The conference was opened by Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Bjørn Berge and French Minister of Sports and Olympic and Paralympic Games Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. The speakers addressed the strengthening of judicial efforts in the fight against doping, the implementation of an integrated approach linking safety, security and service, and the exploration of possible links between match-fixing and sports betting. French Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti delivered the closing remarks.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Secretary General Bjørn Berge emphasised how the Council of Europe has expanded and adapted measures to promote sport integrity over the decades. “Much has been done, but there are still issues to address – from doping and hate crimes, corruption and fraud, to money laundering and organised crime. With this second meeting of the Network, we are taking a step further in ensuring open and honest sport competitions”.
“To better combat threats to the integrity of sport, it was important to hold this MARS network meeting in Paris today, especially as France recently kicked off a historic year for sport, with the hosting of the Rugby World Cup and the prospect of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. France must set an example in the fight against all forms of problematic tendencies in sport, as reflected in its successive ratifications of various Council of Europe conventions, most recently the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, also known as the Macolin Convention, which will enter into force on 1 October 2023 in respect of France”, said French Minister of Sports and Olympic and Paralympic Games Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.
On 19 September, the Network holds a session hosted by the French Ministry of Sports and Olympic and Paralympic Games, focusing on setting the governance of the Network and sharing expertise and best practices.