Committee recommends ratification of Convention to prevent match fixing in sport

Minister for Fisheries Semi Korolavesau and Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Alexander David O'Connor during a break at Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence has recommended to Parliament for Fiji to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions to complement existing policies.

The Convention is a multilateral treaty that aims to prevent, detect, and punish match fixing in sport.

While tabling the committee’s report, chairperson Alex O’Connor said a major focus of the Convention was to curb or totally eliminate the involvement of criminal activities and in particular organised crime.

“The Convention is the only international legally-binding instrument that helps to address manipulation in sports and provides a legal basis and framework for cooperation on this field between various public authorities and private entities. It also provides structured mechanisms for the cooperation and coordination of actions,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Should Fiji ratify the Convention, it will be the first Pacific Island country to sign, which will provide a platform to encourage other Pacific Island countries to ratify the same.

“Ratification of the Convention will complement existing policies such as the National Sports and Recreational Policy, Anti-Doping Policy, Sports Safety Policy and Child Protection in Sports Policy.”

Mr O’Connor added the ratification would also ensure that internal best practice and standards were incorporated into national sports policies; and also ensure all relevant stakeholders – both private and public – in sports and related industries worked in collaboration against the manipulation of sports.

In his report, the MP said the Solicitor-General’s office would undertake a thorough gap analysis to see where shortfalls were and to initiate amendments to current legislations or propose a standalone legislation to give effect to various articles of the Convention.

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