Global Corruption Report: Sport

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Global Corruption
Report:
Sport
Sport is a global phenomenon engaging billions of people and generating annual revenues
of more than US$145 billion. Problems in the governance of sports organisations, the fixing
of matches and the staging of major sporting events have spurred action on many fronts.
Attempts to stop corruption in sport, however, are still at an early stage.
The Global Corruption Report (GCR) on sport is the most comprehensive analysis of sports
corruption to date. It consists of more than 60 contributions from leading experts in the fields
of corruption and sport, from sports organisations, governments, multilateral institutions,
sponsors, athletes, supporters, academia and the wider anti-corruption movement.
This GCR provides essential analysis for understanding the corruption risks in sport,
focusing on sports governance, the business of sport, the planning of major events and
match-fixing. It highlights the significant work that has already been done and presents
new approaches to strengthening integrity in sport. In addition to measuring transparency
and accountability, the GCR gives priority to participation, from sponsors to athletes to
supporters – an essential to restoring trust in sport.
Transparency International (TI) is the global civil society organisation leading the fight
against corruption. Through more than 100 chapters worldwide and an international
secretariat in Berlin, TI raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption and works with
partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective
measures to tackle it.
“Transparency International have for years undertaken valuable, authoritative work
on governance issues of vital importance in sport, and the concerns they have
raised have been repeatedly vindicated. The research and insights in this book
provide another major contribution to the recognition that sports must be true to the
love people have for them.”
–David Conn, The Guardian
“At last a truly comprehensive, critical and impassioned look at the whole range of
governance and corruption issues that have engulfed global sport. For those that
want to know what has been going on, why, and how to do something about it, this
book will be their first point of call.”
–David Goldblatt, award-winning author of The Game of Our Lives:
The Meaning and Making of English Football
Global Corruption
Report:
Sport
Transparency
International
First published 2016
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
and by Routledge
711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
© 2016 Transparency International
Editor: Gareth Sweeney, Associate Editor: Kelly McCarthy
The right of Transparency International to be identified as the author of the
editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been
asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or
utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now
known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any
information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the
publishers.
Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or
registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation
without intent to infringe.
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A catalog record for this book has been requested
ISBN: 978-1-138-90589-4 (hbk)
ISBN: 978-1-138-90592-4 (pbk)
ISBN: 978-1-315-69570-9 (ebk)
Typeset in Helvetica
by Keystroke, Station Road, Codsall, Wolverhampton
Contents
List of illustrations
xi
Preface
Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director, Transparency International
xiii
Foreword
Raí Souza Vieira de Oliveira, founder of the Gol de Letra Foundation and
captain of the Brazilian 1994 World Cup winning team
xv
Acknowledgements
xvii
Executive summary
Gareth Sweeney, Editor, Global Corruption Report, Transparency International
xix
Part 1 Governance of sport: the global view
1
1.1 Sport as a force for good
Bob Munro, Mathare Youth Sports Association and Mathare United FC
3
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
12
16
29
39
1.6 Corruption in African sport: a summary
Chris Tsuma, Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG)
44
1.7 Impunity and corruption in South American football governance
Juca Kfouri, Folha de São Paulo
52
vi
Contents
1.8 Indicators and benchmarking tools for sports governance
Arnout Geeraert, Catholic University of Leuven
56
1.9 Examples of evolving good governance practices in sport
Michael Pedersen, M INC
62
1.10 For the good of the game? Governance on the outskirts
of international football
Steve Menary, World Soccer
65
1.11 Image-laundering by countries through sports
Naomi Westland, Amnesty International UK
73
1.12 Opening the door to corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
Miklós Ligeti and Gyula Mucsi, Transparency International Hungary
79
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 and corruption in sports
Paolo Bertaccini Bonoli, Transparency International Italy,
and Caterina Gozzoli, Catholic University of Milan
Part 2 Money, markets and private interests in football
88
94
99
2.1 Offside: FIFA, marketing companies and undue influence in football
Jamil Chade, O Estadão
101
2.2 Measuring the United Kingdom’s ‘offshore game’
George Turner, Tax Justice Network
105
2.3 Unfit, improper ownership in UK football clubs
Arjun Medhi, UK Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy
109
2.4 Agents and beyond: corruption risks in the football transfer market
and the need for reform
Raffaele Poli, Football Observatory of the Centre International
d’Étude du Sport, University of Neuchâtel
114
2.5 Third-party ownership of football players: human beings or traded assets?
Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPro
118
2.6 Origins, practice and regulation of third-party ownership in South America
Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud, FIFPro, and Gonzalo Bossart,
Alessandri, Bossart, Pacheco and Cia
125
Contents
vii
Part 3Events in the spotlight
131
3.1 The multiple roles of mega-events: mega-promises, mini-outcomes?
Martin Müller, University of Zurich
133
3.2 Who bids for events and why?
Scarlett Cornelissen, Stellenbosch University
139
3.3 The problem with sporting mega-event impact assessment
Eleni Theodoraki, Edinburgh Napier University
143
3.4 Corruption and the bidding process for the Olympics and World Cup Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College
152
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
157
3.6 The planning and hosting of sports mega-events: sources,
forms and the prevention of corruption
John Horne, University of Central Lancashire
163
3.7 Preventing corruption in the planning of major sporting events:
open issues
Wolfgang Maennig, Hamburg University
169
3.8 Malpractice in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and
the renovation of Shivaji Stadium
Ashutosh Kumar Mishra, Transparency International India
174
3.9 Preventing corruption ahead of major sports events: learning from
the 2012 London Games
Kevin Carpenter, Captivate Legal and Sport Solutions
178
3.10 The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics: who stands to gain?
Oleg Golubchikov, Cardiff University
183
3.11 The need for transparency and monitoring ahead
of the 2018 World Cup in Russia
Anna Koval and Andrew Jvirblis, Transparency International Russia
192
3.12 Sporting mega-events, corruption and rights: the case
of the 2022 Qatar World Cup
Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation
198
3.13 The Brazilian experience as ‘role model’
Christopher Gaffney, University of Zurich
204
viii
Contents
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
211
3.15 Sports mega-event legacies: from the beneficial to the destructive
Helen Lenskyj, University of Toronto
218
3.16 Urban speculation by Spanish football clubs
Nefer Ruiz Crespo, Transparency International Spain
223
Part 4 Match-fixing
229
4.1 Why sport is losing the war to match-fixers
Declan Hill, investigative journalist
231
4.2 The role of the betting industry
Ben Van Rompuy, TMC Asser Institute
236
4.3 Cricket in Bangladesh: challenges of governance and match-fixing
Iftekhar Zaman, Rumana Sharmin and Mohammad Nure Alam,
Transparency International Bangladesh
242
4.4 The gap between sports institutions and the public will: responses
to match-fixing in Lithuania
Rugile Trumpyte, Transparency International Lithuania
250
4.5 Australia’s ‘National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport’
Jane Ellis, Transparency International Australia
254
4.6 Match-fixing: the role of prevention
Ulrike Spitz, Transparency International Germany
257
4.7 New media approaches to tackling match-fixing in Finnish football
Annukka Timonen, Transparency International Finland
262
4.8 Prevention and education in match-fixing: the European experience
Deborah Unger, Transparency International
264
4.9 The Austrian approach: how to combat match-fixing and promote
integrity in sport
Severin Moritzer, Play Fair Code
269
Part 5 The US model: collegiate sports and corruption
273
5.1 The roots of corruption in US collegiate sport
Donna Lopiano, Sports Management Resources
275
Contents
5.2 Academic fraud and commercialised collegiate athletics: lessons
from the North Carolina case
Jay M. Smith, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
ix
286
5.3 The evolution of professional college sport in the United States
Allen Sack, University of New Haven
293
5.4 Inequality, discrimination and sexual violence in US collegiate sports
Erin Buzuvis, Western New England University, and Kristine Newhall,
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
300
Part 6 The role of participants: within and beyond the sports family
307
6.1 The International Olympic Committee’s actions to protect the
integrity of sport
Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, International Olympic Committee
309
6.2 Combating the risk of corruption in sport: an intergovernmental
perspective313
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
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
318
321
327
332
6.7 Organised athletes: a critical voice in sports governance
Brendan Schwab, UNI World Athletes
335
6.8 The role of supporters in effective governance
Ben Shave and Antonia Hagemann, Supporters Direct
339
6.9 Learning from others: the Kick It Out campaign
Richard Bates, Kick It Out
345
6.10 Big business blurs sports journalism’s critical eye
Peter English, University of the Sunshine Coast
347
x
Contents
6.11 New ball game: covering sports, with teams as competitors
John Affleck, John Curley Center for Sports Journalism
352
6.12 What the anti-corruption movement can bring to sport: the experience
of Transparency International Germany
Sylvia Schenk, Transparency International Germany
359
Index
363
Illustrations
Figures
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
2.1
3.1
3.2
3.3
3.4
3.5
3.6
3.7
3.8
3.9
3.10
4.1
4.2
5.1
5.2
6.1
Key decisions in the evolution of ‘sports autonomy’
The need for governance
Subsidised football clubs in Hungary, 2011–2015
The church model of sport
Percentage of individual agents or agencies (entities) with clients in
the ‘Big Five’ leagues according to the percentage of players represented Sports-related cost overruns, 1998–2012 Olympics
Domestic inputs to major event bids
Event stakeholder power–risk irony
Concepts and levels of focus
Sporting mega-event impact sphere
South Africa 2010
Costs of the Olympic Games per capita and as a percentage
of GDP, 2002–2014
The geography and funding of mega-events in Russia
Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha: Brasilia’s white elephant
Land value before and after construction of the New Condomina
stadium, Murcia
Match-fixing: football versus basketball
All bets are off
Highest paid public employee = collegiate sports head coach
‘Potemkin’ courses for athletes
Support versus influence
21
23
82
89
115
135
141
145
148
149
155
185
194
205
225
251
258
280
287
341
Tables
1.1
3.1
3.2
3.3
Vote weighting in the Badminton World Federation
Scoring matrix for event classes according to size
Size classification of selected events
Public funds budgeted for the 2018 World Cup preparations 63–64
133
134
193
Boxes
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
The Sports Governance Observer
FIFA and the non-interference rule
France, Qatar and the purchase of Paris Saint-Germain
The ‘Good Governance in Grassroots Sport’ project
Examples of risks to grassroots good governance
Elements of the Code of Ethics for grassroots sport in the city of Milan
59
69
76
90
91
95
xii
Illustrations
3.1
3.2
3.3
4.1
6.1
6.2
Mega-event impact assessment: Athens Olympics 2004
Mega-event impact assessment: London Olympics 2012
Projeto Jogos Limpos: the ‘Clean Games’ project in Brazil
Gambling risks within professional football
Match-fixing and the law in Switzerland
The changing face of club ownership
144
146
214
260
322
339
Preface
Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director,
Transparency International
Sport gives people hope. It provides joy to billions of people across the world, from the
favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the boroughs of London. As fans we have a love affair with our
favourite game. When our teams win we are ecstatic; when they lose we are devastated.
When results – of games, of contests to host events or of elections to run sports bodies – are
determined not by fair competition but by corruption, however, we feel betrayed. Cleaning up
sport is therefore essential, not only for the good of the game but for the good of society as
a whole.
For more than 20 years Transparency International (TI) has led the fight against corruption,
through more than 100 independent national chapters around the world, which take action to
stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across
all sectors of society.
The Global Corruption Report (GCR) is a strong foundation to support this fight. This 11th
edition, for the first time complemented online through our new Corruption in Sport Initiative,
provides an authoritative look at the state of corruption in a given sector through contributions
from over 50 leading experts in the field. These are complemented by case studies from TI
national chapters that show how TI is tackling the problem at the national and local levels. The
aim is to provide clear recommendations for change.
Sport touches the lives of billions. No one wants to think that his or her favourite pastime
is tainted. This became unavoidable for football fans in May 2015, however, with the indictment
by the United States of nine current and former FIFA officials on charges of racketeering and
money-laundering, confirming the worst suspicions of many. These crises at the heart of
sport illustrate well-known issues: a culture of impunity at the top of sporting organisations
that gives free rein to bribery and obscures financial black holes. Implementing necessary and
long-lasting reforms will prove far more difficult.
Needless to say, corruption in sport is not limited to football, and the importance of fighting
corruption is not limited to the effect on sport only. Sport is a symbol of fair play around the
world, and often provides a release from daily hardships for many, whether it is taking part in
or supporting a local team. If trust in sport is lost and people can no longer believe what they
are seeing on the field of play or hearing from those in charge, then public trust in any institution
may be irreparably undermined.
The issues addressed in the GCR can draw from the experience of TI and the anticorruption movement in other sectors. There are so many people who want to have a say in
sports – from the citizens in cities where big events are held to the parents of kids in grassroots clubs – and it is imperative that this wider sports family is heard. It is for this reason that
the current GCR focuses on participation as key to strengthening sport integrity.
We at Transparency International recognise that the fight against corruption in sport is not
new, and we are indebted to those individuals who, long before it was on our agenda, dug
deep at great personal risk to uncover the truth. Our goal is for the new GCR and the
xiv
Preface
Corruption in Sport Initiative to help to bring these voices together in one place. We also hope
to continue to provide an open space for new analysis and recommendations.
Everyone has a stake is keeping sports clean. Our chapters around the world will continue
to demand clean sports, but the voices of athletes, supporters, governments, sponsors,
journalists and, primarily, those within sports organisations need to combine to send a strong
message that integrity matters, for the good of the game and the good of the global fight
against corruption.
Now is the time.
Foreword
Raí Souza Vieira de Olivera, founder of
the Gol de Letra Foundation and captain
of the Brazilian 1994 World Cup winning team
What would become of humanity if the act of simply playing the game to enjoy yourself did not
exist? If playfulness did not exist? If competition did not exist? We would probably be identical,
dispassionate beings, losing much of the grace, humour and beauty that we have been given.
Sport is nothing more than natural fun and healthy play packaged in rules to create just
conditions among participants and contain the excesses that any impassioned activity
or competition awakens. From this is born the expression ‘the spirit of sport’. Health, fun,
justice, passion – these are basic values for any child, any human being, any society: values
transformed into rules, rights and laws.
For the development of sport, it was necessary to create organisations – associations,
federations and confederations – to impose and administer these collective values. Hierarchies
of power began to develop without guarantees of a democratic, participatory and transparent
system. Sport is a large source of inspiration, but it is run with an absurd autonomy, without
effective checks.
Sporting administrative bodies have evolved to take ownership of an enormous and
notorious public interest, involving soul and passion. They even win freely the right to
represent countries and nations. These organisations operate almost as independent states,
however, without effective counterbalances and with vast possibilities to manoeuvre to remain
in power. They claim legitimacy for their promotion, but demand complete autonomy in selfmanagement, and even in self-punishment.
Corruption is for sport as doping is for competition, and for the health of the athlete. This
framework has provided many reasons, motivations, contradictions and counter-intuitions,
which build and today form one of the most enabling environments for acts of corruption to
take place and proliferate, allowing the corrupt and greedy to gain an interest in sport, and
impunity to take hold.
To rethink this, let us return to the basics: health, fun, justice and passion!
If we really want sport to be the basis for a better society, to be one of the pillars for human
and social development, we need to rethink the rules of sports governance and their criteria
of representation and accountability – and build something new, transparent and committed.
For this we need (in the same way that we created and systematically perfected sports
themselves) to evolve in terms of governance, building a system in which fair play always
prevails. We need to create a clean and healthy structure and new rules that guarantee
complete transparency and democratic participation.
Transparency International’s work on sport integrity – including the report before you –
provides a good framework for reform. The responsibility now lies with the participants of
sport, from the grass-roots 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.
Acknowledgements
This Global Corruption Report on sport is a partnership and collaboration between
Transparency International (TI) and its authors, whose expertise has provided us with the
highest quality of content. We are very honoured to have worked with everyone involved and
hope that these relationships may continue long beyond this report.
We are especially grateful for the guidance of a group of distinguished experts who kindly
served on our Expert Advisory Panel and who were actively engaged throughout: Jens
Andersen, Wolfgang Baumann, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, Tony Higgins, Jacques Marnewicke,
Richard Pound and Ben Shave.
We are also, as always, hugely indebted to the expert peer reviewers who devoted their
energies to improve the content: Paul Anderson, Mark Baber, Robert Barrington, Amita
Baviskar, Trish Bradbury, Gonzalo Bravo, Benjamin Bendrich, Scarlett Cornelissen, Pete
Dawson, Juan de Dios Crespo, Peter Donnelly, Jocelyn East, Iain Edmondson, Esther
Enkin, Neil Fergus, Leonardo Fernandes, Gyongyi Szabó Foldesi, John Foster, John Fourie,
Jason Genovese, David Greenspan, Oleg Golubchikov, Sean Hamil, Barry Houlihan, Dionne
Koller, Helen Lenskyj, Mike McNamee, Felix Majani, Jean-Paul Marthoz, Maira Martini,
Luiz Martins de Melo, Laura Misener, Matthew Mitten, Severin Moritzer, Martin Müller,
Bridget Niland, Walter Palmer, Katarina Pijetlovic, Denis Primakov, Stephen Pritchard,
Dino Ruta, Chris Smith, Harry Arne Solberg, Ulrike Spitz, Joe Stead, John Sugden, Eleni
Theodoraki, Ilija Trojanovic, George Turner, Pedro Velasquez, Geoff Walters, John Wilson and
Serhat Yilmaz.
As the work of TI continues to expand, we are indebted to our national chapters, whose
country case studies illustrate the approaches of the anti-corruption movement in tackling
corruption in sport. In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Sylvia Schenk and
Ulrike Spitz for their valuable proposals during the initial scoping of our work. We are also
thankful to colleagues at the Transparency International Secretariat who lent their perspectives
and expertise. We are indebted to Deborah Unger, who is a real champion of our Secretariat
work in sport and a pleasure to work alongside. We would also like to thank Marie Terracol for
essential coordination work, Matthew Jenkins for initial mapping research, Eric Fichtl for
online design and creation of the TI Corruption in Sport Initiative, Nicky Rehbock for online
support, Thomas Coombes and Chris Sanders for communication, Kerstin Deinert and
Michael Sidwell for print design, Rachel Beddow for libel coordination, and Bruno Brandao
and Solange Falcetta for helping to arrange a number of outstanding contributors. As ever,
the Global Corruption Report has been guided by Robin Hodess, and now also with the
generous oversight of Casey Kelso. Finally, and especially, the team would like to thank our
former associate editors Samira Lindner, for her enthusiasm, sharp intellect and unwavering
commitment to the fight against corruption, and Kelly McCarthy, for her Herculean resolve
and keen editorial eye in seeing the Report past the final post.
Further afield, copy-editor Mike Richardson once again excelled and kept us in check, and
we are forever indebted. We were also delighted to work once more with Agur Paesüld,
whose graphics continue to give life to dry text. And, to those for whom the details are never
lost, we would like to thank our industrious fact-checkers: Oisín Bourke, Krista Brown,
xviii
Acknowledgements
Adam DeJulio, Natacha Draghi, Tyler Klink, Michelle McAlarnen, Holly Nazar, Sylvia Plaza and
Philippa Williams.
We are very happy to continue our collaboration with Routledge, and in particular we
extend our thanks to Helen Bell and Edward Gibbons for their continued support.
Finally, the Global Corruption Report team would like to acknowledge Liverpool FC,
Kilkenny City AFC (defunct), Ipswich Town FC and the Republic of Ireland national football
team for inspiring a love of sport and the desire to fight for its integrity.
Executive summary
Gareth Sweeney, Transparency International1
Sport is a global phenomenon engaging billions of people and generating annual revenues of
more than US$145 billion.2 While corruption in sport is not new,3 the recent pervasiveness
of poor governance and corruption scandals threatens to undermine all the joy that sport
brings and the good that it can do. For Transparency International (TI), the pace of building
integrity in sport has been too slow, and now it must be rapidly accelerated.
The indictments on 27 May 2015 of nine current and former Fédération Internationale
de Football Association (FIFA) officials on charges of racketeering and money-laundering4
changed the landscape overnight. Suddenly a system of ‘rampant, systemic and deeprooted corruption’ was brought starkly into global focus. The re-election two days later of the
FIFA president who had presided over this culture of impunity, and who was therefore either
complicit or oblivious (and, either way, had failed in his duties), exposed to the watching world
just how much football exists in a parallel universe of unaccountability. It is easy to understand
why public trust in FIFA is at an all-time low, and is set to go even lower if promises for reform
turn out to be business-as-usual.5
The context
Yet corruption in sport is not limited to football. Cricket, cycling, badminton, ice hockey,
handball, athletics and other sports, including US collegiate sports, suffer similar credibility
gaps. The reasons related to each are broadly similar.
Sport is a public interest, played and viewed by billions, whose tax dollars often fund
the hosting of major sporting events. Sport is also organised on the historic principle of
autonomy,6 however, and sports organisations – whether international organisations, regional
confederations or national associations – are subsequently afforded ‘non-profit’ or ‘nongovernmental organisation’ status in most jurisdictions. This allows them to operate without
any effective external oversight (or interference, depending on perspective). The statutes of
most sports associations therefore require that reforms are initiated and approved by the
same individuals who will be most directly affected by them. It stands to reason, then, that
the murkiest sports will be the most resistant to self-incrimination and change.
Even the corporate structures of sport are largely archaic. The administration of sport is
often overseen by ex-athletes with little prior experience in management, operating through
very linear hierarchical organisational models. While these models may have worked in the
past, many international sports organisations (ISOs), regional confederations and national
sports organisations (NSOs) have simply not kept pace with the huge commercial growth of
the sector, and have even chosen not to adapt in order to protect certain self-interests,
including high salaries, bonuses and virtually limitless tenures.
Finally, this insular environment is facilitated by the countries that host these organisations,
such as Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, which traditionally afford favourable legal
status and generous tax breaks in order to attract and keep ISOs resident.7 Changes to
xx
Executive summary
tighten legal accountability are under way,8 but these are usually tempered with caution since
ISOs may simply relocate if the screws are tightened.
The solutions
When Sepp Blatter vowed to step down as FIFA president on 2 June, he declared: ‘While
I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the
entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love
football . . .’ This short statement struck at the heart of the problem. Sports organisations,
from ISOs to local community clubs, have a responsibility for their sport, and should be
accountable to all those affected by their sport, from displaced communities to migrant
construction workers, from grass-roots fans to World Cup winners.
The current outcry against corruption at FIFA shows that, once roused, the wider sporting
community can become as interested in what goes on off the field of play as on it. Tackling
the roots of corruption must come primarily from within the sports community, though,
starting with an acknowledgement of the problem. There must be a sincere and verifiable
commitment to realise sport’s principles on inclusiveness and fair play, ‘to comply with the
highest standards in terms of transparency, democracy and accountability’.9
At the same time, internal reform must be open to external perspectives, including inputs
from athletes and supporters, governments, sponsors and civil society. The ‘sports family’
needs to welcome those with know-how in anti-corruption activities, good governance,
human rights, labour rights and development outside the world of sport as allies in the greater
interest of sport. The Global Corruption Report: Sport therefore places particular focus on
participation as a fundamental element of good governance in sport, and dedicates a full
chapter to the voices of key participants and their respective roles.
The Global Corruption Report: Sport provides a comprehensive overview of the root
causes of corruption across sport, presenting key participants’ perspectives side by side, as
well as the work of TI national chapters on the ground. It focuses on current challenges in
sports governance as the gateway through which all other forms of corruption in sport take
hold, including, for example, the regulation of club ownership and the transfer markets (here
the Report focuses on football). The Report gives special attention to the bidding, awarding
and planning of major sporting events as a particularly vulnerable area for widespread
corruption, as evidenced from the 1998 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Salt Lake
City scandal10 to ongoing investigations. It then looks at global developments around
the criminalisation and prevention of match-fixing, and what needs to be done. Space is
also provided for a chapter on the unique corruption risks inherent in the structure of US
collegiate sports, and its compromising influence on academic integrity. There are contradictory
opinions within the Report, and much still to tackle, but the wealth of information illustrates
how vibrant the field of sport and corruption has become in the past decade.
Drawing from this expert analysis of structural issues presented in the Global Corruption
Report: Sport, Transparency International identifies the following key recommendations to
restore public trust in sport.
Governance
Some reform recommendations in sport can be put in place very quickly, while others will
require a more incremental consultative approach. A step-by-step reform process, suitable to
the size and capacity of respective sports organisations, should incorporate many of the
good governance principles that guide other sectors.
Executive summary
xxi
• Heads of ISOs should, as a rule, be elected by an open vote of members. National
members/associations of ISOs should be accountable for their positions to their national
constituencies.
• Executive decision-makers should be elected rather than appointed.
• There should be a clear separation between the administrative and commercial operations
of all ISOs/NSOs.
• Decision-making bodies should contain at least one independent executive member.
• The gender balance of decision-making bodies should at least reflect the gender balance
of participation in the respective sport as a whole.
• All ISO heads and decision-making body members should be bound by fixed terms, with
mandatory gaps in service before being eligible for re-election.
• Integrity checks should be required for all senior ISO committee and secretariat staff, to
be organised centrally and with independent external oversight. Due diligence criteria
should include potential commercial conflicts of interest, as well as any ongoing
investigations related to improper conduct. Integrity checks should be periodically reviewed.
• ISOs should put in place internal governance committees, presided over by an
independent non-executive or lead director on governance issues, to provide ongoing
external oversight of sport organisational decisions. Any review committees should have
the mandate to review past as well as present activities.
• Sports organisations should establish independent ethics commissions/ethics advisers,
with effective oversight and disciplinary authority related to codes of conduct and ethics
guidelines.
• Specialised units should be created within ISOs to regularly monitor member
associations and provide support in terms of governance and accountability.
• Structural reforms put in place in ISOs (elections, terms limits, integrity checks, codes of
conduct, ethics and compliance structures and authority, financial transparency) should
also be required to be applied uniformly to the structures of regional sports organisations
as applicable as a prerequisite to membership of ISOs.
• The IOC, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, should give serious consideration
to the creation of an independent global anti-corruption agency for sport.
Transparency
• Sports organisations should establish cultures of transparency so that good work is not
just done but is seen to be done. Access to information policies should be integrated
and promoted.
• The publication of ISO finances – expenditures, revenues and disbursements – should be
disaggregated and go far beyond minimum legal requirements in host countries so as to
meet public expectations.
• Sports organisations should adhere to strict disclosure requirements, including financial
reporting, and adequately communicate their activities to their internal stakeholders and
the general public through accessible open data platforms.
• International and national sports organisations should publish the pay scales, as well as
the salaries and costs, of senior executives/members of the executive committee,
remuneration for board members, etc.
• The disbursement of funding to national member associations should be contingent on
the receipt of annual financial accounts and activity reports, to be made available to the
public via their national websites, and searchable on the websites of ISOs.
xxii
Executive summary
• ISOs should adopt the use of governance benchmarking tools such as the BIBGIS or the
Sports Governance Observer to measure progress over time,11 and should periodically
publish the results and lessons learnt, to be included as a section in their annual reports.
Participation
The primary responsibility for reform lies with sports organisations, from ISOs to the
grassroots bodies. This needs to be matched by sustained engagement with intergovernmental organisations, governments, athletes, sponsors, supporters and civil society.
• Any reform process to address systemic governance issues in sport should formally
provide for inputs by relevant stakeholders, including athletes, supporters, governments,
sponsors and human rights, labour and anti-corruption organisations. ISOs should
commit themselves to honouring the recommendations of any reform process or
providing formal responses for recommendations that are rejected.
• NSOs should support increased transparency and accountability, whether in speaking
out for institutional reform or publicly supporting reformist platforms around elections.
• Sponsors should demand that whoever they sponsor should live up to the same anticorruption and human rights standards that they are expected to adhere to in their own
operations and in their own supply chains. As individual sponsors may fear a ‘first-mover
disadvantage’, major sponsors should align to apply collective pressure for change.
Sponsors should therefore consider the creation of a Sports Integrity Group that sets out
their shared commitment to integrity in sport and allows major sponsors to advance a
common position for integrity in sport.
• Sponsors should conduct due diligence on any organisation they sponsor – just as they
do for their other business partners. They should also review their relationships with
intermediaries and sports marketing companies to ensure that the companies meet their
standards of integrity.
• Sponsors should ensure that their employees who work with ISOs, sports marketing
companies and other intermediaries are properly trained on their code and integrity
standards.
• Professional sport is nothing without supporters. Supporters’ groups can play an even
larger role than they do now, by mobilising a collective voice for key structural reforms in
ISOs and NSOs and demanding a seat at the table.
• National and local governments should ensure adequate legislation to address matchfixing and organised crime in grassroots sports. In the case of US collegiate sports in
particular, such legislation should protect the well-being of student athletes ahead of
commercial interests. Governments should also provide whistleblower protection for those
reporting malfeasance in sport, and effectively enforce access-to-information laws so as to
facilitate and ensure the effective monitoring of the planning and hosting of sports events.
• Intergovernmental organisations should continue to facilitate the coordination and
sharing of lessons learnt among national governments, and should develop indicators,
benchmarks and self-assessment tools to help national governments identify policy
gaps, needs, solutions and progress in promoting integrity in sport.
Major events
There are multiple entry points for corruption related to major sporting events. These include
the selection process for bids and the related canvassing, the courting of international
Executive summary xxiii
delegates and the use of high-priced consultants for global bidding. There are also corruption
risks during the awarding process and related bribery risks. Finally, the planning and hosting
of events and the attendant large-scale procurement and construction risks put local
organising committees under intense pressure to provide the required infrastructure and
logistics on time. ISOs, as event owners, must ensure that the process is one of integrity, from
the pre-bidding phase to the closing ceremony and far beyond.
• ISOs should require a national consultation process at the pre-bidding stage. A summary
of national consultation outcomes should be publicly available, and must then be
presented as part of the bid criteria.
• ISOs should establish clear, obligatory anti-corruption, labour rights, human rights and
environmental and social sustainability criteria as objective admissibility safeguards for
the first round of bidding. They should then be assessed by internal and external joint
committees at this first round.
a
• Official bid documents must be publicly available and bidders must include
commitment to publish detailed policies and plans for all of the above.12
• Official bids should be required to provide a breakdown of anticipated expenditure by
sport- and non-sport-related development, as well as by the cost carrier.
• ISOs should establish an internal compliance process from the opening of the bidding
phase, covering ISO member and bid countries alike, to include, at a minimum, clear
policies and reporting on ethics, conflicts of interest, a register of lobbyists, gift and
travel registry and whistleblower protection. This should be publicly accessible through
the continued rollouts of content on open data platforms.
• Major sporting events should, as a rule, be awarded through an open vote by ISO
members.
• ISOs must formally recognise through the amendments of statutes that they bear a
responsibility to protect human rights, labour rights, anti-corruption activities and
sustainable development.
• Host contracts must include an agreement that a serious failure to uphold fundamental
anti-corruption, human rights and labour standards, and the host country’s own bid
commitments, can result in loss of the major event.
• ISOs should require host countries to detail all major procurement processes, contracts
and expenditures related to the bidding, planning and hosting of major events through an
open data platform.
• ISOs should develop a clear set of assessment indicators, in consultation with external
experts, to measure performance related to the above over time. External independent
experts should also be part of the review process.
• ISOs should revisit tax arrangements for major sporting events and share surpluses so
that host countries are not expected to host events at a net loss while ISOs extract the
vast majority of revenues.
• Independent impact assessments should be carried out following events, covering all
dimensions, namely the thematic (economic, social, environmental and political), the
scale (local to global), the temporal (bid phase to legacy stage) and the actors (event
owners, event producers, event consumers), addressing both positive and negative
impacts. These can be earmark-funded by ISOs from event revenues.
• To ensure that promises on event legacies are kept, measurable legacy criteria must be
a mandatory element of bids. These should include strengthening documentation of the
factual evidence on the results of hosting such events, which should be made public and
xxiv
Executive summary
maintained. Any failure to meet legacy criteria can then be weighed against admissibility
for hosting future sporting events, and should be acknowledged across ISOs as required
elements of subsequent bidding criteria.
Match-fixing
The manipulation of competitions is now fully acknowledged as a real threat to the integrity of
sport. Any sport is vulnerable to manipulation by organised crime or for sporting reasons,
such as promotion or relegation.
• States should ratify the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sport
Competitions. It commits states to investigate and sanction all match-fixing, to have
cross-border cooperation on cases and to ensure prevention, including the provision of
comprehensive and continuous education on the issue.
• Sport organisations should establish whistleblower systems that are independent,
confidential and secure, and follow Transparency International’s international
whistleblower guidelines.
• Governments should cooperate with NSOs to establish national focal points for sport
integrity, including national ombudspersons for sport.
• ISOs should prohibit professional athletes from gambling on their own sport.
• National gambling regulations should oblige betting operators to report information on
suspicious betting activity to the authorities or the relevant national platform and provide
concrete guidelines as to what constitutes ‘suspicious’ activity.
• All people involved – athletes, coaches, referees, officials, parents – should know how to
detect match-fixing before any manipulation takes place, through mandatory preventative
training courses provided by national associations. Athletes and other concerned
individuals must be fully informed about the rules and the consequences for violations.
Notes
1 Gareth Sweeney is chief editor of the Global Corruption Report at Transparency
International.
2 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Changing the Game: Outlook for the Global Sports Market
to 2015 (London: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2011), www.pwc.com/gx/en/hospitalityleisure/changing-the-game-outlook-for-the-global-sports-market-to-2015.jhtml.
