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Integrity vital for Chinese football to achieve long-term sustainable growth: ICSS INSIGHT CEO

22 May: With football in Chinese football experiencing unprecedented growth and record investment, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, ICSS INSIGHT CEO, delivered a keynote address at the World Football Forum and highlighted the vital role that integrity and good governance can play in helping organisations across Chinese football industry and the wider football world achieve long-term and sustainable economic growth.

Speaking during the World Football Forum – which took place in Changsha, China – Emanuel shared his 25 years’ of experience and expertise as a sports lawyer and senior executive within European and world football with senior leaders and investors from the Chinese and global football marketplace.

Speaking at the Forum, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, ICSS INSIGHT CEO, said:

“Football, in China and around the world, has experienced unprecedented growth and commercial success over recent years. Clubs and leagues have become global brands; competitions are now broadcasted around the world, international recruitment and players’ transfers have increased exponentially.

“Whilst this incredible success should be celebrated and applauded, history has shown that there can be a dark side to the beautiful game. Developing and enforcing strong integrity policies is vital for the future of football in China and worldwide, to ensure its long-term development, commercial success and people’s trust and passion.”

During the keynote speech, Emanuel highlighted China’s vision to develop 50,000 youth academies by 2025 as one example of the exciting ambition to grow football in the country, as well as encouraging clubs, leagues, sponsors, as well as other organisations working within Chinese football, to join forces to ensure the highest standards and best practice is followed within their integrity, good governance and compliance regulation frameworks.

As a former CEO of the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), Medeiros also proposed a 7-point “Game Plan” for the future of world football. These recommendations included:

1. Reform football’s governance, at a national and international level, with implementation of the highest standards in terms of democracy, transparency, accountability and meaningful stakeholder representation.

2. Implement club licensing systems throughout all professional competitions, at national and international level, including appropriate sporting, legal, infrastructural and financial requirements.

3. Implement best practice for youth development of young players, covering holistically all areas of the process, including recruitment, training, education and protection of minors.

4. Carry out a comprehensive regulatory reform on club ownership, as a matter of priority, with introduction of effective due diligence and independent supervision.

5. Establish a ‘clearing house’ system, both at national and international level, to ensure effective financial integrity of sport/related financial transactions, such as players’ transfers fees and agents commissions.

6. Regulate and discipline the sports betting market and enhance international cooperation mechanisms, to effectively prevent and combat illegal betting and ensure the necessary protection of consumers (in particular, minors), the integrity of sporting competitions and football’s own economic viability.

7. Support the mission of SIGA (Sport Integrity Global Alliance) and its reform agenda, including the implementation of its core principles and universal standards on good governance, financial integrity and sports betting integrity

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros concluded:

“The threats to the integrity of sport are big, global and increasingly sophisticated. At the ICSS, we are committed to safeguarding sport and sharing our knowledge and expertise with organisations around the world. Only through a global, holistic and multi-stakeholder approach can the sporting industry safeguard its reputation and in positive role in today’s society and economy.”