Director General/Executive Director
Ladies and gentlemen,
For the United Nations, sports have the potential to bring the world together, to contribute to peace and development, and inspire young people to make good, healthy choices.
But corruption and the involvement of transnational organized crime threaten to spoil sports integrity.
The complex organization and tight timeframes involved in hosting major sporting events present opportunities for large-scale corruption, even where well-established regulatory systems exist.
Crooked practices such as match fixing and illegal sports betting not only threaten the credibility of sport, but are dangerously linked to money laundering and other forms of organized crime.
That is why the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is committed to supporting initiatives to promote integrity and good governance in sport, and to help safeguard major sporting events against corruption.
The best way to tackle corruption and organized crime is through a multi-stakeholder approach that strengthens the capacities of law enforcement agencies and sports organizations, while harnessing the expertise and experience of international organizations, the private sector and others.
The UN Convention against Corruption, as well as the and the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, provide a solid framework for such cooperation.
Building on this framework, UNODC is working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and other partners to develop international standards, create practical tools and deliver technical assistance to improve criminal justice responses.
We have developed, in close collaboration with the IOC, model criminal law provisions for policy makers on how to prosecute competition manipulation, as well as an in-depth study on the criminalization of competition manipulation across the globe.
Focusing on protecting large scale sports competitions from corruption, UNODC has produced a guide and training to help officials develop a strategy to safeguard against corruption in major public events.
We have also published a guide to help officials in both sports organizations and law enforcement to cooperate to detect and investigate match-fixing.
As the high interest and strong participation in this Forum today underlines, the importance of integrity and accountability in sports governance, and the commitment to strengthen them, are not limited to sports organizations, but shared by a wide spectrum of stakeholders.
This is to be welcomed, as the benefits of a holistic approach will allow us to draw on a much wider pool of expertise and resources.
To support this, UNODC is helping governments and sports organizations to work together to build capacities and be more proactive, strategic and systematic in strengthening core areas, including awareness raising and preventive measures.
This forum represents an important opportunity to generate momentum and ensure that the international community remains engaged in this fight.
UNODC recognizes the vital contribution that sports can make to the empowerment of individuals and communities, as well as to health, education and social inclusion all over the world.
We look forward to further strengthening our work with the IOC and all our partners to stop corruption, thwart the involvement of organized crime and promote integrity in sports.