3 The 1998 Salt Lake City scandal, for example, resulted in major reforms within the
International Olympic Committee, while the work of investigative journalists continued to
expose corruption in governance and match-fixing across sport.
4 United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Indictment 15 CR 0252 (RJD)
(RML), 20 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/file/450211/download.
5 According to a Transparency International/Football Addicts poll of 35,000 fans in 30 countries
on 26 May 2015, 17 per cent of fans responded that they had no confidence in FIFA. See
www.transparency.org/news/pressrelease/4_in_5_football_fans_say_blatter_should_not_
stand_for_fifa_president_poll_o.
6 See Jean-Loup Chappelet, Chapter 1.3 ‘Autonomy and governance: necessary bedfellows
in the fight against corruption in sport’, in this report.
7 Michaël Mrkonjic, ‘The Swiss regulatory framework and international sports organisations’,
in Jens Alm (ed.), Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations: Final
Report (Copenhagen: Danish Institute for Sports Studies, 2013), www.playthegame.org/
fileadmin/documents/Good_governance_reports/AGGIS-report_-_12The_Swiss_regulatory_
8
9
10
11
12
Executive summary xxv
framework__p_128-132_.pdf; BBC (UK), ‘Cricket chiefs move base to Dubai’, 7 March
2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/4326601.stm.
See Lucien W. Valloni and Eric P. Neuenschwander, Chapter 6.4 ‘The role of Switzerland as
host: moves to hold sports organisations more accountable, and wider implications’, in this
report.
Jacques Rogge (president of the IOC from 2001 to 2013), ‘Good sport governance’, speech
given at ‘The Rules of the Game: First International Governance in Sport Conference’,
Brussels, 26 February 2001.
Bill Mallon, ‘The Olympic bribery scandal’, Journal of Olympic History, vol. 8 (2000).
See Arnout Geeraert, ‘Indicators and benchmarking tools for sports governance’, in this
report.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ‘Strategy for safeguarding against
corruption in major public events’ offers a useful reference framework in relation to
corruption. See UNODC, The United Nations Convention against Corruption: A Strategy for
Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events (Vienna: UNODC, 2013), www.
unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/2013/13-84527_Ebook.pdf.
PART 1
Governance of sport:
the global view
1.1
Sport as a force for good
Bob Munro1
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power
to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they
understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.
Nelson Mandela, Laureus World Sports Awards, Monaco, 2000
Since the eighth century bc, when the first Olympic Truce allowed athletes to travel safely to
the Olympic Games, sport has been largely regarded as an inspirational force for good.2
Sport has helped transcend often divisive geographic, political and cultural differences
by bringing people and nations together to celebrate athletic achievements. Surprisingly,
concerted efforts to expand sport as a force for good accelerated only in the last two decades.
More surprisingly, the youth in Nairobi’s Mathare Valley, one of Africa’s largest and poorest
slums, were pioneers in using sport for community development and peace. Although
the initial examples in this chapter are from that project, today many different sports are now
used as a force for good in tackling a remarkably wide range of serious health, social and
environmental challenges – and even conflicts – around the world.
Learning life lessons and skills through sport
For me and many other boys growing up in the Canadian town of St. Catharines in the 1950s,
school was what we did in between Saturdays. With our fathers as voluntary organisers and
coaches, on Saturdays we put on our team uniforms and proudly bicycled through town to
play with or against our friends in summer baseball and winter ice hockey leagues. On those
eagerly awaited Saturdays, we won or lost the bragging rights for the next week.
Through sport, we learnt vital lessons and social skills, which helped us then and later in
life. We learnt that achievement is our reward for self-discipline and constant training, for
getting fit and staying healthy and, most importantly, for extra effort and teamwork. We learnt
to cope with losing as well as winning, gaining new insights into our weaknesses from our
losses and earning new self-confidence from our victories. We also learnt to respect the rules,
the referees, our coaches, our team-mates and even our opponents. Our leagues were also
a miniature United Nations (UN) in which multiculturalism thrived as many players were young
refugees from faraway places such as Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia and Ukraine. Once
we put on our team uniforms, though, they ceased being foreigners and soon became our
team-mates and friends.3
Without those many kind-hearted volunteers and the early life lessons and social skills
I learnt while playing in their youth leagues, my character would have had much sharper
4
Governance of sport
edges and my life been far less user-friendly. As they made sport such a force for good in my
life, I owed them a debt of gratitude that I wanted to repay some day.
Combining sport with community service
Three decades later the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) became my payback. In
August 1987 in the huge Mathare slums near the UN headquarters in Nairobi, I stopped at a
little dirt field to watch some barefooted kids excitedly playing with their homemade juala
football.4 Their joy triggered a flashback to my own youth and this thought: why shouldn’t
these kids also get a chance to play and learn useful life lessons in leagues with real footballs,
coaches and referees?
A few days later I met with some young leaders in the slums to start organising a few youth
leagues. I set only one non-negotiable condition: ‘If you do something, I’ll do something, but
if you do nothing, I’ll do nothing.’ They agreed and the first MYSA leagues kicked off two
weeks later with over 500 youth in 27 boys’ football teams and six girls’ netball teams.
The Mathare youth leaders and members adopted the same approach, which soon
transformed MYSA from just a few youth leagues into a self-help community development
project using sport as a starting point. For example, the huge piles of uncollected garbage
were major causes of disease and deaths in the slums, so environmental clean-ups became
an integral part of all MYSA leagues. While teams get three points for a victory, MYSA teams
also earn six points for each completed clean-up project. Then, and still today, MYSA likely
has the only sports leagues in the world where the standings include the points for games
won or tied plus points for garbage clean-ups.
MYSA’s community service activities expanded in response to many different needs
and risks in the slums. In 1994, when Adrian, a shy and popular teenager on the Undugu5
street kids team, suddenly grew thin and died of an unusual and unfamiliar disease, MYSA
started an HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programme which is still in existence today.
Training in AIDS prevention as well as child rights and protection against sexual abuse
are embedded in all staff, coaching and other courses in the MYSA Sports and Leadership
Training Academy.
By the mid-1990s MYSA’s pioneering sport-for-development activities attracted a few
brave partners,6 enabling MYSA to add innovative new programmes such as training youth in
music, photography, dance and drama which focused on serious health and other risks in the
slums; providing leadership awards to help the best young volunteers stay in school; feeding
and freeing jailed kids; expanding activities for kids with disabilities; stopping child labour; and
creating slum libraries and study halls for members and local school classes.7 Today in the
Mathare slums, over 30,000 boys and girls8 participate annually in the MYSA self-help youth
sports and community service programmes. In addition to helping themselves, the Mathare
youth also help over 10,000 youth in similar projects in and outside Kenya, which receive
technical and training support from MYSA.9
Linking sport for development with peace
The MYSA youth also became peacemakers outside and later in the Mathare slums. In 1999
inter-ethnic violence escalated among the over 70,000 refugees in the Kakuma Refugee
Camp in north-west Kenya. As two-thirds of the refugees were youth, the UNHCR asked
MYSA to start a similar self-help youth sport-for-development project in the camp. Within six
months the inter-ethnic tensions and violence had dropped dramatically. Many youth were
from South Sudan and, after the 2005 peace agreement, they returned to Rumbek, the then
Sport as a force for good
5
administrative capital, where former child soldiers also demobilised. MYSA therefore helped
start another project there, which continues today.
Sadly, in late 2006 inter-ethnic violence also flared up in the Mathare slums, with hundreds
of innocent women and kids fleeing and camping on a field near a MYSA office. As the
government and nearby UN agencies initially ignored their desperate situation, the Mathare
youth took the funds intended for MYSA’s 20th anniversary celebrations and instead used
the money to rent tents and buy blankets, clothing, food and medicine for the displaced
families. MYSA also organised peace-themed sports activities for the kids and, with later
donations from MYSA friends in Norway and UN-Habitat, bought new uniforms and textbooks
so the children could go back to school.10
During the devastating post-election violence in early 2008 the MYSA youth also organised
special Football4Peace tournaments and activities throughout the slums.11 Even the top
clubs in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), then chaired by Mathare United FC, got directly
involved in helping mend the post-election rifts after the government and the Kenya Football
Federation (KFF) had both declared that they lacked funds for the national team to join the
2010 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup qualifying rounds. To
help heal their divided country, the 16 KPL clubs urgently met in early May 2008 and agreed
to fund the national team themselves.12 Over the next six months national pride and unity
rose, and Kenyans packed the stadium to cheer their national team as it climbed an
astonishing 52 places in the FIFA world rankings.13 Even FIFA acknowledged that it was
likely the first time in world football history that a national team had been funded entirely by
the clubs.
Expanding sport-for-development initiatives worldwide
National governments and other international organisations had largely ignored sport as a
serious development activity until the early 1990s, when MYSA’s new approach to sport for
development started attracting attention in the Kenyan14 and international media,15 and even
an academic journal.16 The new approach and potential of sport for development gradually
gained international recognition. For example, the 1991 Commonwealth Heads of Government
meeting first recognised the unique role of sport in helping reduce poverty and promote
development. In 1993 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 48/11 on ‘Building a
Peaceful and Better World through Sport’. Key milestones early in the new millennium
included the appointment in 2001 of a new UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and
Peace and the creation in 2002 of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development
and Peace, which produced a trailblazing report on how sport can contribute to achieving
many of the Millennium Development Goals.17
New international non-governmental organisations and networks also emerged for
supporting and linking sport-for-development projects around the world. The process
started in 2000 with the new Laureus World Sports Academy and Laureus Sport for Good
Foundation, which adopted MYSA as its first flagship project.18 Committed to ‘using the
power of sport as a tool for social change’, today Laureus has national foundations in eight
countries on four continents, and, with additional support from Comic Relief, now assists over
150 sport-for-development projects in 35 countries.19
In 2004 the streetfootballworld network was inaugurated ‘to change the world through
football’ by creating new partnerships for sharing knowledge and experience among the
fast-growing number of football-for-development-and-peace projects around the world.
Headquartered in Berlin, today streetfootballworld has regional offices in Brazil, South Africa
and the United States, and helps link over 100 organisations and projects in 66 countries.20
6
Governance of sport
Other major global initiatives include Peace and Sport, founded in 2007 for ‘building
sustainable peace through sport’, which focuses mainly on long-term peace-building programmes for reintegrating vulnerable children; peace-promotion programmes linked to major
sports events; and emergency aid for humanitarian disasters through sports.21
A summary simply cannot do justice to the thousands of innovative sport-for-development
projects not cited above that have also started, and achieved often remarkable results, during
the last 15 years. Examples include the use of football by Spirit of Soccer to reduce deaths
from landmines among children in Cambodia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos and Moldova;22 the use of
basketball combined with peace-building and leadership training by PeacePlayers International
for youth in divided communities in Cyprus, Israel and the West Bank, Northern Ireland and
South Africa;23 the use of various youth sports to reduce AIDS infections and teach life skills
in the Kicking AIDS Out network of 22 organisations on four continents;24 and the use of
boxing and martial arts combined with education by the delightfully named Fight for Peace,
initially in Rio de Janeiro but now with a network of projects helping over 250,000 street and
slum kids in over 25 countries on four continents.25
The local and global sport-for-development-and-peace projects and organisations are
now so numerous and so successful that they even have their own highly competitive annual
awards such as the Laureus Sport for Good Award, the Beyond Sport Summit Awards and
the Peace and Sports Awards.26
Creating new role models and leaders
Since the first Olympic Games, in 776 bc, sport has created many heroes – but too few role
models. While MYSA teams won many tournaments from local to global levels,27 MYSA’s
greatest achievement by far has been the creation of new heroes and role models. With its
motto of ‘Giving youth a sporting chance on and off the field’, MYSA provides youth with
a chance to test and develop their social and leadership skills so they can better help
themselves and others. MYSA also applies an 11-point Fairplay Code, subtitled ‘For those
who want to be winners on and off the field’. Today the over 125,000 MYSA alumni include
doctors, lawyers, marketing executives, bank managers, IT experts, teachers and many other
high achievers, who have helped themselves and their families escape poverty.
A major reason for MYSA’s success is the fact that it is owned and run by the youth
themselves. The more than 200 elected youth leaders, coaches and volunteers are on average
only 16 years old, and half of the elected leaders are girls.28 Although politicians like saying that
the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, in the Mathare slums the youth have been
the leaders of today for nearly three decades. More than ten former MYSA leaders have also
been elected to municipal and county councils in the last two national elections.29 It would not
be surprising if a MYSA graduate even became the president of Kenya someday, and he or
she then included sport for poverty reduction and peace among his or her top priorities.
Using sport to tackle corruption
Tackling corruption in sport can reinforce anti-corruption efforts in other sectors. For example,
in early 2003 the newly elected Kenyan government inherited several complex megascandals that would inevitably involve lengthy investigations. So, as an initial signal of its
sincerity, the government also targeted the notoriously mismanaged KFF.30 In February 2003,
the government disbanded the national U17 team for fielding over-age players, withdrew
from the African youth tournament and launched investigations on corruption in the KFF.31
To the surprise of many sceptical Kenyans, in June 2003 several top KFF officials were
arraigned in court on corruption charges.32
Sport as a force for good
7
Sport can also show the way forward in tackling corruption through stakeholder-led
reforms.33 For example, in 2003 the KFF rejected over 50 reform proposals submitted by its
own clubs. Most top clubs then left the KFF and set up their own league and company – the
Kenyan Premier League Limited (KPL) – plus a Transparency Cup with the theme ‘Kicking
Corruption Out of Sport’. In mid-2004 FIFA persuaded the top clubs to rejoin the KFF but also
supported continued club management of the KPL.34 As a result, today the KPL is one of the
most corruption-free, highly competitive and professionally managed leagues in Africa.35
Protecting sport as a force for good
In parallel with the rapid growth of so many and different sport-for-good initiatives, over
the last two decades some global sports bodies such as FIFA and the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) have also emerged as major geopolitical actors in the international
community. Their leaders are often better known than many heads of state and their decisions
on sports rules, disputes and the hosting of major sports events now have significant political,
social and economic ramifications within and among countries.
Their income has also grown dramatically. For example, FIFA’s income of US$2.1 billion in
201436 was equivalent to more than 75 per cent of the 2014 UN programme budget37 and
larger than the gross national income of over 25 countries.38 FIFA also generated a ‘surplus’
of US$2.6 billion from the 2014 World Cup,39 which would place it among the top 100 most
profitable Fortune 500 companies.40
Despite their prominence on the world stage, global sports bodies remain largely a law
unto themselves. While UN member states must respect many different international treaties,
laws and judicial bodies, global sports bodies are bound only by their own internal statutes,
the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the national laws and courts of the countries
where they are headquartered.41 Moreover, unlike the over 30 UN organisations headquartered
in over 17 countries under standardised agreements with the host countries, there are no
standardised host-country agreements on the rights and responsibilities of global and regional
sports bodies. Sadly, that autonomy has been abused, as shown by the results of the new
Sport Governance Observer study which reveals that international sports bodies often
lack proper procedures and tools against corruption, undemocratic procedures and other
critical poor governance traits.42
The huge rise in revenues and lack of external as well as internal accountability pose a
serious threat to sport as a force for good. In too many international sports bodies and their
national associations, once elected the officials often handle the organisation as if it is
their private property, treat the athletes and teams as if they are the enemy, marginalise them
in decision-making bodies and then ignore or change the rules to perpetuate themselves
in power.43 As a result, while match-fixing still poses a serious threat, corruption in sport is
more prevalent and destructive off the field than on it. For future reforms, a key challenge
is to ensure that the teams, coaches and athletes who make the sport on the field have a
much greater role in making decisions about their sport off the field.
Sport has a rare and universal power to transcend the many political, cultural, social and
economic differences within and among countries on our still-divided planet. For example, for
the first time in its 44-year history, the Norway Cup this year will feature a unique ‘Colourful
Friendship’ team with half the players from Norway and half from the Mathare slums in
Nairobi.44 For decades environmentalists have urged the UN and other international agencies
and governments to ‘think globally and act locally’. In sport, however, what is needed is for
more international sports bodies to act globally, more like the way thousands of sport-fordevelopment-and-peace organisations are already acting locally.
8
Governance of sport
Today, thousands of local and global projects and organisations involve millions of
young athletes carrying out sport-for-development-and-peace activities. Using many different
sports, they tackle a wide range of health, social, environmental and other problems. Their
achievements – and the dreams of millions of young athletes hoping to use their athletic
talents to help themselves and their families escape poverty – will be overshadowed and
compromised, however, unless the corruption in sport issues highlighted later in this report
are also tackled.
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 corruptionfree sport and for sport as a force for good.
Notes
1 Bob Munro is the Managing Director of XXCEL Africa Ltd. Since 1985 he has lived and
worked in Africa as a senior policy adviser on sustainable development for African
governments and the United Nations. He is also the founder/chairman of the Mathare Youth
Sports Association (1987), the founder/chairman of Mathare United FC (1994) and a founding
director of the Kenyan Premier League Ltd (2003).
2 See Olympic Movement, ‘Olympic Truce’, www.olympic.org/content/the-ioc/commissions/
public-affairs-and-social-development-through-sport/olympic-truce.
3 Multiculturalism also prevails in many ‘national’ teams today, especially in Europe. For
example, the 2010 FIFA World Cup team from Germany had players with roots in nine
different countries on three continents: Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ghana, Nigeria, Poland,
Spain, Tunisia and Turkey, as well as Germany.
4 The juala balls are made by the children using waste plastic bags tied with old string. In
2010 a made-in-Mathare juala ball sold at a charity auction in Dubai for US$205,000; it is
probably the world’s most expensive football. The purchaser then donated it to the IOC,
and it is now on display in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
5 Father Arnold Grol, the Undugu Society founder, dedicated his life to helping streetkids, and
first took me to the Mathare slums during one of my many UN missions to Kenya in the early
1980s.
6 The Mathare Youth Sports Association’s first major partners were the Norwegian Ministry
of Environment, Norad and the Strømme Foundation. A few years later the new Laureus
Sport for Good Foundation and then Comic Relief also became key partners. During the last
two decades over 30 bilateral and international organisations and companies partnered with
MYSA, as well as several Kenyan agencies and companies such as K.D. Wire.
7 For more information, see www.mysakenya.org and www.facebook.com/MathareYouth
SportsAssociation.
8 In 2015 MYSA has 26,420 players in 1,811 teams, including 6,000 girls in 398 teams,
playing in over 120 leagues in 16 MYSA zones. In addition, more than 5,000 youths
participate in the MYSA community service programmes.
9 MYSA leaders and trainers have provided technical advice and assistance to projects in
Botswana, India, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda,
Vietnam and Zambia.
10 See Bob Munro, ‘Sport for peace and reconciliation: young peacemakers in the Kakuma
Refugee Camp and Mathare slums in Kenya’, paper presented at the 6th Play the Game
World Communication Conference on Sport and Society, Coventry, UK, 11 June 2009,
www.playthegame.org/uploads/media/Bob_Munro-Sport_for_peace_and_reconciliation.pdf.
11 To help reduce pre-election tensions, the MYSA Football4Peace tournaments had special
rules. For example, all the teams had to include at least five girls and only the girls were
allowed to score.
Sport as a force for good
9
12 I chaired this meeting, which became one of my proudest moments in sport. After only ten
minutes all the top clubs unanimously agreed to use their limited funds to pay for the Kenyan
national team.
13 In May 2008, when KPL started funding and helping the national team, Kenya was 120th in
the FIFA world rankings. By the end of 2008, Kenya was ranked 68th in the world. On that
2008 national team, which achieved the best results in Kenyan football history, over half the
players and both the head coach and team manager were from MYSA and Mathare United
FC.
14 See, for example, Standard (Kenya), ‘Youth clean up Mathare’, 23 April 1989; Inter Press
Service, ‘Football sets development rolling in slums’, 29 November 1989.
15 See, for example, New York Times (US), ‘In Nairobi slums, soccer gives poor youths hope’,
14 October 1991, www.nytimes.com/1991/10/14/world/nairobi-journal-in-nairobi-slumssoccer-gives-poor-youths-hope.html; Christian Science Monitor (US), ‘Soccer playing
youths clean up: Nairobi program combines sports and community service’, 31 August
1992; Reader’s Digest (US), ‘Miracle in the Mathare slums’, April 1994.
16 Bob Munro, ‘Children and the environment: a new approach to youth activities and
environmental cleanup in Kenya’, Journal of Environment and Urbanization, vol. 4
(1992).
17 See United Nations, Sport for Development and Peace: Towards Achieving the Millennium
Development Goals (New York: UN, 2003).
18 In 2004 MYSA also won the Laureus Sport for Good Award at the World Sports Academy
Awards in Lisbon.
19 The eight Laureus national foundations are in Argentina, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands,
South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. For more information on Laureus,
see www.laureus.com/home.
20 For more information on streetfootballworld, see www.streetfootballworld.org.
21 For more information on Peace and Sport, see www.peace-sport.org.
22 For more information on Spirit of Soccer, see www.spiritofsoccer.org.
23 For more information on PeacePlayers International, see www.peaceplayersintl.org.
24 For more information on the Kicking AIDS Out network and projects, see www.kickingaid
sout.net.
25 For more information on Fight for Peace, see www.fightforpeace.net. To fully understand
and also stay updated on the special and still growing power of sport as a force for good
worldwide, go to the international platform on sport and development (www.sportanddev.
org), built and hosted since 2003 by the Swiss Academy for Development. It includes a
comprehensive history and links to many good local and global sport and development
projects, as well as a series of excellent project case studies on key issues such as sport
and disability, disaster response, education, gender, health and peace building. Moreover,
for those tempted to start a project in their own community or country, it also includes a
detailed toolkit with practical advice on implementation, along with references to other
helpful and reliable manuals.
26 In addition to the annual Laureus Sport for Good Awards, at the Beyond Sport Summit
annual awards are given in a wide range of categories, including sport for education, for
environment, for health, for social inclusion, for conflict resolution and for overall leadership
in sport, and include organisations in 145 countries from 37 different sports. See www.
beyondsport.org. The Peace and Sport Awards have eight distinct categories – see www.
peace-sport.org/en/forum/awards/presentation/les-categories.html.
27 For example, MYSA is second to a club from Brazil for the most gold medals won at the
world’s oldest and largest international youth tournament, the Norway Cup. MYSA teams
also won the first two FIFA Football for Hope tournaments, held during the 2006 and 2010
World Cups.
28 Mathare Youth Sports Association internal governance statistics – see www.mysakenya.org/
resources.html. In 2009 FIFA acknowledged that the youngest elected football official in
10
Governance of sport
the world was probably the 11-year-old MYSA girl Charity Muthoni, the elected chairman
in Kayole, one of MYSA’s largest zones with over 2,000 players. See FIFA.com, ‘Charity
elected as youngest MYSA chairman’, 4 November 2009, www.fifa.com/sustainability/
news/y=2009/m=11/news=charity-elected-youngest-mysa-chairman-1128176.html.
29 In the 2007 national elections, 25-year-old Joel Achola, a leader in the MYSA ‘Jailed Kids’
project, became the youngest elected councillor in Kenya. See Sunday Nation (Kenya),
‘Age has nothing to do with it’, 27 January 2008.
30 See, for example, The People (Kenya), ‘KFF lands in serious trouble as government
disbands U17 team’, 15 February 2003; Daily Nation (Kenya), ‘Prosecute soccer crooks’,
editorial, 17 February 2003.
31 Ibid. This may be another Kenyan first in world sport, as friends in FIFA could not recall any
government ever voluntarily withdrawing its national team from an international tournament
because of age cheating.
32See Kenya Times, ‘KFF officials appear in court to face corruption charges’, 7 June 2004.
33 See Bob Munro, ‘From grassroots to gold medals: are stakeholder-led reforms and
ownership a way forward for African football?’, paper presented at the 1st African Football
Executive Summit, Accra, Ghana, 27 May 2011.
34 This may be the first time FIFA ever supported clubs over their national association member.
Had it not been for FIFA, and especially its then deputy general secretary, Jérôme
Champagne, the KPL would not have survived the attacks by an unholy alliance of corrupt
football officials and politicians.
35 Guardian (UK), ‘Kenya leads the way in ending blight of corruption in African football’,
11 July 2010, www.theguardian.com/football/2010/jul/11/kenyan-premier-league.
36 For access to all of FIFA’s Financial Reports, see www.fifa.com/about-fifa/officialdocuments/governance/index.html#financialReports. See FIFA: Financial Report 2014
(Zurich: FIFA, 2015), p. 142.
37 The 2014 UN programme budget was US$2.7 billion; United Nations, Proposed
Programme Budget for the Biennium 2014–15: Foreword and Introduction (New York:
UN, 2013).
38 See World Bank, World Development Report 2014: Risk and Opportunity – Managing Risk
for Development (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2013), pp. 296–298.
39 See FIFA (2015), p. 36.
40 See 2015 List of Fortune 500 Companies: http://fortune.com/fortune500.
41 Many global sports bodies are headquartered in Switzerland, including seven of the ten
largest for football (FIFA, UEFA), volleyball (FIVB), basketball (FIBA), hockey (FIH), handball
(IHF) and the Olympics (IOC). Those for cricket (ICC), rugby (IRB) and athletics (IAAF) are
headquartered in Dubai, Ireland and Monaco, respectively.
42 Developed by Play the Game/Danish Institute for Sports Studies and the University of
Leuven in cooperation with other partners, the Sports Governance Observer is a new
benchmarking tool for assessing how well sports organisations perform on the basis
on 38 key governance indicators. See Play the Game (Denmark), ‘Most sports federations
fail to meet basic principles of good governance’, 10 July 2015, www.playthegame.org/
news/news-articles/2015/0056_most-sports-federations-fail-to-meet-basic-principles-ofgood-governance and Arnout Geeraert, Chapter 1.8 ‘Indicators and benchmarking tools
for sports governance’, in this report.
43 For example, in 2012 the Congress of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) blatantly
changed the rules so that only elected members of the CAF Executive Committee could run
for the CAF presidency. At a subsequent congress, the 70-year age limit for members of the
CAF Executive Committee was also lifted, primarily so that the ageing incumbent, already in
power for 27 years, could run yet again in the next CAF elections. See Inside World Football
(UK), ‘African rule changes ensure there will be no change’, 15 April 2015, www.inside
worldfootball.com/osasu-obayiuwana/16821-osasu-obayiuwana-african-rule-changesensure-there-will-be-none.
Sport as a force for good
11
44 With over 30,000 boys and girls playing on over 1,500 football teams from 50 countries
during the last week of July every year, the Norway Cup is one of the world’s best examples
of the truly ‘beautiful game’ and ‘Colourful Friendship’ through sport. Before the 2015
Norway Cup, the under-16 Norwegian and Mathare players on their combined Colourful
Friendship team spent a week training together at the MYSA Football for Hope Centre in
Nairobi and another week living and training together in Norway. The Colourful Friendship
team’s sponsors and partners include the Norwegian Football Coaches Association (NFT),
Norwegian SANA Foundation, Norwegian Football Federation (NFF), Norway Cup and
MYSA’s Friends in Norway (MViN).
1.2
Fair play
Ideals and realities
Richard H. McLaren1
Introduction
Pierre de Coubertin, often heralded as the father of modern Olympism, viewed the concept
of fair play as vital to the Olympic spirit.2 Coubertin was responsible for the initiative that
established the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose Olympic Charter holds
that ‘the practice of sport is a human right’, and describes the Olympic spirit as one of
‘friendship, solidarity and fair play’.3 Fair play is more than a philosophical ideal that athletes
subscribe to; it is a mode of social organisation that demands dedication. It requires adherence
to written rules, respect for unwritten rules and respect for fellow players, referees, opponents
and fans. Fair play requires valuing friendly rivalries, team spirit, fair competition, equality,
integrity, solidarity, tolerance, care, excellence and joy for sport. The ideals of fair play begin
at the grass roots and extend through to Olympic and professional athletes. More importantly,
in the modern world, sport stands apart from other, scripted, forms of entertainment that
have predetermined outcomes.
Fair play is integral to the continued success of sport, and yet is everywhere under attack.
Acts of corruption undermine the ideal of fair play by taking control of and manipulating
the variables that define sport and the Olympic ideal in order to benefit specific individuals
or groups. In doing so, sport is deprived of its most fundamental feature: the uncertainty of
outcome.
Corrupt governance and match-fixing damage public perceptions of the integrity of sport
as an arena for competition, from grassroots competitions to international mega-events.
This is alarming, particularly because international sporting institutions increasingly face
allegations of corruption. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have been embroiled in controversy
because of alleged kickbacks to selection committees during bidding processes and
bribery in governance elections.4 The May 2015 arrest of nine FIFA officials and five affiliated
corporate executives for ‘racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies’5
demonstrated the capacity and willingness of the US government to fight corruption on an
international scale. Subsequently, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Switzerland each
launched independent investigations targeting alleged bribery, money-laundering and bidding
process irregularities. Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 men’s football World Cup has
been met with sustained criticism and allegations of bribery. Moreover, the human rights
abuses of migrant workers who labour on stadium and facility construction under the ‘kafala’
Fair play
13
system in Qatar have created international pressure on the country to abolish the system, but
to date the government has not done so.6 Although corporate sponsors have expressed
concern about these conditions, so far no 2022 World Cup sponsors have withdrawn financial
support as a result of the bribery allegations or working conditions. As participants, these
companies have the capacity to effect change.
In North America, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) faces a continuing
backlash over its corporate sponsorship practices, which yield hundreds of millions of dollars
per year in profit by exploiting athletes who, in return, receive little more than the dim and
fragile hope of a professional career following their collegiate experience.7 These collegiate
experiences may compromise education in favour of training elite ‘amateur’ athletes who
produce success and profit for teams and schools.
Media coverage8 of poor governance or athletes transgressing the ideals of fair play gives
the public a cause for concern as to the validity of competition, fair play and enforcement.
Proving that officials accepted kickbacks, athletes used banned substances or matches
were fixed can have a dramatic effect on the public’s opinion of sport. Such findings call into
question every aspect of the sporting relationship, from the highest levels of governing
organisations all the way to individual athletes.
The discovery and prosecution of corrupt practices create the same perception problem,
leaving the public to wonder how long such practices went undetected and what historic
moments in sport may have been compromised by corruption on and off the field. Corrupt
practices are therefore parasitic, because they undermine and destroy the ideals of fair play,
which are integral to the continued success and growth of sport. The endemic corruption
across sporting bodies undermines the ideals of fair play, and yet international sport remains
a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Ideals
International sporting organisations (ISOs) make it their objective to promote fair play and
meaningful competition for all participants involved in their respective sports. Promoting
fair play involves clear statements on ethical values,9 the development of anti-doping
programmes10 and the promotion of participation in sport. As this Global Corruption Report
shows, however, the realities are often very different from the ideals.11
Enforcement is often controversial and litigious, even where it is limited in scope. The
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is one of the best-known proactive institutions, but its
mandate is limited to combating doping in sport; WADA does not address corruption in
other forms. WADA’s director-general, David Howman, has suggested that it is time to create
a sport integrity agency to address corruption beyond WADA’s current scope, including
gambling, match-fixing and bribery.12 These acts of corruption engage the interests and
stakes of all parties: athletes; fans; coaches; sport organisations; stakeholders; corporate
sponsors; and, when public actors are involved, national governments. The FBI’s FIFA
investigation marks a turn in enforcement methods: charges were laid under the United
States’ ‘RICO’ statute,13 a law typically used to prosecute organised crime.
The spectre of corruption haunts notions of fair play in sport and undermines the ideals of
modern Olympism. A sport integrity agency, similar in structure to WADA, could enlist and
leverage the combined efforts of government and sport organisations in order to proactively
target corruption. Existing institutions, such as WADA and the newly developed Voluntary
Anti-Doping Association (VADA),14 offer frameworks for a broader regulatory and administrative
solution that places positive obligations on those involved in corrupt practices. While aspects
14
Governance of sport
of a broader solution to stamp out corruption in sport exist, more needs to be done to reach
the ideal espoused by ISOs and the Olympic movement.
Realities: moving forward
Promoting and achieving fair play in sport by eradicating corruption requires the engagement
of all stakeholders and the introduction of authoritative enforcement mechanisms. Battling
corruption in sport requires more than statements espousing Olympic ideals. The discovery
and prosecution of corruption attracts public scrutiny and undermines the credibility of not
just the sport, but its governing organisation as well. If ISOs are viewed as ineffective at
purging corruption from their respective sports, fair play will continue to operate as an illusory
ideal instead of a reality.
Notes
1 Richard McLaren is the CEO of McLaren Global Sport Solutions Inc., an organisation
dedicated to the development of best practices in governance and integrity in sport, and
Professor of Law at Western University, London, Canada.
2 Pierre de Coubertin, Olympism: Selected Writings (Lausanne: IOC, 2000), p. 588.
3 International Olympic Committee, Olympic Charter: In Force as from 8 December 2014
(Lausanne: IOC, 2014), p. 11, www.olympic.org/Documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf.
4 The Globe and Mail (Canada), ‘Three FIFA board members under investigation in World
Cup bid corruption probe’, 27 November 2014, www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/
soccer/three-fifa-board-members-under-investigation-in-world-cup-bid-corruptionprobe/article21820656. See also Guardian (UK), ‘Questions for IAAF president’s son
over $5m request to Doha amid 2017 bid’, 10 December 2014, www.theguardian.com/
sport/2014/dec/10/questions-for-iaaf-presidents-son-over-5m-request-to-doha-amid2017-bid.
