EC / IRIS - BELGIUM SEMINAR FIGHT AGAINST MATCH FIXING

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1 EC / IRIS - BELGIUM SEMINAR FIGHT AGAINST MATCH FIXING Date: 17 January 2014 Place: Brussels (Belgium) Participants: cf. appendix Main issues raised during the seminar: Level of match fixing risk and awareness: - The match fixing risk in Belgium is considered by the participants as quite low. - According to most of the participants, and first of all to the representatives of the sports federation, there is still a lack of awareness about match fixing in Belgium. Who has to fight against match fixing? - In Belgium, sport is managed regionally. There is no federal authority for sport but one sports Ministry for Wallonia / Brussels and one sports Ministry for Flanders. Moreover, the three Flemish, French and German - public communities (les Communautés ) determine a general framework for sport but respect the autonomy of sports organisations. The communities also fund the sports organisations, including the federal/regional federations. The sports movement seems to be ready to accept public intervention in case of public order risks (for instance intrusion of organised Crime within sports structures). The idea of developing new strong measures to protect sports integrity and to share information in a national cooperative way is considered important by all participants. - Belgium supports the idea of an international convention to fight against match fixing. Sports betting: - Several participants had a good level of expertise in betting. - In Belgium, there is a system of licences (F1: betting organisations / F2: operator of gambling facilities - fixed and/or mobile- where authorised betting - F1 licence holder - are offered to the public) for betting - Belgium is a leading country in the fight against illegal betting: black list of illegal operators (when a complaint has been lodged), work with ISP and banks. According to the participants, the fight against illegal betting is a key issue. - Some participants suggested thinking about betting restrictions (for instance, betting on competitions involving minors, betting on friendly games, etc.). There is a project of royal decree to enable the regulator to limit the offer of specific types of sports betting that are susceptible to fraud, but is at present is subject to debate and approval in the Belgian political system. Regarding the prohibition of live betting, several participants think that it is not realistic, since live betting 1

2 now represents more than 50% of the market. Others consider that live betting should be more severely controlled, like in Australia for instance. Measures to protect sports integrity: - Participants give overwhelming support to education and information measures. At the moment, nothing has been achieved in Belgium on match fixing even if redeployment and education programmes have been developed by the federation of Wallonia /Brussels. If the match fixing issue becomes important, communities will have to determine a general framework in cooperation with the sports movement (including the National Olympic Committee). - At the moment, the public authorities have not taken operational measures against match fixing. Belgium is waiting for the EPAS convention that should be the basis of a new framework for the country. - Several participants spoke about the need to protect whistle blowers. In sport, there is a higher need of procedure and protection than elsewhere because match fixing, doping, etc. cause harm to the sport. Fans therefore don t accept easily this situation and sometimes don t support a whistle blower who broke the dream. Following the Ye scandal, a specific police unit has been created to investigate match-fixing in football. All relevant information can be communicated through an address, which is accessible via the federal police website (www.fraudefootball.be). The police representative indicated that the unit can also deal with match-fixing in other sports, and therefore invited federations to use the address if needed. The gaming commission also provides an address to report fraud - In Belgium, there is a general criminal legislation (Criminal Act at the federal level) on corruption but nothing is specifically dedicated to sports fraud at the moment. Following the signature of the EPAS convention, it could be possible in the future to implement a new legislation for sports fraud and betting fraud. Yet a representative from the public authorities mentioned that this was not a necessity: no need of a legislative amendment. Measures Betting: Fight against illegal betting Betting: Authorised list of bets Betting: Other restrictions (pay out) Sport: Education programs Betting prohibition for sport actors Conflicts of interest: Disclosure of inside information Integrity officer Sport: Prohibition to control betting operators Criminal offence & Sanctions Betting: Prohibition to control sports when bets are offered Existing (Yes / No) YES (Belgium is a best practice as such) limitations at the moment (there are some stake limits or, at least, a need to identify consumers over 1,000 bets or winnings in betting shops) At sports level, at the moment, only football should have implemented some measures, based on FIFA and UEFA rules. However, the Gaming Act prohibits any actor of the competition to place bets on it. (except for football due to UEFA requirements) (no specific offence for sports fraud) 2

3 Contract between sport and betting Intelligence and monitoring (except sponsorship) YES (federal police hotline: anti-corruption phone number to report approaches or suspicions in football / to be generalized to other sports) Next steps and recommendations: Belgium may possibly look into the 5 following priority items: o Implementation of cooperation at the level of each community, for example through a specific working group (proposal: representatives of public authorities, of the National Olympic committee, of the main sports federations and of the legal betting industry). The aim of this group could be to think jointly about the content of a new Sports Act regarding matchfixing issues (including conflicts of interest rules, i.e. betting prohibition for sports actors). o Appointment of an integrity officer in each big sports Federations. o Implementation of education programmes focusing on face-to-face (players, referees) and train the trainers in the main federations. o Limit the betting-related risks (including possible restrictions on risky types of bets and high pay out rates); o Develop enhanced cooperation between sports organisations and the legal betting industry about betting expertise and betting related risks. 3

4 APPENDIX LIST OF PARTICIPANTS Evangelos Alexandrakis Sport Executive Secretary, European Lotteries Marius Bannefeld Trainee, EOC EU Office Piet Van Baeveghem Domain Manager Legal & Public Affairs, Nationale Loterij Jutta Buyse General Delegate, European Lotteries Jean-Paul de Buyssche President, Flemisch Volley-ball federation Malina Cintic Trainee, EOC EU Office Dominique Deleuse Attachée, Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation, DG du Sport Matthieu Fonteneau Policy officer, EOC EU Office Freddy Gazan Advisor, Ministry of Justice Carole Gomez Research fellow on international sports issues, IRIS Guy Goudesone 4

5 Judicial Commissioner National Coordinator Football Fraud, Belgian Federal Judicial Police Jean-Sébastien Jamart Legal Adviser, Service Public Fédéral Justice, service de la police criminelle Christian Kalb Director, CK Consulting Wim van de Keere General Manager, Basketball League Belgium Sarah Lacarrière Intergity Officer, Sport Accord Bernadette Lobjois Secretary General, European Lotteries Heidi Pekkola Policy Officer, ENGSO Isabelle Sirtaine Director of Legal Affairs, Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation ADEPS Sébastien Stassin Player Agent, Sportassist Bart Vandeberg Sr Manager New Business Development, Nationale Loterij Pim Verschuuren Project coordinator, IRIS Sven Vervloet Legal Advisor, Belgian Gaming Commission Els de Waegeneer Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University 5

6 Philippe de Witte EU Projects Officer, EU Sport Link 6

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