Dialogue on WADA and fight against match fixing
By Eric van Puyvelde | Thursday 01 December 2011
The EU’s representation in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the role of voluntary activities in sport to promote active citizenship and the fight against match fixing in sport were the three items on the agenda of the sport session of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, on 28-29 November in Brussels (see
Europolitics 4316 for coverage of the other sessions).
A resolution (approved by the Council and representatives of member state governments, since this is a mixed competence) establishes the practical arrangements for the participation and representation of the European Union and its member states in the work (rules and standards setting) of the WADA. It also includes guidelines for conduct between the Council, member states and the Commission on the coordination of European continent positions prior to WADA meetings, notably in the Council of Europe.
The WADA, founded in 1999, is a private-law organisation although half the members of its board represent governments. Its mission is to promote, coordinate and monitor efforts to fight doping in sport in all its forms. The Foundation Board, which has 38 members, is the agency’s supreme decision making body. It is composed of representatives of governments and of the Olympic movement in equal numbers. The European continent has five representatives (of which three from the EU) in this board.
The Council adopted conclusions that draw attention to the value and importance of voluntary activities, and the need to improve conditions for the development of voluntary activities in sport and encourage recognition of skills gained through non-formal and informal learning experiences. The text refers to the European Year of Voluntary Activities promoting active citizenship (2011). Volunteering in sport is also a high national priority for the Polish EU Presidency, since the Euro 2012 (European Football Championship) will take place in Poland and Ukraine, in June and July 2012, and relies to a large extent on the work of volunteers.
EDUCATION AND MONITORING
Due to the fast growth of online betting in recent years, the sports world in Europe has been plagued by a number of match fixing scandals (in organised sport, a match is considered to be fixed when the result is totally or partially predetermined, which constitutes a violation of the rules of the sport and often of the law). The conclusions adopted on combating match fixing therefore calls for close cooperation and information-sharing by member states, the Commission, the world of sport and operators of online betting services to stamp out this practice. The Council also recommends the organisation of educational programmes and better monitoring systems. The Commission is asked to launch a study on the situation with regard to match fixing and in the light of its conclusions to present recommendations on possible solutions.
The EU work plan for sport 2011-2014, adopted by the Council last May, has already placed the fight against match fixing among its top priorities.
GOVERNANCE IN SPORT
The ministers also held a public debate on good governance in sport, preceded by an informal exchange of views between public authorities and representatives of the world of sport. Broad consensus emerged on the principles that underpin good governance in sport, such as transparency, democracy, accountability, financial solidarity and social responsibility, including gender equality.
Several ministers pointed out that the autonomy of sport must be preserved and that there should be a clear division of tasks between public authorities and sport organisations, but that these organisations may not be above the law.