5 US Department of Justice, ‘Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives indicted for
racketeering conspiracy and corruption’, 27 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/
nine-fifa-officials-and-five-corporate-executives-indicted-racketeering-conspiracy-and.
6 Al Jazeera America, ‘Amnesty: Qatar lagging on labor reforms’, 21 May 2015, http://america.
aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/21/amnesty-qatar-lagging-on-labor-reforms.html.
7 New York Times (US), ‘Day of reckoning for NCAA’, 6 June 2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/
06/07/opinion/nocera-day-of-reckoning-for-ncaa.html?_r=0.
8 See, for example, a discussion on the various scandals plaguing FIFA during Sepp Blatter’s
17-year presidency: New York Times (US), ‘FIFA scandals while Sepp Blatter has been
president’, 22 May 2015, www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/22/sports/soccer/ap-socfifa-election-scandals.html. On television, John Oliver’s two FIFA specials on Last Week
Tonight, a late-night US comedy show, have together received over 15 million views online.
The high-profile public arrests of FIFA officials created international news coverage, from
small newspapers to international newspapers of record. With respect to the NCAA, the
alleged educational institutions’ use of athletics and athletes for profit has also become part
of the public discourse; see The Atlantic (US), ‘Why hasn’t Congress investigated corruption
in the NCAA?’, 9 April 2014, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/04/
why-hasnt-congress-investigated-corruption-in-the-ncaa/360391.
9 See, for example, the preamble of FIFA’s Code of Ethics: Fédération Internationale de
Football Association, FIFA Code of Ethics: 2012 Edition (Zurich: FIFA, 2012), www.fifa.com/
mm/document/affederation/administration/50/02/82/codeofethics2012e.pdf.
10 See, for example, the programme changes introduced by Brian Cookson after he had
been elected president of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in 2013, including, but not
limited to, partnerships with anti-doping ISOs, internal and external legal counsel, policy
11
12
13
14
Fair play
15
boards directed at doping prevention and rigid use of the Athlete Biological Passport: Union
Cycliste Internationale, ‘UCI anti-doping programme’, www.uci.ch/clean-sport/anti-doping.
See, for example, International Weightlifting Federation, ‘Mission’, www.iwf.net/focus-on-iwf/
about.
David Howman, ‘Supporting the integrity of sport and combating corruption’, Marquette
Sports Law Review, vol. 23 (2013), p. 247.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization, part of the Organized Crime Control Act of
1970: USC tit. 18 §§1961–1968 (1970).
See the VADA website: http://vada-testing.org.
1.3
Autonomy and governance
Necessary bedfellows in the fight against
corruption in sport
Jean-Loup Chappelet1
Autonomy is a combination of the Greek words auto and nomos, meaning ‘those who make
their own law’. It is a long-established concept in the moral sciences that was developed,
most notably, by the eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant and later taken
up by English-speaking thinkers under the expressions ‘self-rule’ and ‘self-governance’. It
was also a presiding principle in colonies obtaining self-rule and then independence from
European countries during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The management and
political sciences gave a new dimension to the concept with the emergence of the ideas of
so-called new public management (NPM) and the granting of autonomy to entire sectors
of public administration in the 1990s.2 Throughout almost the entire twentieth century
traditional associative sports organisations (clubs and federations) enjoyed a large degree
of autonomy in governing sport.3 Some European countries (such as France and Italy) even
gave them monopolistic public service missions in sport. As explained below, for sport’s
governing bodies, autonomy is seen as fundamental both to sport and to their organisations.
Governance, a seventeenth-century French word designating the territory controlled by a
governor,4 became an important concept in the management and political sciences in
the 1990s. The concept has now been defined and analysed in so many ways it would be
impossible to summarise them all here.5 The term has now become part of the common
lexicon, thanks to the adoption by intergovernmental organisations such as the World Bank6
and the European Union7 of the expression ‘good governance’ – a concept that applies just
as much to public and not-for-profit organisations as it does to companies. Governance is an
important issue for sport and for the organisations that co-produce sport (clubs, federations,
governing bodies, etc.), which increasingly have to work in conjunction with public bodies,
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), other non-profit organisations and commercial
companies, most notably sports equipment companies, sponsors and the media.8
In these early decades of the twenty-first century, the concepts of ‘autonomy’ and
‘governance’ have become major issues in international, national and – sometimes – local
debates over sport. They have largely replaced the issue of the ‘specific nature of sport’,
which was finally recognised in Europe in 2009 by article 165 of the Lisbon Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union after the Declaration of Nice (2000), as mentioned
below. Autonomy and governance are of concern to non-profit sports organisations just
as much as they are to public authorities (local or regional sports departments, ministries)
Autonomy and governance
17
and intergovernmental (European Union, Council of Europe, United Nations, etc.) and nongovernmental (International Olympic Committee [IOC], international sport federations,
Transparency International, etc.) organisations. This chapter reviews the history of these
two concepts in the field of international sport and shows how they are closely linked to
the development of policies to combat corruption in sport and improve the management
of sports organisations. A number of conclusions are drawn in order to orient discussions
about how sport – now a very important sector of society – should be managed and
regulated, especially in terms of meeting certain criteria relating to the environment, society
and governance.
Autonomy
The Olympic Charter, a sort of constitution for the elite Olympic sports organisations
(also known as the ‘Olympic Movement’), first made reference to autonomy in 1949.9 At this
time, state interference in sport was starting to make itself felt, especially in the countries
of the Soviet bloc, which were beginning to join the Olympic Movement (the USSR first took
part in the Olympic Games in 1952, in Helsinki). For members of the IOC, making recognition
of a country contingent on the autonomy of its national Olympic committee (NOC) and,
thus, authorising its participation in the Olympics was a way of resisting these government
pressures.
The concept was not new, however, and had imbued the Olympic Movement from its
beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1909 Pierre de Coubertin, the then IOC
president, declared: ‘The goodwill of all the members of any autonomous sport grouping
begins to disintegrate as soon as the huge, blurred face of that dangerous creature known as
the state makes an appearance.’10 In a controversial speech following the Palestinian terrorist
attack during the Munich Olympics in 1972 (‘the Games must go on’), Avery Brundage, one
of Coubertin’s successors, reiterated this idea in his statement: ‘The games of the 20th
Olympiad [in Munich 1972] have been subjected to two savage attacks. We lost the Rhodesian
battle against naked political blackmail.’ (This was a reference to the threat of boycotts by
African governments, which led the IOC to withdraw its invitation to Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe
– to take part in the 1972 Olympics just before the Games were held.)
The concept of autonomy was reiterated in the 1992 European Sport Charter (based on
the principles of the 1975 Sport for All Charter), adopted by the Council of Europe: ‘Voluntary
sports organisations have the right to establish autonomous decision-making processes
within the law. Both governments and sports organisations shall recognise the need for a
mutual respect of their decisions’ (article 3.3). EU heads of state and heads of government
confirmed this principle in the Nice Declaration of 2000 without using the word ‘autonomy’:
‘The task of sporting organisations is to organise and promote their particular sport,
in line with their objectives, with due regard for national and Community (i.e. European)
legislation and on the basis of a democratic and transparent method of operation. They enjoy
independence and the right to organise themselves.’
These statements by intergovernmental organisations came at a time when the 1995
Bosman ruling by the European Court of Justice declared illegal the football players transfer
sporting rules in the European Union and forced the Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) to change its transfer rules for footballers. The sports movement saw this
ruling as interference in sporting affairs and led it to call upon governments to recognise the
‘specific nature of sport’. (This status, which it was thought would exempt sport from
European law, was finally accorded under the 1999 Treaty on the Functioning of the European
Union; it had few real consequences, however, because of the imprecision of the concept,
18
Governance of sport
and it certainly did not exempt sport from European law.) In 2004 the IOC’s revised Olympic
Charter reaffirmed: ‘The NOCs must preserve their autonomy and resist all pressures of any
kind, including but not limited to political, legal, religious or economic pressures, which may
prevent them from complying with the Olympic Charter’ (article 28.6).
Although the 2006 Meca–Medina case led to a ruling by the European Court of Justice in
favour of the sports organisations involved against two Romanian swimmers who contested
their doping sanctions, the court declared: ‘If the sporting activity in question falls within
the scope of the [European] Treaty, the conditions for engaging in it are then subject to all the
obligations which result from the various provisions of the Treaty.’ In other words, all sporting
rules (including, in this case, doping rules) were potentially subject to the laws governing
the European Union. The ruling did not include anything new compared with the Nice
Declaration, but the IOC reacted by calling a seminar, held in Lausanne, on the autonomy of
sports organisations.
A 2007 EU White Paper on sport confirmed the sports movement’s fears and prompted
the IOC to organise a second seminar on the autonomy of the Olympic Movement that same
year. The resolution adopted by this seminar underlined the fact that good governance in
sports organisations is ‘the fundamental basis to secure the Autonomy of Olympic and Sports
organisations and to ensure that this Autonomy is respected by our stakeholders’ (point 6 of
the resolution). The IOC’s deliberations concluded in February 2008 with the introduction
of the ‘basic universal principles for good governance of the Olympic and sports movement’,
or ‘BUPs’,11 organised into seven chapters. BUP 7 is called ‘Harmonious relations with
governments while preserving autonomy’.
Thomas Bach, who became the IOC president in 2013, presented the BUPs in his
speech to the 2009 Olympic Congress. Entitled ‘Unity in diversity’, this speech was a plea for
autonomy and good governance in sport. Following their adoption by the Congress (point 41
of the Final Document of the Congress) and subsequent incorporation into the IOC’s Code of
Ethics, the BUPs became obligatory for the Olympic Movement: ‘The Basic Universal
Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement, in particular
transparency, responsibility and accountability, must be respected by all Olympic Movement
constituents’ (point C1 of the IOC Code of Ethics). The Congress’s Final Document states:
‘The Olympic Movement is founded on the concept of the autonomy and good governance
of sport, which recognises and respects our individuality and achieves unity through diversity’
(point 3.27).
This doctrine was subsequently refined in the revised version of the Olympic Charter,
published in 2011: ‘Recognising that sport occurs within the framework of society, sports
organisations within the Olympic Movement shall have the rights and obligations of autonomy,
which include freely establishing and controlling the rules of sport, determining the structure
and governance of their organisations, enjoying the right of elections free from any outside
influence and the responsibility for ensuring that principles of good governance be
applied’ (Fundamental Principle 5 of the Olympic Charter). This principle uses the author’s12
definition of autonomy but does not really explain why sports organisations should enjoy
autonomy as a right.
Several organisations within the Olympic Movement, including two essential components
of the movement – international federations (IFs) and national Olympic committees – used the
autonomy recognised by the Olympic Charter to adopt their own codes of ethics. This was
the case for FIFA in 2004 (revised in 2013) and the Swiss Olympic Association in 2012.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, sports organisations in numerous countries,
including Afghanistan, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama and Poland,
denounced cases of state intervention in sport. These complaints led the IOC to temporarily
Autonomy and governance
19
suspend the NOCs of Afghanistan, Kuwait and India, preventing them taking part with their
flag in the Sydney 2000, London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, respectively. As
early as the 1970s the IOC had protested, unsuccessfully, against a law (the Amateur Sport
Act) passed by the US Congress creating the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and
giving it property rights over the Olympic rings in the United States. Historically, however, it
can be seen that the countries excluded from the Olympics or other world events have all
been relatively minor in terms of either their size or sporting results.
It goes without saying that, within a constitutional state, there are limits to autonomy,
and complete autonomy is not possible. Different authors have referred to this situation
as ‘conditional autonomy’,13 ‘negotiated autonomy’14 or ‘pragmatic autonomy’.15 The IOC
president evoked the idea of ‘responsible autonomy’16 in front of the General Assembly of the
United Nations in New York in 2013, and it is now the IOC doctrine:
Regardless of where in the world we practise sport, the rules are the same. They are
recognised worldwide. They are based on a common ‘global ethic’ of fair play, tolerance
and friendship. But to apply this ‘universal law’ worldwide and spread our values
globally, sport has to enjoy responsible autonomy. Politics must respect this sporting
autonomy. For only then can sport organisations implement these universal values
amidst all the differing laws, customs and traditions. Responsible autonomy does
not mean that sport should operate in a law-free environment. It does mean that we
respect national laws which are not targeted against sport and its organisations alone,
sometimes for chiefly political reasons.
In the Western tradition, the freedom of peaceful association – proclaimed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (article 20.1) – allows people to create sports organisations,
adopt the rules they wish and apply these rules to all members of the organisation, as long as
they do not disturb public order or contravene the laws of the country in which the organisation
is based. Such associations (clubs, federations) formed the basis of the modern sports
movement, which began in Europe in the nineteenth century. Hence, a boxing organisation
based in Switzerland can decide how its president is elected, as long as it respects articles
60–79 of the Swiss Civil Code (laws governing associations), and stipulate any rule of boxing,
as long as it does not impose fights, for example, ‘to the death’ (which would be against
public order). On the other hand, some organisations’ rules for sports events may conflict
with national or international laws, such as laws on nationality or laws regulating the European
single market (as demonstrated in the Bosman ruling). Conflicts can also arise if national
governments pass laws contradicting existing sporting rules. This occurred in India in 2011,
when, against the wishes of the Indian Olympic Association, the government of India tried to
limit the age and length of tenure of the leaders of the country’s sports federations. Commercial
partners (sponsors and the media) may also exert pressure to change sporting rules. The
abolition of protective helmets in amateur boxing, in order to give spectators a better view of
the boxers’ faces, is just one example among many (tie breaks in tennis, disqualification after
two false starts in athletics, etc.).
Sports autonomy becomes difficult to justify outside the Western world, and, even here,
some authors feel it is no more than a myth. According to some researchers,17 this is the
case in Denmark. In the United Kingdom, where government intervention in sport is
not common, the government has set up public bodies (such as UK Sport) known as
QUANGOs (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations) to support UK sports
organisations and elite sport. In China, government bodies and sports organisations are
known as GONGOs (governmental non-governmental organisations) in order to underline
20
Governance of sport
the closeness of their ties with the government and their lack of autonomy from the state
(‘gong’ is the Chinese word for ‘public’). For example, China’s Olympic Committee is run by
more or less the same people who run the country’s sports ministry. In several countries
around the world, the national Olympic committee’s president is also the president of the
country or its sports minister.
Nowadays it is difficult to host a major sports event, or organise the fight against doping,
violence in sport or match-fixing, without close cooperation with states. In fact, sports
organisations welcome this type of cooperation, as long as their autonomy is respected
(see BUP 7). The most common justification for the autonomy of sports organisations is that
sport has to remain outside politics. The least that can be said is that this ideal – just like
amateurism, finally abandoned by the Olympic Movement in the 1980s – has been impossible
to achieve and runs counter to the rationale behind the revival of the Olympics.18 Keeping
sport free from political interference and scrutiny has been the traditional way for sport
organisations to ensure they can justify autonomy. A better justification today would be that
the twenty-first-century state cannot do everything; therefore, from a liberal point of view,
governments should delegate what they can to other bodies, including self-financed private
organisations, such as sports organisations, as long as the state retains control over legislation
and the regulation of the sector in question.
Thomas Bach recognised these necessary limits to autonomy in his ‘Unity in diversity’
speech to the 2009 Olympic Congress and reiterated his faith in the concept in the manifesto
he drew up for his successful bid to become IOC president in 2013. He even saw it as one of
the main challenges facing the Olympic Movement and the IOC in the coming years:
Sport must be politically neutral, but sport cannot be apolitical. This is why the Olympic
Movement needs responsible autonomy and partnership with politics at the same
time. This can be achieved by a dialogue in mutual respect between the Olympic
Movement and government authorities at all levels, including the United Nations,
intergovernmental organisations and national governments. We should more clearly
define the concept of responsible autonomy and better communicate its advantages
for both politics and sports to all parties. [. . .] Because of the way the Olympic
Movement is structured, an attack on the autonomy of one of its members represents
an attack on the autonomy of the whole Olympic Movement. A lack of autonomy of a
national federation, for instance, always leads to a lack of autonomy for the relevant
NOC and IF. Therefore, going beyond our preventive measures, we should optimise
and harmonise our sanction system even more. Each IF and each continental association
of NOCs and IFs should appoint an expert at the highest executive level to be called
upon whenever a problem of autonomy arises. The sanctions imposed by the IOC
should be respected and applied by as many IFs as possible, since such a united
approach is the most efficient.19
After his election, Bach appointed Irishman Patrick Hickey, also a representative of the NOCs,
to the IOC’s Executive Commission, as the IOC member responsible for autonomy.
Governance
The term ‘governance’ first took hold in the language of international sport in 1998, during
what would become known as the ‘Salt Lake City scandal’.20 The IOC was forced to
investigate around 30 of its members, accused of receiving favours (such as luxury travel and
holidays, study grants or jobs, free goods or services) from Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter
Figure 1.1 Key decisions in the evolution of ‘sports autonomy’
Autonomy and governance
21
22
Governance of sport
Olympics bid committee. In 1995 the IOC’s members had awarded the Games to the city in
Utah (United States), which it duly hosted in 2002 under a new president (the former organising
committee president had resigned but was acquitted of all charges in 2003). It was also
revealed that similar behaviours had been part of earlier bidding processes.21
By the end of the IOC-led inquiry, four members of the IOC had resigned or had died, six
members had been expelled and ten members had been reprimanded. This scandal shook
the IOC so deeply that, in 1999, it introduced substantial reforms to its governance by setting
up an ethics commission, drawing up a code of ethics to sanction unacceptable behaviours
and limiting terms of office, most notably for the IOC president (a maximum of 12 years). It
also had to accept new members representing its main stakeholders: athletes, NOCs and IFs.
These reforms allowed the IOC to escape from the media and sponsor spotlight, and enjoy
the success of the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. At first the term ‘governance’ was used
mostly by the media and the IOC’s sponsors, but it was quickly picked up by governments,
which, in 1999 and in conjunction with the Olympic Movement, founded the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) in order to jointly fight a phenomenon that sports organisations had
proved unable to control and govern alone.
In February 2001 the European Olympic Committees (EOC, the umbrella organisation for
Europe’s 49 IOC-recognised NOCs), in partnership with the International Automobile
Federation, which provided the finance, held a conference in Brussels called ‘The rules of
the game: first international governance in sport conference’. Jacques Rogge, who would
be elected president of the IOC a few months later, used this conference to expound on one
of his campaign themes: ‘Since sport is based on ethics and competition on fair play, the
governance of sport must comply with the highest standards in terms of transparency,
democracy and accountability.’22 These ideas were greatly influenced by Sunder Katwala, a
British researcher of Indian and Irish descent.23
The word ‘governance’ appeared in the Olympic Charter for the first time in 2004, in article
19.3.2: ‘[The IOC Executive Board] approves all internal governance regulations relating to
its organisation.’ More significantly, in 2011 governance was included in the IOC’s first
mission: ‘To encourage and support the promotion of ethics and good governance in sport
as well as education of youth through sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in
sport, the spirit of fair play prevails and violence is banned’ (article 2.1). Also in 2011, the fifth
fundamental principle of the Olympic Charter closely linked the concepts of governance
and autonomy (see above). This principle was implemented, at least partly, in 2012, when the
IOC used some of the above-mentioned BUPs to evaluate the 28 IFs that wanted to remain
on the programme for the Summer Olympics and the seven IFs that were applying to join the
programme.24 The result of this evaluation was the provisional exclusion of wrestling, because
its IF had no women on its decision-making bodies and no athletes’ commission, and failed
to follow unspecified precepts of ‘good’ governance.
‘Rules of good governance’ were introduced by the Union Cycliste Internationale in
2004, closely followed by other sports organisations, including the Dutch NOC (called
NOC*NSF) and the United States Olympic Committee in 2005, the Commonwealth Games
Federation in 2006 and the European Team Sports Association in 2008.25 Governmental or
intergovernmental organisations such as UK Sport (in 2004), the European Union (in 2000
and 2007) and the Council of Europe (in 2004 and 2005) did likewise. Since the early
2000s innumerable definitions of governance have been put forward; the author and
Michaël Mrkonjic have identified more than 35 sets of ‘good governance’ principles
in sport alone, most of which have been written in the conditional tense.26 On the other
hand, there are very few examples of tools for measuring sports organisation governance.
Exceptions include, for instance, UK Sport’s 11 ‘Governance Requirements’, the Australian
Sports Commission’s 20 ‘Mandatory Sports Governance Principles’27 and the 63 ‘Basic
Autonomy and governance
23
Indicators for Better Governance in International Sport’ (BIBGIS).28 The IOC systematically
refers to the more than 100 indicators that can be deducted from the BUPs, even though
they have proved difficult to apply.29 Despite the introduction of all these principles, a 2009
report by Transparency International30 condemned a continuing lack of transparency and
accountability – two key precepts of sports organisation governance.
At the end of 2010, during and after the selection of the host countries for the 2018
(Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) football World Cups, FIFA was shaken by a similar crisis to the one
that had rocked the IOC ten years earlier. Several members of FIFA’s executive committee
were expelled, suspended or forced to resign. Transparency International sent FIFA a
report called Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA,31 which listed several
concrete measures that could be taken. FIFA responded to this crisis by creating, in 2011, an
Independent Governance Committee (IGC) and nominating Mark Pieth, a Swiss expert, as its
president. Pieth’s analysis of the organisation, called Governing FIFA,32 was followed by
several IGC reports recommending possible actions football’s governing body could take.
These reports resulted in the 2012 and 2013 FIFA congresses approving a series of
measures to improve the organisation’s governance. In Bach’s bid for the IOC presidency, he
said he wished to copy one of these measures: the creation of two branches for investigation
and adjudication within the Ethics Commission to further its independence.33
From 2012 to 2013 the European Commission financed several projects in the field of
sports governance in order to prepare Europe’s sports policy for the period from 2014
to 2017, which has been introduced following the adoption of article 165 of the Treaty on
the Functioning of the European Union (Lisbon Treaty). Projects included ‘Action for Good
Governance in International Sport’34 and ‘Good Governance in Grassroots Sport’.35
These different approaches to sports governance raise two important issues. The first is
the need to harmonise the fundamental requirements of sports organisation governance:
what is essential and what is just ‘nice to have’? The second issue – the urgent need for
indicators that can be used to measure a sports organisation’s level of governance, as is
done for other public or private organisations, and even for states (see the World Bank’s
Worldwide Governance Indicators) – arises from the first. These indicators must probably
include analogous measurement tools to those included in the BIBGIS.36
Figure 1.2 The need for governance
24
Governance of sport
From this point of view, it would be judicious to talk about ‘better governance’ rather than
‘good governance’. In fact, sports organisations have a lot of catching up to do in this respect,
as was demonstrated by the IOC/Salt Lake City scandals in 1998/1999 and the FIFA scandals
in 2010–2013 and 2015. The governance of these two governing bodies is better today, but
it is not perfect. Moreover, who can legitimately say that an organisation’s governance is
‘good’? The legal statutes of associations, especially sports associations, mean that reforms
have to be approved by a general meeting of the association in question – that is, by the very
people who will be most affected by them. Moreover, there are many agent–principal problems.
As Daniel Mason, Lucie Thibault and Laura Misener write: ‘The same individuals are involved in
both the management and control of decision making.’37 This is why governance reforms are
so slow and so difficult to implement. One way of getting round this difficulty is to approve
reforms for implementation at a later date (sparing agents and/or postponing difficulties).
Of course, autonomy and governance are not the only issues facing sports organisations.
The IOC and FIFA have been criticised over the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2014
World Cup in Brazil with respect to their mega-events’ sustainability, in the wider sense of
the term. But the IOC and FIFA cannot be held responsible for all the problems facing Russia
or Brazil (although they could have refused to allow these countries to host these megaevents). Nor can the local organising committees for these mega-events be held responsible,
however autonomous they are and however well they are governed. Good governance is an
essential element in combating corruption in sport, but this fight also involves other issues, as
discussed below.
Autonomy, governance and corruption in sport
The large amounts of money that began flowing into sports organisations in the 1970s and
1980s led to the development of corruption in (formerly known as amateur) elite sport.
Autonomy can also hide corruption. Corruption/cheating in sport can take several forms,
including – in a broad definition – doping, match-fixing, money-laundering, the fraudulent
attribution of sponsoring, broadcasting or construction contracts, kickbacks, election-rigging,
illegal transfers and the manipulation of event-bidding processes, etc. There are two
main categories of sports corruption: on-the-field (of play) corruption by athletes, referees and
athletes’ entourages, etc.; and off-the-field corruption by sports organisation decisionmakers, which often occurs in offices, away from competition venues.
Off-the-field corruption is mostly a question of governance. In Switzerland, where numerous
international sports organisations are based, this form of private corruption can be fought
under article 102.2 of the Criminal Code, as the Swiss and German branches of Transparency
International have pointed out to Swiss sports organisations.38 Under article 102.2, an
association – like any other organisation – can be punished for corruption by its members if it
has not taken all reasonable and necessary measures to prevent corruption. Fines, which can
be up to 5 million CHF (some US$5.3 million), are determined according to the seriousness
of the offence, the measures taken by the organisation to prevent corruption, the damage
caused and the organisation’s ability to pay. Unfortunately, Swiss judges can prosecute such
organisations only if a complaint is filed by either the corrupter or the corrupted, which rarely
happens. Following a recommendation by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against
Corruption (known as GRECO), in 2015 Switzerland’s parliament approved an amendment to
the Criminal Code that allows such offences to be prosecuted by a state prosecutor without
a complaint being filed (for all kinds of organisations).
To prevent corruption in ‘major public events’ (including sporting events), one can refer to
the strategy published in 2013 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime following
Autonomy and governance
25
the adoption by most countries of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.39
It contains more than 200 recommendations pertaining to major public events, organised
in 11 dimensions. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has also recently
decided to create a new standard against corruption (ISO/PC 278) that can be applied to
all organisations.
In contrast, on-the-field corruption can take a wide variety of forms and can affect even
very well-governed organisations and their athletes. The fight against this form of private
corruption has resulted in international treaties, such as the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization’s International Convention against Doping in Sport,
adopted in 2005, and the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sports
Competitions, signed in 2014. In addition, the attribution and organisation of sports events,
large and small, give rise to numerous possibilities for corruption via the votes, contracts and
constructions they involve. In theory, all the decisions linked to these events can be taken
autonomously by the organisations that own them or that organise them locally. In practice,
public opinion expects these decisions to take into account factors other than just governance
(and economic considerations), especially environmental and social factors. Sport
organisations must take these factors into consideration at the organisation and bidding
stages (before their decision to award their event).
Companies and other types of organisation are increasingly being called upon to focus on
the triple bottom line – that is, the balance between economic, social and environmental
criteria (for sports organisations, at least since the publication of a United Nations Environment
Programme report in 2001).40 In 1994 the IOC made the environment the third dimension
of Olympism (with education and culture) and started promoting sustainability in sport
(article 2.13 of the Olympic Charter). The social dimension must not be forgotten either,
because sports organisations are first and foremost social organisations whose goal is to
promote participation in (their) sport in order to ‘place sport at the service of humanity’, as the
Olympic Charter proclaims. From this point of view, the corporate social responsibility
programmes launched by numerous sports organisations may appear as ‘greenwashing’ –
that is, unsuitable or inappropriate – as they are based on criteria that are removed from these
original social goals.41
The IOC felt this keenly when it began promoting the long-term legacy of the Olympic
Games as a major reason for hosting them (article 2.14 of the Olympic Charter). In 2003 it
began requiring organising committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) to carry out Olympic
Games Global Impact (OGGI, then OGI) studies.42 Then, in conjunction with the OCOGs for
Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and
Transparency International, it turned towards a sports event ‘sector supplement’ of the Global
Reporting Initiative (GRI), proposed by the same-name NGO, which promotes the use of
sustainability reporting. This work led to the creation of the ISO 20121 standard for sports
events.43 In 2014 the IOC included in clause L of the host-city contract governing its relations
with future organising committees sections relating to non-discrimination, the environment,
health, safety and labour laws. In 2015, the Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) was formed to
ensure protection of human rights and implementation of anti-corruption measures in the
lead-up to and during Olympic Games by well-known NGOs, including Amnesty International,
FIFPro (World Football Players’ Union), Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch,
the International Trade Union Confederation, Supporters Direct Europe, Terre des Hommes
and Transparency International Germany.
Events can also take as their inspiration the well-known environmental, social and
governance (ESG) performance indicators, which were devised as a way of judging the quality
of an investment. In fact, organisers and event owners could view sports events as investments
26
Governance of sport
in the communities (local, regional, national) that host them. The United Nations’ ‘principles
for responsible investment’ (UNPRI) acknowledge the importance of ESG factors. These
principles cover environmental issues (climate change, hazardous waste, nuclear energy,
etc.), social issues (diversity, workplace safety, human rights, consumer protection, sin
stocks, animal welfare, housing eviction, etc.) and governance (management structure and
accountability, employee relations, executive compensation, transparency, etc.), all of which
concern, closely or distantly, the attribution or organisation of sports events and corruption.
As a result, human rights and environmental protection issues in countries hosting major
events could take precedence over questions of organising committee governance.
Although sports organisations cannot be held responsible for all the social and environmental problems affecting a country, they are responsible for attributing and organising their
events in ways that avoid these problems or reduce them as far as possible, as highlighted
by the experiences of four European NOCs that, in 2013, saw the public reject their bids to
host the Olympic Games.44 Evaluating compliance with these responsibilities is necessary in
order to re-establish confidence in the Olympic and sports movements, whose images have
become tarnished in recent decades.45
Conclusion
Although autonomy is one of the foundation stones on which the sports movement was built,
it was not until the years after the Second World War that the IOC formally stated its attachment
to this principle. Sport’s vision of itself as a universal ideal goes hand in hand with sports
organisations’ long-standing claim that sport is apolitical. This attachment was reaffirmed
quite recently in the face of the European Union’s and other governments’ desires to more
closely regulate sport, a sector that has become an extremely important element in the social
fabric of states.
Despite reiterating the importance of autonomy, sports organisations have realised that
they have political influence and must be seen by governments and other partners (sponsors,
broadcasters and the media) to deserve this autonomy from the state. Thus, in the early
decades of the twenty-first century, they have begun introducing a form of sports governance
inspired by corporate governance and democratic governance.46 The IOC now considers
‘good sports governance’ a principle of the Olympic and sports movements that is intrinsically
linked to the principle of autonomy.
The Sochi Winter Olympics and the football World Cup in Brazil, both held in 2014, seem
to have pushed questions of autonomy and governance to the background, to be replaced
by problems of corruption, environment or human rights in the host countries. Such problems
are a real trap for sports organisations, which generally attribute their flagship events many
years in advance, and to general indifference. Consequently, future bid evaluations need to
be more political than technical. Similarly, the problem of match-fixing has put sports
corruption (by on-the-field actors such as athletes and referees) under the spotlight.47 This
issue is the subject of a 2014 Council of Europe international convention, but it remains to be
stemmed through joint actions by sports organisations, governments and, if necessary, other
stakeholders, such as betting operators. Similarly, a new balance between political, economic,
social and sporting forces needs to be found to fight overall corruption in sport.
Notes
1 Jean-Loup Chappelet is a Professor of Public Management at the Swiss Graduate School of
Public Administration (IDHEAP), University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Autonomy and governance
27
2 See, for example, Christopher Hood, ‘A public management for all seasons?’, Public
Administration, vol. 69 (1991).
3 Jean-Loup Chappelet, Autonomy of Sport (Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2010).
4 See Bernard Quemada (ed.), Trésor de la langue française: dictionnaire de la langue du XIXe
et du XXe siècle (1789–1960) (Paris: Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1971).
5 Following on from, for example, Jan Kooiman (ed.), Modern Governance: New Government–
Society Interactions (London: Sage, 1993); Adrian Leftwich, ‘Governance, the state and
the politics of development’, Development and Change, vol. 25 (1994); and Roderick A.W.
Rhodes, ‘The new governance: governing without government’, Political Studies, vol. 44
(1996).
6 Jonathan Isham, Daniel Kaufmann and Lant Pritchett, Governance and Returns on
Investment: An Empirical Investigation, Policy Research Working Paper no. 1550
(Washington, DC: World Bank, 1995).
7 European Union, European Governance: A White Paper (Brussels: European Union
Commission, 2001).
8 Jean-Loup Chappelet, ‘The global governance of sport: an overview’, in Ian Henry and
Ling-Mei Ko (eds), Routledge Handbook of Sport Policy (London: Routledge, 2013).
9 Chappelet (2010), p. 89.
10 Pierre de Coubertin, Une campagne de vingt-et-un ans (1887–1908) (Paris: Éducation
physique, 1909), p. 152.
11 Chappelet (2013).
12 Chappelet (2010), p. 49.
13 Stephen Weatherill, ‘On overlapping legal orders: what is the “purely sporting” rule?’, in
Barbara Bogusz, Adam Cygan and Erika Szyszczak (eds), The Regulation of Sport in the
European Union (London: Edward Elgar, 2007).
14 Chappelet (2010).
15 Arnout Geeraert, Michaël Mrkonjic and Jean-Loup Chappelet, ‘A rationalist perspective on
the autonomy of international sport governing bodies: towards a pragmatic autonomy in the
steering of sports’, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics (2014), www.tandfonline.
com/eprint/k7VVVmEvIwFBYF8FWh36/full.
16 Thomas Bach, ‘Unity in diversity: candidature for the presidency of the International Olympic
Committee’ (8 July 2013), www.olympic.org/Documents/IOC_President/Manifesto_Thomas_
Bach-eng.pdf.
