MEPs adopt text calling on the Commission to tackle corruption in sport - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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MEPs adopt text calling on the Commission to tackle corruption in sport

Saturday, 2 July 2011
Sepp Blatter (Photo: Telegraph)Corruption in sport benefits the few to the detriment of many, gives it a bad name and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Examples are being more numerous and high-profile: in 2010 the cricket world was stunned when the News of the World exposed a £150,000 scam involving members of the Pakistani cricket team. Then just four weeks ago in Zurich, amongst widespread allegations of vast corruption within FIFA, Sepp Blatter, left, was again re-elected head of football’s global governing body - the sole candidate in an election widely branded as a total farce. The reputation of the governing body has been left tarnished and its credibility battered.

This week in Brussels, MEPs have succeeded in moving corruption in sport further up the agenda after a written declaration on combating corruption in sport was adopted.

The written declaration (0007/2011), which functions in a manner similar to an Early Day Motion in the British House of Commons, achieved the required 368 signatures which now forces the European Commission to investigate the proposals.

Calling for a large-scale study to be conducted looking at corruption in European sport, focusing especially on links between organised crime and illegal betting, sport agents, referees, club officials, sportsmen, MEPs also want the European Commission to regulate online betting in order to combat match fixing and ensure fairness in sport.

A supporter and signatory of the motion, the South West MEP Sir Graham Watson was pleased it was adopted and looked forward to the Commission taking action on the matter. In a statement he commented, “It is very depressing that doping, match fixing and illegal gambling still exist at the highest levels of sport.

As the majority of our sports are administered at a European level, we must find a European strategy. With the level of support shown in Parliament and the popular will of citizens, I trust the Commission will take this matter very seriously as we move towards effective legislation on the issue,” he said.

No doubt the embarrassment caused by the recent corruption scandals in FIFA has been discussed in pubs across the South West. It is a hot topic and I welcome the fact that the UK authorities are taking such a strong stance on the matter, even, at times, in the face of unpopularity as was the case during the recent unopposed re-election of Sepp Blatter.

Sport is now a field in which EU enjoys competency following the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty. This is the 19th written declaration to have been adopted by MEPs in this parliamentary term.


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