Detecting corruption and crime in sport key to protecting its integrity

Detecting corruption and crime in sport key to protecting its integrity

Vienna, 14 February 2019 - Over 40 international experts from Government, Sports Organizations, academia and the private sector gathered today at the headquarters of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to reflect on how to develop effective mechanisms to promote reporting of unethical, illicit and illegal activities linked to sport.

During the meeting from 14 to 15 February, the experts analysed the different and significant risks of corruption and criminality which have accompanied the dramatic evolution of sports. They also made proposals aimed at developing reporting mechanisms that are tailored to the world of sport and which will enhance detection and reporting on these threats.

Based on these exchanges, UNODC and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), will develop a handbook with the ultimate aim of assisting sports organizations, governments, and relevant stakeholders in the development and implementation of effective reporting mechanisms for use in sport.

Candice Welsch, Chief of UNODC's Implementation Support Section, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, highlighted the importance of effective reporting mechanisms in detecting crime and corruption and also emphasized the need to "move away from knee-jerk reactions to scandals in sport and focus on developing systematic reviews of governance and introduction of anti-corruption measures such as effective reporting mechanisms." The key to safeguarding sport, she said, is to "detect any cases of wrongdoing in order to prevent or disrupt those looking to exploit sport for illegal or illicit gain."

Pâquerette Girard-Zappelli, IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer noted that "To offer confidential and trustworthy reporting mechanisms is an important responsibility of sports organizations. The IOC has implemented its ' Integrity and Compliance Hotline' since 2015 and various other sports organizations have since followed suit."

To have such a mechanism in place is a requirement under the 'Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions'. As this Code is part of the Olympic Charter since 2017, it is binding on all International Sports Federations on the Olympic Programme to implement such a reporting mechanism.

The collaboration of UNODC and the IOC will assess existing mechanisms, analyse best practices and provide guidance in establishing and implementing mechanisms for reporting potential breaches of integrity in sport, particularly manipulation of competitions.

Further information:

UNODC's work on Safeguarding Sport

UNODC and International Olympic Committee enter partnership to tackle corruption in sport

Prevention of competition manipulation