17 Lone Thing and Laila Ottesen, ‘The autonomy of sports: negotiating boundaries between
sports governance and government policy in the Danish welfare state’, International Journal
of Sport Policy, vol. 2 (2010), p. 233.
18 Jean-Loup Chappelet, ‘A long lasting marriage arranged by Coubertin’, in Dikaia
Chatziefstathiou and Norbert Müller (eds), Olympism, Olympic Education and Learning
Legacies (London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013).
19 Thomas Bach, ‘Statement on the occasion of the adoption of the resolution “Building a
Peaceful and Better World through Sport and the Olympic Ideal”’ (6 November 2013),
www.olympic.org/Documents/IOC_President/2013-11-6_Speech_IOC_President_BachOlympic_Truce_adoption_Speech_4_November.pdf.
20 Stephen Wenn, Robert Barney and Scott Martyn, Tarnished Rings: The International Olympic
Committee and the Salt Lake City Bid Scandal (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011).
21Ibid.
22 Jacques Rogge, ‘Good sport governance’, speech given at ‘The rules of the game: first
international governance in sport conference’, Brussels, 26 February 2001.
23 Sunder Katwala, Democratising Global Sport (London: Foreign Policy Centre, 2000).
24 International Olympic Committee, Evaluation Criteria for Sports and Disciplines – 2012
(Lausanne: IOC, 2012).
25 Jean-Loup Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic, The Basic Indicators for Better Governance in
International Sport, Working Paper no. 1/2013 (Lausanne: Swiss Graduate School of Public
Administration, 2013).
28
Governance of sport
26Ibid.
27 Australian Sports Commission, Mandatory Sports Governance Principles (Canberra: Australian
Sports Commission, 2013).
28 Chappelet and Mrkonjic (2013).
29 Emilie Romon, ‘La gouvernance des organisations sportives: une application des principes
universels de base de bonne gouvernance du Mouvement Olympique et sportif du CIO’,
unpublished master PMP thesis, Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration, 2011.
30 Transparency International, Corruption and Sport: Building Integrity and Preventing Abuses,
Working Paper no. 03/2009 (Berlin: TI, 2009).
31 Transparency International, Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA (Berlin:
TI, 2011).
32 Mark Pieth, Governing FIFA: Concept Paper and Report (Basel: Basel University, 2011).
33 Bach (2013, ‘Unity in Diversity’), p. 8.
34 Jens Alm (ed.), Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations: Final
Report (Copenhagen: Danish Institute for Sports Studies, 2013).
35 International Sport and Culture Association, Guidelines for Good Governance in Grassroots
Sport (Copenhagen: ISCA, 2013).
36 Chappelet and Mrkonjic (2013).
37 Daniel Mason, Lucie Thibault and Laura Misener, ‘An agency theory perspective on
corruption in sport: the case of the International Olympic Committee’, Journal of Sport
Management, vol. 20 (2006).
38 Swiss Olympic Asociation, Transparence dans le sport structuré: Guide pratique à l’intention
des fédérations (Bern: Swiss Olympic Association, 2010).
39 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The United Nations Convention against
Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events
(Vienna: UNODC, 2013).
40 David Chernushenko, Anne van der Kamp and David Stubbs, Sustainable Sport
Management: Running an Environmentally, Socially and Economically Responsible
Organization (New York: UNEP, 2001).
41 Juan Paramio Salcines, Kathy Babiak and Geoff Walters (eds), Routledge Handbook of
Sport and Corporate Social Responsibility (London: Routledge, 2013).
42 Christophe Dubi, Pierre-Alain Hug and Pascal van Griethuysen, ‘Olympic Games
management: from the candidature to the final evaluation, an integrated management
approach’, in Miguel de Moragas, Christopher Kennett and Nuria Puig (eds), The Legacy of
the Olympic Games 1984–2000 (Lausanne: IOC, 2003).
43 Fiona Pelham, ‘Sustainable event management: the journey to ISO 20121’, in Jill Savery and
Keith Gilbert (eds), Sustainability and Sport (Champaign, IL: Common Ground, 2011).
44 Austrian Olympic Committee, German Olympic Sports Confederation, Swedish Olympic
Committee and Swiss Olympic Association, The Bid Experience: Evaluation of the Winter
Games Bids 2010–2018 and Recommendations for the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020
(Frankfurt: Proprojekt, 2014), p. 13.
45 John Milton-Smith, ‘Ethics, the Olympics and the search for global values’, Journal of
Business Ethics, vol. 35 (2002).
46 Chappelet (2013).
47 Jean-Loup Chappelet, ‘The fight against match-fixing: the Olympic approach’, in JeanPatrick Villeneuve and Martial Pasquier (eds), International Sports Betting: Integrity, Deviance,
Governance and Policy (London: Routledge, 2015).
1.4
Obstacles to accountability
in international sports
governance
Roger Pielke Jr1
Introduction
It was like a scene out of a Jason Bourne movie. At 6:00 a.m. on 27 May 2015, plain-clothed
Swiss police entered the posh Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, looking to arrest
members of an alleged international criminal syndicate.2 The surprise raid at the early hour
meant that seven suspects were taken into custody without incident, although one was able
to escape the hotel without being caught, because he saw the arrests being made as he had
his breakfast.3 The suspects were quickly ushered out of the hotel behind white sheets to
save them the embarrassment of the arrests.
The identities of the suspects were not kept quiet for long, thanks to Twitter and a hardworking press corps. They included top officials from the Fédération Internationale de
Football Association (FIFA), the Swiss-based international organisation which oversees
football competitions around the world, and several of its business partners. The police
action was the result of an unprecedented coordinated effort between the US and Swiss
governments. It also marked the onset of a global crisis for FIFA. Less than a week later its
president announced his intention to step down within a year and call a new election to
choose FIFA’s next leader. The crisis did not stop there, as the US government promised
more arrests and more details emerged of alleged bribes and corruption involving governments, businesses and FIFA itself. FIFA, it turns out, is not unique.
To understand why international sport organisations are so often the subject of allegations
and findings of corruption, it is necessary to understand the unique standing of these bodies
in their broader national and international settings. Through the contingencies of history
and a desire by sports leaders to govern themselves autonomously, international sports
organisations have developed in such a way that they have less well-developed mechanisms
of governance than many governments, businesses and civil society organisations. The
rapidly increasing financial interests in sport and associated with sport create a fertile setting
for corrupt practices to take hold. When they do, the often insular bodies have shown little
ability to adopt or enforce the standards of good governance that are increasingly expected
around the world.
30
Governance of sport
This chapter describes why improved governance is needed and why it is so hard to
achieve. First, it recounts a number of recent and ongoing scandals among sports governance
bodies. Second, it discusses the growing economic stakes associated with international
sport. Third, it provides an overview of the unique history and status of international sports
organisations, which helps to explain the challenge of securing accountability to norms
common in other settings.
Recent and ongoing scandals
Actual and alleged corruption has been a long-standing issue for many international sports
bodies. Some scandals are well known. For instance, in the 1990s the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) was embroiled in a scandal over the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games,
involving alleged bribes for votes.4 This scandal was particularly notable because of the
IOC’s leadership role across international sport. The episode led to the IOC instituting reforms
to encourage greater transparency and accountability, such as the creation of an Ethics
Commission and the introduction of conflict of interest guidelines.5
More recently, FIFA has faced a barrage of allegations over its process for selecting the
venues of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, won by Russia and Qatar, respectively. The
accusations range from the sordid – cash in brown paper envelopes6 – to the incredible –
alleged gifts of paintings from the archives of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum in
St. Petersburg7 – and everything in between. The US Department of Justice claims that
arrests in May 2015 in Switzerland are just the start of a longer-term criminal investigation.
These episodes involve the largest and most visible sports organisations; allegations of
corrupt practices can be found among less well-known bodies as well, however, including the
following.
• The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), located in Budapest, Hungary, has
been accused of financial mismanagement, with millions of dollars provided by the IOC
unaccounted for.8
• The international volleyball federation, the FIVB, located in Switzerland, has faced9
accusations of illegitimate political actions to keep a leadership regime in power, as
well as accusations of financial mismanagement of funding.10
• The international cycling union, the UCI, also located in Switzerland, in association
with the doping scandal involving Lance Armstrong and his team-mates, has faced
accusations of bribery and financial conflicts of interest.11
up
• The International Association of Athletics Federations stands accused of covering
institutionalised doping by Russian athletes and of other corrupt practices.12
• CONCACAF, one of the regional football federations within FIFA, discovered 13alleged
bribery and tax evasion within its leadership in a 2013 integrity investigation.
CONCACAF sits at the centre of the ongoing US Department of Justice investigation.
Corruption, defined as ‘the abuse of entrusted power for private gain’,14 is a global problem,
and a risk wherever power and politics are practised (which is to say, everywhere). Some
organisations are better than others, however, at discouraging corrupt practices and rooting
them out when they do occur. For instance, there is a well-developed body of experience on
the role of conflict-of-interest guidelines and disclosures.15 Avoiding such best practices can
be tempting, however, because of the large and growing stakes involved in international
sport. Securing the implementation of best practices requires effective leadership but also a
more general commitment to good governance.
Obstacles to accountability
31
Sport and money: big, and getting bigger
Sport is increasingly big business and, crucially, associated with big business, thus providing
opportunity and motivation for corrupt practices. For instance, the IOC reported total
revenues of about US$5 billion for the three-year period ending with the London 2012
games.16 To place this number into context, it is comparable to the collective total revenues
of the top 15 European football clubs over their 2013–2014 season.17 Following the 2010
World Cup, FIFA boasted financial reserves of more than US$1.3 billion,18 with an additional
US$2 billion in revenue from the 2014 World Cup.19
In the broader context of business, however, international sports organisations do not turn
over particularly large amounts of money. For instance, Tesco, the British supermarket chain,
had revenues of about US$100 billion in 201320 and Royal Dutch Shell, an oil company, had
revenues of about US$450 billion.21 Stefan Szymanski has shown that, as part of the overall
economy, sport and sport-related economic activity constitute a fairly small element.22 Even
so, the turnover of billions of dollars within the largest sporting organisations represents a
significant increase from past years and provides considerable opportunity and incentive for
corrupt behaviours. The growth in the financial stakes associated with sport shows no sign
of slowing down.23
Although the revenues associated with international sport organisations are not comparable
to the biggest businesses in the global economy, sport can be considered big business
nonetheless. In particular, mega-events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup
result in the mobilisation of tens of billions of dollars in state-sponsored infrastructure
expenses. For example, the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, reportedly cost
more than US$50 billion.24 The cost of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, by some estimates,
will top US$200 billion.25 These enormous expenditures attract a wide range of interests, not
only in the projects associated with the games but also in the decision-making leading to the
selection of host venues. Sports organisations make decisions with billion-dollar implications,
and with corresponding winners and losers.
The peculiar history and organisation of sports bodies
Even though international sport and its broader financial context have grown in size and
significance, the organisations that govern the games are typically not businesses but, rather,
a special class of non-profit associations. The fact that sports organisations sit in such an odd
place in the panoply of international organisations will come as a surprise to many; they are
not governmental, not intergovernmental, not corporations and not international bodies
like the United Nations or World Health Organization. It is, arguably, this special, non-profit
status that is at the heart of challenges to hold such bodies accountable to the same rules
and norms that govern other international bodies. There are many examples of businesses,
international organisations and civil society organisations that have seen governance shortfalls
exposed and then improved. A recent list of examples might begin with the international
banking sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Greenpeace.26
Professor Mark Pieth of the Basel Institute of Governance, and from 2011 to 2013 chair of
FIFA’s internal governance reform effort, has written that, despite its non-profit status, FIFA
is ‘a potent corporate entity. This calls for a sequence of particular governance measures
developed in the corporate world.’27 This view holds for other sports organisations as
well. Because of their unique governance structures, however, such bodies are not easily
held accountable to standards of good governance. For instance, companies and other
organisations typically have formal accountability to stakeholders (shareholders, for example,
32
Governance of sport
in the case of public companies) and are often overseen by independent directors. International
sports bodies have more diffuse and complex stakeholder relationships, and very few have
any external directors (the World Anti-Doping Agency offers an exception).
To understand international sports requires understanding the peculiar history and
organisation of the institutions that oversee international sports.28 The most significant
governance body is the International Olympic Committee, created in 1894. The IOC oversees
what it calls the ‘Olympic Movement’, defined as ‘the concerted, organised, universal and
permanent action, carried out under the supreme authority of the IOC, of all individuals
and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism’.29 By ‘Olympism’, the IOC is referring
to its guiding philosophy, which is ‘based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of
good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles’.30 In 2015 more than
50 different sports are part of the Olympic Movement, as elements of the Olympic Summer
and Winter Games.31
The IOC coordinates the activities of national Olympic bodies and collaborates with
international sports federations, such as FIFA, the FIVB and the IWF, among many others.
The international federations have many other responsibilities, which go far beyond their
collaboration with the IOC. For instance, FIFA oversees the quadrennial World Cup, and also
oversees and coordinates the national football associations, which, in turn, oversee (with
varying degrees of influence) the most popular professional leagues in the world, including the
English Premier League and the German Bundesliga.32 There are also, of course, many
significant sports leagues, such as the National Football League in the United States, that sit
apart from the Olympic Movement, and thus follow different sorts of governance models.
About 60 international sports organisations are headquartered in Switzerland, including
the IOC and FIFA.33 The IOC may seem like an international body, and it does have a
close relationship with the United Nations, including special recognition by the UN and
the sharing of programmes with the UN.34 Despite appearances, however, the IOC is
not itself a part of the UN or any other multilateral institution. It is actually a non-profit
organisation incorporated under the provisions of Swiss law, which – along with several
other global sports bodies – receives special treatment under Swiss law, including tax and
property privileges.35
For the IOC and other sports organisations, these arrangements with the Swiss government date to more than a century ago, when the Swiss were recruiting international
governmental and non-governmental organisations to their country. The historical interest
of the Swiss in hosting international organisations is not particular to sport, with almost 300
such bodies headquartered in the small country.36
Unique governance practices stymie accountability
In a 2013 research paper I asked why it is that FIFA, the subject of frequent allegations
of corruption and poor governance practices, has been so difficult to hold accountable.37
The answer that I have reached is more broadly applicable, relating to international sports
organisations that share similar characteristics.
Specifically, I drew on research on international organisations that identified seven different
mechanisms of accountability. These are:
1. hierarchical accountability: the power that superiors have over subordinates within an
organisation;
2. supervisory accountability: relationships between organisations;
3. fiscal accountability: mechanisms of control over funding;
Obstacles to accountability
33
4. legal accountability: the requirement that international bodies and their employees must
abide by the laws of relevant jurisdictions in which those laws are applicable;
5. market accountability: influence that is exercised by investors or consumers through
market mechanisms;
6. peer accountability: the evaluation of organisations by their peer institutions; and
7. public reputational accountability: the reputation of an organisation.
Because most international sports bodies are incorporated as associations – that is, voluntary
membership organisations – and are legally characterised as non-profits, in general they are
not subject to national or international laws or norms that govern business practices.
The difference in governance practices between public corporations, multilateral institutions
and sports organisations is striking. For example, if one wants to know the compensation of
Ban Ki-Moon (about US$240,000), the secretary general of the United Nations, one can find
that information online.38 The same transparency goes for the president of the United States
(US$400,000 in 2014)39 and the CEO of Nestlé (US$10.6 million in 2013),40 one of the largest
Swiss companies. If one wishes to know the salary of Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA,
however, that information is simply not available, and has in fact been refused to be released
by FIFA.41 FIFA can keep this information secret because none of the mechanisms of
accountability have much influence on FIFA, and thus it can do as it wishes with very little in
the way of consequences.
Leadership compensation disclosure is just one of many areas in which private, non-profit
sports organisations differ from governmental, corporate or other non-governmental multilateral organisations. Good governance, of course, goes well beyond transparency. In 2011
Pieth was commissioned by FIFA to draft a paper on how the organisation might improve its
governance practices. Transparency International published a report on FIFA governance the
same year.42 Among the recommendations of these reports is a focus on the following areas
of governance:43
• executive term limits;
• the establishment of a compensation committee with external membership;
• salary disclosure;
• non-executive directors on the executive committee;
• the adoption of best-practice anti-corruption protocols;
• the adoption of best-practice conflict-of-interest guidelines;
• greater financial disclosure at all levels of FIFA and its member organisations;
• greater transparency in anti-corruption investigations and proper due process; and
• greater adoption of democratic procedures in various FIFA election processes.
Such recommendations are not unique to FIFA or football. For instance, a 2012 review of the
International Cricket Council (ICC) led by Lord Woolf concludes: ‘The reputation of the ICC
and international cricket as a whole is at risk if the right standard of Boardroom behaviour
is not seen to be in place.’44 Transparency International agreed, concluding that ‘today’s
sports governing bodies have to start operating as big businesses, using best business
practices’.45 In fact, there exists considerable commonality in recommendations being made
for sporting bodies in general. The recent investigation into doping in international cycling, for
instance, has made similar recommendations for governance reform.46
Several scholars have looked more comprehensively at governance across international
sports bodies, finding many to fall well short of best practices. For instance, Jean-Loup
34
Governance of sport
Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic survey the academic, evidence-based literature to identify
63 indicators of good governance across seven families of indicators in order to develop a
governance scorecard for international sports bodies.47 They apply their scorecard to the IOC
and FIFA, finding notable improvement by the IOC from 1998 to 2012, but with FIFA still falling
short. In another recent analysis, Arnout Geeraert, Jens Alm and Michael Groll apply criteria
of good governance to 35 Olympic sport governing bodies, concluding that ‘recent highprofile corruption scandals have been institutionally induced’.48 There is a general consensus
among observers of international sport that governance practices could be much improved
across many sports organisations.
Pieth argues that sports organisations ought to follow the practices widely used by
corporations and international bodies alike, such as oversight by independent directors:
‘They are close to international organisations, but they are also businesses. There is a certain
logic in applying the standards of both worlds.’49 In general, however, adopting such standards has proved difficult in practice, as sports organisations have been held to different
standards to other organisations, and because of these different standards it is typically easier
(though often still challenging) to identify and address corruption in corporate and other international settings than it is in sports organisations. The expectations of governance may
be changing, however.
A good example of the challenges facing international sports organisations is provided
by the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football
(CONCACAF), which is one of six regional confederations under FIFA. In 2013 CONCACAF
released the report of an internal integrity committee, empanelled to look at the practices of
former management. The report uncovers a wide range of corrupt practices, including allegations of fraud, financial mismanagement and violations of CONCACAF’s ethics code and
fiduciary responsibilities.50 The officials implicated in the report are no longer associated with
CONCACAF, but have not otherwise been sanctioned (though certain investigations continue),
and the organisation has begun to implement some changes to its governance practices.51
For those sports organisations that are located in Switzerland, there are additional
challenges. These bodies are subject to the provisions of Swiss law, and the Swiss government
has historically been lax in its oversight of these organisations. For example, as recently as
2006 certain kinds of bribery in the private sector were not illegal under Swiss law.52 The
Swiss government has taken steps to tighten its oversight of sport bodies. In December 2014
it passed a law that would classify the leaders of sports organisations as ‘politically exposed
persons’, thus allowing investigators to examine their financial holdings and transactions.53
The legislation is part of a broader set of reforms known as ‘Lex FIFA’ (after the football body),
which will be further considered in 2015.54
In addition, other countries, notably the United States, have extended the reach of their
anti-corruption investigations beyond their own borders. At present the US FBI is reportedly
investigating FIFA, and the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office has been asked to
open its own investigation.55 The FBI has reportedly secured the cooperation of a US citizen
implicated by the CONCACAF integrity report mentioned above.56 To date, however, fiscal
and legal accountability has been scarce.
In terms of market accountability, all international sports organisations have corporate
sponsors, and some have very large television contracts. Sponsors have shown little interest
in holding these bodies accountable when allegations of corruption have surfaced, however.
Occasionally a sponsor will issue a statement of concern,57 but, so long as sport proves
popular and makes money, sponsors tend to show little interest in much else.
Similarly, with respect to public reputation accountability, sport is continuing to grow in
popularity, and there is scant evidence to suggest that its popularity is threatened by alleged
Obstacles to accountability
35
or actual corrupt practices among governance bodies. Some argue that the corruption of
sport, such as via doping or match-fixing, has proved to be a greater threat to the integrity
of sport than shortfalls in governance.58
Conclusion
This chapter has argued that international sports bodies are particularly fertile settings for
corruption to take root in and, accordingly, difficult to reform. Sports organisations have come
to resemble corporations and other international institutions, but their governance practices,
not only to address issues of corruption, but beyond, have not kept pace. Although sports
bodies play the role of international organisations, they are with very few exceptions neither
governmental nor business operations, which helps to explain why their governance practices
have developed in a unique fashion.
As sport has gained in popularity, so too has the amount of money involved in the various
games and in building associated infrastructure, especially for events such as the Olympic
Games and football World Cup. The vast amount of money flowing through these bodies,
coupled with the financially significant decisions they make, often at the highest levels of
politics and in the absence of best practices in place for governance, creates settings
amenable to corrupt practices.
Recent decades have seen greater attention being devoted to achieving best practices of
governance on the part of states, businesses and non-profits, but sport organisations have
lagged behind. They will continue to face pressures to improve their governance. Athletes,
sponsors, supporters, governments and other parties all have interests in participating in this
process. To date, however, progress has been slow. If sport organisations prove incapable of
introducing effective reform, they may find change being forced upon them. So far, at least,
change has proved difficult.
Notes
1 Roger Pielke Jr is professor and director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy
Research at the University of Colorado.
2 New York Times (US), ‘In a five-star setting, FIFA officials are arrested, the Swiss way,’
27 May 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/05/28/sports/soccer/in-a-five-star-setting-fifaofficials-are-arrested-the-swiss-way.html.
3 Bloomberg (US), ‘The man who got away ate breakfast as police raided FIFA hotel’, 3 June
2015, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-03/the-man-who-got-away-atebreakfast-as-police-raided-fifa-hotel
4 Roger Pielke Jr, ‘How can FIFA be held accountable?’, Sport Management Review, vol. 16
(2013).
5 Ibid.
6 See Guardian (UK), ‘Official “was offered $40,000” after Mohamed bin Hammam
presentation’, 30 May 2011, www.theguardian.com/football/2011/may/30/mohamed-binhammam-fifa.
7 Les Échos (France), ‘Russie: Platini dément toute corruption’, 30 November 2014,
www.lesechos.fr/sport/football/sports-699346-russie-platini-dans-une-affaire-decorruption-1069682.php#
8 Play the Game (Denmark), ‘IWF president under suspicion of financial mismanagement’,
14 May 2013, www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2013/iwf-president-under-suspicionof-financial-mismanagement.
9 Play the Game (Denmark), ‘FIVB accused of violating statutes to oust former presidential
candidate’, 29 October 2014, www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2014/fivbaccused-of-violating-statutes-to-oust-former-presidential-candidate.
36
Governance of sport
10 See Around the Rings (US), ‘FIVB exec not worried about legal claims’, 23 March 2005,
http://aroundtherings.com/site/A__26134/Title__FIVB-Exec-Not-Worried-About-LegalClaims/292/Article; and, for background, see Play the Game (Denmark), ‘FIVB stops
practice that has enriched former president Acosta’, 21 April 2009, www.playthegame.org/
news/news-articles/2009/fivb-stops-practice-that-has-enriched-former-president-acosta.
11 Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell, Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France,
and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (London: Headline, 2013).
12 Guardian (UK), ‘Crisis at IAAF that threatens to bring athletics to its knees’, 13 December
2014, www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2014/dec/13/iaaf-crisis-drugs-allegationsathletics?CMP=share_btn_tw.
13 See Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, Integrity
Committee Report of Investigation (Miami: CONCACAF, 2013), www.guardian.co.tt/sites/
default/files/story/FinalReport.pdf.
14 See Transparency International: www.transparency.org/whatwedo.
15 For instance, I helped to produce this review on conflicts of interest in science advisory
processes: http://bipartisanpolicy.org/library/science-policy-project-final-report.
16 See International Olympic Committee, ‘Factsheet: IOC financial summary: update –
July 2014’ (Lausanne: IOC, 2014), www.olympic.org/Documents/Reference_documents_
Factsheets/IOC_Financial_Summary.pdf.
17 Deloitte, ‘Football money league’ (London: Deloitte, 2015), www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/
sports-business-group/articles/deloitte-football-money-league.html.
18 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Income’ (Zurich: FIFA, 2011), www.fifa.
com/aboutfifa/finances/income.html.
19 See Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA: Financial Report 2014 (Zurich:
FIFA, 2015), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/02/56/80/39/fr2014
weben_neutral.pdf.
20 Tesco, ‘Five-year record’ (Dundee: Tesco, 2015), www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=30.
21 See Royal Dutch Shell, ‘Royal Dutch Shell plc fourth quarter and full year 2013 unaudited
results’ (The Hague: Royal Dutch Shell, 2014), p. 11, http://s00.static-shell.com/content/
dam/shell-new/local/corporate/corporate/downloads/quarterly-results/2013/q4/q4-2013qra.pdf; and ‘Royal Dutch Shell plc fourth quarter and full year 2013 results announcement’
(The Hague: Royal Dutch Shell, 2014), www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/investor/news-andlibrary/2014/fourth-quarter-2013-results-announcement.html.
22 Wladimir Andreff and Stefan Szymanski (eds), Handbook on the Economics of Sport
(Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2006).
23PricewaterhouseCoopers, Changing the Game: Outlook for the Global Sports Market to
2015 (London: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2011), www.pwc.com/gx/en/hospitalityleisure/changing-the-game-outlook-for-the-global-sports-market-to-2015.jhtml.
24 Deutsche Welle (Germany), ‘Sochi the most extravagant Winter Olympics ever’, 6 February
2014, www.dw.de/sochi-the-most-extravagant-winter-olympics-ever/a-17411857.
25 Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia), ‘Record World Cup costs put Qatar in losing game’, 16 July 2014,
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/business/economy/2014/07/16/Record-World-Cup-costsput-Qatar-in-losing-game.html.
26 International Monetary Fund, ‘IMF board approves far-reaching governance reforms’,
5 November 2010, www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/NEW110510B.htm;
New York Times (US), ‘After the scandal, more of the same at the IMF’, 15 June 2011,
http://wcfia.harvard.edu/publications/after-scandal-more-same-imf; Financial Times (UK),
‘Greenpeace, Amnesty and Oxfam agree code of conduct’, 2 June 2006; Spiegel Online
(Germany), ‘Financial scandal: organizational change has led to chaos in Greenpeace’, 23
June 2014, www.spiegel.de/international/business/greenpeace-financial-scandal-how-theorganization-lost-millions-a-976868.html.
27 Mark Pieth, Governing FIFA: Concept Paper and Report (Basel: Basel University, 2011),
www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/01/54/99/69/
fifagutachten-en.pdf.
Obstacles to accountability
37
28 For an overview, see Jean-Loup Chappelet and Brenda Kübler-Mabbott, The International
Olympic Committee and the Olympic System: The Governance of World Sport (Abingdon:
Routledge, 2008).
29 International Olympic Committee, ‘The Olympic Movement’, www.olympic.org/content/
the-ioc/governance/introductionold.
30 International Olympic Committee, ‘Olympism in action’, www.olympic.org/olympism-inaction.
31 International Olympic Committee, ‘Sports’, www.olympic.org/sports.
32 Web.archive.org, ‘The Premier League and other football bodies’, http://web.archive.org/
web/20060716102915/www.premierleague.com/fapl.rac?command=setSelectedId&nextPa
ge=enSimpleStories&id=2851&type=com.fapl.website.stories.SimpleStories&categoryCode
=Who+We+Are&breadcrumb=about_breadcrumb.
33 Reuters (UK), ‘Swiss to increase oversight of FIFA, other sports bodies’, 5 December 2014,
www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/05/us-soccer-fifa-switzerland-idUSKCN0JJ1II20141205.
34 Olympic.org (France), ‘IOC and UN Secretariat agree historic deal to work together to use
sport to build a better world’, 28 April 2014, www.olympic.org/news/ioc-and-un-secretariatagree-historic-deal/230542.
35 See Chappelet and Kübler-Mabbott (2008), pp. 106–127 (chapter 6: ‘Governments and the
Olympic System’).
36 Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (Switzerland), ‘International organizations in
Switzerland’, www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/fdfa/foreign-policy/international-organizations/
international-organizations-switzerland.html. For historical background, see Michael Gunter,
‘Switzerland and the United Nations’, International Organization, vol. 30 (1976).
37 Pielke (2013).
38 Public Broadcasting Service (US), ‘Kofi Annan: center of the storm’, www.pbs.org/wnet/un/
life/job.html; Fox News (US), ‘After calls by Ban Ki-Moon for austerity measures, UN staffers
get pay hike’, 23 August 2011, www.foxnews.com/world/2011/08/23/after-calls-by-ban-kimoon-for-austerity-measures-un-staffers-get-pay-hike; United Nations, ‘Salaries and post
adjustment’, www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/salaries_allowances/salary.htm.
39 US Senate, ‘Salaries of federal officials: a fact sheet’, www.senate.gov/reference/resources/
pdf/98-53.pdf.
40 Financial Times (UK), ‘Nestlé cuts chief executive Paul Bulcke’s pay amid Swiss scrutiny’,
11 March 2014, www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6ae9ca98-a93c-11e3-b87c-00144feab7de.
html.
41 The Least Thing, ‘Further thoughts on Sepp Blatter’s FIFA salary’, 17 June 2013,
http://leastthing.blogspot.com/2013/06/further-thoughts-on-sepp-blatters-fifa.html.
42 See Transparency International, Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA
(Berlin: TI, 2011), www.transparency.org/whatwedo/pub/safe_hands_building_integrity_
and_transparency_at_fifa.
43 Roger Pielke Jr, ‘An evaluation of the FIFA governance reform process of 2011–2013’, in
Stephen Frawley and Daryl Adair (eds), Managing the Football World Cup (Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
44 Lord Woolf, An Independent Governance Review of the International Cricket Council
(London: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2012), http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/
DOWNLOAD/0000/0093/woolfe_report.pdf.
45 Transparency International, ‘Defining the boundaries: a blue print for enhancing cricket
administration’, 31 January 2012, http://blog.transparency.org/2012/01/31/
defining-the-boundaries-a-blue-print-for-enhancing-cricket-administration.
46 Cycling Independent Reform Commission, Report to the President of the Union Cycliste
Internationale (Aigle, Switzerland: UCI, 2015), https://docs.google.com/viewerng/
viewer?url=www.cyclisme-dopage.com/actualite/2015-03-08-circ-report.pdf.
47 Jean-Loup Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic, Basic Indicators for Better Governance in
International Sport (BIBGIS): An Assessment Tool for International Sport Governing
Bodies, IDHEAP Working Paper no. 1/2013 (Lausanne: Swiss Graduate School of Public
38
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
Governance of sport
Administration, 2013), www.idheap.ch/idheap.nsf/view/D6156F1EF87ACB07C1257B39005
38D87/$File/IDHEAP%20Working%20Paper%201-2013.pdf.
Arnout Geeraert, Jens Alm and Michael Groll, ‘Good governance in international sport
organisations: an analysis of the 35 Olympic sport governing bodies’, International Journal
of Sport Policy and Politics, vol. 6 (2014).
Pieth (2011).
The Least Thing, ‘The CONCACAF integrity report’, 21 April 2013, http://leastthing.
blogspot.com/2013/04/the-concacaf-integrity-report.html. See CONCACAF (2013).
For example, Chuck Blazer, a former top CONCACAF official from the United States, is
reportedly working with the FBI: New York Daily News (US), ‘Soccer rat! The inside story of
how Chuck Blazer, ex-US soccer executive and FIFA bigwig, became a confidential
informant for the FBI’, 1 November 2014, www.nydailynews.com/sports/soccer/soccer-ratex-u-s-soccer-exec-chuck-blazer-fbi-informant-article-1.1995761. On changes to its
governance practices, see CONCACAF, ‘CONCACAF focuses on reform during congress’,
10 June 2014, www.concacaf.com/article/ordinary-congress-finalized.
See State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Switzerland), ‘Swiss criminal law on corruption’,
www.seco.admin.ch/themen/00645/00657/00659/01395/index.html?lang=en.
Inside World Football (Switzerland), ‘FIFA on alert as Swiss tighten laws to keep a closer eye
on sports bodies’, 15 December 2014, www.insideworldfootball.com/fifa/16033-fifa-on-alertas-swiss-tighten-laws-to-keep-a-closer-eye-on-sports-bodies.
BBC (UK), ‘FIFA and Olympic leaders face new financial checks’, 12 December 2014, www.
bbc.com/news/business-30451609.
Guardian (UK), ‘Serious Fraud Office considers criminal investigation into World Cup bids’,
26 November 2014, www.theguardian.com/football/2014/nov/26/serious-fraud-officecriminal-world-cup-bids.
New York Daily News (1 December 2014).
See, for example, Reuters (UK), ‘FIFA’s Blatter juggles sponsor pressure, voters’, 31 May
2011, www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/31/us-soccer-fifa-idUSTRE74S16320110531.
For instance, on match-fixing, see LawInSport (UK), ‘Match fixing: the biggest threat to sport
in the 21st century?’, part 1, 5 June 2011, www.lawinsport.com/articles/anti-corruption/
item/match-fixing-the-biggest-threat-to-sport-in-the-21st-century-part-1; and, on doping,
see European Gaming and Betting Association (Belgium), ‘Doping remains greatest threat
to sports integrity’, 10 November 2011, www.egba.eu/doping-remains-greatest-threat-tosports-integrity.
