EU report boosts odds in favor of OPAP

BRUSSELS – The European Parliament yesterday approved a report on sport that offers significant political support to the efforts against the full abolition of OPAP’s monopoly in games of chance in Greece. The report, drafted by New Democracy MP Manolis Mavromatis, does not directly reject the opening up of the market, but calls for a legal clause that will force part of profits from sports betting to be granted for purposes strictly of public benefit, such as sports and culture. It goes on to stress that at present revenues from state betting help to fund many amateur sports and that its protection is, among other things, a guarantee of transparency and the continued funding of causes such as amateur sports. It also considers it vital that sports be safeguarded from any «abusive behavior.» There were other major issues for sports that the report touched on, such as television rights: The European Parliament is asking for the recognition of the possibility of collective sales of TV rights for all clubs in a country, along with ensuring financial solidarity toward the smaller professional clubs. The report was approved by a large majority. It constitutes the EU Parliament’s stance on the White Paper on Sports prepared by the European Commission.