The launch today of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report: Sport highlights that Africa is vulnerable to serious reputational risks across all sports and is already compromised by corruption.
The Global Corruption Report: Sport provides a global overview of corruption across sport and outlines recommendations from leading experts in the field on what needs to be done. It comes at a time when some of the world’s most popular sports, including football and athletics, are mired in corruption scandals.
In Africa the report highlights serious gaps in accountability, including:
- Undemocratic processes in regional elections (the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF)),
- Abuse of elections to national football associations (Zimbabwe),
- Mismanagement of player bonuses (Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon),
- Alleged misallocation of funds (Kenya, Zambia),
- Systematic doping (Kenya),
- Match-fixing (all Africa, including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa) and
- Human trafficking (Cameroon)
The lack of transparency in African football was also recently highlighted by Transparency International’s Football Governance League table, which showed that only one African football association, Egypt, made its financial records accessible online, while the African Football Confederation (CAF) still has no code of ethics or ethics commission.
“The global picture of corruption in sport and the lack of trust that those who participate and enjoy sports should be a wake-up call for all those in positions of power. Sport has the power to do so much good: to bring communities together, to instil values of integrity and fair play. That’s why it is so important to rid sport of corruption,” said Elena Panfilova, vice-chair of Transparency International, who launched the report with Transparency International Kenya in Nairobi.
Samuel Kimeu, Executive Director of Transparency International Kenya said that "Building integrity in sport is not an option. Sports organisations should demonstrate accountability to all their stakeholders including their membership, athletes and fans. Fundamental governance principles such as transparency, access to information and public participation should be integrated and promoted in sports management. Governments should ensure adequate legislation and regulations to enhance integrity in sport, and ensure that these are well enforced. Fans should demand transparency and accountability off the pitch, in the same spirit that they demand victory on the pitch."
“Corrupt sports officials are not just stealing money, they are also stealing the future of our youth, the future of our athletes and the future of our sports. This is why no one should stand on the sidelines or remain seated in the stands during the continuing struggle for corruption-free sport,” said MYSA founder/executive chairman and founding director of the Kenyan Premier League, Bob Munro, a contributor to the report.
The Global Corruption Report: Sport provides clear recommendations that apply directly to African regional and national sport organisations including:
- Independent oversight in the governance of African regional sports associations
- Transparent criteria for eligibility to all senior decision-making positions.
- Codes of conduct/ethics and independent ethics commissions in all African regional sports organisations.
- Increased financial transparency in all sports associations and how it is disbursed, far beyond minimum legal requirements of host countries.
- The need for any reform processes in Africa to be consistent with current international reform processes.
- Ratification by African states of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.
The Global Corruption Report also calls on all participants in sport to speak out.
“The responsibility now lies with the participants of sport, from the grassroots to elite professionals, fans, sponsors, governments and, most of all, sport organisations themselves, to demand the changes that are clearly needed, for the good of sport and the good of humanity,” said Brazil’s 1994 World Cup winning captain and report contributor Rai de Souza in the foreword to the report.
“The issues affecting sport in Africa today mirror all of those issues on the world stage, but public attention is not yet focused on the need for radical change here. Large-scale reforms must not only be implemented but be seen to be implemented transparently if Africa’s public can restore their trust in the running of African sport,” said Panfilova.
Note to editors: The Global Corruption Report: Sport addresses corruption risks in the key areas of sports governance, match-fixing and big events, and provides targeted recommendations. There are over 60 articles, including 18 country articles. It includes contributions from the International Olympic Committee, UNESCO, government bodies, players and supporters’ organisations, athletes past and present, civil society, academics and journalists. It is available online for free here and contact us for hard copies.
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