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The United Kingdom has announced a government-wide anti-corruption plan designed to maintain the UK’s status as a stalwart against corruption and related activities. As it relates to sports and sports betting matters, the new plan builds upon existing practices and remedies and sets out guidelines for future UK governmental oversight and citizens’ reporting of issues.
The entirety of the 60-page “UK Anti-Corruption Plan,” is authored by UK government anti-crime ministers Rt Hon Matthew Hancock and Karen Bradley. It spans many important governmental functions, and its inclusion of sports betting matters is intentional, given the vast sums of money and international interest given to sporting matters in UK and European society. Both of the ministers responsible for the creation of the new plan are generally described as organised-crime specialists, with an eye toward blocking those activities a foremost concern throughout the report.
The plan includes a four-pronged approach to curbing organised-crime activities, highlighted as follows:
Several pages of the new plan describe how the above should be applied to sports and sportsbetting matters, and works to dovetail the ministers’ concepts with existing UK and European Union protocols and directives in these areas.
In the section dedicated to sporting matters, the new UK plan describes “Match Fixing and Corruption in Sport and Sports Betting” as an area of concern where:
“Match fixing and corruption in sport undermines that ethos and has a serious negative impact upon its reputation and financial viability. It undermines the reputation and commercial viability of legitimate sports betting business; and it has an impact on the social, political and economic benefits derived from sports and sports betting.”
The UK plan then references several international and EU initiatives dealing with the specter of sports corruption with which the UK ministers believe the country’s efforts should align. Specifically, the UK plan cites the European Union’s recently released Work Plan for Sport (2014-2017), which highlights a pan-European plan designed to combat match-fixing.
The new UK plan also references the established EU policy communication on online gambling, “Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling,” in which online sport and sports-betting concerns receive specific consideration. The Council of Europe’s recent policy announcement on the topic, “Convention on the Manipulations of Sports Competitions,” is also referenced.
According to the new UK plan, the UK Gambling Commission is coordinating anti-corruption measures and protections with several European professional and amateur sports organization, even including the International Olympic Committee.
The new UK plan then touched on how it plans to build on the foundation laid in the UK’s 2010 Sports Betting Panel Integrity Report, which brought together leaders from major sports organizations and some of Europe’s largest sports betting companies to create protocols for preserving sports-betting integrity. The new plan builds upon that as follows:
“The Sports Betting Integrity Panel Report laid the foundations of a national action plan to address the threat and identified priority actions to both prevent and deter those that corrupt sporting events and/or utilise sports betting mechanisms to derive criminal profit. The Gambling Commission is coordinating the development and implementation of the action plan in line with the Report’s recommendations. The Gambling Commission’s development of a public and private sector intelligence capability and enhancing the effectiveness of the operational response are priorities.”
The Gambling Commission has announced the creation of a new reporting facility allowing all UK citizens to report suspicious activity, via police and Crimestoppers contacts. Between the new single-step reporting abilities and the implementation of other recommendations made in the 2010 integrity panel report, the Gambling Commission hopes to include consumer reporting as an extra (and desired) element of future anti-corruption protections.