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Corruption in sport initiative

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Sport is a multi-billion dollar business engaging billions of people. It is also a global symbol of fair play and a source of great joy for many people on this planet, whether participating, attending or watching events.

With so much public involvement, political influence and money at stake, corruption remains a constant and real risk. Mounting scandals around match-fixing, major events and elections, and systemic deficiencies in sports governance are now so undermining public trust that it is reaching a tipping point.

Keeping sports clean is therefore a global imperative. Our goal is to ensure that sport can continue to “create a way of life based on (…) the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles” (Olympic Charter).

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Cover image of Global Corruption Report: Sport

Latest: Ireland’s horror week in sport: perpetrators and victims of the unOlympic Games

Gareth Sweeney, editor of Transparency International's Global Corruption Report: Sport, takes a look at Irish involvement in Olympic scandals, both as a perpetrator and a victim. Read more

Latest: FIFA: another own goal?

Deborah Unger, media contact for sport at Transparency International, explores the ramifications of recent decisions by the new FIFA leadership in the context of the ongoing reform process. Read more

What we're doing

Transparency International aims to mobilise wider audiences in the fight against corruption through connecting the sports community to the wider movement against corruption. This ‘Corruption in Sport Initiative’ includes partnerships with experts, supporters and sponsors through new research, analysis, dialogue and key recommendations. Transparency International’s focus areas are:

  • Improving the governance of sport organisations
  • Strengthening the integrity of the bidding, awarding and hosting of major sporting events
  • Preventing and combatting match-fixing

On 9 April 2015, we began publishing new analysis and commentary by leading experts in the field. We will continue to release new material linked to key sports events. Readers can sign up for updates here.

This content was updated and published as Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report by Routledge in February 2016. Read an introductory blog post by the series editor, Gareth Sweeney.

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Articles, analysis and commentary

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Executive Summary – Global Corruption Report: Sport
Gareth Sweeney, Transparency International

Full Global Corruption Report

1: Governance of sport: the global view

1.1 Introduction: Sport as a force for good
Bob Munro, Mathare United FC / Kenyan Premier League

1.2 Fair play: ideals and realities
Richard H. McLaren, McLaren Global Sport Solutions

1.3 Autonomy and governance: necessary bedfellows in the fight against corruption in sport
Jean-Loup Chappelet, IDHEAP Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration

1.4 Obstacles to accountability in international sports governance
Roger Pielke Jr, University of Colorado

1.5 Political interference, power struggles, corruption and greed: the undermining of football governance in Asia
James M. Dorsey, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

1.6 Corruption in African sport: a summary
Chris Tsuma, Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)

1.7 Impunity and corruption in South American football governance
Juca Kfouri, Folha de São Paulo

1.8 Indicators and benchmarking tools for sports governance
Arnout Geeraert, Catholic University of Leuven

1.9 Examples of evolving good governance practices in sport
Michael Pedersen, M INC

1.10 For the good of the game? Governance on the outskirts of international football
Steve Menary, freelance journalist for World Soccer and contributor to BBC World Service's World Football | Blog post

1.11 Image-laundering by countries through sports
Naomi Westland, Amnesty International UK

1.12 Opening the door to corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
Miklós Ligeti and Gyula Mucsi, Transparency International Hungary

1.13 Challenges and approaches to ensuring good governance in grassroots sport
Mogens Kirkeby, International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA)

1.14 The Code of Ethics for sport in the Municipality of Milan: a grassroots approach against organised crime
Paolo Bertaccini Bonoli, Transparency International Italy and Caterina Gozzoli, Catholic University of Milan

2: Money, markets and private interests in football

3: Events in the spotlight

3.1 The multiple roles of mega-events: mega-promises, mini-outcomes?
Martin Müller, University of Zurich

3.2 Who bids for events and why?
Scarlett Cornelissen, Stellenbosch University | Blog post

3.3 The problem with sporting mega-event impact assessment
Eleni Theodoraki, Edinburgh Napier University

3.4 Corruption and the bidding process for the Olympics and World Cup
Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College

3.5 Compromise or compromised? The bidding process for the award of the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup
Stefan Szymanski, Michigan Center for Sport Management

3.6 The planning and hosting of sports mega-events: sources, forms and the prevention of corruption
John Horne, University of Central Lancashire