1.5
Political interference,
power struggles,
corruption and greed
The undermining of football
governance in Asia
James M. Dorsey1
Football, arguably Asia’s most popular sport, has been marred across the continent by
multiple scandals, ranging from Asia-based criminal organisations fixing matches globally,2
to corruption in regional and national governance, to a lack of transparency and accountability that facilitates undemocratic management3 and even boosts support for autocratic
regimes.4 The root of the lack of good governance within the Asian Football Confederation
(AFC), the continent’s football governing body, as well as the Olympic Council of Asia, is corruption, enabled by the dominance over sport that is exercised by executive committee
members with close political ties to often undemocratic or hybrid regimes that see football
as a tool to strengthen their grip on power and project themselves internationally in a
positive light.5
The extent of the problem is illustrated by a string of scandals, questionable actions and
incidents of political manipulation in the last four years, some of which were also related to
the lack of proper governance in the administration of global football by the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). These have included the following:
• The 2011 banning for life from involvement in professional football of then AFC president
and FIFA vice president Mohammed Bin Hammam, a Qatari national.6
• The burial by Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the current AFC president
and FIFA vice president, of an independent audit of AFC finances carried out by
PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) that warned of possible tax evasion, money-laundering,
sanctions-busting and a series of illicit payments to national, regional and global football
executives and questioned the integrity of a US$1 billion master rights agreement
to commercialise AFC assets, including broadcast rights, with a Singapore-based
company.7
40
Governance of sport
• The failure to act decisively on allegations that a senior AFC official had sought to tamper
with or destroy documents related to corruption investigations.8
• The election of an AFC president who has been tainted by allegations of involvement in9
the detention and torture of scores of athletes and sports officials in his native Bahrain.
seats to
• The manipulation of AFC election procedures for FIFA Executive Committee
ensure that specific candidates were successful on preferential terms.10
• The failure to distance the AFC from endorsements of Iranian11restrictions on women
attending public sporting events by one of its senior officials.
• Allegations of vote-buying in12 Sheikh Salman’s election to the AFC presidency in 2013
that remain uninvestigated.
Governance in the AFC: worsening rather than improving?
The AFC, despite its lofty statements and a pledge to establish an ethics committee,13 has
shown no intention of institutionalising principles of good governance or fair play. If anything,
its president, Sheikh Salman – a member of the Bahraini ruling family who as head of the
Bahrain Football Association failed to stand up for members of the national football team who
were reportedly arrested and tortured after joining a march to protest against the government
and has been tainted by allegations of involvement in their detention14 – has used his first two
years in office to centralise power, favour his closest associates, marginalise reformers and
turn his back on any attempt to clean up the organisation.15
Sheikh Salman’s burial of the audit and failure to act on its recommendations has meant a
lack of good governance within the AFC on multiple levels. In a taped and written statement
recorded by a FIFA security officer in July 2012 that became public in April 2015, the AFC’s
finance director, Bryan Kuan Wee Hoong, asserted that AFC general secretary Dato’ Alex
Soosay had asked him to ‘tamper [with] or hide any documents’ related to the general
secretary that could figure in the PwC audit.16 The AFC said in a statement four days after the
allegations became public that it was assessing the veracity of the allegations, yet it only
collected a copy of the tape over two weeks later.17 Soosay was finally suspended in May
2015.18 The audit was commissioned by the AFC, allegedly in a bid to create a legal basis to
oust Bin Hammam from his AFC presidency and FIFA vice presidency.19
The PwC report had earlier identified Soosay and Kuan as two of three AFC officials who
had authorised questionable payments under Bin Hammam for which the Asian group could
be held legally liable:
Our transaction review revealed that items sampled were, in most cases, authorised by
the General Secretary or Deputy General Secretary and the Director of Finance. As
signatories these parties hold accountability for the authorisation of these transactions.
We also note the Internal Audit and Finance Committees were aware of this practice.20
Implications for governance in national associations:
the case of Nepal
The lack of governance and accountability at the regional level extends to the national
level as well. Take, for example, the case of Nepal, where Ganesh Thapa was suspended
by FIFA as a member of the AFC executive committee and as head of the All Nepal Football
Association (ANFA) pending an investigation into corruption charges, but still controls
the group, according to ANFA board members.21 Similarly the AFC appointed as match
Corruption in Asian football 41
commissioner Thapa’s son, Gaurav, who was not suspended but was named in the PwC
audit as a recipient of questionable payments from Bin Hammam.22
Two ANFA vice presidents sent a letter to the FIFA general secretary, the AFC general
secretary and a member of the Ethics Committee of FIFA’s investigatory chamber regarding
Thapa’s violation of ANFA’s statutes by continuing to operate during his suspension, and his
failure to share critical information on ANFA, including audits, with executive members.23 FIFA
and the AFC have yet to respond to the letter.24
The overlap of politics and governance in Asian football
The AFC’s problems are rooted in the fact that, like FIFA, it is an inherently political grouping,
despite its insistence on the fiction of a separation of sports and politics. As football czars,
Bin Hammam and Salman emerged as two of the most senior governors of the world’s
most popular sport on the world’s largest and most populous continent at a time when
Asia’s fortunes were rising. The composition of the AFC’s Executive Committee under both
men bears witness to the group’s political nature, as do the boards of many of the national
associations that constitute its membership.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than among the AFC’s 13 Middle Eastern members, which
account for 28 per cent of the confederation’s 46 member associations. Six of the AFC
Executive Committee’s 21 members in the period from 2011 to 2015 hailed from the Middle
East: Salman, a member of Bahrain’s minority Sunni Muslim ruling family; Prince Ali Bin Al
Hussein, a half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah, who was a reformer and thorn in Salman’s
side; the United Arab Emirates’ Yousuf Yaqoob Yousuf Al Serkal, who maintains close ties
to his country’s ruling elite; Sayyid Khalid Hamad Al Busaidi, a member of Oman’s ruling
family; Hafez Al Medlej, a member of the board of Saudi Arabia’s tightly controlled football
association who made his career in the kingdom’s state-run media; and Palestine’s Susan
Shalabi Molano. That number has risen to seven in the Executive Committee elected in April
2015, which includes Sheikh Salman and Shalabi Molano as well as Mohammed Khalfan
Al Romaithi, deputy commander-in-chief of the Abu Dhabi police force, and representatives
of Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Football
Federation (IRIFF). Other members of the committee include Prince Abdullah Ibni Sultan
Ahmad Shah, the crown prince of Pahang, Malaysia’s third largest state; Makhdoom Syed
Faisal Saleh Hayat, who served as a minister in various Pakistani governments and is a
member of the Pakistan People’s Party; and North Korea’s Han Un-gyong.
Conclusion
Reform of the governance of the continent’s football associations will require a paradigm
shift. Tinkering with reforms of the AFC’s current government structure is unlikely to tackle the
group’s fundamental, long-standing problems that are embedded in its corporate culture.
To achieve this paradigm shift, the AFC will have to ensure that management is expanded
at the club, national and regional levels so that it includes all stakeholders, including players
and fans. The AFC, like other regional and international sports associations, will have to
develop principles enshrined either in a charter or a code of conduct that governs the relationship between sports and politics, addressing proportional representation. These will
have to provide the safeguards against football governance being politically manipulated or
driven, as well as proper oversight of the relationship to guarantee the sport’s independence
as well as its transparent and accountable management. To ensure sound rules and regulations for international tournaments, the AFC should consider the criteria for the awarding of
42
Governance of sport
mega-events from the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020. This reform should
incorporate international human labour and gender rights and standards; increase public
engagement in the national and host city decision-making processes; and enhance the transparency of the infrastructural requirements for hosts, and the terms of the agreement between
the sports association and the host.
Notes
1 James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture
of the University of Würzburg, Germany, and the author of the blog ‘The turbulent world of
Middle East soccer’ and a forthcoming book with the same title.
2 Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, Foul! The Inside Story of Singapore Match Fixers (Singapore:
Straits Times Press, 2014).
3 The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘AFC suspends General Secretary as it keeps
damning audit buried’, 13 May 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2015/05/afcsuspends-general-secretary-as-it.html.
4 James M. Dorsey, ‘Asian football: a cesspool of government interference, struggles for
power, corruption, and greed’, International Journal of History of Sport, vol. 32 (2015).
5 Ibid.
6 Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert, The Ugly Game: The Qatari Plot to Buy the World Cup
(London: Simon & Schuster, 2015); The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘Qatar’s Bin
Hamman banned for life, faces humiliation’, 27 July 2011, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.
com/2011/07/qatars-bin-hammam-banned-for-life-faces.html.
7 Blake and Calvert (2015); The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer (27 July 2011).
8 The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘Alleged AFC cover-up effort highlights Asian
football’s lack of proper governance’, 25 April 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.
sg/2015/04/alleged-afc-cover-up-effort-highlights.html; The Turbulent World of Middle East
Soccer, ‘Malay Mail: explosive “tamper or hide” AFC probe video surfaces/Soosay: where’s
this coming from, why now?’, 25 April 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/
malay-mail-explosive-tamper-or-hide-afc.html.
9 Confidential evidence submitted to the English High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division,
Divisional Court, in the case of FF vs Director of Public Prosecutions, October 2014; YouTube,
‘Shaik Nasser Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa talking on Bahrain TV’, 16 August 2011, www.youtube.
com/watch?v=mAXjGidI_JU; The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘Torture investigation
of Bahraini prince puts IOC and AFC on the spot’, 7 October 2014, http://mideastsoccer.
blogspot.sg/2014/10/torture-investigation-of-bahraini.html; Bahrain News Agency,
‘‫’ﻣﻨﺘﺴﺒﻲ ﺍﻟﺤﺮﻛﺔ ﺍﻟﺮﻳﺎﺿﻴﺔ ﺑﻌﺾ’ ’ﺍﻟﺸﻴﺦ ﻧﺎﺻﺮ ﻳﺼﺪﺭ ﻗﺮﺍﺭﺍ ﺑﺘﺸﻜﻴﻞ ﻟﺠﻨﺔ ﺗﺤﻘﻴﻖ ﺭﺳﻤﻴﺔ ﻓﻲ ﺍﻟﺘﺠﺎﻭﺯﺍﺕ ﺍﻟﺘﻲ ﺻﺪﺭﺕ ﻣﻦ‬,
11 April 2014, www.bna.bh/portal/news/452380?date¼.
10 WorldSoccer.com, ‘Sheikh Ahmad plots path that may lead to presidency of FIFA’, 16 April
2015, www.worldsoccer.com/columnists/keir-radnedge/sheikh-ahmad-plots-path-that-maylead-to-presidency-of-fifa-360888.
11 Sportsflash.com, ‘Iran: AFC “broad-minded” on Iranian women ban’, 23 January 2015,
www.sportsflash.com.au/NewsArticle.aspx?spname=SOC&articleid=52371.
12 The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘AFC election marred by interference allegations
and candidates’ track records’, 26 April 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2013/04/
afc-election-marred-by-interference.html.
13 The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘New AFC president sets about reform as
battle for change looms’, 5 May 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2013/05/new-afcpresident-sets-about-reform-as.html.
14 The Times of Northwest Indiana (US), ‘Bahrain soccer stars pay price for protesting’,
27 August 2011, http://www.nwitimes.com/sports/soccer/professional/bahrain-soccerstars-pay-price-for-protesting/article_e800a879-dc13-5969-b5aa-38a9bb093a9d.html;
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Corruption in Asian football 43
The National (UAE), ‘From heroes to pariahs: Bahrain athletes pay a steep price’, 31 August
2011, www.thenational.ae/sport/other-sport/from-heroes-to-pariahs-bahrain-athletes-paya-steep-price; Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, ‘List of sport players, referee and
clubs targeted because of their involvement in the protests’, 24 April 2011, http://byshr.
org/wp-content/List-of-sport-players-Referees-and-Clubs-targeted-Because-of-theirinvolvement-in-the-protests-BYSHR.doc.
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘AFC’s Salman re-elected amid renewed
corruption and governance questions’, 2 May 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.
sg/2015/05/afcs-salman-re-elected-amid-renewed.html.
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘Haresh says: when (AFC) silence is not golden’,
29 April 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.co.uk/2015_04_01_archive.html; The
Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 25 April 2015 (‘Malay Mail’); The Turbulent World of
Middle East Soccer, 25 April 2015 (‘Alleged AFC cover-up’).
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 29 April 2015.
Asian Football Confederation. ‘AFC general secretary suspended’, 13 May 2015,
www.the-afc.com/media-releases/afc-general-secretary-suspended.
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, ‘FIFA focuses on Bin Hammam’s management
of the AFC after dropping bribery charges’, 14 December 2012, http://mideastsoccer.
blogspot.de/2012/12/fifa-focuses-on-bin-hammams-management.html.
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 29 April 2015; The Turbulent World of Middle
East Soccer, 25 April 2015 (‘Alleged AFC cover-up’).
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 2 May 2015 (‘AFC’s Salman re-elected’).
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, 29 April 2015; The Turbulent World of Middle
East Soccer, 25 April 2015 (‘Alleged AFC cover-up’).
Reuters (UK), ‘Exclusive Nepal FA chiefs ask FIFA to investigate own president’, 18 October
2014, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/18/uk-soccer-nepal-idUKKCN0I70AD20141018.
Interview by the author with ANFA vice president Karma Tsering Sherpa, 16 May 2015.
1.6
Corruption in African sport
A summary
Chris Tsuma1
2015 was the golden jubilee of the All-Africa Games, the continent’s equivalent of the
Olympics, but there has not been much else to celebrate 50 years after the holding of the
first Games, in Brazzaville in 1965. Sporting excellence on the field of play continues to
elude Africa, despite the continent’s immense natural athletic talent.
Africa remains stunted by a combination of talent drain (mainly to Europe), a lack of
government investment and policy guidelines, corruption and gross mismanagement.
International sporting life just seems to pass Africa by. The 2010 football World Cup
finals came to South Africa only because of a deliberate continental rotation policy by the
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).2 No African city has come anywhere
near mounting a serious bid for the Olympics, or even the Commonwealth Games: Abuja,
the Nigerian capital, failed with a poor attempt for the 2014 event – won by Glasgow – its bid
found wanting in the key areas of transportation, information and communication technology,
accommodation, the proposed games village and sports venues and finance.3 Africa has
produced close to 200 (13 per cent) of the medals on offer in the ten most recent World
Athletics Championships, nearly five times the total tally of Asia, which hosted its fourth
championship in Beijing in 2015, after Osaka (2007), Tokyo (1991) and Daegu (2011).4
Meanwhile, the World Athletics Championships have still not come to Africa.
The African Union (AU, then the Organisation of African Unity) originally conceived of an
All-Africa Games managed by the now defunct Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA),
composed mostly of political appointees with little or no experience in managing sport. The
AU resisted proposals to turn the management of the Games over to the Association of
National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) despite promises in 2011,5 transferring
administration to the AU Sports Commission in July 2013.6 Since 1987 the Games have
continued to provide a case study of poor organisation and management, failing to capture
the imagination of Africans or the world, resulting in diminished competitiveness and
commercial value, and largely shunned by the continent’s top athletes.
Governance
According to a 2009 International Olympic Committee (IOC) report, football, basketball,
volleyball, athletics (track and field), swimming and boxing are the most popular sports among
Africans.7 Each of these sports is managed by national associations, often a grouping of
affiliates within national borders. These national associations are in turn affiliated to regional
Corruption in African sport
45
bodies, such as ANOCA or the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), through which
they gain admittance to international organisations. These administrative structures also
serve as participation/competition levels from the smallest village tournament to the world
championships.
The classic cases of abuse of office and clinging to power are still widespread within sports
organisations in Africa. Reflecting its universal popularity, football is always prone to forces of
corruption. The first area of abuse and malpractice in football is the election of administrators.
In what passes for sports elections, vote-buying, manipulation and other corrupt practices
are rampant. In 2014 FIFA cancelled the re-election of Cuthbert Dube as the president of the
Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA), citing irregularities that included claims of vote-buying
and manipulation.8
Within CAF, president Issa Hayatou is into his 28th year in charge, following his unopposed
re-election in Marrakech, Morocco, in 2013.9 A rule change barring non-executive members
of CAF from running prevented Ivorian Jacques Anouma from standing against the
Cameroonian, whose stay at the top of CAF beyond 2017 is clearly likely after the removal of
another rule setting an age limit of 70 years for members of its executive committee.10
At the national level, by way of example, in the election of officials to the Kenyan Football
Federation (KFF) the sports media covering the poll would hear claims that top candidates for
the position of chairman/president denied their rivals access to delegates (often a bare
majority would be sufficient to win) by paying for the delegates’ transport, and providing room
and board in hotels watched by the candidates’ henchmen right until they went to vote.11
There was never any actionable proof, but during the 2004 KFF elections, which came about
after another of the many FIFA interventions in Kenyan football administration, the then sports
minister, Najib Balala, sought to put an end to this practice by ordering the deployment of
anti-corruption police to guard against any form of bribery and manipulation of delegates.12
Football suffers under these elected officials because they have an eye on other things –
such as politics, or simply the amassing of wealth. As a result, there is a chronic lack of
professionalism in the management of the game. At the national level the approach to
matches, even big internationals, is shockingly casual. Money meant for looking after the
team – players’ allowances and bonuses – is pocketed by the administrators in the football
associations. Even national team selection is not free of corruption. In conversations with
players while on the football beat for the Daily Nation in Nairobi, this writer heard how one
local coach of the national team would demand a cut from the allowances and bonuses of
certain players, especially the peripheral ones, or he would drop them. The well-documented
strikes by African national teams, most notoriously Cameroon,13 Nigeria just before the 2013
Confederations Cup,14 and Togo (at the 2006 FIFA World Cup),15 and the famous airlift of cash
in bonuses to the Ghanaian players in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup,16 are a reflection of
the shocking cases of corruption the Africa game suffers. While players risk public ridicule,
many say that if they don’t resort to such measures the administrators will pocket their money.
In Kenya, a 2015 report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which led
to the suspension of several government ministers, implicated the Football Kenya Federation
(FKF) president, Sam Nyamweya, in the alleged embezzlement of federation funds.17 In 2013
claims had emerged that Nyamweya and his executive committee could not account for
more than US$410,146 received between November 2011 and December 2012.18 In addition,
a FIFA report during the January 2015 crisis, which delayed the new Kenya Premier League
(KPL) season kick-off, questioned the promotion of Shabana FC, a team closely associated
with Nyamweya, to the KPL. Indeed, the contentious expansion of the KPL from 16 to 18
teams by the FKF seemed to have been designed to accommodate Shabana, whose
promotion was just as controversial, with the curious awarding of points off the field of play.19
46
Governance of sport
In Zambia, Kalusha Bwalya is one of the continent’s best football talents, a former winner
of the African Player of the Year award, and captain of the national team that perished in
a plane crash off the coast of Gabon in 1993 (he was the only player not on board). He is
now the president of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), and is being investigated
by the country’s anti-corruption authorities over US$80,000 he said was received during
the 2011 FIFA Congress in Qatar in the name of the FAZ, but that was paid into his personal
account.20
Financial misappropriation is not limited to football, however. Apart from having the
country’s biggest doping scandal happen on their watch,21 the Athletics Kenya (AK) president,
Isaiah Kiplagat, and his deputy, David Okeyo, are also being investigated by Kenyan police
over a US$200,000 grant that was deposited in the AK account in Nairobi but could
not be accounted for.22 Kiplagat stepped down as AK president on 1 May 2015, after
23 years in charge, not in relation to allegations and ongoing investigations but, ostensibly,
to focus on his campaign for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)
vice presidency.23
Match-fixing
Match-fixing has emerged as a huge threat to sport in Africa. The story of the cricket scores
emerging from the lower tiers of Nigerian domestic competition indicated to the world
how low the African game was sinking at the hands of those bent on manipulating results.24
The continent’s football is replete with tales of match-fixing. In 2014 a South African referee,
Clifford Malgas, was jailed for two years for corruption and two years for perjury for his role
in trying to manipulate the outcome of lower league promotion play-off games in 2011.25
A former South Africa assistant coach, Phil Setshedi, got a three-year term for his part in the
scam. He was caught in a sting operation as he tried to bribe an undercover policeman
posing as another referee.26
There is also an external angle to match-fixing in Africa, involving criminal betting syndicates, especially from Asia. In 2013 reports surfaced of a convicted match-fixer, Wilson Raj
Perumal, using referees to manipulate exhibition matches before the 2010 FIFA World Cup in
South Africa.27 One such referee, Ibrahim Chaibou, is under investigation by FIFA for his role
in what is seen as manipulation of the results in two friendly matches played by South Africa
against Guatemala and Colombia in May 2010. South Africa beat Guatemala 5–0, with three
suspicious penalties being awarded by Chaibou, all for handball.28
In 2012 ZIFA banned its CEO, Henrietta Rushwaya, and 15 players, a coach and two
journalists for life for their role in the fixing of matches involving Zimbabwe during a tour of Asia
between 2007 and 2009.29 After this ban, reports emerged that the country’s top domestic
championship was riddled with match-fixing. In 2011 ZIFA imported referees from Zambia
and South Africa for the country’s top knockout competition, the Mbada Diamonds Cup,
amid claims of bribery and match-fixing among local referees.30
Human trafficking and African sport
Poverty is common in Africa, so sport affords a way out. This, combined with the abundance
of talent and the globalisation of international sport, means that many top sports competitions
and clubs around the world look to Africa to provide cheap talent. Getting a professional
sports contract is the ultimate dream of many young Africans, and this leaves them vulnerable
to unscrupulous scouting agents, who dump them in Europe and other parts of the world
when they cannot secure their dream contract.
Corruption in African sport
47
Charities such as the Paris-based Culture Foot Solidaire (CFS) campaign against the
trafficking of young players.31 CFS estimates that, each year, some 700 boys are smuggled
into Europe from Cameroon alone by rogue agents.32 A 2013 CNN report states that, according to CFS’s founder, Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, the charity was at one time monitoring more
than 1,000 boys in France, many of them taken from football academies in Africa.
The global push for popularity by the US National Basketball Association (NBA) is
now seen as another avenue of abuse by human traffickers.33 While social responsibility
programmes such as the NBA’s Basketball without Borders bring young basketball players
around the world together for specialised coaching and to encourage positive change in the
fields of education and health,34 the story of Nigerian player Chukwuemeka Ene is evidence
that rogue agents are involved in the recruitment of basketball players. Ene was brought to
the United States along with two other players by a basketball scout, who promised him a
college education and a shot at a professional game, but subsequently abandoned him.35
Defections of African athletes
A 2003 Economist report referred to the defection of African athletes to rich countries as the
‘brawn drain from Africa’.36 Kenya has borne the brunt of these defections of track stars, with
a 2013 report by the Daily Nation in Nairobi reporting that there had been 40 known defections
of young Kenyans to the Gulf, mainly Qatar and Bahrain. Following in the footsteps of Wilson
Kipketer, who ran for Denmark in the 1990s, Saif Saeed Shaheen, previously known as
Stephen Cherono, became the most high-profile Kenyan to defect to the Gulf, winning gold
for Qatar at the World Athletics Championships in Paris in 2003.
After Shaheen’s success, Qatar and Bahrain went full-throttle in recruiting Kenyan
runners.37 The IAAF’s rules allow any athlete who has not run for one country at senior level
to turn out for another country of his or her choice. Local agents swarmed Rift Valley training
camps and the Kenyan athletics belt of Iten, Nandi and Marakwet, targeting young runners
for recruitment to become nationals of the two countries, leading, for example, to the Bahraini
team of ten runners at the 2015 World Junior Championships including three Kenyan-born
teenage girls.38 Ordinarily, decisions to change citizenship are personal, but in the case of
Kenyan runners it has involved monetary incentives for the runners and their parents.39 The
targeted runners are teenagers. AK officials might not have been complicit in the scheme, but
they are guilty of not having tight in-house rules to prevent the poaching of young Kenyan
talent by other countries.
Doping
Kenya, once an epitome of clean running, is in the grip of an unprecedented doping scandal,
with 19 positive tests and bans in the last two years alone.40 The latest, involving Rita Jeptoo,
a triple winner of the Boston and Chicago marathons, for the blood-boosting agent EPO, is
the most prominent so far.41 Matthew Kisorio, the other elite runner to be banned, claimed
that doping is widespread among Kenyan runners and that doping doctors have set up shop
in Kenya’s athletics belt for their business.42
Jeptoo and Kisorio have not been the only high-profile African track stars to be banned for
doping offences. Amantle Montsho, the former World and Commonwealth Games 400-m
champion, and South Africa’s top sprinter, Simon Magakwe, were both banned in early 2015
for doping.43 To combat this menace, Kenyan athletes, under the Professional Athletes
Association of Kenya (PAAK), are running a campaign called Run Clean to educate each
other, and especially young runners, about the dangers of doping.44
48
Governance of sport
The big event: the gravy train for joy riders
Major events are a main avenue of abuse and corruption in sport in Africa. The selection of
national teams for the Olympics, the All-Africa Games, the Commonwealth Games and the
World Athletics Championships is determined by meeting individually set qualifying marks.
There are times, however, when the respective federations have the discretion to pick an
athlete or player through a wildcard system. This is prone to abuse, as it can be used to
favour or victimise athletes, or even to smuggle people. In 2003 a Kenyan volleyball player
who thought she had been unfairly dropped from the All-Africa Games team publicly sought
the intervention of the sports minister.45
Delegations of African teams to these big events are always bloated, with officials of
federations, and even government functionaries, further abusing such occasions by taking
mistresses, friends and relatives along for the ride, all at the expense of the taxpayer.46 In the
case of Nigeria it was decided not to send a government delegation to the 2012 London
Olympics, as reports said an anti-corruption investigation had been launched after government
officials ran up a huge bill at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.47
It is clear that the belated appreciation by Africa’s policy-makers of sport’s economic and
social value means that the continent’s sport industry is much more vulnerable to corruption.
Formulating policies on sport, even for countries with a rich sporting history such as Kenya,
is only now occurring 50 years after independence. Corruption and governance issues
in African sport are also criminal offences, and need to be understood as such. National
federations need to work more closely with the police and other government agencies to
protect the integrity of sport.
Fighting corruption and poor governance in sport can be helped by better and
more insightful reporting. Sports journalism is viewed as the classical representation of the
‘dumbing down’ of news, with more emphasis on the entertainment and celebrity element
for light reading.48 This means that the weightier matters of corruption, doping, mismanagement and other vices in sport are often put on the back-burner. There is a need for the
mainstreaming of these issues in the media in order to help raise the media profile of sports
corruption.
Bearing in mind the viciousness and criminal nature of those involved in match-fixing
and human trafficking, those journalists who write on these issues are to be applauded for
revealing the little that they can. It is important that they are provided with the skills, equipment
and incentives to be able to continue reporting on corruption in sport, thus raising people’s
awareness of the problem.
Notes
1 Chris Tsuma is a journalist, independent consultant and author for the Africa Center for
Open Governance (AfriCOG), based in Nairobi.
2 FIFA.com, ‘Rotation ends in 2018’, 29 October 2007, www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/
y=2007/m=10/news=rotation-ends-2018-625122.html.
3 Commonwealth Games Federation, The Report of the CGF Evaluation Commission for the
2014 Commonwealth Games (London: Commonwealth Games Federation, 2007), www.
thecgf.com/media/games/2014/2014_Evaluation_Report.pdf.
4 International Association of Athletics Federations, ‘Medal table: 147th IAAF World
Championships’, www.iaaf.org/competitions/iaaf-world-championships/14th-iaaf-worldchampionships-4873/medaltable.
5 Vanguard (Nigeria), ‘All Africa Games: Popoola hails SCSA dissolution’, 27 October 2011,
www.vanguardngr.com/2011/10/all-africa-games-popoola-hails-scsa-dissolution.
Corruption in African sport
49
6 Allsports.com (Ghana), ‘It’s the same old, sorry story for All African Games’, 21 July 2014,
http://allsports.com.gh/other_sports/lost-hope-its-the-same-old-sorry-story-for-all-africangames-id2999997.html.
7 International Olympic Committee, Report on the 26 Core Sports for the XXXI Olympiad
(Lausanne: IOC, 2009), www.olympic.org/results?q=report_on_the_26_core_sports_for_
the_xxxi_olympiad.
8 Insidethegames.biz (UK), ‘FIFA annuls Zimbabwe Football Association elections amid
vote buying claims’, 1 April 2014, www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1019244/fifa-annulszimbabwe-football-association-elections-amid-vote-buying-claims.
9 BBC (UK), ‘Issa Hayatou is re-elected unopposed as CAF president’, 10 March 2013,
www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21733665.
10 Vanguard (Nigeria), ‘CAF elections: Nigeria loses, Hayatou returns’, 11 March 2013,
www.vanguardngr.com/2013/03/caf-elections-nigeria-loses-hayatou-returns; Africa
Review.com (Kenya), ‘CAF rule changes will ensure no change in football governance’,
18 April 2015, www.africareview.com/Sports/Much-to-worry-about-Caf-rule-changes/-/
979186/2690198/-/view/analysis/-/1589t6iz/-/index.htm.
11 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: branch delegates told to vote wisely’, 16 December 2004,
http://allafrica.com/stories/200412150865.html.
12 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: police to monitor bribery of delegates’, 14 February 2004,
http://allafrica.com/stories/200402160360.html.
13 Guardian (UK), ‘World Cup 2014: Cameroon squad refuse to fly to Brazil in pay dispute’,
8 June 2014, www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/08/cameroon-squad-refusetravel-brazil.
14 BBC (UK), ‘Confederations Cup 2013: Nigeria settle bonus dispute’, 14 June 2013,
www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22895513.
15 Independent (UK), ‘Fifa threat ends Togo players’ strike’, 19 June 2006, www.independent.
co.uk/sport/football/international/fifa-threat-ends-togo-players-strike-404619.html; New
York Times (US), ‘African teams head home, cash in hand’, 30 June 2014, www.nytimes.
com/2014/07/01/sports/worldcup/world-cup-2014-african-soccer-overshadowed-byprotests.html.
16 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, ‘Ghana flies in cash for World Cup players’, 25 June
2014, www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/brazil2014/ghana-flies-in-cash-for-world-cup-players1.2687321.
17 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: Nyyamweya named in EACC dossier’, 31 March 2015, http://allafrica.
com/stories/201503311431.html.
18 StandardMedia.co (Kenya), ‘Football Kenya Federation challenges official to present
evidence on alleged financial scam’, 10 August 2013, www.standardmedia.co.ke/
article/2000090559/football-kenya-federation-challenges-official-to-present-evidence-onalleged-financial-scam.
19 StandardMedia.co (Kenya), ‘FKF defies FIFA man: Niema accused of acting ultra vires,
FKF still wants 18 clubs’, 28 January 2015, http://webmail.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/
article/2000149522/fkf-defies-fifa-man-niema-accused-of-acting-ultra-vires-fkf-still-wants18-clubs.
20 Zambian Eye, ‘Qatar 2022 World Cup: Kalusha mentioned in bribery scandal’, 2 June
2014, http://zambianeye.com/archives/20965; AllAfrica.com, ‘Zambia: ACC still
investigating Kalusha’s US$80,000 Qatar bribe’ 13 April 2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/
201504140836.html.
21 Forbes (US), ‘Kenyan marathoners: the next great doping scandal?’, 17 November 2014,
www.forbes.com/sites/marcedelman/2014/11/17/kenyan-marathoners-the-next-greatdoping-scandal.
22 StandardMedia.co (Kenya), ‘AK in deeper hole: officials fail to explain connection between
federation and marketing company’, 14 December 2014, www.standardmedia.co.ke/sports/
article/2000144710/ak-in-deeper-hole-officials-fail-to-explain-connection-between-federationand-marketing-company.
50
Governance of sport
23 Radio Citizen (Kenya), ‘Athletics Kenya president Isaiah Kiplagat steps aside’, 13 April 2015,
www.radiocitizen.co.ke/index.php/news/item/28259-athletics-kenya-president-isaiahkiplagat-steps-aside/28259-athletics-kenya-president-isaiah-kiplagat-steps-aside.
24 BBC (UK), ‘Nigerian players banned for life in match-fixing scandal’, 22 July 2013,
www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/23412227.
25 ESPN (US), ‘South African referee convicted of corruption, jailed for four years’,
15 November 2014, www.espnfc.com/league-name/story/2147693/headline.
26 The Sowetan (South Africa), ‘Phil Setshedi sentenced to 8 years for match fixing’,
13 February 2013, www.sowetanlive.co.za/sport/2013/02/13/phil-setshedi-sentenced-to8-years-for-match-fixing.
27 Independent (UK), ‘Matches were fixed before 2010 World Cup, says Fifa’,
15 December 2012, www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/
matches-were-fixed-before-2010-world-cup-says-fifa-8420032.html.
28 New York Times (US), ‘Fixed soccer matches cast shadow over World Cup’, 31 May 2014,
www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/sports/soccer/fixed-matches-cast-shadow-over-world-cup.
html.
29 Guardian (UK), ‘Zimbabwe suspends 80 players as part of “Asiagate” match-fixing probe’,
1 February 2012, www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/01/zimbabwe-footballerssuspended-asiagate-match-fixing.
30 NewsDay (Zimbabwe), ‘Match-fixing allegations in Premier Soccer League’, 2 November
2012, www.newsday.co.zw/2012/11/02/match-fixing-allegations-in-premier-soccer-league.
