Sports scandals, including allegations of endemic corruption and the involvement of organized crime, threaten to undermine the sector’s potential to contribute to peace and global development, a senior United Nations official said on Tuesday
Yury Fedetov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), was addressing the opening of a two-day conference in Vienna on safeguarding sport from corruption.
More than 250 participants from 60 countries are attending, including representatives from national law enforcement agencies, the private sector and sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Cricket Council, the International Weightlifting Federation and the global football body, FIFA.
The agenda covers topics such as overcoming corruption in public procurement, addressing match-fixing and countering crimes on an international level such as money laundering, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and cybercrime.
“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. Fedetov told the gathering.
“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.”
Mr. Fedetov recalled that the international community and sports bodies have initiated several measures to address corruption.
For example, the 183 countries party to the UN Convention against Corruption last year adopted a resolution on the subject.
The resolution outlines a range of issues to be addressed, including sports-related procurement, organization of events, match-fixing, illegal betting, as well as good governance.
It also mandated UNODC to support governments and sports organizations to develop international standards, and to provide technical assistance to promote integrity in sports and prevent the involvement of organized crime.