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FOOTBALL ACCOUNTED FOR ALMOST 70% OF ALL CASES OF MATCH-FIXING BETWEEN 2008 AND 2020, WARNS GARCÍA SILVERO

FIFA’s Director of Legal and Compliance, Emilio García Silvero, from Spain, warned that football is the sport that was most involved in match-fixing cases between 2008 and 2020, with almost 70 percent of such cases relating to the sport, at the ISC Webinar, the digital meeting promoted by the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economía (ISDE) held on Thursday as part of the ISDE Sports Convention (ISC) activities.

FIFA’s chief legal and compliance officer warned that of the 45-55 cases that the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has analysed on match-fixing in the period 2008 to 2020, almost all, 68 per cent, are in football, and 18 per cent in tennis.

Under the title ‘Football and match-fixing: CAS case law and court rulings in Spain’ and moderated by the Assistant Director of Iusport, Irene Aguiar, the lawyer from LA Coruña and ISDE professor referred in his talk, among other things, to the sporting and criminal consequences of investigations such as the Levante-Zaragoza or the ‘Osasuna case’

“The CAS case law has set a path that can be applied in Spain. From Spain it can be seen as a very distant body, but the ordinary Spanish courts of justice are increasingly taking its decisions into consideration,” said Emilio García Silvero, who gave as an example the recent ruling in April 2020 by the Navarra Provincial Court on the Osasuna-Betis match of the 2013-14 season, which resulted in the first prison sentence for sporting corruption in Spain.

García Silvero stressed that the world of sport “has protected itself” against match-fixing and recalled that UEFA has the power to make a club “ineligible” for a season if, like Portugal’s Porto, it is involved in a case of sporting corruption.

The former Head of Legal Services at the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also stressed that it is “difficult for Spanish jurists to understand the principles applied” by CAS, and pointed out that FIFA has provided a match monitoring service to deal with the “global” and “complex” problem of match-fixing. “Our main mission is to inform people that match-fixing is a real situation and one that will be sanctioned,” he said.

This was the eighth ISDE Webinar during the state of health emergency decreed by the COVID-19 pandemic, within the ISC, the congress on sports law and industry organised by ISDE, in collaboration with LaLiga, the Madrid Chamber of Commerce and the Madrid Bar Association.

The other speakers were the Brazilian lawyer Daniel Cravo, expert in sports law at ISDE and member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Football Lawyers (AIAF); the Director of the Women’s Football Department of LaLiga, Pedro Malabia; and the Brazilian lawyer and ISDE professor Marcos Motta, who reflected on the challenges facing the transfer system and football agents in the face of the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.

The heads of eSports at Movistar Ander Pérez and Guillermo Mañas spoke about a social phenomenon, eSports, which has audiences in the millions. The Directors of As.com and Marca.com, Luis Nieto and Emilio Contreras, and the Assistant Director of the legal portal Iusport, Irene Aguiar, addressed the challenges and the near future facing sports journalism in the post-coronavirus era, and the lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo spoke about sports arbitration in times of COVID-19 and the legal consequences caused by the postponement or cancellation of major sporting events.

Finally, LaLiga’s Head of Compliance and Internal Control, Esperanza Bernal-Quirós, and Senn Ferrero Sport & Entertainment lawyer Ángel Chavarría underlined the need for compliance programmes in the management of professional football clubs.

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