31 See the charity’s website: www.footsolidaire.org.
32 CNN (US), ‘Human traffic: Africa’s lost boys’, 28 March 2013, http://edition.cnn.com/
2013/03/28/sport/football/football-trafficking.
33 Harper’s (US), ‘American hustle: how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes’,
April 2015, http://harpers.org/archive/2015/04/american-hustle.
34See www.nba.com/bwb/mission.html.
35 Bloomberg (US), ‘African victims of basketball’s global push’, 19 March 2015, www.
bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-19/african-victims-of-basketball-s-global-push.
36 The Economist (UK), ‘The brawn drain from Africa: Qatar’s poaching of African champions’,
28 August 2003, www.economist.com/node/2026223.
37 Daily Nation (Kenya), ‘40 defections later, Kenyan athletes still find grass greener on the
other side’, 17 August 2013, http://mobile.nation.co.ke/Sports/Why+the+defections/-/
1951244/1957996/-/format/xhtml/-/hpgsnf/-/index.html.
38 Qatarsucks.com, ‘Kenyan athletes are exploited like “slaves” and Qatar is leading the way!’,
3 May 2008, www.qatarsucks.com/Qatar_Buys_Kenyan_Athletes.
39 Mwakilishi.com (Kenya), ‘How scent of oil cash lures Kenyan children to Gulf state of
Bahrain’, 23 July 2014, www.mwakilishi.com/content/articles/2014/07/23/how-scent-ofoil-cash-lures-kenyan-children-to-gulf-state-of-bahrain.htm.
40 Irish Times, ‘Dark cloud of doping hanging over Kenyan athletics’, 12 November 2014,
www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/dark-cloud-of-doping-hanging-over-kenyanathletics-1.1996620.
41 Yahoo! Sports, ‘Marathon champ Rita Jeptoo receives two-year ban for positive drug test’,
30 January 2015, http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/the-turnstile/marathon-champ-rita-jeptooreceives-two-year-ban-for-positive-drug-test-141220783.html.
42 Guardian (UK), ‘Kenya’s Matthews Kisorio doped because he “wasn’t the only one”’, 30
October 2013, www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/oct/30/kenya-athletics-doping-matthewskisorio.
43 BBC (UK), ‘Amantle Montsho given two-year ban for doping at Commonwealths’,
18 March 2015, www.bbc.com/sport/0/athletics/31953218; The Times (South Africa),
‘Simon Magakwe banned for two years’, 15 April 2015, www.timeslive.co.za/sport/other/
2015/04/15/simon-magakwe-banned-for-two-years.
44 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: athletes launch anti-doping campaign dubbed “Run Clean”’, 6 April
2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201504060642.html.
Corruption in African sport
51
45 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: Ayuma’s plea draws quick Balala move’, 25 September 2003,
http://allafrica.com/stories/200309250147.html.
46 AllAfrica.com, ‘Kenya: no chance for joy-riders in Melbourne’, 9 February 2006,
http://allafrica.com/stories/200602080915.html.
47 BBC (UK), ‘Olympics 2012: Nigeria bans government delegation’, 5 July 2012,
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18720212.
48 See Ian Hargreaves, Journalism: Truth or Dare (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Hargreaves is a former editor of the Financial Times and The Independent, and has written
widely on journalism.
1.7
Impunity and corruption
in South American
football governance
Juca Kfouri1
The intangibility of its assets means that sport, and not just football, is one of the sectors of
the entertainment industry most prone to money-laundering.
How much is Lionel Messi worth: €200 million? Gareth Bale of Wales was worth €100
million to Real Madrid. Is Messi worth two Bales? ‘No,’ some would say; ‘he’s worth three!’ It
will never be known how much he is worth, however, and what the true amount paid would
be should he be transferred, as was also the case with the nebulous transaction that brought
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior of Brazil to Barcelona.
The trajectory of Havelange, FIFA and CONMEBOL
Following the election of João Havelange as president of the Fédération Internationale de
Football Association (FIFA) in 1974, with the help of the Dassler family of Adidas, the entity
was transformed into a large multinational that resembles the Cosa Nostra more than it does
the Red Cross.2
The repercussions throughout Brazil and South America were immediate. Havelange
had presided over the Brazilian Sports Confederation for 18 years, from 1956 to 1974. He
capitalised on the fame of Pelé to collect votes in Africa and defeat Stanley Rous of England,
who had presided over FIFA since 1961.3
Taking advantage of this ‘global village’,4 Havelange aimed to make football big business,
and profitable, especially for those who surrounded and supported him. This included even his
son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, then married to his only daughter. In 1989 Havelange successfully
lobbied for him to become president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).5
The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) was similarly transformed into
a fiefdom of patronage from which shadowy and folkloric figures emerged, such as the late
Julio Grondona, who presided for decades over the Argentine Football Association. Grondona
wore a ring with the inscription ‘Todo pasa’ (in English, ‘Anything goes’ or ‘In time, it will all be
fine’), reflecting his method for managing the scandals and crises that surrounded him.6
In the same circle was the Paraguayan Nicolás Leoz, president of CONMEBOL from
1986 to 2013, who is alleged to have offered his vote in support of the UK bid to host
Corruption in South American football
53
the 2018 World Cup on the condition that the queen would grant him a knighthood.7 With
full confidence of impunity – indeed, the CONMEBOL headquarters in Paraguay had
‘embassy’ status – the heads of the national associations and the confederation operated to
a large extent as if they were part of an immense and untouchable gang.
Less concerned with football and more preoccupied with its luxurious benefits, these
leaders had their operators to make sure that the ball was bouncing on the field and that the
sponsors were attended to. Furthermore, although they are referred to as sports marketers,
in reality many such companies throughout South America have been a screen for all sorts of
fraud.8 Sports marketing companies in South America often serve as intermediaries for large
contracts and distribute payments, from sponsors or broadcasters to football association
executives, in a manner that guarantees, in the small world of these fortunate ones, that
everybody gets along. Sports marketing executives from Kléfer and Traffic (both of Brazil) and
Torneos Y Competencias (Argentina) are reportedly under investigation, linked to business
deals with national and international football officials.9 It is a vicious cycle that has the
virtue of keeping everyone – including the marketers, sponsors, broadcasters and football
executives – satisfied.
Impunity in South American football governance
It is in South America where, thanks to this prevailing sense of impunity, less caution is taken
with such fraudulent behaviour, to the point that it is discussed with a smile on one’s face, as
a sign of expertise. This brazenness is what led to the downfall of the former president of the
CBF, José Maria Marin, who is now in prison in Zurich awaiting his likely extradition to
the United States, charged in May 2015 with racketeering conspiracy, money-laundering
conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.10
An octogenarian, a servant of the former Brazilian dictatorship and a millionaire thanks to
a lifetime of scandal,11 Marin was caught in a conversation taped by a convicted defendant
working for the FBI, José Hawilla, the owner and founder of Traffic Group, the sports marketing
company that controlled the television rights for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as well as the
Copa Libertadores, the Copa America and the Copa do Brasil.12 Hawilla admitted that he had
paid bribes to association heads across the continent in the course of his work.13
Teixeira, Marin’s predecessor as president of the CBF, had resigned from his position in
2012, amid various corruption allegations, and moved to Florida.14 To Marin’s dismay, Teixeira
continued to receive commissions from CBF contracts.15 Marin had indicated to Hawilla that
Teixeira no longer deserved such privileges, and said that they should instead be transferred
to him and his successor as CBF president, Marco Polo Del Nero,16 speculated to be the
unidentified ‘co-conspirator 12’ in the FBI indictment of May 2015.17
The problem with the CBF, like other national associations in the region, and like
CONMEBOL and like FIFA, is structural. There is a need to change the rules, rather than
individuals, in order to reform the governance of football in South America. Otherwise, any
individual aiming to rise up the ranks will have to play the game that is dictated by vested
interests in which the end always justifies the means.
There is an urgent need to break away from the undemocratic methods for reaching the
top, be it term limits or, more importantly, giving voice to the athletes. It is the athletes who are
the main actors in sports, yet they are mere spectators of what happens in their governing
bodies, and victims of their decisions.
It became clear that the ‘emperor had no clothes’, and sponsors began to depart.
Yet other sponsors have nonetheless stepped in, confident that the magic of football will
mesmerise all and that the fans won’t see Adidas as a sponsor of FIFA but instead of the
54
Governance of sport
World Cup, or, in the case of Brazil, that they won’t see Nike as a sponsor of the CBF but,
rather, the Brazilian national team.
Movements for change
Occasionally fans mobilise, form movements and denounce what goes on behind the scenes.
In the case of Brazil, the 1980s saw the Corinthian Democracy, an ideological movement for
the sound management of clubs led by the famous Brazilian footballer Socrates. Today the
Bom Senso FC movement represents over 1,000 players who stand for fair financial play and
the democratisation of access to power.
The Brazilian government has also taken steps, namely by proposals for new legislation
on the governance of clubs in the quest to modernise Brazilian football. There have been
difficulties in passing these ideas through the National Congress, however, which is heavily
influenced by the ‘bancada da bola’, or the ‘ball bench’ – a group of congressmen and
senators who are close to and guided by the CBF.18
Brazil and the rest of South America are still far from seeing football as an opportunity for
all, fans in particular, to enjoy and benefit from. To the contrary, they still operate under the
logic that the accumulation of capital comes first. It is difficult to predict the future of football
in South America and to imagine a structure free of corruption, given how engrained these
practices are and the amount of money involved. It is hoped that CONMEBOL and the
national associations will look to other regions and countries, to learn from their mistakes as
well as their best practices.
Notes
1 Juca Kfouri is a columnist for Folha de São Paulo and Universo Online (UOL), and a leading
sports writer in Brazil.
2 ESPN (US), ‘Havelange to Blatter: the dynasty based on corruption’, 28 February 2002,
www.espnfc.com/global/news/2002/0228/20020228featjenningsmain.html.
3 David Yallop, How They Stole the Game (London: Poetic Publishing, 1999).
4 The ‘global village’ is a term coined by Marshall McLuhan to describe the increasingly small
world as a result of growing networks of communication.
5 Guardian (UK), ‘Fifa corruption intrigue deepens as Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira resigns’,
12 March 2012, www.theguardian.com/football/2012/mar/12/fifa-ricardo-teixeira-resigns;
World Soccer, ‘Ricardo Teixeira: how 25 years of absolute power came to an end’,
26 January 2014, www.worldsoccer.com/columnists/keir-radnedge/ricardo-teixeira-how25-years-of-absolute-power-came-to-an-end-344414.
6 Clarín (Argentina), ‘El Señor del anillo’, 30 July 2014, www.clarin.com/deportes/Muerte_de_
Julio_Grondona-murio_Julio_Grondona_0_1184281997.html.
7 Guardian (UK), ‘Former MP claims Nicolás Leoz made earlier request for British honour’,
11 May 2011, www.theguardian.com/football/2011/may/11/mp-nicolas-leoz-honour.
8 United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Indictment CR 14-609 (RJD),
12 December 2014, www.justice.gov/opa/file/450216/download.
9 Wall Street Journal (US), ‘Brazil, Argentina probe soccer industry’, 28 May 2015, www.wsj.
com/articles/brazil-kicks-off-soccer-graft-probe-1432845022; The Washington Post (US),
‘Here’s who the FBI arrested in connection to its FIFA investigation’, 27 May 2015, www.
washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/05/27/heres-who-the-fbi-arrested-inconnection-to-its-fifa-investigation.
10 Washington Post (US), ‘After FIFA arrests, Brazilians ask: why didn’t we do this?’,
29 May 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/05/29/after-fifaarrests-brazilians-ask-why-didnt-we-do-this.
Corruption in South American football
55
11 The Blizzard (UK), ‘A troubled history: José Maria Marin’, June 2014, www.theblizzard.co.uk/
articles/a-troubled-history-jose-maria-marin; New York Times (US), ‘A region’s soccer
strongmen are facing a hard fall’, 27 May 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/05/28/world/
americas/a-regions-strongmen-are-facing-a-hard-fall.html.
12 Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), ‘Réu confesso, Hawilla colabora com o FBI desde o final de
2013’, 4 June 2015, www1.folha.uol.com.br/esporte/2015/06/1637703-reu-confessohawilla-colabora-com-o-fbi-desde-o-final-de-2013.shtml; Guardian (UK), ‘Brazil starts
congressional inquiry into corruption after Fifa arrests’, 29 May 2015, www.theguardian.
com/football/2015/may/29/brazil-corruption-fifa-arrests-romario.
13Ibid.
14 BBC (UK), ‘Brazil football boss Ricardo Teixeira resigns’, 12 March 2012, www.bbc.co.uk/
news/world-latin-america-17345455; Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), ‘A year after leaving
the presidency of the CBF, Ricardo Teixeira enjoys luxury homes and cars in Florida’,
27 February 2013, www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/sports/2013/02/1237583-ayear-after-leaving-the-presidency-of-the-cbf-ricardo-teixeira-enjoys-luxury-homes-andcars-in-florida.shtml.
15 Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), 4 June 2015.
16Ibid.
17 Reuters (UK), ‘Brazil soccer head to review suspicious deals, rules out resignation’, 29 May
2015, http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/29/
soccer-fifa-brazil-idINKBN0OE1ZQ20150529.
18 UOL (Brazil), ‘10 fatos sobre a bancada da bola no Congresso Nacional’, 15 June 2015,
http://esporte.uol.com.br/futebol/ultimas-noticias/2015/06/15/10-fatos-sobre-a-bancadada-bola-no-congresso-nacional.htm.
1.8
Indicators and
benchmarking tools
for sports governance
Arnout Geeraert1
Introduction
Notwithstanding recent internal and external efforts, the impression is that there is still inertia
hampering the establishment of better governance in the sports world.2 To a large extent, this
can be explained by the lack of a generally accepted, homogeneous set of core principles
and benchmarking tools for good governance in international sport organisations (ISOs).
Arguments that underline the importance of indicators and benchmarking tools for sports
governance are threefold. First, ISOs need to be informed as to how they can organise their
affairs in a sustainable and effective manner. Existing codes usually include principles that are
extremely broadly defined and, therefore, rather impractical.3
Second, there is a need to put external pressure on ISOs in order to push for change
towards better governance. Whereas empirical evidence suggests that international sport
organisations lack good governance, internal accountability deficits render change from
within an unrealistic scenario.4 Benchmarking has the potential to inflict the reputational costs
associated with naming and shaming, which has been known to change the behaviour of
powerful international actors.5
Third, benchmarking instruments are needed in order to evaluate governance reform
processes. In certain cases, governance scandals have led to governance reforms.6 Most
recently, for instance, the governance reform process in the Fédération Internationale de
Football Association (FIFA) resulted in some major organisational changes. The problem is,
however, that several important reform proposals were not implemented, on account of a lack
of internal support.7 In the absence of independent benchmarking systems, it is difficult to
fully appreciate the adequacy (or lack thereof) of the process.
This chapter highlights the challenges in developing benchmarking tools, as well as the
limits and opportunities of existing tools. In addition, it aims to identify the way forward.
The challenges in developing benchmarking tools
for sports governance
Good governance principles must always take account of the specificity of the relevant
organisation. Consequently, there are important differences in existing codes across
Indicators and benchmarking tools
57
international boundaries, both at a commercial and non-profit level. In their capacity as regulators/promoters of their sports, ISOs comprise organisational structures that are found
within state, market and civil society entities. Because of the sui generis structures of these
organisations, existing codes from other sectors cannot simply be applied to them. They can
serve as important sources for inspiration, however, so long as attention is paid to preserving
sufficiently high standards in relevant areas.
Benchmarking tools for sports governance thus need to take into account the specificity
of ISOs. At the same time, they have to be sufficiently generic in order to be applicable to the
many different structures that can be discerned within these organisations, which only adds
to the complexity of the issue. This implies that benchmarking tools can never capture all the
nuances that exist within the governance structures of each organisation. Taking account of
these considerations, it is possible to identify core elements for good governance in ISOs
around which concrete indicators can be constructed.
Core elements for good sports governance
The core elements for good sports governance that emerge from the literature on good
governance in both the public and private area are transparency, democracy, checks and
balances, social responsibility, and equity and diversity.
Transparency
Transparency in general can be defined as ‘the availability of information about an organisation
or actor allowing external actors to monitor the internal workings or performance of that
organisation’.8 It is commonly assumed that increased transparency will lead to decreased
misuse of power, financial mismanagement and corruption.9 It may also lead to stronger
democracy, since it allows for better debate.
In order to be transparent, ISOs should adhere to strict disclosure requirements, including
financial reporting, and adequately communicate their activities to their internal stakeholders and the general public. More specifically, they should produce regular narrative
accounts that seek to justify decisions, actions and results and engage in a constructive
dialogue with those who are publicly contesting these. Not every form of transparency benefits stakeholder empowerment and trust, though. The risk of misinformation, information
overload and unjust blaming underlines the importance of publishing clear, objective and
timely information.10
Democracy
Participation in policy processes by those who are affected by the policy is a cornerstone of
democracy.11 Democratic principles and procedures in the decision-making of ISOs ensure
that those who govern can be held accountable by their primary stakeholders. The main way
in which member federations can hold their respective ISOs accountable is through their
statutory powers. Most notably, these relate to the election of the people who govern the
organisation – i.e. the members of the executive body of the organisation – but they also
relate to the selection process of the ISO’s major event.
Member federations are not the only primary stakeholders of ISOs, though. Among those
affected by ISOs’ policies and decisions are clubs, referees, coaches and, most importantly,
athletes. According to Barrie Houlihan, sports policy is ‘rarely [carried out] in consultation with
athletes, and almost never in partnership with athletes’.12 Specific attention should therefore
be paid to involving stakeholders, notably athletes, in decision-making processes. It is widely
58
Governance of sport
accepted that this leads to more long-term effectiveness and to sustainable solutions for
policy issues, on the one hand, and a reduced likelihood of corruption and concentration of
power, on the other.13
Checks and balances
Mutual control procedures are paramount, to prevent the concentration of power and ensure
that decision-making is robust, independent and free from improper influence. They also
ensure that no manager or board member or department has absolute control over
decisions, and clearly define the assigned duties.14 Checks and balances should apply to all
(senior) officials and staff working in the different departments of an ISO. To achieve this, the
organisation should at the very least have an internal audit and ethics committee, financial
controls, an ethics code and conflict-of-interest rules in place.
Social responsibility
ISOs carry a responsibility to society at large. Given the socio-cultural value of sport, sports
federations have the potential to make a positive contribution to social cohesion, cultural
understanding and global dialogue. They are expected to ‘give something back’ to society,
as sports activities often rely on public funds. It is important to determine clear standards in
order to prevent such efforts from serving merely as ‘window dressing’.
An ISO’s social responsibility should encourage it to invest in the global development of
grassroots activities, mitigate the negative externalities of international organised sports,
including environmental degradation, improve the circumstances of marginalised and/or
fractured communities and adopt legacy requirements for the hosting of its major event.
Equity and diversity
Diversity is needed in ISOs in order to ensure that everybody’s best interests are being looked
after. For instance, whereas sports governance is still male-dominated, studies indicate that
female inclusion on boards leads to improved governance and reduces the influence of the
‘old boys’ network’.15 At the same time, it is important that equity is also promoted at lower
levels, since grassroots sports often form the foundation from which the leading sports
officials of the future emerge.
Existing benchmarking tools
In recent years important progress has been made in the literature on good governance in
sport.16 This has been translated not just into checklists for good governance in international
sport organisations but also into concrete benchmarking tools. Especially noteworthy is the
work by Jean-Loup Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic,17 the ‘Action for Good Governance in
International Sport’ (AGGIS) organisations group18 and the ‘Sport For Good Governance’
(s4gg) project.19
Although all three of these tools use a Likert-type scale for measuring good governance,
they are distinct in that they use different indicators and different measuring systems
(self-evaluation, expert assessment and pre-defined scoring). The s4gg project devised an
easy-to-use self-evaluation tool that is mainly targeted at sports federations operating at
the national level. The tool consists of a set of indicators that are sufficiently broad to be
applied to ISOs as well. The main advantage of the s4gg tool is that it is supported by
the sports federation community. Self-evaluation precludes naming and shaming, however,
and influences the reliability of outcomes.
Indicators and benchmarking tools
59
Chappelet and Mrkonjic have suggested the ‘Basic Indicators for Better Governance in
International Sport’ (BIBGIS), which are organised along seven dimensions: organisational
transparency, reporting transparency, stakeholders’ representation, democratic process,
control mechanisms, sport integrity and solidarity. Their measuring system is based on expert
assessment, and thus requires (independent) experts to give a score for each indicator.
The AGGIS group have devised the ‘Sports Governance Observer’, a benchmarking tool
consisting of four dimensions, namely transparency and public communication, democratic
process, checks and balances and solidarity. Each of the (roughly) ten indicators per dimension
is quantified by means of a predetermined scoring system.
Conclusion: the way forward
The benchmarking of good governance in ISOs is necessary in order to induce better
governance in (international) sport. The different benchmarking tools that are emerging fill
a void that to some extent impeded improvements in sports governance. These tools can
coexist and complement each other, in the sense that they serve distinct goals and each have
specific benefits.
It is important that they are tested and improved on a continuous basis, however.20
Special attention should be paid to concerns regarding their validity (the degree to which a
tool succeeds in describing or quantifying what it is designed to measure) and reliability (the
degree to which a tool generates the same results under the same conditions). Including
stakeholders, notably ISOs, more in this process than thus far has been the case would facilitate exchanges of knowledge and increase the likelihood that the sports world will pay attention to the principles of good governance that are being promoted. This, of course, underlines
the need for ISOs to ‘take the leap’ and adopt one or more of these benchmarking tools.
Box 1.1 The Sports Governance Observer
Play the Game
The concept of good governance in sport has climbed to the top of the global political agenda in the
course of the past few years. Good governance is increasingly regarded as an essential quality if
sports organisations are to become efficient partners in solving a number of complex international
challenges: the fight against match-fixing, doping and other forms of corruption in sport; the demand
for more sustainable international events; the social and gender imbalances in sport; and the
decreasing level of physical activity across the globe.
Politicians worldwide increasingly expect the international sports movement to engage with these
challenges. This was expressed, for instance, in the 2013 Berlin Declaration, which was approved by
governments from more than 125 countries at the Fifth International Conference of Ministers and
Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS V). In addition, the European
Union and the Council of Europe regard sports governance as a key issue in their range of activities,
and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) intends to reinvigorate its efforts in the field.
In order to inspire international sport to raise its governance standards to a higher level, Play the
Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) have introduced the Sports Governance
Observer, a benchmarking tool developed in cooperation with six European universities that is based
60
Governance of sport
on the best scientific theory and yet easily applicable in the day-to-day work of the various national
and international sports federations. The Sports Governance Observer has been further elaborated
with a robust scoring system, and in 2014 and 2015 the 35 international federations that support
the IOC by governing each sport at a global level were analysed on the basis of the instrument.
The aim of the Sports Governance Observer is to enable an in-depth analysis of good governance
in international sports federations, firmly rooted in state-of-the art governance and management
theory and building on the best international practices. A thorough knowledge of the state of affairs
in this regard can lead to better-informed and more effective policy choices for these federations, and
ultimately to a better relationship between sport and society in general.
Notes
1 Arnout Geeraert is a research fellow at the Leuven International and European Studies
(LINES) Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, and also works for the Danish Institute for
Sports Studies.
2 Arnout Geeraert, Jens Alm and Michael Groll, ‘Good governance in international sport
organisations: an analysis of the 35 Olympic sport governing bodies’, International Journal
of Sport Policy and Politics, vol. 6 (2014).
3 International Olympic Committee, Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the
Olympic and Sports Movement (Lausanne: IOC, 2008); EU Expert Group ‘Good
governance’, ‘Deliverable 2: principles of good governance in sport’, http://ec.europa.eu/
sport/library/policy_documents/xg-gg-201307-dlvrbl2-sept2013.pdf.
4 Geeraert et al. (2014); Mark Bovens, ‘Analysing and assessing accountability: a conceptual
framework’, European Law Journal, vol. 13 (2007).
5 Thomas Risse, Stephen Ropp and Kathryn Sikkink (eds), The Power of Human Rights:
International Norms and Domestic Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).
6 Mark Pieth (ed.), Reforming FIFA (Zurich: Dike Verlag, 2014); Jean-Loup Chappelet and
Brenda Kübler-Mabbott, The International Olympic Committee and the Olympic System:
The Governance of World Sport (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008).
7 Pieth (2014).
8 Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen, ‘Transparency and trust: an experimental study of online
disclosure and trust in government’, PhD thesis (Utrecht: Utrecht University, 2012), p. 55.
9 Christopher Hood, ‘What happens when transparency meets blame-avoidance?’, Public
Management Review, vol. 9 (2007), p. 207.
10 Frank van Eekeren, ‘Transparency’, in Jens Alm (ed.), Action for Good Governance in
International Sport Organisations: Final Report (Copenhagen: Danish Institute for Sports
Studies, 2013).
11 Sherry Arnstein, ‘A ladder of citizen participation’, Journal of the American Institute of
Planners, vol. 35 (1969).
12 Barrie Houlihan, ‘Civil rights, doping control and the World Anti-Doping Code’, Sport in
Society, vol. 7 (2004), pp. 421–422.
13 Oran Young, International Governance: Protecting the Environment in a Stateless Society
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); Bovens (2007).
14 Peter Aucoin and Ralph Heintzman, ‘The dialectics of accountability for performance in
public management reform’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 66
(2000).
15 David Brown, Debra Brown and Vanessa Anastasopoulos, Not Just the Right Thing . . . But
the ‘Bright’ Thing (Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada, 2002).
16 Jean-Loup Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic, ‘Existing governance principles in sport: a
review of published literature’, in Alm (2013).
Indicators and benchmarking tools
61
17 Jean-Loup Chappelet and Michaël Mrkonjic, Basic Indicators for Better Governance in
International Sport (BIBGIS): An Assessment Tool for International Sport Governing
Bodies, IDHEAP Working Paper no. 1/2013 (Lausanne: Swiss Graduate School of
Public Administration, 2013).
18 See Arnout Geeraert, ‘AGGIS: action for good governance in international sports
organisations’, http://ec.europa.eu/sport/library/documents/eusf2013-1-2-wkshp2-5bdanish-institute.pdf.
19See www.s4gg.eu.
20 Play the Game, an international initiative under the auspices of the Danish Institute for
Sports Studies, is currently in the process of reviewing the 35 Olympic sports federations
on the basis of the Sports Governance Observer benchmarking tool. Results are expected
in the first half of 2015.
1.9
Examples of evolving
good governance
practices in sport
Michael Pedersen1
Although a holistic framework can offer a useful basis for considering all relevant aspects of
sport governance, national and international sport governing bodies are very different in terms
of size, resources and management challenges – and therefore also in terms of which specific
solutions add the most value to them. This chapter highlights three succinct examples of
evolving good governance practices across several sports and countries.
Netball New Zealand and its model for professionalising
the boardroom
As early as 1999, way ahead of most other sport governing bodies throughout the world,
Netball New Zealand went through a comprehensive governance modernisation. A particularly
noteworthy outcome was the organisation’s decision to build the foundation for good and
effective decision-making by creating a skills-based, eight-person-strong board with no or
few conflicts of interest and financial compensation to board members.
In accordance with the governance standards2 that were put in place, the eight-person
board of Netball New Zealand consists of three elected members, four appointed members
and the chief executive of the sport governing body. The three elected members are chosen
by the membership of Netball New Zealand, for a three-year term, including the president.
There is no automatic board representation for specific geographical membership groups.
The elected president mainly has a representational role, as it is the role of the chairman to
lead the board.
The four appointed members of the board are recruited by a so-called Appointment
Panel, also for a three-year term. The panel is composed of three people nominated by the
board, including a member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. There is a process
in place for receiving and considering applications from candidates. Any person can apply.
There are no specific requirements either of affiliation with netball or of independence from
the sport.
The commencement of the terms in office for board members is staggered, so as to
ensure a rotation of board members over a three-year period. The board appoints one of its
Examples of evolving good governance
63
members as chairman. All board members, except for the chief executive, can serve on the
board for a maximum of nine years.
At the beginning of every board meeting the members are asked to declare any potential
conflicts of interest related to the agenda items of the meeting – personal as well as institutional
ones. Furthermore, beyond the reimbursement of relevant and appropriate travel expenses,
board members are given a yearly honorarium payment in appreciation of their work. In 2012
board members received US$8,500 each, while the chairman received US$21,000.3
The Badminton World Federation and its model for
democratising sport
Unlike most other sport governing bodies, nationally as well as internationally, the Badminton
World Federation (BWF) does not have a democratic governance system along the lines
of ‘one member association, one vote’ at its general assembly. Rather, member associations
are allocated a minimum of one and a maximum of five votes on the basis of criteria
that favour those that prove able to contribute the most to the further development
of badminton.
The allocation of votes to member associations is made for one four-year period at a time,
based on a four-year retrospective assessment period. Accordingly, under the precondition
that a member association is in good standing, the number of votes it has at the general
assembly is allocated in line with the criteria shown in Table 1.1a.4
One vote
A member of the Badminton World Federation.
One additional vote
More than 10,000 registered players in each of the four years of the assessment
period.
One additional vote
Participation in seven out of 12 international events during the assessment
period: the Sudirman Cup (two events), individual Continental Championships
(a maximum of two events), World Championships (three events), the Olympic
Games (one event) and the World Junior Team Championships (four events).
One additional vote
Having one player or more in the top 40 world ranking in any of the five
disciplines as per the world ranking list for qualifying for the most recently held
Olympic Games.
One additional vote
Hosting at least one of these events in three out of the four years of the
assessment period: the Super Series, Grand Prix or International Challenge.
Table 1.1a Vote weighting in the Badminton World Federation
Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand for member associations in the Badminton
World Federation. The actual size of a member association’s membership fee is determined
according to a scale of units, which is a function of the number of votes allocated to the
association. The scale of units is as shown in Table 1.1b.
The BWF covers travel expenses for all its member associations to send one representative
to attend the general assembly. Voting by proxy is not allowed; only member associations
directly represented at the general assembly are in a position to cast votes.
64
Governance of sport
Total number of votes at the
general assembly
Total units to be applied when calculating
the size of the actual membership fee
One vote
1
Two votes
4
Three votes
9
Four votes
26
Five votes
31
Table 1.1b Vote weighting in the Badminton World Federation
The South African Rugby Union and its model for annual reporting
Although annual reports are critical means of maintaining and increasing trust with key
stakeholders, internally as well as externally, many sport governing bodies have yet to create
and publish such reports. The annual reports of the South African Rugby Union (SARU)
are particularly noteworthy, in as much as they are integrated: not only do they provide
the consolidated financial statement, they also provide a range of governance measures,
strategies, activities and results achieved throughout the year.
A substantial part of SARU’s 2013 annual report5 consists of governance measures
relating to the political management of the sport governing body. Notably, details are given
regarding the composition of the Executive Council and committees (including individual
actual attendance at meetings), the terms of reference for committees and a list of independent members of committees (in areas such as audit and risk and human resources and
remuneration). Another significant piece of information is the figure for the total compensation
of Executive Council members (approximately US$1.1 million).
As for governance measures related to the operational management of the South African
Rugby Union, one of the more striking accounts is of the organisation’s HIV/AIDS policy,
aimed at promoting a non-discriminatory work environment for employees with HIV/AIDS.
Other notable details are the figure for the total expenses of the CEO’s office (some
US$870,000) and the total numbers of male and female employees (143 women, 433 men).
Finally, the auditing of the consolidated financial statement is noteworthy in at least two
ways. First, it is carried out in accordance with International Standards on Auditing. This
reflects SARU’s commitment to comply with the Companies Act 2008 and the so-called
‘King Code of Governance Principles’ in South Africa, despite not being incorporated and,
therefore, not being legally required to do so. Second, SARU appoints both internal and
external auditors; for the 2013 annual report, KPMG was the internal auditor, while PwC was
the external auditor.
Notes
1
2
3
4
5
Michael Pedersen is the founder of M INC. and the former Head of the World Economic
Forum’s ‘Partnering against Corruption Initiative’.
Constitution of Netball New Zealand Inc.
Netball New Zealand, Annual Report 2012 (Auckland: Netball New Zealand, 2012).
Badminton World Federation constitution.
South African Rugby Union, Annual Report 2013 (Cape Town: SARU, 2013).
1.10
For the good of the game?
Governance on the outskirts
of international football
Steve Menary1
In those small football associations at the bottom of Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) rankings, participation in the finals of a major tournament is usually accepted
as impossible. These associations often have a handful of players, at best, with any experience
of playing professionally, and the imperative is on grassroots development. This is the key
challenge with governance at small national associations, which are often charged with
developing the game in areas no larger than a small town in most larger countries. With such
a small pool of players, the national teams are usually unsuccessful and go largely ignored,
yet their executives, as inexperienced off the pitch in international football as their players are
on it, can rise to the well-remunerated upper echelons of FIFA while at times completely
oblivious to the standards of governance needed at the national level.
When Tahiti qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil by winning the 2012
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Nations Cup,2 the outgunned team was predictably
sneered at by parts of the mainstream media, many of which previously had cause to mention
the French overseas collective and football in the same article only in the context of corruption.3
This illustrates the dichotomy at the heart of media coverage of football in smaller nations
and territories. It is all too easy for the lack of international media exposure to work to
the disadvantage of those attempting to improve the quality of the governance in the minor
associations on the periphery of international football.