3.7 Corruption in the planning of major sporting events: open issues
Wolfgang Maenning, Hamburg University

3.8 Malpractice in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and the renovation of Shivaji Stadium
Ashutosh Kumar Mishra, Transparency International India

3.9 Preventing corruption ahead of major sports events: learning from the 2012 London Games
Kevin Carpenter, Principal & Consultant, Captivate Legal & Sport Solutions

3.10 The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: who stands to gain?
Oleg Golubchikov, University of Cardiff

3.11 The need for transparency and monitoring ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia
Anna Koval and Andrey Jvirblis, Transparency International Russia | Blog post | Сообщение блога

3.12 Sporting mega-events, corruption and rights: the case of the 2022 Qatar World Cup
Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation

3.13 The Brazilian experience: Brazil as 'role model'
Christopher Gaffney, University of Zurich

3.14 Rio 2016 and the birth of Brazilian transparency
Andy Spalding, Pat Barr, Albert Flores, Kat Gavin, Shaun Freiman, Tyler Klink, Carter Nichols, Ann Reid and Rina Van Orden, University of Richmond | Preview blog

3.15 Sports mega-event legacies: from the beneficial to the destructive
Helen Lenskyj, University of Toronto

3.16 Urban speculation by Spanish football clubs
Nefer Ruiz Crespo, Transparency International Spain

4: Match-fixing

5: The US model: collegiate sports and corruption

6: The role of participants

6.1 The International Olympic Committee’s actions to protect the integrity of sport
Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, International Olympic Committee

6.2 Combating the risk of corruption in sport: an intergovernmental perspective
Stanislas Frossard, Council of Europe, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport

6.3 UNESCO: building on global consensus to fight corruption in sport
Nada Al-Nashif, UNESCO

6.4 The role of Switzerland as host: moves to hold sports organisations more accountable, and wider implications | Related blog post by Gareth Sweeney
Lucien W. Valloni and Eric P. Neuenschwander, Froriep

6.5 Promoting integrity in sport: a sponsor’s perspective
Jaimie Fuller, SKINS

6.6 A player’s perspective on the need for reform to enhance transparency and integrity in sports
Louis Saha, Axis Stars

6.7 Organised athletes: a critical voice in sports governance | Blog post
Brendan Schwab, Fédération Internationale des Associations Footballeurs Professionnels and UNI World Athletes

6.8 The role of supporters in effective governance | Blog post
Ben Shave and Antonia Hagemann, Supporters Direct

6.9 Learning from others: the Kick It Out campaign
Richard Bates, Kick It Out

6.10 Big business blurs sports journalism’s critical eye
Peter English, University of the Sunshine Coast

6.11 New ball game: covering sports, with teams as competitors
John Affleck, John Curley Center for Sports Journalism

6.12 What the anti-corruption movement can bring to sport: the experience of Transparency International Germany
Sylvia Schenk, Transparency International Germany

Who's involved in our initiative

Transparency International’s ‘corruption in sport initiative’ is guided by our Expert Advisory Panel:

  • Jens Sejer Andersen International Director, Play the Game Q&A
  • Wolfgang Baumann Secretary General, TAFISA
  • Paquerette Girard-Zappelli Secretary, International Olympic Committee Ethics Commission Q&A
  • Tony Higgins President, Scottish Professional Footballers’ Association; Vice President, FiFPro Europe Division
  • Jacques Marnewicke Head of Group Compliance, Sanlam; Chair, UN Global Compact Sub-Working on sport sponsorship and sport-related hospitality
  • Richard Pound lawyer, Stikeman Elliott LLP; former President, World Anti-Doping Agency; former Vice President of the International Olympic Committee
  • Ben Shave Development Officer, Supporters Direct Europe Q&A

The following Transparency International national chapters are participating:

Contributing institutions include:

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in articles are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other individuals or organisations involved.

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Please note: The Corruption in Sport Initiative was launched on 8 April 2015, and is being regularly updated with new articles and analysis.

Related blog posts

See our expanding series of blog posts about corruption in sport.

Related publications

Give back the game Football League Governance cover Corruption and sport working paper Match fixing brochure cover Cricket brochure cover FIFA brochure cover

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