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ESSA welcomes European Parliament report on the sports sector

ESSA has welcomed the European Parliament report which focuses on improving governance standards as a means of addressing key sports issues such as match-fixing.

Drafted by Finnish MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE), the parliament’s own-initiative report also promoted the development of a transparent culture within the sports sector.

On match-fixing, the report highlights several mitigating actions, including enhanced international cooperation amongst relevant stakeholders such as licensed betting operators and player educational programmes, which ESSA is already engaged in.

The report also urges the European Commission to publish its recommendation on match-fixing. ESSA will continue to engage in the development of this recommendation with the Commission on behalf of its members and the wider regulated betting sector.

Finally, the parliamentary report recommends that licensed betting operators be subject to a mandatory financial return to grassroots sport. The gambling industry already pays significant levels of direct (e.g. betting tax) and indirect (e.g. licence fees) in the EU and it is up to each state to decide how to allocate those gambling revenues and to which sector.

It should, however, be noted that the 2016 Report by the European Commission Expert Group on Grassroots Sport did not list among its recommendations that sports betting should contribute directly to grassroots sport. Such an approach would also need to comply with state aid regulations.

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