Council of Europe’s Macolin Convention comes into force

2 September 2019

The Council of Europe’s (CoE) Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, also known as the Macolin Convention, has officially come into force.

The Treaty sets out a legal framework to tackle match fixing in sport, as well as creating legal definitions for issues such as conflicts of interest, illegal betting, and controls to address poor governance and the handling of confidential information.

Italy, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine have all ratified the Macolin Convention, while a further 32 countries have signed the Treaty.

One of the first courses of action under the Treaty will be to establish the new Convention Follow-up Committee. This group will meet for the first time next year to analyse progress being made through the Convention.

The activities implemented by the CoE and its partners will include ‘Keep Crime Out of Sport - Manipulation of Sports Competitions 2018-2020’, a project that looks at providing technical assistance to countries to help them address match fixing in sport.

Meanwhile, the Network of National Platforms, which was set up in July 2016 to tackle corruption across sport, will continue to undertake work regarding trans-national cooperation and coordination.

“Several years of efforts and mobilisation by a large number of national and international actors have made it possible to take this crucial step in the fight against corruption in sport,” the CoE said in a statement.

The Macolin Convention was first introduced in September 2014, but has been delayed due to ongoing opposition from Malta, which vetoed the European Commission signing it on behalf of all 28 member states.

Malta’s objections centred around the definition of illegal sports betting. This is defined as “any sports betting activity whose type or operator is not allowed under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the consumer is located”.

The CoE required ratification from at least five CoE member states before it could be introduced in any form. Switzerland became the fifth CoE member to ratify the convention in May, following Norway, Moldova, Portugal and Ukraine.

The Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), the World Lottery Association (WLA) and The European Lotteries Association (EL) have also declared their support for the Treaty, calling for more countries to sign.

GLMS president, Ludovico Calvi, said: “We now need to focus on its implementation as well as the preparation of the activities of the Follow-Up Committee.

“In the upcoming phase, GLMS is very much looking forward to further supporting the Council of Europe with the promotion of the Convention and all on-going and upcoming relevant work streams, such as the setting-up of the Follow-Up Committee, the initiatives of the Group of Copenhagen and the KCOOS+ project”.

Chair of the WLA Sports Betting Integrity Committee, Jean-Luc Moner-Banet, added: “On behalf of WLA and its members, I urge states across the globe to proceed with its ratification and the implementation of its provisions. We also call upon states to set up national platforms and take concrete measures against illegal sports betting, as required by the Convention.”

EL Secretary General, Arjan van’t Veer, also said: “This Convention is of key importance since - apart from providing clear guidelines on how a state can globally combat this phenomenon - it also delivers for the first time a clear legal basis for the fight against illegal sports betting, which is indispensable for the effective implementation of all provisions of the Convention.

“We urge more European states to sign and ratify the Convention as soon as possible to protect athletes and society as a whole.”