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We welcome all comments regarding the information provided on this site and how it has been prepared. Feedback and criticism are always welcome at email@example.com or +43 1 90340.
Association law (Verbandsrecht)
Association law is classified as “(...) the self-imposed laws of the sports (...)” and includes statutes, rules, guidelines, and policies to determine the rights and duties of the association members.1
Accordingly, the association’s statutes—including the positions of the professional sports associations and possible penalties for rule violations—are also considered part of association law.
n 2015, the Play Fair Code launched a campaign for implementing minimum disciplinary standards against match fixing and for integrity in sports. As part of this campaign, all Austrian professional sports associations were provided with recommended texts for creating a superstructure (a commitment to integrity in sports) and substructure (penalty mechanisms and duty to report). In the meantime, a good deal of progress has been made on implementing the regulations. The document is available for downloading at the link at the bottom of this entry.
Furthermore, the sample regulations give an impression of what penalties are to be faced under association law in the event of match fixing. The specific versions can be found in the regulatory provisions of the respective professional association.
Guidelines for implementing rules governing the disciplinary measures in the area of integrity in sport and match fixing by the Austrian Federal Professional Sport Associations (document dated January 28, 2015, available only in German)
Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt)
“The Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office, or BKA, represents state-of-the-art crime control throughout Austria, and it serves as a point of contact for police cooperation at both the national and international levels.”1 Within the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office, which is part of Austria’s Ministry of the Interior, the responsible unit is 3.1.6 “Betting fraud, doping, and pharmaceutical crime” in office 3.1 “Organized Crime”.2
The interventionist investigative work of the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office in combination with the preventative work of the Play Fair Code—along with the synergy effects that arise from this collaboration—are aimed at keeping Austrian sports free of corruption and manipulation. This requires a trusting partnership between the BKA and PFC.
The term blackmail is understood to mean a “demand accompanied by or accomplished through threats or violence.”1
This problem can be transferred to any areas associated with corrupt practices. As a result, match fixing that has been carried out in the past is also a lucrative driver of blackmail because, after a fraudulent betting proposal has been accepted or made even one time, the sports actors must live the rest of their lives with knowledge of the fact that the discovery of their actions (even after their careers have ended) can have dire consequences.2
“The offense of blackmail is to be penalized in accordance with Section 144(1) of the Criminal Code. “Any person who compels a person to do, acquiesce in or refrain from doing any act, (...) shall be (...) punished by imprisonment for at least six months and up to five years.”3
Charta des Play Fair Code
Eine Charta kann ebenfalls als Urkunde oder unterfertigte Erklärung bezeichnet werden.1 Sie ist als eine Verpflichtung zu verstehen, dass die im Dokument aufgeführten Inhalte in beidseitigem Einvernehmen unterstützt und durchgeführt werden.
Das zentrale Ziel des Play Fair Code ist der Schutz des österreichischen Sports vor Spielmanipulation und Wettspielkriminalität, welches der unterfertigende Partner/Verband ausdrücklich fördert. "Dieses Ziel, die damit verbundenen Maßnahmen und die Aktivitäten des Play Fair Code werden vom unterzeichnenden Verband unterstützt."2
Alle ordentlichen und außerordentlichen Mitglieder des Play Fair Code haben diese Absichtserklärung unterfertigt. Eine Einsicht in die aktuellste Fassung ist über den Download-Bereich möglich.
The personal consequences for a sports actor, in other words, the implications and effects of taking part in match fixing can vary widely.
These may be:
of a criminal nature (see Fixipedia entry)
relating to labor laws (firing):
In accordance with article 1 of Section 27 of the Salaried Employees Act (Angestelltengesetz), important reasons for terminating employment before contract completion include situations in which the employee...
– “(...) is guilty of an act which making him or her seem unworthy of the trust of his or her employer” or
– “(...) is prevented from performing his or her duties (...) due to a longer period of imprisonment or due to absence over a period of time considered under the circumstances to be lengthy.”
Along with others, these sections cited here apply in the case of match fixing considering, for instance, bans issued under association law which prevent the player from practicing his or her profession (see Fixipedia entry).
relating to association laws (see Fixipedia entry)
of a financial nature (legal costs, loss of income due to losing employment)
or of a social nature (condemnation).
Consequences for the world of sports—resulting from the loss of integrity and credibility—can be driving away viewers (in the stadium, in front of the television). Proceeds from ticket sales and media rights will drop. Sponsors turn away from certain sports during times of credibility crises. Overall, financial means are withdrawn from the effected sports. In addition, the financial damages of betting manipulation remain on the side of the sports betting operators.1
Contact is generally understood to be meeting or making contact with a person.1
In the case of planned match fixing, the fraudsters can make contact directly/personally, or indirectly, through middlemen. In addition to meeting personally, channels of communication include social media, telecommunications channels or other forms. Players in the world of sports have to be aware that contact can take on diverse forms. They should maintain a healthy skepticism towards any requests for contact at all times.
