IOC President reaffirms commitment to fight against corruption, calls for governments to join the effort ahead of UNODC Conference
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, reiterated the importance of strengthening the credibility and integrity of sport in order to safeguard the Olympic values and the power of sport as a vehicle for peace.
Speaking at the General Conference of the International Partnership Against Corruption In Sport (IPACS) in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), ahead of the UNODC Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, he urged governments to join the global fight against corruption in sport.
“We are a values-based organisation. We stand for the values of excellence, respect and fair play. In this sense, we have the double duty to uphold good governance and integrity in everything we do,” said the IOC President.
He continued: “We know we cannot win this fight on our own. We need the support of governments when it comes to anti-corruption legislation and law enforcement. This is why IPACS is so important. It brings together all actors that have a stake in fighting corruption in sport.”
The President addressed more than 250 representatives from governments, intergovernmental organisations, international sport organisations and dedicated expert organisations and presented the initiatives the IOC has taken within the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform programme to strengthen the credibility and integrity of sport. These initiatives range from auditing according to the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS), the new candidature process for selecting hosts of Olympic Games to anti-corruption clauses in the contract with Olympic hosts and stronger rules to prevent misconduct as well as to swiftly sanction such behaviour.
“When it comes to fighting corruption and criminal activity in sport, we in sport only have the disciplinary mechanisms at our disposal which relate to the governance of sport,” said the IOC President.
To the representatives of more than 50 governments attending the meeting, he said: “With IPACS, we now have a platform where we can benefit from your law enforcement capacity. And likewise, through IPACS, we can support you, the government and law enforcement authorities, with regards to investigating criminal activity in the very specific environment of sport. In this way we can mutually benefit from each other’s expertise and we can complement our respective areas of responsibilities.”
The Conference was an opportunity to present the important progress accomplished by IPACS during the last year. Dedicated expert taskforces have worked on a number of issues, ranging from reducing the risk of corruption in procurement relating to sporting events and infrastructure and ensuring integrity in the selection of major sporting events to enhancing compliance with good governance principles and improving cooperation between criminal justice authorities and sports organisations.
Building on OECD standards, IPACS has designed risk assessment tools for the procurement of sports-related infrastructure and contributed to the development of practical guidelines. These guidelines will support and benefit from the expertise of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Organising Committee, and will be made available to other future organisers of Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games and other major sports events. In addition, IPACS is in the process of finalising a study on how to improve the management mechanisms of conflicts of interests within sports organisations. The document, which will be published shortly, makes concrete recommendations and showcases best practice examples from the Olympic and Sports Movement. Regarding good governance in sports organisations, IPACS has also agreed to use ASOIF’s indicators as a basis in order to develop a benchmark for sports governance at international and national level.