By Mathilde Thibault

On 1 March 2017, the French Parliament adopted a new law on sport’s ethic and transparency.[1] The act amends mostly provisions from the French Sport’s Code but also from the Penal Code, the Education Code and the 2010 Act on online betting and games of chance.

The new act pursues four main objectives:

  • Preserve the ethical dimension of sport and reinforce the fight against professional sport competition manipulation
  • Ensure a better control of the professional sport financing flows and the activity of sport’s agents
  • Improve the competitivity of professional clubs
  • Promote development and visibility of women’s sport

 

The act introduces the obligation for each sports federation to set a Charta on ethic and deontology as well as the creation of a committee in charge of monitoring the respect of the Charta in order to preserve the ethical dimension of sport. These two obligations must be fulfilled at the latest on the 31st of December 2017.[2]

In addition, the presidents of each sports federation and each professional sports league, the president of the French Olympic and Sporting Committee and the president of the French Sports and Paralympic Committee must address to the High Authority for Transparency in public life[3] a declaration on their patrimonial situation as well as a declaration of interests. This declaration must also be done at the latest on the 31st of December 2017.[4]

This promotion of sport integrity echoes at the EU-level the recent report on “Integrated Approach to Sport Policy: Good Governance, Accessibility and Integrity” adopted by the European Parliament on February 2, 2017[5]. According to the House of European Sport, representing the European Olympic Committees (EOC), the objective is “to promote the role of grassroots sport and the development of physical activities in the EU. The economic contribution of sports to society, integrity and good governance in sport as well as accessibility have also been covered by the European Parliament”.[6] The European Lotteries adds that “the report explicitly welcomes the financial contributions made by national lotteries to grassroots sport”.[7] More generally, this also echoes the European sports policy.[8]

To reinforce the fight against professional sport competition manipulation, the act grants the French Online Gambling Regulatory Authority (ARJEL) with new competences with regards to the list of competitions or sports events on which betting is authorized. The president of the Regulatory Authority can also forbid bets on a sporting activity if there is sufficient reliable and consistent evidence that demonstrate a manipulation.[9]

Moreover, sports federations should edict rules that prohibits the bets of the actors of a competition on their own sporting discipline.[10]

Regarding the activity of sports-agents, the act now allows agents that are EEA or EU nationals to conclude a so-called “contracts of presentation” in the limit of one contract per sporting season.[11] This provision grants a limited new right to EEA or EU nationals sporting agents, aligns with French agents current rights.[12] It constitutes a new step for the freedom to provide services but at the same time it limits it.

 

On the better controlling the professional sport financing flows, the act imposes the creation in each federation of a committee in charge of the administrative, financial and juridical control of the association that are members of the federation as well as the activities of the agents. Each year, within the nine months following the end of the sporting season, this committee must establish a public report on its own activity.[13]

Finally, to promote development and visibility of women’s sport, the legislation creates the Permanent Conference of Women’s sport.[14] This new consultative body of the French Ministry of Sport should develop women’s sport practice as well as encourage its media coverage. A decree will determine the composition, the functioning and the mission of this conference. This new Conference follows the spirit of the “Proposal for Strategic Actions 2014 – 2020” of the European Commission that aims to ensure gender equality in sport.[15]

 

[1] https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000034111794&categorieLien=id

[2] Article 1 of the new legislation

[3]More information can be found on the website: http://www.hatvp.fr/the-high-authority/ : “The High Authority for transparency in public life was officially launched in January 2014. It replaced the “Commission on the financial transparency of public life”, whose powers and resources were limited and inadequate to properly verify probity amongst elected and appointed public officials”.

[4] Article 2 of the new legislation

[5]http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P8-TA-2017-0012&language=EN&ring=A8-2016-0381

[6]http://www.euoffice.eurolympic.org/blog/european-parliament-adopts-report-%E2%80%9C-integrated-approach-sport-policy%E2%80%9D

[7] https://www.european-lotteries.org/announcement/new-european-parliament-report-sports-policy-highlights-contribution-lotteries-grassroo, para.71

[8]http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/sport/resources/texts/spdecl_EN.asp? Or https://ec.europa.eu/sport/policy_en

[9] Article 7 of the new legislation

[10] Article 8 of the new legislation

[11] This type of contract must be concluded between a French agent and a non-EU or non-EEA national sporting agent when the latter wishes to exercise its activity in France (Article L. 222-16 of the French Sport’s Code)

[12] Article 11 of the new legislation

[13] Article 12 of the new legislation

[14] Article 21 of the new legislation

[15]http://ec.europa.eu/assets/eac/sport/events/2013/documents/20131203-gender/final-proposal-1802_en.pdf