Sports ministers from the British and French governments have put pen to paper on a deal that will see them share expertise in tackling sports corruption and match fixing.
Newly-appointed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, and French Sports Minister Laura Flessel signed the agreement as part of the UK-France Summit taking place this week.
Under the Declaration of Intention, the UK has also agreed to share with France best practice and expertise gained from hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and England hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
Announcing the signing of the agreement, Hancock said: “The UK and France are steadfast allies in the battle against corruption. Doping and match-fixing scandals have rocked international sport in recent years and it is crucial that we take a global approach, working together to ensure the integrity of sport is upheld. Fans have to be able to believe in fair play in sport and be inspired by the best athletes in the world.”
In 2016 the UK joined the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport, comprising some of the world’s top associations in the field of fighting corruption. In December, the partnership agreed to create three task forces to reduce corruption risks in procurement relating to sporting events and infrastructure, ensuring integrity in the selection of host cities for major sporting events and mitigating the risk of corruption by improving compliance through governance.
Hancock added: “Through the work of UK Anti-Doping, the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit and our Code for Sports Governance, we are ensuring that our sports bodies are more transparent and uphold the highest standards on integrity and governance. We want to share best practice with other nations and this agreement with France underlines how important it is to work in partnership on the threat of corruption.”
Responding to the announcement, Khalid Ali, Secretary General of international sports betting integrity body ESSA, said: “The UK and France should be commended for agreeing the joint Declaration of Intention to tackle sports corruption and match-fixing through illegal and irregular sports betting. Both countries have put integrity as a priority issue and have developed what are widely regarded as best practice models in this area.
“The move further strengthens their information sharing protocols and can only benefit the integrity of their respective betting markets and sporting events.”