News 14 September 2015

German politician promises criminalisation of match-fixing

Ole Schröder, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, has promised to lead an effort to make match-fixing a criminal offence. “Only a criminal law, which captures the manipulators on the field as perpetrators, can combat match-fixing in sport efficiently”, Schröder (pictured) told a conference entitled ‘the fight against match-fixing’, organised by the German sports betting association (DSWV) on 9 September.

Carsten Koerl, CEO of Sportradar, a company that monitors suspicious betting activity, pointed out that it had been ten years since German referee Robert Hoyzer was convicted of fixing matches, yet Germany has still to effectively regulate sports betting. “Since the fall of Hoyzer, not enough has been done”, he said. “It has been a lost decade. Why is match-fixing still not a criminal offence?”

The conference refuted suggestions that certain types of bets should be restricted, as they are susceptible to match-fixing. “The sports betting market is international”, said DSWV President Mathias Dahms. “If we do not offer certain types of bets, we cannot monitor them”. In July, a study produced by the Asser Institute of Sports Law for the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) failed to find any evidence that certain types of bets – such as in-play or spot betting – are more susceptible to match-fixing.

As a basic requisite for the fight against match-fixing, a regulated sports betting market was seen as indispensable, said the DSWV. Germany is currently in limbo – its Interstate Treaty on Gambling (ITG), signed in 2012, set out a framework for the issuing of 20 sports betting licences. Although these licenses were issued in September last year, they have yet to take effect due to legal challenges by operators who failed to gain a licence, and a pending question with the European Commission as to whether the ITG is compatible with European legislation.

“Although the gambling amendment treaty has been in force for over three years, the counties are apparently unable to organise the gambling market clearly and coherently”, said Christina Gassner, Legal Advisor to the German football league (DFL). “Anyone can offer sports betting, but nobody checks who is offering it. The ball is now with the local counties.”

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