Germany passes measure to outlaw match-fixing

Germany passes measure to outlaw match-fixing

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Three-year jail terms for those found guilty of corruption

Germany has won praise from betting integrity groups for confronting the issue of match-fixing head on passing new legislation that outlaws the practice and sets stiff penalties for anyone found guilty of attempting to unlawfully influence an event.

Late last week the Bundestag in Berlin passed a bill which criminalises match-fixing and sets out jail terms of up to three years for any player, coach or match official found guilty of manipulating results for betting purposes.

In a statement to the press, German justice minister Heiko Maas said: “Because other measures have not worked, we have to confront such methods with the instruments available through criminal law. In this way we will ensure that sports stand only for that which makes them so special; integrity and fair competition.”

DFL president Reinhard Rauball added that the new law was “an important building block” in the effort to protect the integrity of sports. “Football too will continue to do everything it can to combat betting fraud and match fixing,” he added.

The legislative progress was applauded Andreas Krannich, managing director of integrity services at Sportradar, who was hopeful the German move might act as an example to other countries which are yet to put in place laws against match-fixing. “Sadly, there are too many countries that still don’t have such specific legislation in place, so I hope that this development will serve as an example across Europe and beyond,” he told TotallyGaming.com.

He added that Sportradar had a long history working with the German football association (DFB) and DFL (the company that owns the Bundesliga) on integrity measures and that a legal framework was a welcome addition to the defences against corruption in sport.

“Alongside credible monitoring, bespoke education workshops and intelligence insights, robust and clear legislation is a key component in any country’s defences,” he added. “We look forward to working with our existing partners and the wider German stakeholder groups to help bring the power of this new legislation to bear.”

The passing of the law was also applauded by Khalid Ali, secretary general of the sports-betting integrity association ESSA, although he added that in an ideal world the German government would have moved to end the impasse over the regulation of online gambling in the country.

“Any move to punish match-fixers is a welcome development for betting operators who are the intended victims of betting related fraud in sport,” he said. “It is, however, vital that the German authorities also establish a modern licensing and regulatory system for betting, which brings all of the major operators within its network and facilitates partnership working and the exchange of information that is crucial to identifying and punishing such corruption.”

Separately, reports suggest the German regional prime ministers plan to announce their latest moves with regard to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling later this week. It is thought that amendments to the Treaty as proposed will see 35 operators granted a sports-betting licence valid for one year from the 1 January next year. The treaty would keep the ban on casino operations.

Totally Gaming says: As is clear, the way to confront corruption in sport is to tackle it head on and legislative means are certainly an important element alongside the host of integrity tools and measures that can also be brought to bear. Fully regulated gambling markets are also a vial piece of the jigsaw, hence it would be a welcome adjunct to the match-fixing law if there was some progress on the regulation of the German online market.

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