ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti participated in the plenary debate “Integrity of Institutions: Combatting Corruption in Sport” at the Olympism in Action Forum, organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 5 to 6 October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Forum looked at trends that affect the future of sport and offered a line-up of a diverse group of speakers and guests.
Speaking about the responsibility and actions of the Olympic Movement to develop and preserve the integrity of sport organisations around the world, Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “I regard better governance as the key for sport organisations to protect their integrity. This relates in particular to the three fields of anti-doping, anti-corruption and welfare policies. Only if you deal with those properly, you can safeguard the credibility of your organisation and the sporting action.” He added: “Undoubtedly, the growing relevance of sport and digitalisation have significantly increased the visibility of sport.”
The session explored the success stories and best practices for protecting institutional integrity in sport, while also addressing the work and reforms that still need to be done, in particular at a time when general mistrust surrounds large organisations and multinational companies.
In this context, the ASOIF President explained the evolving role of International Federations (IFs), with IFs having to go far beyond their traditional roles of administering their sport, setting up global rules and organising competitions etc. IFs nowadays also need to tackle much more complex and strategic questions such as commercial partnerships, fan engagement, new technologies and governance if they want to stay fit for purpose. These reflections form part of ASOIF’s ongoing project “The Future of Global Sport” which looks at the speed of change impacting sport from political, social, technological and economic influences. The objective is to enable IFs to have an adequate understanding of what the future may look like when they take decisions with long-term impacts.
During his speech, Ricci Bitti also outlined the purpose and work of ASOIF’s Governance Task Force (GTF), mandated with helping IFs to promote and ensure a culture of good governance within their structures. The GTF developed five governance principles and 50 measurable indicators, tailored to the characteristics and needs of sport organisations, which serve to conduct regular, detailed governance reviews of each ASOIF member federation. “The fact that many IFs improved their marks from the first to the second governance review shows that the exercise has been worth it. But there is still much more to do and we will continue on the path taken” said the ASOIF President.
Looking at different bodies and decision makers tasked to ensure integrity in sport, the ASOIF President stressed the importance of cross-sector collaboration and highlighted the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), of which ASOIF forms part, as a good example. “We need the support of public authorities in our mission to safeguard sport integrity. We need to open up and we do so” explained Ricci Bitti.
Other speakers at the plenary session included Mogens Jensen, Rapporteur on Sports Governance of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Member of the Parliament of Denmark for the Socialdemocratic Party; Mari Kiviniemi, OECD Deputy Secretary-General; Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs at UNODC; and Alexandra Orlando, Olympian and Marketing Director at the Pan American Sports Organization.