Corruption and sports

The world of sports has gone through dramatic evolution resulting in many challenges and opportunities. Factors such as increasing professionalization and expansion of scope of the sports industry, combined with a diverse and multifaceted approach to regulation and governance of sports organizations, has resulted in many benefits.

However, a major downside is that some of the associated risks of this evolution for sports organizations and law enforcement agencies as well as other stakeholders have not been adequately assessed or mitigated.

Furthermore, law enforcement has faced considerable constraints in investigating and successfully prosecuting cases linked to corruption in sports, such as match-fixing and illegal betting. The reasons for this are numerous, including limited or non-existent domestic legislation, low levels of coordination and cooperation between relevant stakeholders such as sports governing bodies, law enforcement and private sectors and growing complexity of activities around sports competitions. In addition, awareness about the role played by organized crime in sports by investigators and other officials seems to be limited and the issue has not been viewed as a priority.

The challenge is to bring together relevant stakeholders, and which possesses recognised legitimacy and expertise to develop international standards, create practical tools and deliver technical assistance to promote good governance and prevent corruption in sports.

By approaching corruption and involvement of complex international criminal activity through the prisms of both criminal justice and the interests of sports organizations, considerable expertise and know-how of a multitude of different stakeholders can be brought to bear.

Mandate of UNODC in the area of Promoting Good Governance and Mitigating the Risk of Corruption

At the sixth session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 2 to 6 November 2015. In paragraph 7 of resolution 6/6, "Follow-up to the Marrakech declaration on the prevention of corruption ", the Conference:

"Recognizes the importance of protecting integrity in sport by promoting good governance in sport and mitigating the risk of corruption that sport face globally, requests the Secretariat to continue, in cooperation with relevant international organizations, partners and donors, to develop studies, training materials, guides and tools for Governments and sports organizations to enable them to further strengthen measures in this area, and acknowledges the work that has already been done by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in this regard, in particular the development of studies and guides with the International Olympic Committee and the International Centre for Sport Security".

The seventh session of the Working Group on Prevention that was held from 22-24 August 2016 focused on integrity in sports. The background paper on Integrity in Sports, submissions from States and presentations can be found here.


  • Information submitted by States parties
  • The United Nations Convention against Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events
  • Training Materials - Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events
  • Criminalization approaches to combat match-fixing and illegal/irregular betting: a global perspective
  • UNODC-IOC Model Criminal Law Provisions for the Prosecution of Competition Manipulation Booklet
  • UNODC-IOC Study: Criminal Law Provisions for the Prosecution of Competition Manipulation
  • Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Investigation of Match-Fixing