European Commission funds Betting Industry-Backed Player Education Project

Brussels – The joint EU Athletes and regulated betting sector’s pioneering player betting integrity education programme has received a huge boost in funding from the European Commission. The five-year-old programme has received €488,305, ensuring that it continues for another 2 years, kicking off in January 2016 until the end of 2017.

EU Athletes programme is backed by the private betting sector trade bodies, the RGA, EGBA and ESSA, which between them will also commit additional funding on top of what has already been committed by the European Commission.

Jean-François Reymond, General Secretary of EU Athletes, welcomed the European Commission’s decision, stating: “This is the second allocation of significant funding by the Commission to this project. It’s a recognition of the success of our partnership with the betting sector. It will allow us to improve our education tool set, enhance our outreach programme directly to players and also increase the visibility of the #PROtectIntegrity campaign. Players associations are in the front line to preserve the integrity of sporting competitions in Europe.”

EU Athletes will now set about developing and implementing a range of new and existing tools to communicate its 5 key concepts: know the rules; don’t bet on your sport; be careful with inside information; fixing any part of a match is a serious offence; and report anything suspicious. Of particular interest is an exciting new social media campaign #PROtectIntegrity specifically designed to help EU Athletes to expand the project to new sports and countries and target larger audience.

Khalid Ali, Secretary General of ESSA, one of the betting sectors’ funding partners, praised EU Athletes education programme, “It is a world leader in its field and continues to innovate and deliver effective and focused programmes safeguarding both sport and betting markets. Many of the education projects initiated by other bodies are based on the core components of the EU Athletes programme, underlining its impact.”

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA added: “Continued cooperation between the European Commission, betting operators and athletes associations is vital to safeguarding the integrity of sports in Europe. We are therefore delighted that funding of the betting integrity education programme for a further two years is to be provided jointly by the Commission and by representatives of the licensed betting industry.”

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA said: „The EU athletes programme ensures young athletes are educated on the risks of match fixing. The continued private and public funding by Europe’s betting industry and the European Commission allows this essential programme to continue for another two years.“

The European Commission’s Erasmus+ funding results can be accessed here.