MEP for Ireland East, Liam Aylward has called for a zero tolerance policy in dealing with corruption in sport.
Mr Aylward co-authored an EU Parliament Report on the European Dimension in Sport last year and also raised the issue of match fixing with the European Commission earlier this month. Following on from the report, he has put forward a resolution outlining in clear terms what measures must be undertaken in order to uphold the integrity of sport.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Ireland East MEP stated: “Match fixing and corruption is a problem which crosses borders and is threatening the integrity of sport in Europe, it is a problem which requires a transnational and structured response to tackle it effectively.”
A recent Europol investigation uncovered extensive and deep rooted corruption in European football, with 380 football matches in Europe investigated for match-fixing, including top-flight domestic league matches and qualifiers in the European Championship and World Cup.
Those under suspicion include players, match officials, club staff and serious criminals. Europol calculated that more than €8m in betting profits had been corruptly made.
Speaking about the European Parliament’s strong position on this issue Mr Aylward commented: “The Parliament has called for immediate co-operation and co-ordination between Member States, sports clubs, regulatory bodies, national police, judicial authorities and gambling operators to eliminate match fixing. At the moment, those involved in match fixing have relatively little risk of being detected, but they still earn billions in manipulating sporting results across the globe.
“The necessary tools, expertise and resources to combat this threat must be agreed upon and implemented. In my resolution we have clearly stated that effective enforcement measures are needed to combat illegal betting websites and anonymous betting, particularly in relation to ‘Asian betting havens’ where the bulk of the manipulation is originating from.”
“While 99% of matches and sporting events are fair, a cohesive zero tolerance policy on corruption must be implemented and upheld where the integrity of sport is threatened and sport is exploited for criminal gain.”
The Resolution received the wide support of the European Parliament in a vote in Strasbourg this morning.