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EC Communication on sport: Sports to gain from better enforcement of Internal Market rules

Date

18 Jan 2011

Sections

Sports

The Commission’s main action plan in the field of sport a year after the introduction of sports as an EU competence has been disclosed today.

Sports and the sports betting sector have strong links and mutually beneficial interests. As highlighted by the Communication this is especially true in the fight to preserve the integrity of sport and in the diversification of sports funding.

The Communication clarifies that the possible threats compromising sports integrity are multiple and can be related to illegal betting but also sporting objectives.

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA “We reject all forms of corruption in sport. The Commission acknowledges the efforts of EU regulated private betting companies and sport stakeholders to fight the threats related to illegal betting. Regrettably the Communication fails to address the prevention and fight against sport driven corruption”.

The Communication recognizes the existing financial contribution of sports betting activities for instance through fiscal contributions or commercial agreements. It insists as well on the need to preserve the financial stability of the sport sector while ensuring that internal market and competition law is respected.

According to Sigrid Ligné “the Sport sector has a lot to gain from better enforcement of Internal market and Competition rules as EU regulated sports betting operators are prevented in a number of Member States to sign commercial audiovisual, ipTV/live streaming or sponsorship agreements with Sports organizations”.

EGBA warns however against the creation of new or specific IPR rights for sport which will jeopardize the fine balance that exists today between public and private interests and which will raise important internal market and competition law issues.

Sigrid Ligné confirms that “With the upcoming Green Paper on online gambling we urge the Commission to focus its efforts on the enforcements of existing sports intellectual property rights rather than developing new ones.”

- END-

For further information or comment please contact:

Sigrid Ligné: +32 2 554 08 90

Sigrid.Ligne@egba.eu

About EGBA

The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators Bet-at-home.com, BetClic, bwin, Digibet, Expekt, Interwetten, PartyGaming et Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 79.6 Billion GGR in 2008 to € 83,7 Billion GGR in 2012, thus keeping the lion’s share with 87% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, April 2010.

www.egba.eu

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