Director General/Executive Director
Ladies and gentlemen,
Sports and major sporting events bring the world together. They can help to build bridges, promote fair play and inspire young people to make good, healthy choices.
I am sure many of you, like me, remember the Olympic Games and World Cups you cheered on with your families. And that you can recall the names of your sports heroes like they were childhood friends.
But sport is in crisis.
Scandals related to sport or its governing bodies have become depressingly common reading, with allegations of endemic corruption and involvement of organized crime.
These stories and scandals are threatening to undermine the potential of sport to contribute to peace and to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Action is needed.
Recognizing this, Member States, sports bodies, the UN and other partners have embarked on several initiatives to tackle corruption in sport.
Just last year, there was the 2nd International Forum for Sport Integrity, organized by the International Olympic Committee; UNESCO's International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport, held in Kazan, Russia; and the launch of the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport, or IPACS, in December.
The 7th session of the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Vienna in 2017 adopted resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport.
Reinforced by the near-global coverage of the Convention, with its 184 States Parties, the resolution represents a significant milestone in addressing corruption in sport.
It sets out a wide range of issues to be addressed and measures to be promoted, including sport-related procurement, organization of events, match-fixing, illegal betting, and more broadly, good governance.
Taken together, all of these efforts underline the strong political will to stamp out corruption in sport by preventing, detecting and sanctioning those responsible for undermining the integrity of sport.
The resolution also mandated UNODC to support governments and sports organizations by bringing together relevant stakeholders to develop international standards, create practical tools and deliver technical assistance to promote integrity in sports and prevent involvement of organized crime.
We do this by promoting effective national and international cooperation and coordination; supporting governments and Sports organizations to strengthen and enforce regulatory and legislative frameworks; strengthening direct measures to prevent corruption in the management and governance of sports organizations; and raising awareness, and helping to sensitize and build the capacity of staff in relevant law enforcement agencies and sports organizations.
UNODC has published A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events, drawing on the Convention.
Corruption cannot be viewed or tackled in isolation. Anti-corruption action in sport must also be cognizant of the risk of convergences with other crimes, including money laundering, but also cybercrime, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, to name just a few areas that will be addressed at this conference.
A particular focus of our Office's work has been countering match-fixing, given the dangerous linkages it has with money laundering and other forms of organized crime.
In close cooperation with the International Olympic Committee, we have developed model criminal law provisions for policy makers on how to prosecute match-fixing, accompanied by an in-depth study on the criminalization of competition manipulation across the globe.
With the support of the International Centre for Sport Security, we launched the Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Investigation of Match-Fixing. This is available in English and will soon be published in all official UN languages.
In all of our efforts to combat corruption and organized crime, UNODC emphasizes the need for multi-stakeholder approaches, which can set international standards and build capacities, while harnessing the expertise and experience of all actors.
IPACS, of which UNODC is a core member, is a great example of such an initiative.
Our Office is also grateful for the strong support of the International Olympic Committee to coordinate international efforts to strengthen integrity in sport.
We also value our close cooperation with the European Commission, UNESCO and sports organizations including the Asian Football Confederation, FIFA, UEFA and World Rugby, as well as many others.
I would also like to thank the co-organizers of this conference, Brazil, the Russia Federation, India, China and South Africa, for their support.
UNODC also appreciates Russia's support by way of a voluntary contribution, which has enabled a number of you to take part today.
Ladies and gentlemen
This year represents the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
There is a growing understanding and appreciation that actions taken to safeguard sport from corruption in fact represent an investment, with clear economic and social benefits.
This meeting is an opportunity to build on this momentum, share resources and good practices, and support all stakeholders in proactively implementing resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport.
Together we can promote integrity, stop criminals from exploiting sport for illicit gain and harness the power of sport as a force for development and peace.