The Olympic Day, held annually on June 23, is celebrated by millions of people around the globe. Commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games in 1894, Olympic Day’s mission is to promote fitness, well-being, culture and education, while promoting the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.
Indeed, respect is one of the Olympic values. In the Olympic ideal, this value represents the ethical principle that should inspire all who participate in the Olympic programmes. It includes respect for oneself and one’s body, respect for one another, for rules and for the environment. It thus refers to the fair play that each athlete has to display in sport.
This value is however greatly undermined by the phenomenon of match-fixing. Match-fixing is a growing phenomenon that undermines the very credibility of sport and drives away fans and fully destroys any sense of fair play, values and respect. The Council of Europe in 2014, following a 2-year consultation, opened the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions for signatures, which addresses all matters related to match-fixing (education and prevention, sanctions, creation of national platforms, sharing of information, measures against illegal sports betting).
In order for the Convention to enter into force, 5 ratifications are needed. So far, 27 states have signed the Convention and 2 (Portugal and Norway) have ratified. In order to further promote the Convention but also to develop capacity building in terms of the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, the Council of Europe has launched the project “Keep Crime out of Sport – KCOOS”. The project, which is partly funded by DG HOME of the European Commission, contains a very strong network of partners, including the IOC, Interpol, Oxford research, the European Lotteries Association (EL), the UK Gambling Commission, ARJEL, ESSA, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Finnish Ministry of Sport, etc.
The project officially kicked off in January 2016 and following a 6-month research period and the preparation of an educational module, the project will carry out regional seminars, expert missions and study visits. The first regional seminar was held in The Hague on 20-21 June. The project seeks to deliver a practical handbook in terms of the implementation of the Convention.
Therefore, on the Olympic Day, the Council of Europe, along with its project partners, feel proud that through the project “Keep Crime out of Sport” (KCOOS), we contribute to the practical implementation and dissemination of the Olympic values and trust that thanks to this significant project, a small step will be made towards keeping sport crime-free and allowing sport to execute its societal role.