The first international treaty on match-fixing will enter into force on 1 September following ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.
Last week Switzerland became the fifth Council of Europe member state to ratify the convention, also known as the Macolin Convention, following Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, finally triggering its entry into force. The convention was launched in 2014.
“The entry into force of the Macolin Convention is good news for everyone who values fair play and integrity in sport,” said Council of Europe secretary general Thorbjørn Jagland.
“The convention is a major step forward in the fight against corruption in sport and has received firm backing from major sports organisations and partners including FIFA and UEFA. I urge all of our member states, and countries around the world, to sign and ratify the convention as soon as possible.”
The Macolin Convention is an international treaty promoting global co-operation to tackle the manipulation of sports competitions, covering a wide range of issues including match-fixing, illegal betting, poor governance, insider information, conflicts of interest and the use of sports clubs as shell companies.
International betting integrity body ESSA, which engaged in the drafting of the Convention on behalf of the sector, supported the ratification but issued a caution over the definition of illegal sports betting within the Convention.
“The Convention sets out a range of practical measures to address match-fixing internationally and it has been broadly supported by ESSA and the wider betting sector,” said ESSA secretary general Khalid Ali. “Ratification of the Convention is therefore a predominately positive move.
“However, there remain hurdles to overcome. The definition of illegal sports betting, in particular, continues to present challenges to universal acceptance of the Convention text.”
ESSA has strongly objected to the definition of illegal sports betting contained in the Convention, which would see many regulated betting operators deemed illegal despite "being regulated, tax paying entities creating thousands of jobs and generating significant economic activity".
In its response to a Council of Europe Thematic Report last year, ESSA said that consideration should be given to the basis of the definition and the necessity for its inclusion, as in its current guise it is a "flawed and anti-competitive concept which provides no value to the Convention or the wider discussion".
Sportradar managing director of integrity services Andreas Krannich said: “The ratification of the Macolin convention represents a decisive step forward in the fight against match fixing. It is of fundamental importance to swiftly implement the measures outlined in this convention.
"Corruption in sport can only be fought through proper coordination and a commitment to open dialogue, exchange of information and true cooperation,” he said. “Sportradar is committed to fighting the manipulation of sports competitions and will continue to work to help implement this ground breaking treaty.”
More than 30 countries have signed the convention, although only five have ratified it.