Malta task force urges government to replace ‘inadequate’ sports integrity laws

Malta gambling, police and sports stakeholders have asked for the government to review national sports integrity laws and policy, as existing legislation is no longer viable within a digital context.

A sports anti-corruption task force consisting of Malta Football Association (MFA), Malta Police, the Attorney General and the Malta Gaming Association have presented a draft bill to the government seeking to replace existing legislation which dates back to the 1970s.

Among its provisions, the task force seeks for tougher sentences of athletes and sports officials charged with breaching sports corruption laws. Furthermore, Malta sports clubs, associations and governances will face significantly greater fines should they be implicated in any form of sports corruption or match fixing.

Of particular concern to task force stakeholders is the outdated framework of existing policy, which does not take into account modern sports consumption and online betting practices.

A FIFPRO study published in 2016 revealed the Malta Football’s Premier Division to be the 8th most corrupt league out of 53 professional leagues reviewed. For a number of years concerns have grown regarding Asian betting syndicates influence on Maltese professional football.

The jointly drafted bill has gained cross-party support from numerous Malta MPs, who wish to implement new legislation quickly in order to replace existing inadequate provisions. Speaking to The Times of Malta  Sports Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius commented on the bill

“We believe we must have the rules which are strict and can serve as a bigger deterrent because we are dealing with organised crime. It is a work in progress and may be amended further, but at some point, it will no longer be in the remit of the task force and will have to be taken up by the government.”