PRESS RELEASE

First-ever Global Report on Corruption in Sport
flags urgent need for unified, international response
to corrupt practices in sport 

Vienna (Austria), 9 December (UN Information Service)

Up to $1.7 trillion is estimated to be wagered on illicit betting markets each year, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Offering a playbook to effectively tackle crime and corruption in sports by setting out a range of concrete policy considerations, the Global Report on Corruption in Sport also reveals the staggering scale, manifestation, and complexity of corruption and organized crime in sport at the global, regional, and national levels. Developed in partnership with nearly 200 experts from across governments, sport organizations, the private sector, academia, and related stakeholders, it is the most in-depth review of its type to date.

While corruption in sport is not a new phenomenon – fraudulent activities in the running of sports institutions and competitions have been documented from the times of the ancient Olympic Games – the past two decades have witnessed a substantial increase in criminal activities within this area. Indeed, globalization, a huge influx of money, the rapid growth of legal and illegal sports betting, and technological advances transforming the way sport is played and consumed are making it increasingly attractive to criminal networks seeking to exploit sport for illicit profit.

Against this backdrop, the Global Report breaks down an extensive range of issues, analysing the role of illegal betting, competition manipulation, abuse in sport, the susceptibility of major sporting events to corruption, and the involvement of organized crime, among others. It also highlights the changing landscape of sport and its relation to corrupt practices, the existing initiatives to tackle the problem, issues related to detecting and reporting wrongdoing, as well as how existing legal frameworks can be applied to address corruption within this area.

The Global Report comes out at a pivotal time, with increasing emphasis being placed on anti-corruption efforts within all sectors, including the sporting community. The report is launched ahead of next week’s biennial UN anti-corruption gathering, the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 13 to 17 December, where the issue of corruption in sport will be discussed.

Designed for both governments and sports organizations, the Global Report highlights the urgent need to:

  • Strengthen legal, policy and institutional frameworks to prevent and respond to different manifestations of corruption and crime in sport at the global, regional, and national levels.
  • Develop and implement comprehensive anti-corruption policies in sport, with a focus on addressing corruption linked to the organization of major sports events, competition manipulation, illegal betting, and the involvement of organized crime in sport.
  • Promote and increase cooperation and the exchange of information and good practices among sport organizations, crime prevention and criminal justice authorities, law- and policymakers.
  • Enhance the understanding of the interlinkages between corruption and organized crime in sport and develop capacities of relevant government entities and sport organizations to tackle them.

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The UNODC Global Report on Corruption in Sport is available for download from grcs2021.unodc.org.


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For further information, please contact:

Kevin Town
UNODC Public Information Officer
Email: kevin.town [at] un.org