PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR COMPETITIVENESS AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Malta has requested the withdrawal of its Request For Opinion which it filed with the CJEU on the 8th of July 2014 in regard to the compatibility of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions with the EU Treaties, pursuant to Article 218(11) TFEU. The reason that Malta had submitted the Request for Opinion was to obtain an opinion on whether the definition of “illegal sports betting” was consistent with the objectives of the Treaty, including its scope.
Malta’s position on the Convention has always been made very clear and remains unchanged. Malta has maintained that it fully supports the main objective of the Convention which is to prevent the manipulation of sports competitions. In fact, Malta is currently undergoing an exercise to ensure the implementation of stricter rules and systems to suppress fraud and manipulation in sports. However, Malta has consistently reiterated its concerns on the definition of ‘illegal sports betting’ which goes beyond the scope of the Convention and does not contribute to the fight against match fixing. Malta tabled various proposals for amendment throughout the discussions on the Convention and following the rejection of all such proposals, was compelled to vote against its adoption. Consequently, Malta did not sign the Convention when it was opened for signature in September 2014.
Notwithstanding the submission of the Request for an Opinion in July 2014, a legislative proposal for the Union to proceed was proposed and is now being discussed in Council. Given the developing circumstances, and after examining the legislative proposal, Malta considers that other solutions may be available to it and has decided that, at this stage, it is more appropriate to try to achieve an acceptable state of affairs for Malta through deeper dialogue at the European level, without however renouncing to any of Malta’s rights and prerogatives. For these reasons, Malta will continue to hold discussions at the highest levels within the EU to safeguard this position during the following months.