Malta withdraws ‘Request for Opinion’ on Convention wording

Malta withdraws ‘Request for Opinion’ on Convention wording

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Country vows to continue discussions within the EU

Malta has withdrawn its ‘Request for Opinion’ regarding the compatibility of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions with European Union Treaties.

The request was filed with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on July 8, 2014.

Malta said that the reason that it had submitted the request was to obtain an opinion on whether the definition of ‘illegal sports betting’ was consistent with the objectives of the Treaty.

“Malta’s position on the Convention has always been made very clear and remains unchanged,” read a statement on the Malta Gaming Authority website.

“Malta has maintained that it fully supports the main objective of the Convention which is to prevent the manipulation of sports competitions. In fact, Malta is currently undergoing an exercise to ensure the implementation of stricter rules and systems to suppress fraud and manipulation in sports.

“However, Malta has consistently reiterated its concerns on the definition of ‘illegal sports betting’ which goes beyond the scope of the Convention and does not contribute to the fight against match fixing.”

The authority said that it had tabled various proposals for amendment throughout the discussions on the Convention and following the rejection of all such proposals, “was compelled” to vote against its adoption. Malta did not sign the Convention when it was opened for signature in September 2014.

Despite withdrawing its request, Malta said that it would continue to hold discussions “at the highest levels” within the EU to safeguard the country’s position.

“Notwithstanding the submission of the request, a legislative proposal for the Union to proceed was proposed and is now being discussed in Council,” the statement added.

“Given the developing circumstances, and after examining the legislative proposal, Malta considers that other solutions may be available to it and has decided that, at this stage, it is more appropriate to try to achieve an acceptable state of affairs for Malta through deeper dialogue at the European level, without however renouncing to any of Malta’s rights and prerogatives.”

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