The New Law of German Football

A law against match fixing and betting fraud was passed late Thursday by the German lower house of Parliament, the Bundestag, according to German news agency Deutsche Welle.

The new law makes it illegal to conspire to fix sporting events and activities by coaches, referees, or players found face guilty such as up to three years in prison. Cases that are considered very serious by the court are subject to a five-year prison sentence.

In a statement to reporters, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (pictured) reportedly said, “Since other measures don’t work, we have to confront those methods with the instruments available through criminal law,” and, “In this way we will ensure that sport stands for only that which makes them so special; integrity and fair competition. “

Praising the move, the German Football Association (DFB) and the company operating the Bundesliga, the German Football League (DFL), released a joint statement. “These laws are an important building block in efforts to protect the integrity of sport,” said DFL President Reinhard Rauball. He added, “Football will also continue to do everything it can to combat fraudulent betting and match fixing.”

Reinhard Grindel, DFB president, said that the new law allowing authorities to search for venues and surveillance of suspected fixers of match problems was “a very important step in efforts to protect the integrity of the sport,” according to the report.

Also commenting on the new law, Khalid Ali, Secretary General of the European Sports Safety Association, ESSA, said, “Any move to punish match-fixers is a welcome development for betting operators who are intended victims of sports-related betting fraud. However, it is important that the German government also establishes a modern licensing and regulatory system for betting, which brings all the major operators in the network and facilitates partnership work and the exchange of information critical to identifying and punishing such corruption. “

The new law follows the anti-doping law, which was passed by the Bundestag and the second chamber, the Bundesrat, in November 2015 and entered into force the following month after being signed into law by President Joachim Gauck. Like the new match-fixing law, the anti-doping law teaches athletes who test positive for performance-enhancing substances imprisonment.

Dagmar Freitag, chair of the Bundestag committee on sport, reportedly said that the anti-doping law is receiving a lot of international attention and that he is under the impression that the new match-fixing and sports fraud laws “have the potential to be on the cutting edge. “However, when asked whether he believed such a law was an effective way of fighting match fixing or doping, Freitag reportedly answered” yes and no “because the law only applies in Germany. He said, “Doping fraud and betting and match-fixing also have an international dimension, which we cannot fight with our national laws,” according to the report.

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