The contact is step 1 in the phases of match fixing.
Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions (Europaratskonvention gegen Wettbetrug)
On June 2, 2016, former Austrian Minister of Sports Hans-Peter Doskozil signed the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, which among other things, represents “the belief that an effective fight against the manipulation of sports competitions requires increased, rapid, sustainable, and properly functioning national and international cooperation.”1
Accordingly, the purpose and main objective of the Convention is therefore to “combat the manipulation of sports competitions in order to protect the integrity of sport and sports ethics in accordance with the principle of the autonomy of sport.”2 Additionally, national platforms will also be established. These are also described in the Fixipedia.
The English version of the Council of Europe Convention can be downloaded under the menu item "National platforms".
Credibility lends the attributes of reliability and the justification of this belief.1 It is one of the key values in the media and business, as well as in sports.
“(Match fixing and betting crime) undercut the credibility (...) of the test of strengths in sports thus endangering sports in its relevance to society and the economy.”2
The Play Fair Code supports this position and fights to support the credibility of sports.
Criminal code (Strafgesetzbuch)
The criminal code “(...) comprises the entirety of the legal provisions in which the conditions for a crime and its legal consequences are defined.”1
Generally speaking, the criminal theories can be divided into absolute and relative theories. Absolute criminal justice theories place the emphasis on penalizing the wrongdoing and establishing state order (in other words, merely repressively punishing the crime), while relative criminal justice theories take a preventative approach and attempt to minimize the crimes before they are carried out.
The potential application of the criminal code is documented in Fixipedia among other things for the offenses of fraud, blackmail, money laundering, insider trading, and match fixing.
The significance of fair play, in other words, fairness and adherence to values, norms, and rules, has always been elementary to sports. Holding sports competitions would be impossible without the concept of fair play. In respect to football, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) defines fair play as “a healthy attitude toward the game and specifically the adherence to rules of play, as well as respect for other players, referees, opponents, and fans.”1
Match fixing and betting fraud destroy this fair play and thus, in the long term, the concept of sports.
Fraud is the willful deception or misleading of other (legal) persons.1 In a sports context, match fixing, betting fraud, and even doping are classified as fraud against those who trust in the fairness and integrity of sports competition.
Fraud, as well as serious fraud as defined in Section 147 of the Criminal Code — which includes match fixing involving significant financial damages — can result in heavy penalties under criminal law. For it to be considered a criminal offense, the fraud must constitute a property crime. Match fixing can result in financial damages, for instance, for the bookmaker who quotes the odds for the games without knowledge of potential bias. “A person who commits fraud resulting in damages in excess of EUR 5,000 shall be punished (...)” by imprisonment for up to three years.2 Considering the case of betting fraud and the unlawful payment of winnings by the sports betting operator, the damages can easily exceed this limit depending on how these winnings are assessed.3
The punishment is even more drastic once the damages exceed EUR 300,000: “A person whose offense causes damages in excess of EUR 300,000 shall be punished by imprisonment for up to ten years.”4
Hazards for sports (Gefahren für den Sport)
In addition to match fixing and betting crimes, corruption, doping, discrimination, and violence also represent major hazards for the integrity of sports.
Generally speaking, corruption is defined as the “abuse of vested powers for personal benefit or advantage.”1 The complexity of corruption (including in sports) becomes clear on the basis of this definition. The majority of corruption cases in sport are related to illegitimate influence over decisions by sports associations (awarding major events, elections to offices) or prohibited influence of sports competitions.2
The definition of doping is equally complex. “The offenses and actions comprising a violation of anti-doping regulations are listed” in the World Anti-Doping Code.3 A simplified overview of the types of violation can be found on the homepage of the National Anti-Doping Agency Austria (NADA). This clarifies that not only the consumption of substances forbidden in sports is penalized.
According to the City of Vienna, discrimination is “any sort of unjust disadvantage and unfair treatment of individuals or groups due to various (...) features.”4 Furthermore, there are situations in sports in which physical, psychological, and sexualized forms of violence are used. The Austrian fairplay Initiative is involved in fighting these hazards, among others.
The Play Fair Code, NADA Austria and the fairplay Initiative in Vienna joined to create a constructive network for upholding sports values.
