The rationale of the proposal is searching effectiveness in anti-match-fixing policies implemented by sport organizations through the following process:
- Better understanding before training;
- Investing in designing tailored training and avoid generic training;
- Implementing very tailored training to top decision-makers and to media operator, not to players;
- Sharing at EU level the model patterns which will gradually be piloted and fine-tuned.
The model will be tested through three key-disciplines: football, tennis and a third one specific for each pilot-country involved in the initiative.
A key-element of the proposal is activating a structural linkage between specific data on illegal behaviour and tailored training to sport organizations decision-makers and media operator.
The project proposal addresses significantly the objective of tackling the cross-border threat to the integrity of sport, and specifically match-fixing, because it proposes an action specifically focused on policy effectiveness search through an emerging good practice in Italy, the involvement of important direct actors (primarily Coni Servizi on behalf of the Italian Olympic Committee, with the contribution of Playfaircode in Austria in the world of sports; and ESSA and EASG in the world of betting operators).
Very peculiar, innovative and valuable is the direct involvement of European networks ESSA and EASG, which are carrying very specific key-competences about the betting markets logics and dynamics.
Thanks to previous cooperations and exchanges, to the platform http://www.ad-hoc-network-against-match-fixing.net/ and to the strong cooperation with the Italian Home Affairs Ministry and Police, a significant contribution will be given, according to dedicated protocols, by Interpol Europe, based in Lyon, through its internal Unit for Sports Integrity.
The proposal is based on significant preparatory experience. More specifically:
- An already financed project (Staying on Side: Stop Match-Fixing Project) which has generated an Italian good practice and a first interaction level among European Leagues and the national Chapters of the Transparency International network in Europe: this guarantees the perspective of a significant upgrade in efficiency;
- EU Seminar “Match-Fixing: a Key Issue for Sports Integrity”, Milan, September 2014 (EU Italian Presidency);
- The ongoing EU funded project “ANTIMATCH-FIXING FORMULA: UNDERSTAND, SHARE, METHODIZE, REPLICATE”, HOME/2014/PPXX/AG/SPBX/7522.
On the background, the proponent team has a very solid experience in sports integrity (see for instance the organization of a specific workshop at Brasilia IACC in 2012: http://15iacc.org/agenda/agenda-day-4/tackling-corruption-in-sports-moving-values-between-the-pitch-and-the-corridors-of-power/ ) and the participation to UNESCO Doha Meeting (http://www.theicss.org/en/events/view/follow-up-meeting-on-mineps-v-recommendations) and to UNODC working group on UNODC Match-Fixing Resource Guide.
The project proposal is very functional and coherent to the ongoing European policies in the field of sport since it matches what the European Commission acknowledged this in many communications (COM(2011) 128 final; COM/2012/0596 final) recommendations (CM/Rec(2011)10), and the Forum held in Brussels on 2013. It is also functional to contribute the implementation of EU law focused knowledge on sport corruption and national criminal law provisions applied to match-fixing (COM/2012/0604 final; a Study of Criminal law Provisions in the Members States; 2012). As already pointed out, the project is itself a follow-up of the project “Staying on the side: Stop Match-fixing”, financed in 2012 within the Preparatory Action 'European Partnership on Sports' which funds projects focused on the prevention of match fixing through the education and information of relevant stakeholders and in particular.
More specifically, the project is very coherent to the goals of the Nicosia Declaration (2012) because:
- it involves in Education, Prevention and Good Governance Initiatives, within a wide cooperation environment, four important actors groups in the field of sport: athletes, their entourage, supporters and organizations managers;
- it implements monitoring efficiency and analysis mechanisms;
- it fosters cooperation among most interested parties, in the perspective of informing and including public authorities, law enforcement agencies, sport stakeholders and betting operators.
- it promotes consistent coordination at European level.
The project proposal is based on the following in-depth needs analysis:
1.1.1 Training activities which are not based on specific data about the phenomenon and not accurately tailored to targets are highly uneffective and have a serious risk of very low efficiency in the medium and long term;
1.1.2 Existing awareness levels are already pretty high among players and sport organization managers;
1.1.3 It is functional to a substantial problem solution approach to shift the main target of training activities from players to top decision makers because there is a serious lack of key competences in policy designing and implementing in order to contrast Match-Fixing, illegality and foster integrity;
1.1.4 There are weak connections between audiences and sport organizations on the Match-Fixing issue, with a high potential role of media operators, who suffer similarly from lack of specific data, so that they are not able to broadcast fully appropriate infos;
1.1.5 There is a high potential of Ombudsmen role and of whistleblowing procedures, which cannot be underutilized if there is a serious goal of effectiveness.
1.1.6 It would be very important to enlarge the practices developed in football to other critical sport disciplines, as for instance tennis, so that synergies and a systemic sports approach may develop within the whole world of sports.
The project will be focused on tackling the following macro-problems:
- Sport organizations are relatively unable, despite a growing awareness and commitment to the problem, to build autonomously appropriate policies to fight Match-Fixing without very specific know-how (in the Italian case, they came to declare they need specialized support);
- Spectators play a very passive role in relation to the match-fixing phenomenon.