A joint declaration aimed at addressing the scourge of match-fixing was adopted today in Nicosia at the EU Sport Forum by the Cyprus Presidency, the European Commission and the participants of the Forum.
The declaration builds on the Conclusions adopted by sports ministers during the November 2011 Council meeting under the Polish Presidency and constitutes the culmination of a cooperation effort between the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission with the EU Sport Forum delegates.
Speaking at a press conference following the joint session of the Informal Meeting of EU Sport Ministers and the EU Sport Forum, held here Thursday, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou expressed her great pleasure that EU Sport Forum, which is considered the biggest sporting event in Europe, took place in Cyprus at the initiative of the European Commission.
Vassiliou noted that the EU Sport Forum takes place once a year and brings together around 300 participants from European Institutions and the Sport Movement, adding that it is very important that Cyprus EU presidency had hosted this event.
Commissioner said that match –fixing was one of the two important issues discussed at this Forum, noting that match-fixing is the greatest threat to the integrity of sport today.
She added that “as some of the participants said if we do not protect the integrity of sport then the soul of sport is going to be destroyed”.
Therefore, she continued, “we all agreed that we all need to join our forces and all the authorities have to work together τo see results”.
“There is no country unaffected and it would be naive to think that anyone can be excluded from this fight," she said.
Vassiliou stressed that action is needed in three main areas, namely, prevention, cooperation and legislation.
She said that European Commission would play an important role in prevention and cooperation. On the legislation, she said that in most countries is allowed to take measures against match-fixing, noting however that there are some loop holes and differences in legislation that need to be addressed.
She also said that the Council of Europe is promoting an international convention on combating match-fixing and “we have also decided to work with them”.
Vassiliou said that a very good discussion was held on the issue of physical activities and sport with respect to health and economy.
Commissioner said that the European Commission is promoting a broadly supported proposal to establish a European day or week dedicated to sports.
President of the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) Pampos Stylianou expressed his satisfaction over the outcome of the EU Sport Forum and made a special reference to the Declaration on the fight against match –fixing.
Stylianou said that the declaration constitutes a start and a very sound basis upon which “we can build in order to combat this massive threat for the integrity of sport throughout the whole world and certainly in Europe”.
He also said that there was a discussion on sport and health and the contribution of sport both to health and improving the quality of life but also to boosting economic growth.
According to a press release posted on the official website of the Cyprus EU Presidency, the declaration stresses that addressing the issue of match-fixing “necessitates effective and sustained action”, outlining the five key areas for which initiatives should be developed.
The five areas are: 1.Education, Prevention and Good Governance, 2. Monitoring. 3. Sanctions, 4. Cooperation and 5. International coordination.
The Declaration will remain on the European sports agenda and provide the compass for decisions and actions in the fight against the scourge of match-fixing that threatens the credibility and integrity of the entire sports structure.
The annual European Sport Forum hosted more than 300 participants from European institutions and the sports movement including executives from the international and European Olympic Committees as well as European federations.
The Forum, which was established as an annual event in 2007, is the largest platform for exchanging views on issues of sport in the EU, with the intention of providing more effective structures for sport at EU level.
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