SIGA calls for united front against corruption in sport
For International Anti-Corruption Day, SIGA held a special session at which global leaders called for a united front to safeguard sport from corruption.
SIGA, the Sport Integrity Global Alliance, has called for a united front against corruption in sport to protect it from threats posed by organised crime and other bad actors who seek to take advantage of sport for their own nefarious ends.
As part of International Anti-Corruption Day, SIGA held a Special Session on Global Leadership & Anti-Corruption in Sport, where high-level participants focused on the need for action to eradicate corruption from sport, in order to ensure the trust of fans and sponsors. The entire special session is available to watch on the SIGA YouTube channel.
This newspaper is a proud media partner of SIGA, and stands by the organisation in its efforts to ensure integrity in sport and the need to fight corruption, through strong regulation and independent scrutiny of sport’s governing bodies. The director of AS USA, David Nelson, spoke at the special session to call for action against corruption: “What needs to be done is for sporting organisations to make it part of their mission and explicitly part of their core values, to have integrity at every level of the organisation. The great thing is that if things are done properly at the highest level that tends to ripple out through the organisation, leading to higher standards of integrity at every level, right down to the action on the pitch, in the pool or on the track.”
SIGA also used the Special Session to launch its Sport Integrity Journal, a quarterly publication, that will act as a touchstone for sport integrity for all stakeholders. The aim of the journal is to empower change and assist knowledge exchange between everyone involved in sport, while tackling vital sport integrity themes from a range of perspectives.
SIGA carried out a Survey on Sport Integrity, with the results being announced at the special session. The first question asked ‘Which are the most vulnerable areas in sport?’, with the SIGA members and Committed Supporters who took part in the survey seeing club ownership and player transfers as the potentially most worrying areas, followed fairly closely by sport betting.
The second questions asked ‘What are the most pressing integrity reforms’. Here the respondents see clearly that having universal standards on sport integrity is the most pressing reform needed, which would be achieved by sports organisations adopting SIGA’s universal standards, and ensuring they are adhered to by going through SIRVS, SIGA’s Independent Rating and Verifications System. European Rugby League recently became the first organisation to go through the process, earning silver certification.
The survey is being kept open to follow the public view on these matters and will be updated in January next year.
SIGA anti-corruption statement
SIGA released the following statement on their call to action against corruption:
"Global leaders got behind the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) on International Anti-Corruption Day and called for a united front to safeguard Sport from the growing threats posed by corruption and transnational organised crime. Addressing the whole sporting industry, as well as governments, international organisations and the global business community, during SIGA’s Special Session on Global Leadership & Anti-Corruption in Sport, all voices converged to the need to take action and show results on the fight against corruption in Sport.
Recognising SIGA’s vital role, the high level participants expressed strong support towards SIGA's Universal Standards on Sport Integrity and Independent Rating and Verification (SIRVS), and incited the Sports Movement to adopt them.
SIGA Chairman Franco Frattini stated:
“The International Anti-Corruption Day marks the common objective of eradicating corruption. SIGA is focusing on Sport corruption, which is being aggravated. Organised crime is attracted by Sport because it is a very profitable field. We note the growing phenomena of corruption in many fields of Sport. The very recent scandals, including the serious investigations carried by the Italian finance police, relating to financial data manipulation, cross buying, and football players’ transfers to avoid tax payments continues.
Commenting on the recent progress made by the G20 and the role of SIGA, Chairman Frattini added:
The G20 Italian Presidency recognised the very important contribution offered by SIGA, by suggesting practical solutions, such as SIRVS. We are proud to have provided input to the G20 High Level Principles on Tackling Corruption in Sport.”
Lorenzo Salazar, Deputy Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Transactions, General Prosecutor, Naples Appeal Court, Contact Point, EUROJUST:
“I welcome SIGA’s proposal to put in place Universal Standards on Sport Integrity and an Independent Rating and Verification System (SIRVS), which will be very useful to restore people’s trust in Sport. SIRVS is the solution to assess, rate and certify in an independent manner, organisations’ levels of compliance with SIGA’s Universal Standards on Sport Integrity. I express the wish that this very important set of standards from SIGA will constitute a model for future initiatives in the same direction.”
Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini, Chair of the G20 Italy Anti-Corruption Working Group:
“Corruption distorts the market, undermining the rule of law. We need to protect Sport from any form of corruption. We have adopted in the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group Activity an action plan considering Sport as an emerging risk, by the increasing relevant of all corruption in Sport, both at the professional and amateur level. I want to thank SIGA for all its efforts and for including corruption in Sport in the multilateral agenda as an emerging issue”.
During this Special Session, SIGA launched the Sport Integrity Journal.
The inaugural edition of SIGA’s latest editorial initiative is the Touchstone for Sport Integrity Matters and it is focused on “Global Leadership and Anti-Corruption in Sport”.
The digital publication brings together a wide range of insighful analysis and forward-thinking perspectives from a wealth of thought leaders representing different stakeholder groups and some of the world’s most renowned leaders in the fight against corruption.
The Sport Integrity Journal is available quarterly and is a free to access, online publication that focuses on matters pertaining to Sport Integrity. The upcoming edition will be published in March 2022 and will be specifically dedicated to “Good Governance & Female Leadership in Sport”.
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, SIGA’s Global CEO, stated on the launch of the Sport Integrity Journal:
“SIGA is working towards the evolution of Sport’s governance and integrity. We have done a lot, but we must do more, and find new and innovative ways to disseminate best practice, share knowledge and unite stakeholders behind this critical cause. The Sport Integrity Journal is one of those ways. It is a dynamic and interactive amplifier and a catalyst for progress.
SIGA’s Global CEO called for implementation of the reforms that are needed:
“If we want to have a frank discussion about Sport’s current state of affairs, we have got to address the elephants in the room! Sport is facing an exponential corruption crisis on a global level. Regrettably, this new tsunami of criminal investigations and prosecutions show - six and a half years after the FIFAGate - that lessons have not been learned from what happened in the past. Sport needs a paradigm shift. The reforms that sport urgently needs and should have been implemented in the last 20, 15, 10 years, have not been implemented. We have to move from rhetoric to meaningful culture change. The need for courage and global leadership is greater than ever”.
Macedo de Medeiros concerns and call for action are backed by the results, revealed during the event, of the SIGA Survey on Sport Integrity. The Survey was conducted amongst SIGA’s Members and Committed Supporters and show that Club Ownership (169) and Player’s Transfers financial transactions (164) are among the most commonly identified vulnerabilities of Sport. On the other hand, the implementation of SIGA’s Universal Standards on Sport Integrity (230), the establishment of a Clearing House for sport-related financial transactions (226) and SIGA Independent Rating and Verification System (SIRVS) are the top three pressing reforms highlighted by the participants."