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Finally, after more than five years after it was approved, the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, better known as the Macolin Convention (after the Swiss town where it was signed), a legally binding international instrument designed to fight corruption in sport, came into force.

In 2014, the European Union, together with other countries and global organizations (including FIFA and UEFA), signed the Macolin Convention aimed at preventing, detecting, and punishing match fixing and the manipulation of sports competitions to preserve sports’ integrity and ethics. The main objectives of the Convention are:

  1. To prevent, detect and sanction national and transnational manipulation of national and international sports competitions; and
  2. To encourage national and international co-operation against manipulation of sports competitions between the public authorities concerned, as well as with organizations and players involved in sports and in sports betting.

The Convention urges the 32 signatories to foster the adoption of measures to prevent conflicts of interest between betting operators and sports organizations and encourages the authorities regulating sports betting to intensify the fight against fraud and illegal betting.

Establishing criminal and procedural measures for classification of the crime of competition manipulation through fraud and corruption and money laundering from sports manipulation is equally important.

The recent ratification of the convention by Switzerland and Ukraine, together with the previous ratifications by Italy, Norway, Moldavia and Portugal, has finally made it possible to meet the requirement set by the Convention itself to come into force. Now it remains to be seen how the signatory states implement all the measures established in the text to eradicate one of the worst scourges of global sports.

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