Insider trading (Insiderhandel)
Originally, stock market insider trading (also referred to as insider transactions) was known as “buying and selling securities on the basis of company information that has not yet become public. An insider is prohibited from utilizing such information and is also prohibited from sharing this information with a third party.”1
According to Section 163(2) of the current revision of the Gesetzesentwurfes zum Bundesgesetz über die Wertpapier- und allgemeinen Warenbörsen 2018 [Austrian Draft Federal Act on Securities and General Commodity Exchanges 2018], a person “(...) who, as an insider, has insider information and makes a recommendation to a third party (...) to buy or sell (...) financial instruments related to the information” shall be punished.2 Penalties can range from six months to five years of imprisonment.
Insider knowledge can also be exploited in the sports betting market. Knowledge of injuries, team line-ups, internal conflicts, and outstanding salaries can be utilized by both sports actors and betting fraudsters. To this extent, the explosive nature of insider trading in sports can certainly be considered comparable to its significance on the stock market.
Any person who aims to profit from insider knowledge through sports betting or who passes such knowledge along to a third party is punishable under congruent association laws in Austria. For instance, Section 114(1) of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) Disciplinary Regulations applies for football in Austria. The penalty can range from warnings, (functional) bans, monetary fines, deduction of points, exclusion from competition, and enforced relegation to expulsion from the association.
Integrity can also be defined as decency or purity.1 Furthermore, integrity also refers to the reputation and the trust that is put in a product/sector.
Integrity in sports which is existential for the being of sports competition, is violated by doping practices, match fixing, and betting fraud schemes. As early as 2015, the president of the German Football Association (DFB), Reinhard Grindel, took a public stand in support of a German law aimed at safeguarding integrity in sports.2 This certainly demonstrates the relevance of protecting integrity in today’s world.
The Play Fair Code was founded in 2012 with the goal of protecting integrity in Austrian sports.
Match fixing (Spielmanipulation)
“Match fixing (...) is defined as influencing the events within a match or the outcome of a sporting event for (a) personal gain. This could be a competitive advantage, for example avoiding relegation at the end of the season or a favorable placing in a competition. Another advantage is from manipulating a game with the aim of generating a (financial) profit by betting on the outcome (or expected outcome, see the Fixipedia entry on spot fixing).”1
Match fixing jeopardizes the integrity, credibility, and attractiveness of sports. To illustrate INTERPOL’s definition in an even more striking way, the Fair Play Code differentiates between the following types of manipulation, listed here with examples:
“Betting fraud is one of the most flourishing categories of crime in the modern age. Profits are enormous, (international) legal prosecution is complicated, and penalties are laughably minor compared to drugs or human trafficking.”6
Members and sponsors (Mitglieder und Sponsoren)
This section lists the current members and sponsors of the Play Fair Code along with their internet sites. The comprehensive preventative work engaged in by the Play Fair Code to combat match fixing and betting fraud is possible only through their recognition and support.
Money laundering (Geldwäsche)
“Money laundering is understood to mean concealing the illegal source of income from certain criminal activities, the underlying offenses."1
This means that illegally obtained funds are invested in financial market, among other things, so that the “criminal” money is washed in return for “clean” money. Money laundering (and along with it, the financing of acts of terrorism) is prohibited in Austria and can be penalized among other things under Sections 165 and 278d of the Austrian Criminal Code.2
Gambling and sports betting are also attractive for money laundering. A study conducted in 2014 found that more than EUR 100 billion is “washed” through the sports betting market every year.3 Money laundering by organized crime through manipulated games is highly attractive due to the enormous volumes that can be exchanged on the international sports betting market. Despite the international nature of the crime, the affected games offered on the global sports betting market may also involve Austrian sports.
Monitoring refers to the permanent observation of a certain thing.1 This tool is frequently used to safeguard control.
The Play Fair Code understands monitoring to be analyzing and observing the course of play and results of matches. Since 2009, Sportradar has offered its Fraud Detection System (FDS) service to examine the legal international betting market to identify disproportionate wagers and conspicuous betting patterns. Sportradar currently monitors 17 different sports for their respective clients.2
According to article 13 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, EU nations should create a national platform to address manipulation of sports competitions. The platforms should “(...)
a) serve as an information hub, collecting and disseminating information that is relevant (...) to the relevant organizations and authorities;
b) coordinate the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions;
c) receive, centralize, and analyze information on irregular and suspicious bets (...) and, where appropriate, issue alerts;
d) transmit information on possible infringements (...) to public authorities or to sports organizations and/or sports betting operators;
e) cooperate with all organizations and relevant authorities at national and international levels (...).”1
In cooperation with the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office (on the intervention side), the Play Fair Code (on the prevention side) de facto already handles the responsibilities of a national platform in Austria.
