As a founding member of the House of Sports (HoS) in Brussels and as Official Partner of the European Commission in the European Week of Sport, ICSS INSIGHT recently organised a high-level debate on Good Governance and Financial Integrity in Sport during the EU Week of Sport.
Co-organised with the European Commission, the debate brought together high-level speakers from the sport, academia, EU institutions and civil society to reinforce the overall objectives of the EU Week of Sport as well as raise awareness of the key financial integrity, governance and reputational challenges currently facing the sports industry at the moment.
Using some of the conclusions of ICSS’s FITS (Financial Integrity and Transparency in Sport) Global Project, the session highlighted the need to develop greater support for initiatives that encourage public authorities, sport organisations and civil society to strengthen and modernise good governance standards in sport, as well as the need to further enhance regional and international cooperation to restore public trust and further support the sports movement in its integrity and governance efforts.
Speaking in his opening remarks at the session, Diogo Guia, Director for Sport Public Policy at ICSS INSIGHT, said:
“Good governance and financial integrity are paramount to safeguard sports’ long-term interests and future development.
“With regular integrity issues now affecting organisations across the industry, sport is confronted with a growing crisis in public trust and confidence. As a result, the need for action, global leadership and a modern, multi-stakeholder approach is more important than ever and concerted and collaborative action is being demanded from all corners of the sporting industry, as well as the general public and wider society.
“The House of Sports partners believe that the collaborative and multi-sector approach that it represents, while rooted in the core concepts of democracy, transparency, accountability, integrity and stakeholder representation, is invaluable to restore trust and uphold sport at all levels of our society.”
In addition, the session also explored ways that the sports industry can accelerate reform to ensure that sport matches the expectations and needs of citizens, including highlighting the need for organisations in sport to modernize the way they operate and are organized, as well as how sport can enhance the active and positive role in society.
Jens Nymand-Christensen, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission on Education and Culture, highlighted the priority that the European Union has been giving to good governance in sport along the years – in particular through the EU Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020.
He also acknowledged the dramatic evolution and impact of the socio-economic trends that has transformed many sports over recent years. This in turn, he said, reinforces the need for a more ambitious reform process to modernise governance standards within the sport industry, which still generally adheres antique structures and is unable to respond quickly to 21st century challenges or to meet the expectations of society. In addition, Nymand-Christensen also highlighted other emerging challenges for sports organisations, including the level of inclusion and gender equality.
João Paulo Almeida, Director-General of the Portuguese Olympic Committee (COP), who co-chairs SIGA’s Task Force on sport betting integrity and is actively engaged in several ERASMUS+ projects in the fields of financial integrity and good governance in sport and sport betting integrity, recalled the recent remarks from IOC President, Thomas Bach, that if the sports organisations don’t change themselves, they will be changed.
He also highlighted that only through enhanced transparency, ambitious training and proper internal regulations is it possible to ensure sustainable reform and counter opacity and conflicts of interest, stressing that such reform relies on the proactivity and leadership of governments and other relevant stakeholders, including sponsors, broadcasters and civil society.
To read more about the EU Week of Sport, please visit https://ec.europa.eu/sport/week_en