Although FIFA has 209 members, media priorities, usually generated by consumer demand,
dictate that coverage focuses on those countries and teams with the most support.4 As
Roger Pielke Jr has identified in another chapter, through the desire for autonomous development, national sports bodies often have ‘less well developed mechanisms of governance
than many governments, businesses and civil society organisations’.5
FIFA and the non-interference rule
Local journalists attempting to uncover issues of poor governance and corruption can face
vilification or isolation in small countries, where the size of the population is more akin to that
of a minor city in a larger country. Attempts to draw the attention of local politicians to
concerns about the governance of national football can be stifled by conflicts of interest and
FIFA’s insistence on independence from political interference for national football associations.
66
Governance of sport
Such violations of independence led to 5 per cent of the member associations being
suspended between 2005 and 2010.6 This insistence can discourage positive intervention on
occasions when politicians witness genuine poor governance or suspect corruption.7 In
places where everyone knows everyone else, sporting autonomy can supersede the rule of
national law, and instances of poor governance or corruption can go unchecked for years.
Take, for example, French Caledonia, where Jacques Zimako was elected as vice president
of the Fédération Calédonienne de Football (FCF) in July 2011, only to fall out, for reasons
unclear, with president Edward Bowen, who then suspended Zimako.8 A civic tribunal ruled
that the suspension was illegal, but this ruling was ignored.9 FIFA then appointed Bowen to
its Disciplinary Committee at the 2013 annual congress, even though the FCF president had
failed to disclose that he was facing criminal charges in Nouméa, the French Caledonian
capital, for violence against local civil servants.10 Bowen was subsequently convicted, but
the OFC president, David Chung, wrote to Bowen offering his support to the disgraced
FCF president, who was jailed in December 2013.11 According to the FCF’s statutes, Zimako
should have taken over as president at this point, but he continues to be ignored, and Bowen
was only belatedly removed from his FIFA position last year, after Zimako supporters had
written directly to Michael Garcia, when he was still on FIFA’s Ethics Committee.12
The leap from small football associations to lucrative
international positions
Bowen is hardly the first local football official to have established a domestic position of power
through intimidation and then win promotion to a well-paid executive-level position at a
regional or international body.13 Moreover, making the transition can be difficult; and the
sudden leap in income can also have a detrimental impact on the behaviour and expectations
of newly enriched sporting officials. Whereas in richer economies, notably in western Europe,
there is less of a discrepancy between the pay for national football association members and
that of other high-level civic or business positions,14 the gulf between average national salaries
and those of regional or international football associations can be enormous, particularly
when officials secure a paid position at FIFA, where the average annual salary is £128,000
(some US$194,000).15
In 2010 the then Guyana Football Federation (GFF) president, Colin Klass, insisted on
flying first-class to the United Kingdom to watch his national team, at a cost of US$10,576.16
Ultimately, Klass decided against making this trip for unknown reasons, but the incident
illustrates the types of demands made by former domestic officials from poorer economies
when they obtain the elite, five-star lifestyle of the international football executive. Ignoring or
becoming enmeshed in poor governance is often the next step. If FIFA intervenes, this often
happens only after a long period of poor governance that must surely have been known at
some level in the world body but went ignored. FIFA later, in September 2011, suspended
Klass for 26 months from all football activities,17 but elections to vote in a new president were
not held until April 2013.18 His replacement, Christopher Mathias, proved so unpopular that
some elements of Guyanese football wanted Klass back, and there was no intervention taken
by FIFA until Mathias had excluded virtually all overseas players from the national team and
had libelled a football agent on live television.19
Poor governance and the failure of FIFA to press for change
Only after numerous instances of poor governance had been exposed on a wider level in the
international media did FIFA belatedly take action and appoint a normalisation committee to
Governance in football’s outskirts
67
run the game in Guyana.20 This is the last resort for FIFA, and all too often such action is taken
only when domestic governance has completely broken down – to the detriment of all levels
of the game. The disappearance of nearly US$1 million worth of FIFA funds from a GOAL
development project21 in Antigua and Barbuda was repeatedly exposed at the local level for
a decade, with journalist Ian ‘Magic’ Hughes even losing his job over the issue in 2005.22
It was not until March 2014 that FIFA finally suspended the annual US$250,000 Financial
Assistance Programme (FAP) payment; it also imposed a fine of Swiss Fr. 30,000 (some
US$31,500) on the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association, after it had been accused on
a wider international level of trying to mortgage the site for the GOAL project even though it
had been purchased using FIFA funds.23
Too often officials are allowed to disregard basic standards of governance and accountability
because of the freedom they are given through a combination of ennui among the international
media, local conflicts of interest and the inability of politicians – in times of real need – to
intervene. In the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla, Raymond Guishard, the president of
the national association, the Anguilla Football Association (AFA), was suspended by FIFA from
all football activity for 45 days for his part in the 2011 Port of Spain bribery scandal that also
led to the banning of Colin Klass.24 Guishard did not explain this suspension to the AFA, in
part due to the inopportune timing of his suspension during an ongoing dispute between the
AFA and three disenfranchised clubs over both youth development and overseas players.25
It was reported that, in February 2012, the disenfranchised clubs had not had access to
information on the 2011 or even 2010 AFA financial accounts.26 Damien Hughes, from
Antigua, was the acting general secretary of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) at the time,
during which the CFU took no action.27 Between 2000 and 2010 the AFA received US$3.5
million from FIFA in FAP and GOAL funds, yet managed to play just 17 internationals.28 Only
in 2015 did Anguilla finally play its first ever full international match on the island, even though
in 2010 FIFA president Sepp Blatter had inaugurated a US$653,976 football centre, which
was funded mainly by a US$400,000 GOAL grant and another US$200,000 grant from the
world body’s FAP.29
Implications of poor governance and challenges
for grassroots football development
Further down the FIFA rankings, there is often a disconnect between international and
grassroots football. Some FIFA members only play senior male internationals in World
Cup qualifying, which can mean there is a four-year gap between matches.30 If children
do not have a national team to which they aspire, they can easily give up on the game
entirely. A lack of opportunities after primary school was another main concern of the
disenfranchised AFA clubs.31 Anguilla is among the world’s least active national teams, but
the most inert in the first decade of the new millennium was that of São Tomé e Príncipe,
which played just seven matches.32 After losing to Libya in 2003, its Federação Santomense
de Futebol (FSF) subsequently cancelled four national club championships and merged
another.33 São Tomé e Príncipe disappeared from the FIFA rankings, and only after FSF
president Manuel Dende had left in 2010, after 12 years in charge, did the country’s football
association then stage another international.34 In the decade prior to Dende’s departure the
FSF received US$3.9 million from FIFA, and the end result was no development from club
through to international football.35 With senior national teams not playing and clubs in turn
complaining about a lack of youth development from the national association, this suggests
an obvious lack of priorities and therefore poor governance despite the large financial
incentives from FIFA.
68
Governance of sport
The lack of senior international participation is not always due to poor governance, and for
some of the more remote national associations, particularly in areas such as Oceania, the
cost of playing internationals can be prohibitive. Sara Barema, the CEO of Football Federation
Samoa (FFS), described senior international matches as a ‘waste of resources in terms of air
fares and preparation costs’.36 The FFS is now focused on grassroots development and junior
participation, but this only came after the FFS had been suspended by FIFA in 2008 for
playing too few internationals to meet FIFA requirements and running up huge debts, and a
normalisation committee was sent to run the game there.37
In some smaller, poorer countries, FAP funds can be a significant tool in both helping
compensate for the lack of government investment in grassroots sport and also for generating
much-needed employment opportunities, which then empower both the association and the
president – but not always for the good of the game. Local calls for accountability following
alleged misuses of funds or poor governance are hard to sustain without government backing,
as FIFA prohibits such government involvement, but the example of Belize shows this can be
achieved. In April 2011, the central American country’s sports minister, John Salvidar, asked
Bertie Chimilio, the president of the Football Federation of Belize (FFB), to answer questions
about ‘numerous irregularities, misconduct and improprieties’, and the country’s clubs
threatened to form their own association if no answers were forthcoming.38 The result of this
standoff was that the FFB agreed to rewrite its statutes and hold open elections, which
resulted in Chimilio departing office in 2013.39 The FFB was left broke and no action was
taken against Chimilio, but a positive change that improved governance was achieved not
because of but in spite of FIFA.40
Conclusions
FIFA has frequently been found wanting when trying to police governance at smaller
associations.
FIFA insists that ‘members which do not participate in at least two of all FIFA competitions over a period of four consecutive years shall be suspended from voting at the
Congress until they have fulfilled their obligations in this respect’,41 but there is no financial
penalty for inaction or lack of development. The only conditions for stopping development
money are if ‘funds may not have been used in accordance with the approved application
in every respect’.42
Much of Blatter’s support has traditionally come from associations that are grateful for
this financial support from FIFA, however, and often they are equally indebted to the international media for its lack of interest in their governance. A solution has been offered by FIFA
presidential candidate Jérôme Champagne, whose manifesto included proposals for a
Division of National Associations to monitor all member associations daily and to provide
support and improve governance.43
Even if Champagne’s admirable initiative is not enacted, another, simpler, solution could
be found. The FAP began in 1999, and FIFA distributes US$250,000 a year to all member
associations, sometimes more in World Cup years.44 In return, FIFA should demand that
all 209 members be paid only when detailed annual financial accounts and the results
of executive votes and personnel changes are made available to the public via its website.
While FIFA does publish financial accounts, the results of votes and personnel changes
could be expanded upon as an example for the world body’s members. This would
provide valuable information that could be used by clubs, politicians and the media – or
a coalition of all three – to monitor governance and would, surely, be for the good of the
game everywhere.
Governance in football’s outskirts
Box 1.2 FIFA and the non-interference rule
Mark Baber45
The Statutes of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) state that all member
associations have an obligation to ‘manage their affairs independently and ensure that their
own affairs are not influenced by any third parties’.46 FIFA’s director of member associations and
development, Thierry Regenass, has described political interference in the following terms: ‘FIFA has
the mandate to control association football worldwide, in all its aspects. This mandate is delegated
to the national association, to control association football at the national level . . . The associations
have the obligation to do it on their own, in an autonomous way without outside interference, from
the government or any other parties. In general, political interference is when a government tries to
take direct control.’47
In practice, however, recent cases have demonstrated a different dynamic. Although protecting
football officials from unreasonable government behaviour is uncontroversial, FIFA’s so-called ‘noninterference rule’ appears to be being used as a pretext to defend national federations from legitimate
demands for transparency in the spending of public resources (government money is often essential
to the running of football) and from the desire of individuals to see fairness in elections and an end
to corruption in the running of football administration. Political figures aiming to hold national football
federations or their officials accountable often feel that they have their hands tied; no one wants to
risk FIFA’s suspension of the national football federation, and therefore risk significant support from
their football-loving constituencies. This threat often keeps governments from responding to the
most blatant examples of corruption in national football administration.
In Nigeria, FIFA has aggressively invoked the non-interference rule and the threat of suspension,
intervening a number of times in an ongoing factional crisis within the national association, the
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).48 FIFA’s interventions are presumed to have been in order to
protect one group within the NFF from government interference as well as from attempts by rival
factions and individuals to enforce their own civil rights through local civil courts. Most recently, in
October 2014, the Nigerian Federal Court annulled the results of a disputed NFF election that had
been carried out in defiance of a court order.49 Soon afterwards, FIFA secretary general Jérôme
Valcke wrote to one of the two men claiming to be the head of the NFF, insisting that the Federation
would be suspended if the case were not withdrawn from the civil courts.50
Although in Nigeria FIFA’s actions have, ostensibly, been to prevent football matters being dragged
through the courts, in Kenya the organisation has stood aside while the Football Kenya Federation
(FKF) instituted civil court proceedings, in early 2015, in an attempt to have the leadership of the
widely praised Kenyan Premier League, who were seen as an obstacle to the Federation’s commercial
ambitions (and, it has been alleged, to the ambitions of the president of the FKF to favour a club from
his home area), imprisoned for contempt of court as part of a court action brought by the Federation
to close down the country’s top league.51
Questions need to be asked as to why the non-interference rule has not been effectively and
consistently applied to prevent political interference from all countries, including some of the
more powerful ones (such as the alleged role of the French and German governments in influencing
69
70
Governance of sport
World Cup bids).52 Questions also need to be asked about why the rule has not been used to prevent
the involvement of football in government campaigns. For example, FIFA remained silent when the
government of Bahrain, including Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, then candidate for the AFC
presidency and FIFA Executive Committee, cracked down on peaceful demonstrators, including
football administrators and referees.53 In a meeting of the Bahrain Football Association (BFA), Sheikh
Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa insisted the BFA remove individuals proven to have participated in
the peaceful protests.54 The rule also continues to be used as a tool of legitimacy for authoritarian
regimes in which there is no separation between political power and football administration, such
as Qatar.55
Notes
1 Steve Menary is a freelance journalist who contributes to World Soccer magazine and the
World Football show on BBC World Service on football in smaller members of FIFA. He is
also an author and visiting lecturer at the University of Winchester and Southampton Solent
University.
2 This was the result of a grassroots development programme started in 2010 by the same
coach, Eddy Etaeta. Before winning the OFC Nations Cup, Tahiti had reached the finals of
the 2009 U20 World Cup and the final of the 2011 OFC U17 Championship. World Soccer
(UK), ‘Brazil awaits’, November 2012.
3 After Tahiti’s showing in the Confederations Cup, BBC football commentator Robbie Savage
said that ‘poor’ teams like Tahiti ‘devalue tournaments’. In 2010 Tahitian FIFA Executive
Committee member Raymond Temarii was suspended for his involvement in the votes-forsale scandal: Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Statement of the Chairman
of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee’, 13 November 2014, www.fifa.
com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/47/41/75/statementchairman
adjcheckert_neutral.pdf.
4 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Associations’, www.fifa.com/
associations/index.html.
5 See Roger Pielke Jr, Chapter 1.4 ‘Obstacles to accountability in international sports
governance’, in this report.
6 When Saturday Comes (UK), ‘Carrot on a stick’, February 2010.
7 For further reading on the arguments for and against the autonomy of national football
associations, see Jean-Loup Chappelet, Chapter 1.3, ‘Autonomy and governance:
necessary bedfellows in the fight against corruption in sport’, in this report.
8 World Soccer (UK), ‘FIFA steps in at troubled federation’, November 2014.
9 Ibid.
10Ibid.
11 A copy of Chung’s letter is in the author’s possession.
12 Letter from Le COLLECTIF pour la Défense des Intérêts et du Développement Technique du
Football, 15 April 2013, in the author’s possession.
13 Letter from Le COLLECTIF pour la Défense des Intérêts et du Développement Technique du
Football, 12 June 2014, to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in the author’s possession. In this
letter, the Collective claim to ‘not go a week without aggression’.
14 The average Union of European Football Associations salary is £97,000 (US$147,000):
Guardian (UK), ‘Said and done’, 11 April 2015, www.theguardian.com/football/2015/apr/11/
said-and-done-sepp-blatter-issa-hayatou.
15 Ibid.; Sporting Intelligence (US), ‘FIFA paid $88.6m in salaries in 2014: we can
guesstimate Blatter’s take at $6m+’, 20 March 2015, www.sportingintelligence.
Governance in football’s outskirts
71
com/2015/03/20/fifa-paid-88-6m-in-salaries-in-2014-we-can-guesstimate-blatterstake-at-11m-200301.
16 Details of the travel reservation are available to the author.
17 In September 2011 Klass was banned by FIFA from all football activity for 26 months:
Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Ethics Committee bans Guyana FA
president Colin Klass for 26 months’, 23 September 2011, www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/
organisation/news/newsid=1515457.
18 News Source (Guyana), ‘Klass resurfaces after FIFA ban’, 1 January 2014, http://news
sourcegy.com/sports/klass-resurfaces-after-fifa-ban/.
19 World Soccer (UK), ‘In Guyana, overseas players are not wanted’, October 2014.
20 Guyana Chronicle (Guyana), ‘FIFA names GFF normalisation committee’, 28 October 2014.
21 The GOAL project is an initiative by FIFA to assist countries around the world to construct
their own football facilities for the development and continued progress of football activities.
In Antigua, FIFA granted applications for three GOAL projects on the same site for a total of
US$1.3 million, but only a minor amount of work has been undertaken to build walls around
the site. An estimated US$1 million remains missing/unspent. Play the Game (Denmark),
‘Something rotten in the football state of Antigua’, 9 November 2005, www.playthegame.
org/news/news-articles/2005/something-rotten-in-the-football-state-of-Antigua. See also
Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Antigua and Barbuda GOAL programme’,
www.fifa.com/development/facts-and-figures/association=atg/index.html; and Play the
Game (Denmark), ‘Antigua’s field of gold’, in Play the Game Magazine 2006, p. 2, www.
playthegame.org/upload/magazine%202005/realtransparency.pdf.
22 Play the Game (2006).
23 World Soccer (UK), ‘Where did the money go?’, April 2014.
24 Reuters (UK), ‘Soccer: FIFA bans six more Caribbean officials’, 18 November 2011,
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/11/18/soccer-fifa-bans-idUKL3E7MI2K120111118.
25 Letter from Roaring Lions, Strikers and KICKS United to the author, 15 March 2012.
26 World Soccer (UK), ‘Caribbean Union hit by fresh controversy’, May 2012.
27Ibid.
28 The Blizzard (UK) ‘What’s a vote worth? How FIFA’s attempt to devolve power could be a
bribers’ charter’, December 2011.
29 World Soccer (May 2012), with details on Anguilla’s FIFA grants available here: www.fifa.
com/development/facts-and-figures/association=aia/index.html.
30 The Bahamas and Tonga did not play a senior international between the 2014 and 2018
World Cup qualifiers, while Papua New Guinea dropped off the FIFA rankings altogether
after not playing a match between July 2007 and August 2011.
31Ibid.
32 The Blizzard (December 2011).
33Ibid.
34Ibid.
35Ibid.
36 Author interview with Sara Barema, 13 May 2013.
37 When Saturday Comes (February 2010).
38 Irish Times, ‘Northern Ireland is the most successful country ever in World Cup finals’, 12
June 2014, www.irishtimes.com/sport/soccer/northern-ireland-is-the-mostsuccessful-country-ever-in-world-cup-finals-1.1828661.
39Ibid..
40 News 5 (Belize), ‘No witch hunt for former F.F.B. President, Dr. Bertie Chimilio’, 27 March
2012, http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/68549.
41 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA Statutes: Regulations Governing the
Application of the Statutes – Standing Orders of the Congress (Zurich: FIFA, 2008), article
14.4, p. 12.
42 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, General Regulations for FIFA Development
Programmes (Zurich: FIFA, 2013), www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/
72
Governance of sport
generic/02/22/32/94/12_11_2013_generalregulationsforfifadevelopmentprogrammes_
neutral.pdf.
43 Jérôme Champagne, ‘My agenda for the twenty first century FIFA’, letter no. 6, annex 1,
20 October 2014, www.jeromechampagne2015.com/documents/document_fusionne_en.pdf.
44 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Regulations: FIFA Financial Assistance
Programme (FAP) (Zurich: FIFA, 2013), www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/
fap/50/16/69/12_11_2013_fapregulations_neutral.pdf, and FIFA Circular no. 1463, http://
resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/02/49/61/02/circularno.1463fifafinancialassistanceprogramme2015%28fap%29andbonusrelatingtothe2011-2014financial
resultsregulationsandadministrativeguidelinesfor2015_neutral.pdf.
45 Mark Baber is a Director of 11v11 and a contributor to Inside World Football.
46 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA Statutes (Zurich: FIFA, 2015), p. 13,
article 13(1)(i), www.fifa.com/mm/Document/AFFederation/Generic/02/58/14/48/2015FIFAS
tatutesEN_Neutral.pdf.
47 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Regenass: we have strong principles’,
19 October 2011, www.fifa.com/about-fifa/news/y=2011/m=10/news=regenass-havestrong-principles-1528544.html.
48 Inside World Football, ‘FIFA orders Nigeria to withdraw court case or face seven-month
ban’, 29 October 2014, www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/africa/15742fifa-orders-nigeria-to-withdraw-court-case-or-face-seven-month-ban.
49Ibid.
50Ibid.
51 Inside World Football, ‘FIFA “monitoring situation” as court decides fate of Kenyan football’,
6 March 2015, www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/africa/16561-fifa-monitoringsituation-as-court-decides-fate-of-kenyan-football.
52 Reuters (UK), ‘French, German presidents tried to influence World Cup votes: Blatter in
paper’, 5 July 2015, www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/05/us-soccer-fifa-blatteridUSKCN0PF0JF20150705.
53 Football Rights, ‘Bahrain human rights group asks FIFA to withdraw Salman from AFC
elections’, 26 April 2013, http://footballrights.org/2013/04/26/bahrain-human-rightsgroup-asks-fifa-to-withdraw-salman-from-afc-elections.
54Ibid.
55 Soccer Politics (US), ‘Qatari foundations’, 26 August 2013, https://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/
2013/08/26/qatari-foundations.
1.11
Image-laundering by
countries through sports
Naomi Westland1
Fifty years ago this summer, from the sidelines at Wembley, the so-called ‘Russian linesman’
flagged for England’s controversial third World Cup final goal against West Germany, helping to
drive Bobby Moore’s team to a 4–2 victory and, to date, England’s only World Cup win.2
The linesman’s name was Tofiq Bahramov, and he wasn’t actually from Russia but Azerbaijan,
and – until recently – that country’s only real sporting claim to fame.3 That all changed in the
summer of 2015, however, when Baku hosted the first ever European Games, an event devised
by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) as a continent-wide sporting extravaganza to rival
the Asian and Pan-American Games, with some 6,000 athletes from 50 countries taking part
in 20 sports.
Those already having heard of the event are unlikely to have done so for the sport. It’s far more
likely to have been for things that Azerbaijan’s government would have much preferred the public
did not know, such as the systematic dismantling of civil society in the run-up to the Games,
which saw journalists, lawyers, opposition politicians and youth activists intimidated, harassed,
arrested and locked up on trumped-up charges.4 There are at least 20 people designated as
prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International in Azerbaijan, jailed simply for criticising or
challenging the government, and there could be up to 100 political prisoners.5
Azerbaijan, as described below, is one of various examples of image-laundering by
countries or heads of state through sports, in order to attract positive attention both from
the global community and at home, and often to divert concerns over serious allegations
of corruption and human rights. Such strategies are made worse when leaders or administrations, for private or undue interests, garner this attention through sport by the use of massive
amounts of public funds that could otherwise be used for far better purposes in the interest
of their citizens.
Image-laundering and human rights concerns in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan wanted to use the European Games, and the international media attention it hoped
they would bring, to convince the world that it is a modern, dynamic, progressive country. This
image-laundering exercise turned into a disaster, however, when the world cottoned on to the
human rights abuses going on behind the glitz and glamour of the event. The government then
did itself no favours by banning Amnesty International from entering the country to launch a new
report on the crackdown the day before the opening ceremony.6 Then, as if it did not realise that
74
Governance of sport
this had attracted enough of the wrong kind of attention, it blocked journalists from The Guardian,
Radio France International and Germany’s ARD channel from covering the event.7
The European Games are not the only sporting pie into which Azerbaijan has stuck its
fingers. Baku will host Formula 1 in 2016, as well as three group stage games and one
quarter-final in the European Football Championships in 2020.8 The country has bid twice for
the Olympics.9
To avoid a repeat of the PR catastrophe of the European Games when these other events
come to town, the Azerbaijani government will need to make some urgent improvements to the
country’s human rights record. It could start by freeing all those who have been wrongly jailed,
such as Intigam Aliyev, a prominent human rights lawyer who was sentenced to a seven-anda-half-year jail term in April 2015 on trumped-up charges of tax evasion, illegal business
dealings and abuse of power, after he had successfully taken a number of cases against the
Azerbaijani government to the European Court of Human Rights.10
Another example is Rasul Jafarov, the head of a non-governmental organisation (NGO)
called the Human Rights Club, sentenced to six and a half years on similar charges, also in
April 2015. He had organised the Sing for Democracy campaign when the Eurovision Song
Contest was held in Baku in 2012, and had been planning to launch a Sport for Rights
campaign around the European Games.11
Then there is Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, who had been investigating claims of corruption at the highest levels of government
when she was arrested in December 2014.12 She was accused of ‘inciting a colleague to
suicide’ and other false charges.13 The colleague later said that he had been forced to file the
complaint and that his suicide attempt was nothing to do with her.14 Ismayilova has been
harassed by the authorities over many years, and if she is found guilty of the charges currently
against her she could be sentenced to 12 years in prison.15
Olympic Games are supposed to embrace the concepts of peace, respect and mutual
understanding.16 It is hard to see how these ideals could ever have been honoured in a country
with an already repressive regime that escalated its human rights crackdown in the run-up to an
Olympic event. Despite this, few in the Olympic Movement spoke out. Amnesty International
heard nothing from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), nothing from the EOC and nothing
from the vast majority of national Olympic committees that had sent teams to compete. Only the
German and Swedish Olympic Committees raised their concerns publicly.17
Image-laundering is not limited to mega-events, but applies more broadly in sports as well, as
reflected on the shirts of Atlético Madrid players, which for the last three seasons had ‘Azerbaijan,
Land of Fire’, emblazoned across the front (the slogan changed to ‘Baku 2015’ as the Games
approached), and on the club’s website, which features promotional materials on tourism and
business opportunities in the country.18
Azerbaijan, however, is not the only country with a poor human rights record guilty of using
sport – and in particular mega-events – for political gain. A pattern is starting to emerge of
these being awarded to countries with money to burn and images to burnish, either as a way
of attracting outside investment or consolidating power at home.
Further concerns of image-laundering and human rights:
Brazil, Russia and Qatar
In the run-up to the 2014 men’s football World Cup in Brazil, a powerful campaign got under
way, highlighting the lack of government investment in public transport, schools and hospitals
against the spending on the World Cup. The police response to the street protests was
brutal, however. Policemen fired rubber bullets and tear gas and beat protesters with handheld batons.19 There have also been forced evictions of whole communities to make way for
Image-laundering and undue influence
75
infrastructure for the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.20 This
means that thousands have been turfed out of their homes, often violently, and not offered
adequate alternative accommodation.21 If they are offered anything at all, it tends to be miles
away from their schools, work, family and friends.22
Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 exposed Russia’s appalling record on
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, environmental protection and freedom
of expression. These issues will again come to the fore, no doubt, when the country hosts the
2018 World Cup. In 2015, in a move that Amnesty International described as the latest in
an unprecedented crackdown on NGOs, the Russian government introduced a new law
banning foreign organisations deemed to be undermining ‘state security’, ‘national defence’
or ‘constitutional order’.23 It will also punish Russian activists and civil society groups for
maintaining ties with ‘undesirable’ organisations.24
In the Middle East, Qatar is building for the 2022 World Cup. Those doing the actual
building – migrant workers, mostly from India and Nepal – are being subjected to horrendous
working conditions, however, including having their wages withheld and being prevented
from leaving the country without permission from their employer.25 A recent Amnesty
International analysis of progress made on improving migrant workers’ rights since the
Qatari government promised a number of reforms in 2014 showed not only that the
government’s pledges had offered too little in the first place, but that it had delivered even
less.26 To complete the picture there is the choice the IOC faces in July 2015, when it
announces the winning bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. At the time of writing, Lviv in
Ukraine, Krakow in Poland and Stockholm in Sweden had dropped out of the race, leaving
only Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China, in the running, both of which have unenviable
human rights records.27
The need for reform: actions from international sports
governing bodies
For too long, sports governing bodies have buried their heads in the sand regarding their
responsibility to ensure that their events do not lead to, or exacerbate, human rights abuses.
Improvements to bidding criteria are key to turning around this sorry state of affairs, but they
must be more than a tick-box exercise. This means that human rights need to be central to
the whole process of hosting an event, from initial bids to delivery to evaluation and legacy,
and awarding bodies need to make a solid assessment of whether a country or city can and
will comply with any promises made on paper.
In December 2014 the IOC approved Agenda 2020, which provides new standards for
Olympic events, including clauses on labour rights and respect for LGBT rights, as well as a
requirement for host cities to use existing sports infrastructure in order to keep costs down.28
If they are implemented effectively, these reforms could go some way to prevent governments
from using sports mega-events as a vehicle for laundering their images for undue interests.
The almost complete silence of the Olympic movement over the European Games perhaps
indicates that the spirit of Agenda 2020 is far from being wholly embraced, however. The key
test of the IOC’s commitment to change will be the 2024 Summer Olympics, from when
Agenda 2020 applies, with applications to bid having closed in September 2015.
FIFA, for its part, has promised revised bidding criteria for the hosting of World Cups, but
has yet to provide detail on what they will contain. What is clear, though, is that human rights
need to be at the heart of all stages of the hosting process, and, when abuses happen, those
responsible for upholding these values and ensuring that promises are kept must hold host
governments to account. If they don’t, major sports events will continue to leave large-scale
despair in their wake.
76
Governance of sport
Box 1.3 France, Qatar and the purchase of Paris Saint-Germain
Kelly McCarthy 29
Image-laundering is a clear example of the undue influence of politics in sport. The circumstances
that saw the overlap of the Qatari purchase of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football club and the French
support for the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid raise similar concerns for undue political influence in sport.
In November 2010, one month before the Executive Committee of the Fédération Internationale
de Football Association (FIFA) voted on the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, then
president of France and PSG supporter Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly hosted a lunch in the Élysée
Palace attended by Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the crown prince of Qatar, Sebastien Bazin, the
European representative of PSG’s then 95 per cent majority owners Colony Capital30 and the president
of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Michel Platini, who was also one of 22 FIFA
Executive Committee members empowered with a vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.31
Sarkozy is reported to have encouraged the purchase of the club by Qatar Sports Investments
(QSI), a state-owned entity of the Qatari government, which was then in the process of bidding to host
the 2022 event.32 Also reportedly part of the three-pronged deal, in addition to the PSG purchase and
the World Cup vote, was the opportunity for the Qatari state-owned Al Jazeera network to buy a stake
in the broadcast rights of France’s Ligue 1.33 Platini was allegedly encouraged by the president to
vote for the Qatari bid.34 Indeed, referring to the then French and German presidents, FIFA president
Sepp Blatter stated in July 2015 that ‘Messrs Sarkozy and Wulff tried to influence their vote-makers
. . . That is the reason why we now have a World Cup in Qatar.’35
Platini did ultimately cast his vote for the successful Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.36 Six months later,
in May 2011, QSI purchased 70 per cent of PSG.37 The details of the sale were not made public,
but the amount is understood to have been between €30 million (US$43 million) and €40 million
(US$58 million).38 Three weeks after QSI’s purchase of the club, Al Jazeera bought the rights to
broadcast France Ligue 1, Ligue 2, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophée des Champions matches
internationally, for €192 million (US$274 million) a year from 2012 to 2016, thus gaining an
interest in promoting French football as widely as possible.39 Al Jazeera also purchased the rights
to broadcast a portion of Ligue 1 matches within France, for €90 million (US$129 million) a year,
also from 2012 to 2016, which came at a time when it was thought that Ligue 1 TV revenues were
on the verge of declining.40 The chairman of QSI is also the president of PSG as well as the general
manager of Al Jazeera Sport.41 Platini has maintained that his vote for the Qatari World Cup bid was
not linked to any political pressure.42 Soon afterwards, in early 2012, Platini’s son became the chief
executive at Burrda, a QSI subsidiary,43 and in January 2015 he became a legal adviser for QSI’s
European operations.44
QSI ultimately purchased the remaining 30 per cent of PSG in March 2012, for an amount
understood to have been about €30 million (US$43 million).45 QSI has spent £300 million (US$470
million) on player transfers since its 2011 purchase of the club, thus helping propel the team to the
top of the Ligue 1 standings.46 Since the takeover, PSG has gone from a fourth place finish in Ligue
1 in the 2010–2011 season to winning its third consecutive league title in May 2015.
Image-laundering and undue influence
77
Notes
1 Naomi Westland is media manager at Amnesty International UK, covering issues of sport
and human rights, Europe, Latin America, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues and
refugees.
2 Amnesty International (UK), ‘Azerbaijan, “the Russian linesman” and other dodgy sporting
decisions’, 20 March 2015, www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/global-voices/azerbaijan-russianlinesman-european-games-baku-sports-human-rights.
3 Ibid.
4 Amnesty International (UK), ‘Azerbaijan: European Games legacy tainted by repressive
crackdown’, press release, 26 June 2015, www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2015/06/
azerbaijan-european-games-legacy-tainted-by-repressive-crackdown-1.
5 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Czech Republic), ‘US official, BBG slam raid on RFE/RL’s
Baku bureau’, 27 December 2014, www.rferl.org/content/azerbaijan-rferl-baku-bureau-raided/
26763449.html.
6 Daily Express (UK), ‘Human rights activists banned from European Games in Azerbaijan’,
10 June 2015, www.express.co.uk/news/world/583533/Amnesty-Platform-bannedEuropean-Games-in-Azerbaijan.
7 Amnesty International (26 June 2015).
8 Union of European Football Associations, ‘UEFA EURO 2020 hosts: London to hold final’,
19 September 2014, www.uefa.com/uefaeuro-2020/news/newsid=1844904.html.
9 USA Today, ‘Azerbaijan says 2024 Olympic bid possible’, 23 June 2015, www.usatoday.
com/story/sports/olympics/2015/06/23/azerbaijan-says-2024-olympic-bid-possible/
29160343.
