Public consultation on anti-corruption sports law launched

The Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations Dr Clifton Grima, in the presence of Malta Football Association General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti, launched a public consultation on the proposed anti-corruption bill during a press conference at the MFA Headquarters on Wednesday

The aim of this public consultation is for the Government to present a new law to parliament which shall replace the Prevention of Corruption (Players) Act of 1976. The current outdated legislation would be replaced with a new one which encompasses the changes in the severity of the offence, the increase in bets on sports events, the influence of organised crime in the field of sport manipulation and the increased responsibility placed on stakeholders to protect better the integrity of sport.

The Government is putting forward the following proposals, which are based on the conclusions of the task-force. The new law is to:

  1. Provide a new definition to ‘sports corruption’ which includes the new dimension of the offence;
  2. Widen the jurisdiction for prosecution of offenders;
  3. Increase prison time and fines for offenders, particularly persons who are involved in sports organisations, gaming companies, and public authorities;
  4. Introduce the concept of ‘inside information’ in the definition of ‘sports corruption’;
  5. Disqualify persons convicted of sports corruption offences from attending sporting events in Malta.

MFA General Secretary Dr Angelo Chetcuti said that the association was at the forefront in the battle against corruption in sport and the fact that this public consultation was being launched at the MFA Headquarters was a sign of recognition of the work done by the Anti-Corruption Task Force which included representatives of the government, the opposition, Police, the office of the attorney general, the Malta Gaming Authority and Sport Malta. Dr Chetcuti thanked both past and present members of this task-force for their input. He said the association agreed with having a public consultation on the proposed bill.

Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations Dr Clifton Grima also thanked the task force for their sterling work as he said its members had the right expertise to lay the draft of this law which was now being put up for public consultation. He said he wanted the get the widest input possible.

Dr Grima admitted that although football sometimes steals the limelight, other associations were encouraged to contribute as the main objective was to make sure that any external influence in sport is avoided. He said the current law was approved over forty years ago and one had to accept the fact that things changed and authorities needed the right tools to be able to safeguard the integrity of sport.

Former MFA Vice-President and former UEFA Integrity Officer Dr Chris Bonett, who is now a senior consultant to the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations was also present.

The public consultation document, entitled ‘Protecting the integrity of Maltese sport’, can be downloaded from the website and the suggestions/proposals are to be submitted by 4th October, 2017.