The most up-to-date and important developments related to the Play Fair Code will be sent out in a compact and convenient format in its newsletter. Subscribing and unsubscribing is possible at any time, and the newsletter is of course a free service.
An offer is a proposal made to someone. The proposal can relate to goods, but it can also relate to actions.1
Match fixing refers to offering sports players something in return for executing a specified act on the playing field. That consideration offered in return for taking part in match fixing can be money but can also be material assets (cars, televisions, etc.). Another attractive proposal may be debt forgiveness for a player mixed up in gambling or sports betting. For instance, the convicted former German football referee Robert Hoyzer, who manipulated games in 2004 in Germany’s second and third (regional) divisions as well as in the DFB-Pokal (German Cup), received EUR 67,000 and a plasma television from the fraudsters for his actions.2
The offer is step 2 in the phases of match fixing.
Office of the Ombudsman
As generally defined, the Office of the Ombudsman is the office or the panel “(...) that acts as an impartial arbitrator to attempt to reach resolution in a problem between two parties outside of the courts.” 1
However, points of contact, service points, and confidential whistleblower contacts are also referred to as ombudsmen. The Play Fair Code Office of the Ombudsman — located in the law firm of Niederhuber & Partner Rechtsanwälte — serves as a point of contact for information about match fixing that has already occurred or is being planned and helps in scenarios where help is required.
“Organized crime is defined as the methodical perpetration for reasons of profit or power of offenses that each, separately or collectively, have a considerable impact by more than two persons acting together for a prolonged or indefinite period of time with a division of tasks in which they
a) use commercial or business-like structures;
b) use an appeal to violence or other means of intimidation; or
c) exert influence on politics, the media, public administration, the judicial or the business world.”1
Organized crime is now also active in the sports betting market and uses match fixing, among other things, as a financing tool. “It is much too serious for that. Organized crime runs its business almost to perfection. It pushes into markets and gaps that present themselves. Sports, in this case. In some ways, sports act as a helpless victim to these crimes, while in others, an active participant.”2
The preventative and informational work conducted by the Play Fair Code is elementary in minimizing players’ participation in prohibited betting transactions.
Moreover, passing information on to criminal organizations is symbolic for membership in them and is a crime in accordance with Section 278(1) of the Criminal Code—not only committing crimes or violent offenses: “A person founding a criminal organization or participating as a member in one shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years.”3
Play Fair Code Charter
A charter can also be referred to as a document or signed declaration.1 It represents a commitment to the mutual support and implementation of the contents contained in the document.
The key objective of the Play Fair Code is to protect Austrian sports from manipulation and betting crime, which the signing partner/association explicitly endorses. “The undersigned association endorses this objective, the associated measures, and the activities of the Play Fair Code.”2
All ordinary and extraordinary members of the Play Fair Code have signed this statement of intent. The most up-to-date version can be downloaded in the download section.
Play Fair Code Statutes
The statutes are the written legal framework serving, for instance, as the basis for an association.1
The actions of the Play Fair Code are subject to the independently prepared statutes, which are available under “Charter, statutes and resolution” in the Download area. The purpose of the association is defined in the Play Fair Code statutes under Section 2, which states
“(...) 1. Prevention of manipulation in sport,
2. Creation of broad social awareness of honest and fair sport,
3. Creation of an awareness of responsibility amongst all actors in the full range of professional and amateur sport,
4. Promotion and implementation of information, explanation, education and advice relating to honest sport in the public realm and the economy,
5. Representation of the concerns of honest sport in collaboration with national and international sporting organizations, sporting associations, sports betting providers, other sporting platforms and other specific specialist organizations,
6. Production of surveys and reports on the theme of honest sport (and)
7. Collaboration with authorities and the public administration.”2
Match fixing takes on diverse forms—and the webs of characters behind these are even more diverse—and each form depends on the individual nature of the crime. In order to get a rough picture of who could potentially be involved in match fixing, it is worth looking into the INTERPOL Training Needs Assessment 2013: This report identifies players/athletes, referees, criminals/fraudsters (including those outside of sports), trainers, managers, managing directors (and other functionaries), former players/athletes/functionaries, brokers and consultants to players, members of the referee associations, event organizers (sporting events or sports leagues), as well as bookmakers and their employees as potential target groups.1
The relatives and acquaintances of these actors can also be added to the list, among others, making it clear that narrowing down the list is simply impossible. For an example of the involvement of relatives and acquaintances, see the Karabatic case.
