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Minister Ring to focus on match-fixing during Irish Presidency

Speaking after yesterday’s Europol revelations on match-fixing, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring said he will focus on protecting the integrity of sport as Chair of the EU Council of Sports Ministers during the Irish Presidency of the EU.

“A major challenge currently facing sport is the threat to its integrity caused by dishonesty, and which goes completely against the principles of sport. Recent developments have yet again highlighted the corruption that can exist in some areas of sport, from athletes trying gain an advantage from taking banned substances, to criminal syndicates attempting to pervert fair competition for financial gain.

“We cannot simply assume that the sort of activity highlighted by Europol this week is a problem that will not affect Ireland. We need to play our part internationally and cooperate with the relevant authorities to ensure that this problem does not impact sport in Ireland.

“While recognising that sport policy remains a matter for Member States, the new EU competence for sport allows the EU and Member States the opportunity to work more closely together to address issues of common interest and share best practice. It also gives us the opportunity to speak with one voice at international level, particularly in areas such as the fight against doping, which is a particular concern of mine and the fight against corruption in sport. Working together we can strive to better protect the integrity of sport through targeting cheating at all levels and promote healthy, fair and enjoyable sport.

“The Council of Europe has begun negotiations on an International Convention against manipulation of sports results and Ireland will participate in these negotiations. The Irish Presidency will follow closely international developments on the issue of match-fixing, while leading efforts at EU level.”