About the Campaign

PROtect Integrity Plus

PROtect Integrity Plus, supported by the Erasmus+ program, in cooperation with the private betting operators (ESSA, EGBA and RGA) is building upon and developing the previous projects.

By educating athletes across Europe on the dangers of match-fixing it has become clear that there is a real need to provide the first European wide, athlete-led reporting system for professional and elite athletes to securely report suspicions of match-fixing. The research conducted during the 2016 PROtect Integrity project confirmed the special relationship and trust between players and their associations, also when it comes to reporting anything suspicious.

The aim of PROtect Integrity Plus project is to introduce the proven Red Button reporting App, initially developed by the Professional Footballers Association of Finland (JPY) and FIFPro, to 3000 professional athletes from 7 EU countries (UK, Ireland, France, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Spain), and 5 different sports (rugby, basketball, handball, volleyball, futsal).

The new version of the App, adapted for the project partners, has been rolled out in June 2018. The eight player associations (AJFS, AJFSF, GIBA, HPVPA, HSF, PROVALE, RPA and RPI) have worked to set up an appropriate reporting system for their sport and country (in partnership with National Platforms or other entities who are report receivers) and now introduce and provide access to the App to athletes during team visits.

Since the new version of the App was rolled out in June 2018, player associations have been delivering the App directly to professional and elite athletes across Europe, whilst also providing face-to-face education sessions on sport betting integrity, the dangers of match-fixing, the requirement to report anything suspicious and how to use the Red Button App. The education is supported with the updated Code of Conduct posters and leaflets that are provided in different language versions.

In addition, a social media campaign conducted by all the project partners and spearheaded by #PROtectIntegrity has been essential to spreading the word about the PROtect Integrity Plus project and the dangers of match-fixing to a wider audience.

PROtect Integrity Plus has been ongoing since January 2018 and will conclude in December 2019. The project has provided athletes from across Europe with a dedicated, safe and confidential online reporting mechanism to enable and encourage them to report anything suspicious.

Action

Match-fixing is recognized as a persistent threat in the world of sport. EU Athletes is committed to ensuring that its member athletes are educated about sports betting integrity issues and the dangers of getting involved in any form of match-fixing.

EU Athletes has been leading the way in developing and promoting effective education programmes for players on sports betting integrity and the prevention of match-fixing. Thanks to the funding from the European Commission and the private betting operators (EGBA, ESSA and RGA) we have been able to provide sports betting integrity education to tens of thousands of professional and elite athletes across a variety of sports and throughout Europe, since 2010.

The most important part of the athlete education programme is that it is delivered through face-to-face sessions by the player associations who are known and trusted by the players. This form of education delivery to athletes across Europe is labour intensive, but one that has proven to be the best way to get messages to players.

Education by the member associations has also been supported by the creation of the Code of Conduct for Athletes that focus on 5 key messages, as well as support materials such as flyers and posters, in order to make sure that all the athletes are properly educated about sports betting integrity and understand the risks of match-fixing. The PROtect Integrity website, along with the use of social media throughout successive projects have been essential in reaching athletes and a wider audience about the dangers of match-fixing.

History

EU Athletes was founded in 2007, to represent the collective views of European players to governments and sport organizations. We are a leading European multi-sport federation of player unions and athlete associations with 35 national member organizations in 17 different countries in a wide variety of different sports. We represent more than 25.000 professional and elite level athletes through membership.

EU Athletes has also been integrated into the wider labour movement as a member of the World Players Association, the professional sports sector of UNI Global Union. EU Athletes is a recognized stakeholder by the European Commission and the Council of Europe and is represented on different working groups, bodies and events.

In 2010, EU Athletes, with the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) came together to form an innovative partnership to educate professional and elite athletes about the dangers of match-fixing. This cooperation has developed and led the way in sports betting integrity education. Together we developed and published the first Code of Conduct for athletes on sports betting issues. This set the guidelines on sports betting integrity issues for professional and elite athletes and has been widely circulated, copied and adapted throughout sport.

In 2012, our education partnership with the private betting operators EGBA, European Sports Security Association (ESSA) and Remote Gambling Association (RGA) was recognized and supported by the European Commission, who provided additional funding that allowed the education on match-fixing to expand across Europe.

The 2016 PROtect Integrity Erasmus+ project, which was co-financed by the European Commission and the private betting operators EGBA, ESSA and RGA provided face-to-face education to nearly 15,000 European elite level and youth athletes in 11 countries (Denmark, Greece, France, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, France, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom) and at least 10 different sports (basketball, cricket, cycling, football, Gaelic sports, handball, ice hockey, indoor football, rugby, water polo, individual sports). The education was supported by the creation of athlete friendly key messages on posters, leaflets, through social media and the PROtect Integrity website.

The current PROtect Integrity Plus project has been a buildup of nearly a decade of relevant work on the issues of match-fixing that follows:

  • 2010/11 – Pilot Project
  • 2012/14 – Preparatory action
  • 2016/17 – Erasmus+ 2016 PROtect Integrity (with EU funding)
  • 2018/19 – Erasmus+ PROtect Integrity Plus (with EU funding)