Outline of the initiative
1. Holding international sporting events is associated with high risks of corruption. Compared to other areas, organization of major competitions has certain specific features that increase its vulnerability to unethical practices. In particular, being selected to hold a major international sporting event is often a matter of a country prestige. The pressure to overcome other bidders may create corruption-prone environment. It is no less important that organizing major sporting event is always an expensive exercise. Thus as any other large scale government project it creates opportunities for the potential abuse of public office for private gain. In preparation and organization of a major sporting event corruption can take place at different stages and in different forms: from bidding process and interaction with international sport organizations to corruption in procurement of infrastructure and equipment, undue licensing and sponsorship practices to manipulation of results. Therefore, to fight corruption in sports comprehensive system that includes multifold and diverse remedies needs to be established.
2. However, international character of major sporting events gives multilateral community additional opportunities to influence the way it is awarded and organized. It could be done by streamlining bidding and awarding procedures, setting up relevant procurement, licensing and sponsorship standards as well as conducting oversight via international commissions. Being in the glare of international attention marks out organization of major sporting events from many other high-risk areas that are primarily dealt with at domestic level. It gives reason to believe that enhanced international cooperation in this field may yield especially promising results.
3. A plethora of important initiatives in fighting corruption in sport is now being implemented by multilateral organizations, international sports organizations and federations, business and civil society. Some of the most recent projects are listed in Annex A to this Outline. At national level increasing attention is also being paid to sports integrity issues. A number of countries, including G20 members, have recently adopted important legislation to promote transparency and accountability in awarding and organizing major sporting events, combatting match-fixing as well as other undue practices.
4. Most initiatives being now implemented in this field are innovative and practically useful. However, a significant drawback of the present situation is that the existing projects are somewhat isolated and disintegrated. As a result, different stakeholders involved in fighting corruption in sports are not fully aware of what is being done within similar projects. The lack of communication and cooperation may lead to duplication of efforts and make it more difficult to take into account relevant experience – both positive and negative. Another important consequence is that the anti-corruption agenda in sports may become unbalanced with some topics – for example, match-fixing and illegal betting – being brought to the forefront while others receiving less attention.
5. As far as national legislation on combating corruption in sports is concerned, the issues remain the same. The methods countries apply to tackle corruption and promote integrity in sports differ significantly. However, unlike with certain other types of anti-corruption regulation, the comparative studies on different approaches to combating corruption in sports are still very rare and necessary resources – e.g. relevant “legislation libraries” – are lacking.
6. We believe that the time is ripe to review what is being done in the framework of various projects, compare existing problems and corruption risk areas, put together possible solutions proposed by different countries and organizations and finally – try to combine efforts and build a common ground for cleaning out corruption in sports.
7. One of the possible and feasible ways to accelerate progress in achieving these goals is to set up an umbrella platform for different stakeholders involved in anti-corruption efforts in sports as The Global Alliance for Integrity in Sports. The Global Alliance will not be a substitute for existing projects, but rather a multilateral forum where governments, business, international and professional organizations, and civil society will discuss existing problems, share ideas, experience and useful policy tools, launch anticorruption projects and jointly make strategic decisions. It will ensure the synergy of the interrelated initiatives, thus making anti-corruption efforts more effective.
8. The idea of developing the Global Alliance was initially put forward by Russia at the Third Annual High-Level Anti-Corruption Conference for G20 Governments and Business held in April 2013 in Paris. The proposal was warmly welcomed by the UNODC and the OECD. It was then agreed to organize a special event on the margins of the 5th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC to discuss possible approaches to establishing and developing the Alliance. The Global Alliance initiative was further discussed by the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group and finally was supported by the G20 Leaders. In the St. Petersburg Declaration the Leaders “commended the efforts to fight corruption in organization of sporting, cultural and other major international events and welcomed the initiative to develop a Global Alliance for Integrity in Sports”. The G20 will continue to pay special attention to the issues of integrity in sports. In particular, the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group agreed to consider to develop in 2014 a compendium of best practices in combatting corruption in sports at the national level.
9. In order to establish the Global Alliance and make it operational at least two steps could be taken.
10. First, as a common ground for the Global Alliance a set of high-level principles could be developed, for example, in the form of the Global Pledge, Declaration or Resolution that would be signed or in other way adopted by the members. The high-level principles could address key aspects of strengthening integrity in sports, including assessing the nature and scope of corruption risks; disseminating best practices in financial management, procurement, licensing, and sponsorship; promoting basic standards in fighting match-fixing and other illegal practices in sports at national level; providing anti-corruption education and training; enhancing cooperation and coordination of actions at regional and international levels, including assistance in corruption investigations; building consistent dialogue with international sports organizations, business and civil society on sports integrity issues, etc. The high-level principles could be based on the relevant anti-corruption tools, including the UNODC Corruption Prevention Checklist for Organization of Major Public Events as well as various guidelines and best practices reports by the OECD, World Bank and other international organizations on public procurement, licensing, distributing broadcasting rights that have proved their applicability, but have not been much used in the field of organizing sporting events.
11. Second, it would be highly useful to have a regular event, e.g. an annual Global Alliance for Integrity in Sports conference, to bring together representatives of the relevant national regulatory bodies as well as other stakeholders involved in promoting integrity in sports and collaboratively move the agenda forward. In order not to put additional financial burden on countries, such an event could be held, at least at the initial stage, on the margins of large-scale anti-corruption events.
12. Though the idea of the Global Alliance was initially put forward within the G20 process, it was clear from the very beginning that the Alliance should definitely go beyond the G20 format and be open for joining by as many countries as possible. It is also crucially important to develop effective forms of cooperation with sports organizations and federations, as well as international organizations with a mandate to deal with (aspects of) this matter. The Global Alliance is now envisaged as an intergovernmental initiative. However, for the Alliance to be able to get public support and achieve practical results, business and civil society should also be involved. Thus, special attention should be paid to identifying appropriate ways of participation and status of private companies and civil society organizations within the Alliance.