Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions: the New Testament of sport integrity

Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions: the New Testament of sport integrity

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sport Competitions: from its conceptualisation to the entry into force.

(Written by: Ludovico Calvi, President of Global Lottery Monitoring System)

The Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions is the first legally binding international tool to fight sport competition manipulations. Its purpose is to prevent, detect and punish the manipulation of sports competitions, as well as to enhance the exchange of information and national and international co-operation between the public authorities concerned and with sports organisations as well as sports betting operators. The Council of Europe Convention was opened for signatures on September 18 2014, following a two-year consultation period. On 15 May 2019, Switzerland became the 5th state, which ratified it (following Norway, Portugal, Ukraine and Moldova) and triggered the entry into force of the Convention. Italy also completed its ratification process on 11 June 2019. The present article seeks to briefly present the history of the Convention as well as conferring its basic provisions, outline its added value and reflect over next steps.

The Convention will now officially enter into force on 1 September 2019. On June 11 Italy also ratified the Macolin Convention becoming the 6th state that ratified. The commitment of the Italian Government, the Parliament, the Italian Gaming Regulator and, in particular the personal engagement of the Undersecretary of State at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Giancarlo Giorgetti has been remarkable. Italy has always been in the front line in the fight against match fixing with several scandals in the recent years and such strong commitment shows determination and willingness to truthfully protect Sport Ethics, which means safeguarding the passion and integrity of our children and therefore the future of our society. Beyond the 6 ratifications, a total of 37 countries, including Australia, have now signed the convention, while others have also expressed their interest. The Convention shall now officially enter into force on September 1st and as per article 30-31 of the Convention, the Council of Europe shall within one year from the ratification convene the Convention Follow-Up Committee. States which have ratified will have a seat in the Convention Follow-Up Committee, while interested and relevant organisation will be able to ask for an Observer status.
At an Eu level, the position of the European Commission has been that states are free to sign and take measures against the phenomenon, however, the ratification by the Eu and its Member-States should be done in a coordinated manner. The ratification of Italy though might assert pressure to other Eu states, while the fact that only states which have ratified the Convention will have a seat in the Follow-Up Committee might also play a role towards the same direction. The Finnish Presidency of the Eu (starting on July 1st) having sports integrity as one of its priorities, might also try to overcome the deadlock.
In summary, the Convention constitutes the “bible” for the global fight against the phenomenon. It deals with all relevant matters in a compact way and no doubt will provide significant help to states – as a legal instrument – to deal efficiently and globally with the issue. Taking into account that Lotteries have since the beginning of its drafting phase been very supportive of the Convention and El-Wla-Glms have been playing an active part of the Kcoos and Kcoos+ projects, Glms is now extremely pleased to see the Convention finally entering into force. At the same time, Glms is looking forward to being involved in the Follow-Up Committee and support the relevant discussions with its input and expertise.
Most importantly, Glms welcomes the good quality work carried out at the level of already set up national platforms, as well as the Group of Copenhagen. Being an operational partner of the Group of Copenhagen in terms of the development of the experimental phase of the LogBook1, Glms is looking forward to being further involved and supporting the Council of Europe in all relevant initiatives.
In terms of topics to look for into in the future:
Further promotion of the Convention and increasing the number of ratifications – Just the fact that the Convention will be now entering into force does not mean that the effort for its promotion is over. States need to be recalled that if they have not ratified, they will not be part of the Follow-Up Committee. Therefore, it is of vital importance that more states – also beyond Europe – proceed to the ratification in order to profit from the key provisions of the Convention, but also form part of the upcoming Follow-Up committee of which Italy as already ratified state will certainly be.
It is important to highlight that only Collective Actions and Collective Responsibilities by all stakeholders will be effective against this fight. The creation of an environment of trust is something that all stakeholders should be focusing on.
National Platforms – As mentioned above, national platforms are considered as the cornerstone of the Convention and the overall fight against sport competition manipulations. However, on many occasions, national platforms have not assumed a full active role, which is about the overall coordination of the national fight against the phenomenon and they are limited only to the sharing of alerts in relation to irregular betting patterns. This is something that has to be properly explained and addressed. Glms shall support the Council of Europe in this effort also via the Kcoos project
The definition of illegal sports betting which is clearly defined by the Convention (article 3 par 5a) is another key matter. The measures against illegal sports betting by the states (article 11) is a condition sine qua non for the other articles, including the effective sharing of information (article 12), the underage betting (article 10), the reporting and monitoring and even the efficient work of the national platforms. Any decisions by the national regulatory authorities would be undermined so long as there are betting operators active in a jurisdiction operating without a national license and therefore not following the national regulatory framework provisions. The sharing of information cannot be effective as long as non-licensed operators, which are operating in a fully regulated jurisdiction disregard any sports integrity measures provided by the Convention. Therefore, the concrete provisions against illegal sports betting are vital for the whole effective implementation of the Convention.
Data protection – is also dealt with by the Convention, as it is a crucial aspect of the risk assessment process (article 14). There is no conflict with the existing Data protection laws, as Parties are required to respect them. The risk aspect refers to the sharing only of necessary data between the relevant stakeholders at the relevant time and that this does not take longer than necessary (art 14par3). Therefore Parties are required by the Convention to ensure legislation to this effect. A method to reduce the possibility of risk could be to set up working committees to ensure that all stakeholders have an input and understand before arriving at a consensus on the methods of data sharing to appropriate share information but also to ensure the security of the data. In this respect, with the new Eu Gdpr being in force, ministries and state authorities could liaise with national Data Privacy Law Enforcement Authorities to interpret and apply the directive in the highest interest of Sports Integrity without jeopardizing the effort to intercept and manage manipulation of sport results effectively.
Glms shall continue using its best efforts to promote the Convention, support the Council of Europe, regulators, law enforcement, sport bodies and states with the implementation of its provisions and looks forward to its involvement in the Convention Follow-Up Committee as well as to the Group of Copenhagen.

Who is he?
Since September 2017 Ludovico Calvi has funded his own Strategic Betting Consultancy Practice providing strategic, regulatory and operational consultancy services to private and public stakeholders including lotteries, private licensed operators, governments, ministries of finance, regulators, sport federations and law enforcement agencies.
Since June 2015 he is a Member of the Global Lottery Monitoring System Executive Committee and since June 2017 elected President and re-appointed again in May 2019 for the term 2019-2021. Since May 2019 he is also a Member of the World Lottery Association (Wla) Sports Integrity Committee. Since May 2015 he is a Member of the American Gaming Association Sport Betting Task Force. From 2006 to 2016, Ludovico was Head of Betting and since 2009 on the Board of Directors of Lottomatica Scommesse Srl, acting as Ceo from 2009 to 2016 and as Board Director from 2016 until today. From May 2013 Ludovico was Vice President, Product Marketing Betting at Gtech Plc and from April 2015 until August 2017, held the position of Senior Vice President Global Product Marketing Betting at Igt. Earlier in his career, he worked for Sisal Spa (Italy) and William Hill Plc (Uk).