Europarådet og Kulturdepartementets seminar 17.mars 2015
It’s 24th of June 2012. In Oslo and in Fredrikstad two matches in second division football are being played.
The sun is shining in both cities this day. But a much darker scheme might have been at play on the field.
Because a couple of weeks later suspicion arises in the Norwegian Football Federation:
The result of these matches might have been fixed. Players and outsiders might have been conspiring. And because of this, someone might have made a lot of money.
Last month a trial opened where seven people stand accused of corruption and fraud against Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian national betting operator.
Of course we don’t yet know if they’re guilty. But for the very first time a match-fixing case will be heard before the Norwegian courts.
Legal prosecution is of the essence in this fight. So is raised awareness and exchange of information if we’re going to get rid of this problem altogether.
And that’s our goal. It’s my goal, it’s your goal and it’s the goal of an entire world of athletes and spectators.
Sports must be clean. Competitions must be fair. And they must be recognized by trust and openness. Because if they are not clean, they are not fair.
That makes match fixing as big a problem as doping.
Norsk Tipping, the government, the betting regulator Lotteritilsynet, The Norwegian sport confederation, the football federation and the police.
These public authorities and private organizations have joined their forces to try and stop this problem. We recognize that sport can’t fight these problems alone. We also recognize that we are up against a crime which knows no borders.
To be effective in our fight, we must cooperate internationally as well. And we must do so in a rapid, sustainable and properly functioning manner.
I want to thank the Council of Europe for taking a lead role in this international cooperation.
In 2012, negotiations started on a Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions.
In September last year 15 sports ministers, including myself, signed the convention.
In December, Norway was the first country to ratify it.
The main objectives of the convention are to prevent, detect and sanction manipulation of sports competitions.
It is to promote national and international cooperation between public authorities.
And it is to cooperate with organizations involved in sports and in sports betting.
It is essential that we all ratify the convention. Because doing so has two important effects.
First and foremost it obligates us as countries to work against match fixing in a certain way and at a certain level. But ratifying the convention will also has a prominent symbolic effect.
Those who commit these crimes, will see that countries stand together to find them. And those who scheme against fair play will see authorities cooperating both nationally and internationally.
In other words: deterrence is of great importance. Therefore, I urge all countries not to hesitate to ratify the convention.
The theme for this conference is promoting and implementing the new convention. Many important questions will be discussed today.
- How can public authorities, betting operators and sports organizations cooperate optimally?
- How do we ensure exchange of information?
- And how do we identify and set up national platforms?
In Norway we have now decided to set up a national platform in the gaming authority.
I believe this platform will give added strength to the work carried out by the sports organizations, Norsk Tipping and the public authorities.
I’m not saying that this model is right for everybody. Each country must find its own way.
But what we all must do is to continue to join forces.
We must all take the steps necessary in this important work.
And we must continue to let the courts do their part.
It’s the best we can do to protect something we all hold so dearly: A world of sports which is clean and just.
With those words I welcome you all to this conference. And I wish you an inspiring day.