In general, prevention is understood to mean avoiding or averting individual or societal wrongdoing or nuisances.1
Accordingly, there are many fields of prevention that have gained in terms of sensitivity and relevance, like violence prevention, preventative health and corruption prevention.
Education about the topics of match fixing and betting crimes in sport is critical due to the difficulty of identifying the international interdependencies within the crime rings and the globally operating sports betting market. “Prevention is essential.”2
Raising awareness (Bewusstseinsbildung)
Raising awareness is done in an attempt to create a state of certainty. The aim is to transfer findings and knowledge and, by means of this, serve as a persuasive influence.1
As one of the key concerns of the Play Fair Code, raising awareness is aimed at educating people about the hazards that arise from match fixing and betting criminality. Training courses are offered for young players as well as for players in semi-professional and professional sports.
Recognition refers to the (early) identification of events based on certain characteristics.1
Concerning the world of sports, it is fundamental that unlawful influences on all players are recognized at an early stage. In order to guarantee this, the training programs of the Play Fair Code include examples of how people are approached and how contact is established (see Fixipedia entry on contact). Incidentally, a sample training module can be found in the download section of our website.
“Recognize” is one of the three pillars of the 3 R’s (recognize, resist, report) taught by the Play Fair Code.
Reporting means presenting the facts of an issue or events and allowing others to share in the knowledge.1
When players in the world of sports obtain knowledge of planned match fixing or match fixing that has already taken place, they should make a report to the competent authorities immediately. Reports can be made at any time to the Play Fair Code Office of the Ombudsman.2 The Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) also has an Office for Reporting Betting Fraud, among other things.3
Under the laws governing associations, most sports in Austria stipulate a duty to report; in football, for example, see Section 115 of the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) Disciplinary Regulations.4
Reporting is also one of the pillars of the 3 R’s (recognize, resist, report) taught by the Play Fair Code.
Resisting means not giving in to an offer or an action and opposing it.1
In the case of offers to fix matches, players are on the safe side if they resist personally and report the issue immediately.
In this way, long-term consequences are ruled out and sports competitions are protected at the same time (see Fixipedia entry).
According to Section 2 of the Vienna Betting Act (Wiener Wettengesetz), sports betting is “(...) a gambling contract between the betting operator and those persons who, in return for payment of a chosen wager amount, make a prediction in a legally binding way as to the outcome of a sporting event which, at the time the bet is concluded or brokered, is to take place in the future, in the hope of winning a prize promised in the event that this prediction is correct.”1
To put it another way: The customer bets a fixed amount on a set rate and hopes to profit financially should his forecast prove accurate. The profit is calculated by multiplying the wager amount times the rate.
Because the global sports betting market has grown rapidly, more and more types of sports are being offered. The range extends from popular sports like football, tennis, and cricket to now include betting on futsal, floorball, and darts.2 In football, in particular, amateur and youth leagues are now being offered in addition to the professional leagues.
Sports betting at fixed rates is conducted from fixed locations at betting shops or online through websites, whereby the largest market share is currently held by online betting.
Spot fixing refers to the manipulation of secondary aspects of a sports competition not necessarily directly impacting the outcome.1
Examples of such aspects include throw-ins and lost toss-ups in football, deliberately missing a 180 turn in darts (playing 177 points instead by throwing a triple 19), a (deliberate) double fault in tennis, deliberately missing century break (more than 100 points in a single turn) in snooker, or a time penalty in handball. Because global operators have these so-called in-play betting markets, betting crime is now able target these types of match and competition situations and in this way also destroy the integrity of sports.
In respect to match fixing, underperformance is defined as the deliberate withholding of the maximum capabilities. When it comes to match fixing, this makes sense to the extent that a defeat due to deliberately weak performance is certainly feasible, while a desired victory in a sports competition always depends on the performance of the other team or competitor.
Classic examples of withholding maximum capabilities include
which illustrates the many facets of unfair play in sports
“Whistleblowing involves providing information about wrongdoing in companies, universities, administrations, etc. The whistleblower is generally an employee or a customer and is reporting based on their own experiences. He or she informs intermediaries or media or turns directly to the public.”1
One current example of whistleblowing in the world of sports involves the former director of the Russian anti-doping laboratory called the Anti-Doping Center, Grigory Rodschenkov, who revealed his knowledge about Russia’s state-sponsored doping program during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi to investigating authorities.2
Reporting concerning forbidden and prosecutable actions is even more important in order to prevent such deeds at an early stage and thus to safeguard the integrity of sports The Play Fair Code Office of the Ombudsman is the appropriate point of contact in such cases related to the issues of match fixing and betting fraud.