Germany hosts the Fifth UNESCO Conference of World Sport Ministers
30 May 2013
“Honest competition is vital for sport”
One of the main topics of the 5th World Sport Ministers Conference in Berlin is betting fraud and the fight against the manipulation of sport competitions. Across the globe, offenders bribe, threaten or blackmail referees, players or other functionaries of sport. Often, organized crime is involved. The rapidly growing online betting market encourages such criminal activities.
Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich emphasized on Wednesday that governments needed to get more involved and take stronger joint action against match fixing and betting fraud.
“Honest competition is vital for sport”, Friedrich said.
“Manipulation deprives sport of its magic and attractiveness”, the minister continued.
“But first of all, we need a common understanding”, he added, explaining that work was still going on to define criminal offences and align the various judicial cultures. The minister called for improved information-sharing among governments and stakeholders.
At the conference, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel promised more support from policy makers. She said:
“We, and by this I mean policy makers, must not leave sports organizations to face this task alone.”
With the Berlin Declaration the conference intends to send a clear signal of zero tolerance for manipulation of sport competitions and betting fraud. The declaration is considered a beacon for future sports policy, giving momentum to the fight against organized crime.
World sport ministers conferences have been organized at irregular intervals by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, since 1976. The most recent was held in Athens in 2004.
The conference is intended to take stock of global developments in sport and to formulate strategic issues in international sport policy, based on the International Charter of Physical Education and Sport, the Olympic Charter and other basic texts of international sport.