The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) in Doha signed a new partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 15 April 2015 to strengthen cross-border investigations and prosecutions into match-fixing and the manipulation of sports competitions.

The agreement took place on the sidelines of 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which is taking place at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) from 12 to 19 April 2015. Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, witnessed the agreement signing ceremony between UNODC Executive Director, HE Yury Fedotov, and President of ICSS, Muhammed Hanzab.

Speaking of the agreement, HE Fedotov said:

The threat of organised crime and how it now uses match-fixing, corruption and illegal betting are issues that sport, law enforcement and government cannot shy away from. They are transnational problems that affect every level of society. Working with UNODC Member States and in conjunction with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), this partnership with one of the world’s leading experts in sport integrity will provide investigators and prosecutors at the front-line with the right tools and resources to combat match-fixing, as well as organized crime’s growing involvement in sport. Today is an important step forward in the fight to safeguard sport and I would encourage governments, law enforcement agencies, international sports organisations, as well as the public and private sector, to implement the measures that will be developed as part of this partnership with the ICSS.’

Announced at a high level meeting at the UN Crime Congress DOHA 2015 exploring global data-sharing for effective investigations and prosecutions in match-fixing, the agreement will see the ICSS and UNODC work together and develop a number of programmes to support the fight against match-fixing and illegal betting, as well as safeguarding major sport events against corruption.

Hanzab said:

Match-fixing has a profound impact not just for sport but on wider society. It affects people from all walks of life across many countries around the world. As a result, match-fixing is an issue that governments, as well as sport, cannot ignore any longer and simply must address. As the global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime, the UNODC will be an important partner for the ICSS and this landmark partnership is a crucial stepping stone in the fight against match-fixing and organised crime. By empowering those investigators and prosecutors working in the field and giving them with the right tools and legislative powers, sport and governments can confront match-fixing, as well as address new tactics now being used by organised crime. At the ICSS, we strive on a daily basis to protect sport and enable it to confront the growing dangers that it now faces. This partnership with the UNODC is hopefully the start of new dawn for sport and will hopefully result in a new framework that recognises match-fixing as a global crime. ICSS and UNODC announce new partnership to strengthen investigations and prosecutions into match-fixing and the manipulation of sports competitions.’

Programmes that will be developed as part of the ICSS-UNODC agreement include capacity-building training programmes for key organisations from sport, government and law enforcement, organisation of sport integrity awareness seminars; establishing a task force to provide ad-hoc specialist advice, including legal assistance and developing technical tools and resources in the area of sport integrity.

Over the coming months, the ICSS and UNODC will also begin work to develop a special training resource aligned with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) that will identify key themes related to prosecutions and investigations into match-fixing which can be implemented by criminal justice and law enforcement authorities.

Key areas that will be explored by the UNODC and ICSS comprise of cooperation between national authorities and the private sector, effective investigation means /techniques, seizure and confiscation, lifting of bank secrecy, protection of whistle-blowers, mutual legal assistance, liability of legal persons and enhancing and/or creating legislation around the manipulation of sports competitions, including match fixing across all sports.

As part of the development of this handbook, special working groups involving experts from the ICSS, as well as international and intergovernmental organisations including UNESCO and the Council of Europe, will be established with the UNODC to set out the structure and content, as well as the development of specific modules exploring the links between match-fixing and organized crime, corruption, money-laundering and other forms of crime.

The ICSS-UNODC training manual will also complement a separate handbook the ICSS will develop with the Council of Europe and sport law experts from Sorbonne University focusing on information exchange between governments and the sport movement.

The ICSS is an international, independent and not-for-profit organisation based in Doha, with an aim to improve security, safety and integrity throughout the world of sport; the ICSS works with governments, federations, clubs, leagues and event organisers.

The ICSS provides expertise, services and global knowledge – advising on event and venue safety, strategic security and investigations into corruption in sport.