Corruption and sports

Significant risks of corruption and criminality have accompanied the dramatic evolution of sports over the last decade, resulting in activities designed to exploit the above for illicit and often illegal gain. At the national level, while States, sports organizations and associated stakeholders have attempted to assess, mitigate and tackle these risks, often in a reactive manner.

The main reasons for this are limited or non-existent domestic legislation, inadequate coordination and cooperation between relevant stakeholders such as sports governing bodies, law enforcement and private sectors, the complexity of illicit and illegal activities linked to sports, as well as the lack of resources devoted to address these issues represent significant obstacles and the potential for high profits for criminals. In addition, awareness about the role played by organized crime in sports by investigators and other officials is limited, and the issue is often not prioritized by law enforcement authorities and sports organizations.

As these threats have been identified and publicised, there is growing recognition that more efforts need to be undertaken and resources devoted to tackle them effectively. While many national initiatives are underway, there is also a realisation that many of the most profitable illicit and illegal activities involve a strong international dimension. Taking this into consideration, States, sports organizations and related stakeholders are looking to use and enhance international frameworks to support address these risks.

Resolution on Corruption in Sport

Indeed, the need to comprehensively address these risks at the international level was very recently recognized with the adoption of resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport, by the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption at its seventh session, held in Vienna from 6 to 10 November 2017.

The resolution represents a significant milestone in addressing corruption in sport, not least the fact that it was supported by the 183 States parties to the UNCAC. It covers a wide range of issues, including that of competition manipulation and given that it is now available in all official languages of the United Nations.

The English text of the resolution can be found here.

The different language versions can be accessed through the links to the official report of the conference below. Readers should look for resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport:

Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

  • Information provided by States parties and report on sport integrity highlighting preventive measures and enforcement activities
    - Submissions made by States parties at Seventh Intersessional Meeting of the Working Group on Prevention (22-24 August 2016) : English
    - Report on Integrity in Sport: English
  • The United Nations Convention against Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events
    English French Russian
  • 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
    English Vietnamese
  • UNODC-IOC Study: Criminal Law Provisions for the Prosecution of Competition Manipulation
  • Resource Guide on Good Practices in the Investigation of Match-Fixing
    English Vietnamese

Ronan O’Laoire (Mr.)
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
T: +43-1-26060-5637