How to Weed Out Corruption from Sports

Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC
Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC

The international community must step up responses to prevent corruption and organized crime in sports and major sporting events, said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Tuesday.

Mr. Fedotov spoke at the opening of a conference on safeguarding sport from corruption, organized by UNODC, in partnership with Brazil, China, India, the Russian Federation and South Africa.

The two-day event brought together over 250 participants from national law enforcement agencies, anti-corruption and sport organizations as well as private sector entities of over 60 countries.

“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,” Mr. Fedotov continued, describing the meeting as an opportunity to build on this momentum, share resources and good practices.

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“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,” he added.

Mr. Fedotov highlighted UNODC’s work to tackle corruption in sport and emphasized the importance of partnerships with the International Olympic Committee, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and others to promote sports integrity worldwide.

He went on to welcoming efforts by Member States, including the adoption of resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport at the seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in November 2017.

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Supported by 183 States parties to the Convention, the resolution represents a significant milestone in addressing corruption in sport. It sets out a wide range of issues that need to be addressed and measures to tackle this problem, including procurement, organization of sport events, match-fixing, illegal betting, protection of reporting person and good governance.

The conference address challenges, including detecting corruption and enforcement, overcoming corruption in public procurement, addressing match-fixing and countering convergences with other crimes such as cybercrime, human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Also participating in the event were representatives from the Asian Football Confederation, FIFA, the International Cricket Council, International e-Sport Federation, International Olympic Committee, International Weightlifting Federation, Tennis Integrity Unit and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Photo courtesy: UNODC

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Rakesh Raman