10 Amnesty International (UK), ‘European Games: Amnesty urges Lord Coe to speak out
against human rights abuses in Azerbaijan ahead of opening ceremony’, press release,
2 June 2015, www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/european-games-amnesty-urges-lordcoe-speak-out-against-human-rights-abuses.
11 Independent (UK), ‘Singing in Azerbaijan: but not for democracy’, 12 May 2012,
www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/singing-in-azerbaijan--but-not-for-democracy7737804.html; Amnesty International (2 June 2015).
12 Amnesty International (2 June 2015).
13 PEN (US), ‘Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan’, www.pen.org/defending-writers/khadija-ismayilova.
14 Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, ‘About Khadija Ismayilova’, www.occrp.
org/freekhadijaismayilova/khadija-ismayilova.php.
15Ibid.
16 International Olympic Committee, Olympic Charter: In Force as from 8 December 2014
(Lausanne: IOC, 2014), www.olympic.org/Documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf.
17 Amnesty International (26 June 2015).
18 Atlético de Madrid, ‘Azerbaijan: land of fire’, http://en.clubatleticodemadrid.com/atm/
azerbaijan-3.
19 BBC (UK), ‘Brazil World Cup: clashes at Sao Paulo and Rio protests’, 13 June 2014,
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-27811657.
20 International Business Times (US), ‘Forced evictions in Brazil shadow Olympic, World Cup
preparations’, 14 August 2012, www.ibtimes.com/forced-evictions-brazil-shadow-olympicworld-cup-preparations-746530.
21 National Public Radio (US), ‘As Brazil gears up for Olympics, some poor families get moved
out’, 27 February 2014, www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2014/02/27/276514012/as-brazilgears-up-for-olympics-some-poor-families-get-moved-out; Guardian (UK), ‘Forced evictions
in Rio favela for 2016 Olympics trigger violent clashes’, 3 June 2015, www.theguardian.
com/world/2015/jun/03/forced-evictions-vila-autodromo-rio-olympics-protests.
22 National Public Radio (27 February 2014); Guardian (3 June 2015).
23 Independent (UK), ‘Putin signs new law to ban “undesirable” organisations from Russia’, 24
May 2015, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/putin-signs-new-law-to-ban-
78
Governance of sport
undesirable-organisations-from-russia-10273199.html; Amnesty International (UK), ‘Russia:
law on “undesirable organizations” will further tighten the noose on dissent’, 20 January
2015, www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/01/russia-law-undesirable-organizationswill-further-tighten-noose-dissent.
24 Independent (24 May 2015); Amnesty International (20 January 2015).
25 Amnesty International (UK), ‘Qatar: the grim reality behind the World Cup 2022’, 10 November
2014, www.amnesty.org.uk/qatar-grim-reality-behind-world-cup-2022#.VXm7cEv5LjQ.
26 Amnesty International (UK), ‘Mounting risk of World Cup built on abuse as Qatar fails to
deliver on reforms’, 21 May 2015, www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/05/mountingrisk-of-world-cup-built-on-abuse-as-qatar-fails-to-deliver-reforms.
27 Fox News (US), ‘China, Kazakhstan roll out bids for 2022 Winter Olympics’, 8 June 2015,
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/sports/2015/06/08/china-kazakhstan-roll-out-bids-for2022-winter-olympics; Amnesty International (UK), ‘China: Amnesty International Report
2014/15’, www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/china; Amnesty International
(UK), ‘Kazakhstan: Amnesty International Report 2014/15’, www.amnesty.org/en/countries/
europe-and-central-asia/kazakhstan.
28 International Olympic Committee, Olympic Agenda 2020: 20+20 Recommendations
(Lausanne: IOC, 2014), www.olympic.org/Documents/Olympic_Agenda_2020/Olympic_
Agenda_2020-20-20_Recommendations-ENG.pdf.
29 Kelly McCarthy is associate editor of the Global Corruption Report: Sport.
30 Unprofessional Foul, ‘PSG is for sale. Sort of’, 29 December 2010, http://unprofessionalfoul.
com/2010/12/29/psg-is-for-sale-sort-of.
31 Guardian (UK), ‘Qatar cash is stirring French football revolution at Paris St-Germain’,
22 November 2011, www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2011/nov/22/qatar-psg-frenchfootball-al-jazeera; Goal, ‘UEFA inquiry into sponsorship deals highlights problematic fight
against corruption’, 6 February 2013, www.goal.com/en-sg/news/3883/features/2013/02/
06/3730377/uefa-inquiry-into-sponsorship-deals-highlights-problematic-fight.
32 Daily Mirror (UK), ‘Qatar hero? Why Michel Platini might not be the man to save FIFA’, 29
May 2015, www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/qatar-hero-michel-platini-might-5783843.
33 Goal (6 February 2013).
34 Guardian (22 November 2011).
35 Reuters (UK), ‘French, German presidents tried to influence World Cup votes: Blatter in
paper’, 5 July 2015, www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/05/us-soccer-fifa-blatteridUSKCN0PF0JF20150705.
36 Daily Mirror (29 May 2015).
37Ibid.
38 SportsPro, ‘QSI completes PSG buyout’, 7 March 2012, www.sportspromedia.com/news/
qsi_completes_psg_buyout.
39 SportsPro, ‘Al Jazeera Sports wins Ligue 1 distribution rights’, 31 May 2011, www.
sportspromedia.com/news/al_jazeera_sports_wins_ligue_1_international_distribution_rights.
40 ESPN (US), ‘Al Jazeera make move into Ligue 1’, 23 June 2011, www.espnfc.com/story/
930049/al-jazeera-make-tv-move-into-french-football.
41Ibid.
42 Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Qatar World Cup 2022: France embroiled in corruption scandal’,
2 June 2014, www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/10871065/Qatar-World-Cup2022-France-embroiled-in-corruption-scandal.html.
43 Guardian (UK), ‘Michel Platini: “All the decisions I make are for the good of football”’,
24 May 2013, www.theguardian.com/football/2013/may/24/michel-platini-uefa-football.
44 Daily Telegraph (2 June 2014).
45 SportsPro (7 March 2012).
46 Sport 360° (UAE), ‘Inside story: PSG have transformed under QSI’s huge investment’,
25 May 2015, http://sport360.com/article/european/37199/inside-story-psg-havetransformed-under-qsi%E2%80%99s-huge-investment.
1.12
Opening the door to
corruption in Hungary’s
sport financing
Miklós Ligeti and Gyula Mucsi1
As a member of the European Union, Hungary has a democratic system with institutions that
were originally established to respect the separation of powers and legal checks and balances.
Even though institutionalised corruption and moderate respect for the rights of the political
opposition have made democracy vulnerable, a political consensus existed that legislative,
executive and judicial powers need to be separated and that the government needs to be
controlled by independent institutions.
The government of the Fidesz party,2 based on an overwhelming majority in parliament
resulting from successive landslide victories in national elections, has broken this consensus
and ‘re-engineered’ the public arena to its own liking. Essentially, Fidesz has constructed a
de facto ‘upper house’ of government by appointing to public institutions its own loyalists,
with often questionable professional careers but with a clear political bias. The government’s
determination to follow this path has in some cases run contrary to European standards.3
A number of examples indicate the government’s intention to grant privileges to certain
economic actors by legal means, such as the nationalisation and subsequent redistribution
of tobacco kiosk concessions, or the same process in the financial sector, with savings
cooperatives first being nationalised by law and then reprivatised to an entrepreneur close to
the government. In these cases the regulations were tailor-made, hurting market incumbents
and favouring new players with close links to the government.4
By 2014, when the last session of the previous parliament ended, the edifice of democratic
checks and balances in Hungary had been disrupted, its institutional capacity to build equilibrium in public life weakened. In the view of Transparency International Hungary (TI-H), the
steps taken by the government have increased corruption risks and have steered the country
in the direction of a managed democracy with an Eastern type of state capitalism, and the
imminent danger that political influence over independent institutions, the media, business
and civil society may be exercised.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have been critical of the government in the
past have come under increased scrutiny from the Government Control Office, primarily
Ökotárs, a foundation responsible for coordinating the distribution of European Economic
Area (EEA) Grants and Norway Grants.5 The nature and legitimacy of these audits have been
80
Governance of sport
contested both by members of Hungarian civil society and by their Norwegian partners.6 TI-H
maintains that the government’s audit stands on shaky legal ground.7
The government’s overwhelming power coupled with an unprecedentedly high level of
centralisation has resulted in a situation of ‘state capture’, whereby powerful oligarchs either
outwit the government or are in symbiosis with influential public decision-makers, allowing
them to extract public money from the system through intentionally designed and professionally managed channels. This has been followed by the rise of rent-seeking tendencies and
cronyism, which distort the functioning of the market economy.
Specific forms of corrupt practices in sports
Hungary’s government is proud of the country’s outstanding sports traditions. The drive
to make Hungarian sports teams, especially football clubs, excel at the European and
international levels is widely regarded as sufficiently legitimate grounds for pouring immense
sums of public money into the development of sports infrastructure and manufacturing a
system of opaque company donations for the promotion of sports clubs and young athletes.
TI-H’s judgement is that there are two specific forms of investment into sport that
unaccountably absorb taxpayers’ money and open the door to corruption in sport financing.
One of these is the financial support going to sports clubs through company donations; the
other is the public construction of sports facilities, primarily soccer stadiums. Both types fit
into the country’s current situation of widespread state capture.
Company donations to sports clubs and federations
To attract financial supporters in order to boost Hungarian sporting life, the government
introduced a new tax benefit scheme in 2011. Based on the idea that 75 per cent of Hungary’s
active sports community comes from five branches of sport – football, basketball, handball,
ice hockey and water polo, referred to in the law as ‘spectator team sports’ – the government
devised a new system to significantly increase the amount of donations to sport clubs and
federations of these five branches. Since 2011, HUF 204 billion (€656 million) have been
donated this way.
Under the tax benefit scheme, all corporations subject to corporate income tax in Hungary
may give a donation – of up to 80 per cent of their corporate tax – to one of these five
branches of sport to gain two types of tax benefits. Companies may reduce their pre-tax
profit by the amount of their donations. Moreover, they may also deduct donations from their
corporate income tax calculations; donations thus increase companies’ overall profit.8 This
does not entitle donor companies to expect a quid pro quo from the supported sports clubs,
however, making this donation different from regular sport sponsorship.
This new system of donations has serious transparency implications and raises genuine
corruption risks.
• Lack of transparency of the donations. Tax-deductible company donations are treated
as pure corporate donations, whereas in reality they are more like a form of government
subsidy offered by repurposing corporate tax. The opinion that these subsidies are not
private donations is supported by the European Commission, which assessed the taxbenefit scheme. According to the Commission “state resources are clearly involved in the
scheme since the Hungarian central budget suffers a loss of fiscal revenue as a result of
the scheme.” Unfortunately since the Hungarian Government views the subventions as
private donations, the granting process lacks the transparency necessary to ensure the
elimination of corruption risks.9
Corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
81
As these company donations do not qualify as public money, they are exempt from
requests for public interest information. A recent change in legislation,10 adopted at
breakneck speed during the 2014 Christmas period, lifted this interpretation to the
regulatory level, with a realistic prospect of further curtailing the accessibility of
information relating to the use of public funds, thus decreasing the transparency
of the donation processes. In practice, this means that the recipients of tax-deductible
company donations – that is, sports clubs and sports federations – are considered
civil society groups in the eyes of the law and are not to be troubled with freedom of
information tools. This means that the identity of the donors can remain a secret, thus
concealing collusion and all kinds of corrupt practices.
Biased
selection of eligible sports clubs. Suspicions of corruption in the selection of
•
sports clubs eligible for donations are twofold. On the one hand, when the government
and parliament defined the five ‘spectator team sports’, they virtually excluded other
branches of sports from tax-deductible donations. Even though 75 per cent of Hungary’s
active sports community participates in spectator team11 sports, it could be that the
government’s financial considerations, unknown to the public, lie behind this decision.
This claim is further supported by the marked increase in the erection and reconstruction
of stadiums in recent years.
On the other hand, the sports clubs of the five selected spectator team sports have to
apply for authorisation from their respective sports federations in order to be eligible for
tax-deductible company donations. Sports clubs’ applications can be refused if the
applicant’s programme to be approved is not in line with the long-term strategic goals of
the federation,12 which gives considerable leeway to federations, and raises concerns as
to whether inappropriate considerations might be being taken into account. The
impartiality of the selection process may be in jeopardy if the decision to approve or
dismiss a programme can be based on subjective reasons. There is a clear risk of
corruption when sports federations decide which applicants are eligible for donations if
this very evaluation process lacks any publicly available regulation and transparency.
There is some hope for a measure of transparency, since the Hungarian authorities
agreed to submit yearly reports to the European Commission on the activities and
outcomes under the tax refund scheme.13 This, however, does not provide the necessary
oversight.
Favouritism
in the appointment of sports federation leaders. Sports federations in the
•
spectator team sports have a crucial role in the distribution of company donations,
which may correlate to their leadership’s political ties. The Hungarian Football Federation
(Magyar Labdarúgó Szövetség: MLSZ), the largest recipient of company donations,
is chaired by Sándor Csányi, the CEO of OTP-Bank, the country’s biggest commercial
bank and one of Hungary’s richest people; he is also a well-known ally of the prime
minister, Viktor Orbán. The Hungarian Basketball Federation is headed by Ferenc
Szalay, the Fidesz mayor of Szolnok, a medium-sized Hungarian city. Miklós Német,
who until recently presided over the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation, is also the CEO of
Közgép, a construction company that has received a very high level of public contracts
and that belongs to the interest group of Lajos Simicska, who was perhaps the most
influential friend of Orbán.14
• Disproportionate distribution of donations. Orbán is an ardent football fan, and in his
personal dedication to promoting Hungarian football he has founded in Felcsút, his home
town, the Felcsút Foundation for the Promotion of Young Athletes, which is the operator
of the Felcsút football team and the recipient of the biggest chunk of tax-deductible
corporate donations. Each year over 1100 football clubs receive HUF 74.5 billion
82
Governance of sport
Figure 1.3 Privileged soccer clubs, 2011–14
Source: Hungarian Football Federation, http://www.mlsz.hu/fejlesztesek; Freedom of information requests submitted by Transparency International Hungary
Figure 1.3b Most subsidized soccer clubs of the 2014–2015 season
Source: Hungarian Football Federation, http://www.mlsz.hu/fejlesztesek; Freedom of information requests submitted by Transparency International Hungary
(€240 million) in donations over a span of four years. Almost one-third went to 13 clubs
(€68 million). Felcsút absorbed over 12 per cent of all donations (€30 million). This
imbalance suggests that subjective considerations may override rational aspects in the
grant-making process.15
Corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
83
• Backdoor deals and opaque lobbying. Corporate donations to the Felcsút football team
and various other privileged clubs are widely accepted in the country as a form of bribing
companies’ way into lucrative businesses and winning public contracts. TI-H’s recent
study on the Hungarian lobbying landscape16 has uncovered that participants in sports
events – especially in football games, and corporate donors to football clubs through
the MLSZ – play a prominent role in lobbying in Hungary. These kinds of sports
donations are perceived as a distorted form of lobbying, whereby grants are donated
to the preferred sports clubs of influential people and decision-makers in an attempt to
curry favour with them.
All in all, the new system of sports subsidisation suggests that the government is ready to
employ parliament’s regulatory power to achieve political leaders’ personal goals.
According to publicly available data, clubs of spectator team sports received taxdeductible company donations totalling HUF 204 billion (€656 million) since the start of the
tax-benefit scheme in the span of four years.17 It is worth noting that football clubs and the
MLSZ absorbed some 90 per cent of all tax-deductible company donations, whereas the four
remaining branches of spectator team sports and their respective federations received a
much smaller amount of funding.18 Although football is the most popular sport in Hungary out
of the aforementioned five, the ratios still seem disproportionate.
Sports clubs in sports other than the five specified spectator sports receive normative
grants from the government that are less exposed to corruption. This is the case with teams
and federations in 16 other branches of sport, which are to receive a substantial amount of
direct government support.19 Organisations active in these branches of sport altogether will
receive HUF 135 billion (some €430 million) by the end of 2020.20
It remains to be seen whether such robust investments will result in improved performance
on the part of Hungary’s sports teams, as there are as yet no real positive signs, except for a
modest increase in the number of licensed athletes in these sports.21
Sports facility construction
As opposed to the system of corporate donations, which mainly channels private and
corporate incomes to designated sports clubs, investments into sport infrastructure are
funded directly from public resources. It should come as no surprise that the majority of the
funds go to improving and building football stadiums. According to publicly accessible data
on sports investments, the following major sports grounds have been erected or recently
rebuilt, or are planned to be built in the near future:
• a stadium at Debrecen – HUF 12.3 billion (€39 million) of public resources;
• a stadium for Ferencvárosi TC soccer club – HUF 13.5 billion (€43 million),
22
government-funded;23
• a stadium at Hódmezó´vásárhely – HUF 1 billion (€3.2 million), out of which HUF 702
million (€2.2 million) is tax-deductible corporate donations and HUF 301 million
(€963,000) is the local government contribution;24
• a stadium at Diósgyó´r – HUF 4.5 billion (€14.4million), public resources;25 26
• a stadium at Szombathely – HUF 9.2 billion (€29.4 million), public resources; 27
• a stadium at Székesfehérvár – HUF 9 billion (€28.8 million), public resources;
• the National Olympic Centre (Nemzeti Olimpiai Központ)28 – HUF 128 billion (€410 million),
public resources disbursed over a period of four years; and
84
Governance of sport
• a stadium at Felcsút – HUF 3.8 billion (€12.2 million), 70 per cent of which comes from
corporate donations, the remaining 30 per cent being the owner’s contribution.29
Despite these considerable investments, however, the numbers of spectators are dwindling
in these brand new, state-of-the-art stadiums.30 The average number of football enthusiasts
attending the matches in person is showing a downward trend.31 It is also worth noting that
attendance at the most popular event, the National Championship league, has also taken a
big hit, with the number of fans falling by 4,897 this season so far compared with the previous
season and a decrease of 624 in average spectators per match.32
The goal of these grandiose constructions is questionable as well, in light of these
modest numbers. The stadiums have been built to accommodate much larger crowds than
the current ones; for example, the stadium of the Felcsút team Puskás Akadémia, called
Pancho Arena, can hold up to 3,500 spectators, while the average match attendance in the
2013/2014 season was around 1,400. The stadium of the Debreceni Vasas Sport Club,
based in Debrecen, can potentially welcome 20,000 visitors, but attendance is nowhere
near that number, with a match average of 3,400, and some 7,500 spectators for the most
popular match.33
The reopening ceremony of the Ferencvárosi TC football club’s stadium was a public event
at which the world-famous UK team Chelsea played against the local team; numerous
Hungarian dignities visited the game and some of the air force’s jet fighters flew past during
the inauguration ceremony.34 The Ministry of Defence, when requested to reveal the cost of
the fly-past, answered at first that the flight was no more than a regular and pre-scheduled
pilot-training exercise – a surprising reaction in light of Budapest’s restricted airspace. Later
the ministry announced that it had classified all relevant information until 2044.35
As stadium construction is funded from public resources, entrepreneurs are selected
through public procurement – one of the most corrupt areas in Hungary.36 Therefore, bias can
easily develop in the selection process, putting public spending at risk of misappropriation.
For example the small town of Kisvárda received HUF 800 million (€2.57 million) to build a
state-of-the-art soccer stadium, plus HUF 120 million (€386,000) in government donations
after the town’s MP Miklós Seszták was appointed Minister of National Development. The
town has only 16,000 people and was only recently promoted to the second league for
the first time. Mezó´kövesd, home of Deputy Minister of National Economy András Tállai,
received HUF 800 million (€2.57 million) to build a new stadium, although the team only
played one season in the first league.37 Another example is the stadium in Felcsút,38 which
was built mainly on land owned by the Prime Minister’s wife, adjoining his family house. A
large proportion of the construction work for the Felcsút stadium has been allocated to companies that belong to the interest group of this municipality’s mayor and CEO of the Felcsút
Foundation for the Promotion of Young Athletes, Ló´rinc Mészáros, who is undisputedly
one of Orbán’s closest allies. Though almost bankrupt in 2007,39 he is now Hungary’s
86th richest person, with a wealth of approximately HUF 8.4 billion (almost €27 million).40
He claimed publicly in an interview that he owed his breathtaking enrichment to God, good
luck and his friendship with the premier.41
Notes
1 Miklós Ligeti is legal director, Transparency International Hungary. Gyula Mucsi is project
manager, Transparency International Hungary.
2 Fidesz is a right-wing party that belongs to the EU-wide European People’s Party. Fidesz
has been using nationalist conservative rhetoric with an anti-EU tone since 2010.
Corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
85
3 Guardian (UK), ‘Hungary’s election offers some disturbing lessons for Europe’, 9 April 2014,
www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/09/hungary-election-europe-prime-ministerviktor-orban.
4 The two cases referred to here have provoked immense media interest. See Politics.hu,
‘Transparency International points to corruption in government takeover of tobacco
business’, 13 April 2013, www.politics.hu/20130429/transparency-internationalpoints-to-corruption-in-government-takeover-of-tobacco-business; Politics.hu, ‘Court
orders release of tobacco retail tender documents’, 12 May 2014, www.politics.
hu/20140512/court-orders-release-of-tobacco-retail-tender-documents; Global Voices
Online (Netherlands), ‘Hungary: government limits FOIA transparency law’, 8 May 2013,
http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2013/05/08/hungary-government-limits-foiatransparency-law.
5 Hungary Today, ‘Police raids Eea/Norway Grants foundation Ökotárs’, 9 September 2014,
http://hungarytoday.hu/cikk/police-raids-eeanorway-grants-foundation-okotars-114; The
Budapest Beacon (Hungary), ‘Hungarian NGOs react to Ökotárs raid with bewilderment and
fear’, 12 September 2014, http://budapestbeacon.com/featured-articles/hungarian-ngosreact-to-okotars-raid-with-bewilderment-and-fear; Politics.hu, ‘Tax authority suspends tax
numbers of Ökotárs’, 23 September 2014, www.politics.hu/20140923/tax-authoritysuspends-tax-numbers-of-okotars.
6 Diplomacy and Trade (Hungary), ‘Police raid Norway Grants distributor in Budapest’,
8 September 2014, www.dteurope.com/politics/hungary/police-raid-norway-grantsdistributor-in-budapest.html; Politics.hu, ‘Norway objects strongly to raid on NGO offices’,
10 September 2014, www.politics.hu/20140910/norway-objects-strongly-to-raid-onngo-offices.
7 Transparency International Hungary, ‘TI turns to the ombudsman regarding recent
government audit’, 30 June 2014, www.transparency.hu/TI_turns_to_the_Ombudsman_
regarding_recent_government_audit?bind_info=index&bind_id=0.
8 Amendments introduced in 2015 expect donor companies to pay a mandatory fee called a
‘supplementary sport sponsorship’, which amounts to 12.5 per cent of the donation given
from the donor company’s pre-tax profit. The goal of this was to encourage traditional sport
sponsorships while keeping the new tax scheme appealing to companies.
9 European Commission C(2011)7287, p. 14, point (65).
10 Transparency International Hungary publicly criticised this law: see http://korrupcio.blog.
hu/2014/12/16/gratulalunk_a_kormanynak.
11 European Commission, ‘Supporting the Hungarian sport sector via tax benefit scheme’
(Brussels: European Commission, 2011), p. 7, http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/
cases/240466/240466_1271180_52_3.pdf.
12 For the requirements of the application, see MLSZ-hu, ‘A TAO: Pályátatásról’, www.mlsz.hu/
blog/2013/10/14/fejlesztes-tao-palyaztatas; Sporttámogatás.hu, ‘Fó´oldal’, www.sport
tamogatas.hu/fooldal. For the requirements for each individual sport, see Sporttámogatás.
hu, ‘Fontos Tudnivalók’, www.sporttamogatas.hu/fontos-tudnivalok.
13 European Commission (2011), p. 13, para. 57.
14 International Ice Hockey Federation, ‘New president for Hungary’, 2 July 2010, www.iihf.
com/home-of-hockey/news/news-singleview/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=4798&cHash=6e
26f00c878d95e2c9880ee16695c74a; Hungarian Spectrum, ‘A different kind of media
war: Lajos Simicska versus Viktor Orbán’, 6 February 2015, http://hungarianspectrum.
org/2015/02/06/a-different-kind-of-media-war-lajos-simicska-versus-viktor-orban; The
Budapest Beacon (Hungary), ‘Meet Lajos Simicska: Fidesz’s enigmatic oligarch’, 10
February 2015, http://budapestbeacon.com/politics/meet-lajos-simicska-fideszsenigmatic-oligarch.
15 TI-H Freedom of Information requests.
16 The study is titled Lifting the Lid on Lobbying: Lobbying in an Uncertain Business and
Regulatory Environment (Budapest: Transparency International Hungary, 2014), www.
transparency.hu/uploads/docs/lobbi2014_web_eng.pdf.
86
Governance of sport
17 TI-H Freedom of Information requests from the five spectator team sports federations and
the state bodies involved (Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Human Capacities and Ministry
for National Economy).
18 During the 2011/2012 season the Hungarian Basketball Federation received HUF 700
million (some €2.2 million) in donations, the Hungarian Handball Federation HUF 500 million
(€1.6 million), the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation HUF 400 million (€1.3 million) and the
Hungarian Water Polo Federation HUF 200 million (just over €0.6 million): www.nupi.hu/tao/
jegyzek; http://atlatszo.hu/2012/10/02/tao-penzek-megint-a-focistak-jarnak-jol.
19 The branches of sport referred to here are table tennis, athletics, wrestling, rowing, judo,
kayaking/canoeing, cycling, skating, boxing, the pentathlon, volleyball, shooting sports,
tennis, gymnastics, swimming and fencing.
20 !!444!! (Hungary), ‘Megfeleló´ emberek érkeztek az elnöki székbe, jöhet a százmilliárd a
sportszövetségekhez’ [‘Now that the right people are in the presidential seats, it’s time for
the hundred billion forints for the federations’], 19 January 2015, http://444.hu/2015/01/19/
megfelelo-emberek-varjak-a-tizmilliardokat-a-sportszovetsegek-elen.
21 Adó Online (Hungary), ‘Siker a látványcsapatsport-támogatás’ [‘Spectator sports funding is
a success’], 20 November 2012, http://ado.hu/rovatok/ado/siker-a-latvanycsapatsporttamogatas.
22 Daily News Hungary, ‘Hungarian stadium building program marches on’, 10 March 2014,
http://dailynewshungary.com/hungarian-stadium-building-program-marches-on.
23Ibid.
24 Delmagyar.hu, ‘2014-re megújulhat a vásárhelyi stadion’, 3 September 2011, www.
delmagyar.hu/hodmezovasarhely_hirek/2014-re_megujulhat_a_vasarhelyi_stadion/2238222.
25 Atlatzo.hu, ‘Jövó´re sem enyhül a stadionépítési láz – közel százmilliárd forint
sportlétesítményekre’, 25 October 2013, http://atlatszo.hu/2013/10/25/jovore-semenyhul-a-stadionepitesi-laz-kozel-szazmilliard-forint-sportletesitmenyekre.
26 Daily News Hungary (10 March 2014).
27Ibid.
28Ibid.
29 Origo (Hungary), ‘Ne a stadionnal foglalkozzanak, hanem a saját dolgukkal!’, 18 August
2013, www.origo.hu/itthon/20130718-felcsutiak-a-stadionepitesrol.html; FourFourTwo.hu,
‘Kérdések és válaszok az épüló´ felcsúti stadionról’, 2 August 2013, www.fourfourtwo.hu/
hirek/magyarorszag/nb-i/kerdesek-es-valaszok-az-epulo-felcsuti-stadionrol.
30 Hungarian Spectrum, ‘No good players, no spectators but more and more stadiums’,
6 December 2013, http://hungarianspectrum.org/2013/12/06/no-good-players-nospectators-but-more-and-more-stadiums.
31 These are not exact numbers but an estimate based on the tickets sold in each season.
32 Nemzeti Sport (Hungary), ‘Hiába az új stadionok, az FTC-nél és az NB I-ben is csökkent a
nézó´szám’, 8 December 2014, www.nemzetisport.hu/labdarugo_nb_i/nezoszam-2381393.
33 Paraméter (Slovakia), ‘Kinek építi az Orbán-kormány a több tízezres stadionokat?’,
28 November 2013, www.parameter.sk/rovat/kulfold/2013/11/28/kinek-epiti-az-orbankormany-tobb-tizezres-stadionokat-az-atlagos-nezoszam.
34 Budapest Business Journal (Hungary), ‘Socialists: Gripens used for goverment propaganda’,
14 August 2014, www.bbj.hu/politics/socialists-gripens-used-for-govermentpropaganda_83732.
35 Origo (Hungary), ‘Gripen-parade: classified until 2044’, 4 September 2014, www.origo.hu/
itthon/20140903-harminc-evig-titokban-marad-a-gripenek-legi-paradeja.html.
36 PricewaterhouseCoopers EU Services, Identifying and Reducing Corruption in Public
Procurement in the EU: Development of a Methodology to Estimate the Direct Costs of
Corruption and Other Elements for an EU-Evaluation Mechanism in the Area of AntiCorruption (Brussels: PwC EU Services, 2013), http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud/documents/
anti-fraud-policy/research-and-studies/identifying_reducing_corruption_in_public_
procurement_en.pdf.
Corruption in Hungary’s sport financing
87
37Kisvárda: Hungarian Journal, 2014, vol. 136, page 39, http://www.kozlonyok.hu/nkonline/
MKPDF/hiteles/MK14136.pdf; Mezó´kövesd: Government Decree 1438/2013 (VII. 11),
http://www.kozlonyok.hu/nkonline/MKPDF/hiteles/MK13119.pdf.
38 New York Times (US), ‘A village stadium is a symbol of power for Hungary’s premier’, 3 April
2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/business/international/the-village-stadium-a-symbolof-power-for-hungarys-premier.html?_r=0.
39 The Budapest Beacon (Hungary), ‘Shepherd to challenge pipe-fitter billionaire Lorinc
Meszaros for Felcsut mayor’s seat’, 7 July 2014, http://budapestbeacon.com/politics/shepherdto-challenge-pipe-fitter-billionaire-lorinc-meszaros-for-felcsut-mayors-seat.
40 Heti Világgazdaság [World Economy Weekly] (Hungary), ‘Még mindig Csányi a leggazdagabb
magyar, Simicska a 10, Mészáros Ló´rinc a 86’ [‘Csányi is still the most richest Hungarian,
Simicska is 10th, Ló´rincz Mészáros is 86th’], 14 May 2015, http://hvg.hu/vallalat_vezeto/
20150514_Meg_mindig_Csanyi_a_leggazdagabb_magyar.
41 Index.hu (Hungary), ‘A Jóisten is szerepet játszott Mészáros Ló´rinc meggazdagodásában’
[‘Even God had a hand in the enrichment of Ló´rinc Mészáros’], 24 April 2014,
http://index.hu/belfold/2014/04/24/a_joisten_is_szerepet_jatszott_meszaros_lorinc_
meggazdagodasaban.
1.13
Challenges and
approaches to ensuring
good governance
in grassroots sport
Mogens Kirkeby1
‘Grassroots sport’ covers all sport disciplines practiced by non-professionals and
organized on a national level through national sport. . . .‘[N]on-professionals]’ are
individuals who neither spend the bulk of their time practicing sport, nor who take the
bulk of their revenue from the practice of sport.
(Definition of ‘grassroots sport’ in recent European Union study)2
Why grassroots sport matters
Governance is a topic that is high on the agendas of all sectors – public, private and nonprofit. It is equally important for the grassroots sport sector to be part of this drive, as a
prerequisite for organisational legitimacy, autonomy and – ultimately – survival. If grassroots
sport is not governed in an appropriate and legitimate way, it will lose not only its good
reputation but also the significant financial support from its members and from public
authorities that it currently receives.
Clearly, the governing structure of grassroots sport differs radically in different countries
and regions. In a number of countries grassroots sport is primarily an activity within the school
system, but in most countries the basic governing structure for the sector comprises local
associations, often connected nationally or regionally. In all cases, the good governance of
these associations has implications not only for participants but for the economy as a whole,
and for the health sector in particular.
For most people, it is quite obvious why good governance is a relevant issue for
performance-oriented elite sport and highly commercialised sports entertainment. Often,
however, it is not as well understood why good governance of grassroots sport is also of
importance, and increasingly so. This is probably based on two key myths about sport.
The first is that the sport system is a pyramid, with grassroots sport at the bottom and elite
sport/sports entertainment at the top, and with each tier strongly interconnected. This is still
Good governance in grassroots sports
89
a prevalent view, particularly among organisations with an interest in painting a picture of
themselves as covering and representing the whole ‘sport family’.3 Grassroots sport, in its
original meaning, is a popular phenomenon, and not something that lies at the bottom of a
‘pyramid’; this model fails to reflect today’s very diverse and pluralistic sport sectors, which
encompass non-governmental, governmental and, not least, corporate actors as operating,
governing and delivering bodies. Other recently developed models, such as the so-called
‘church’ model of sport,4 depicted in Figure 1.4, present a more accurate picture of today’s
sport sectors, and show that the interdependence between mass grassroots sport
participation and the comparatively small elite level no longer applies.
The second myth is that elite sport creates the most economic activity and impact. A study
carried out across the European Union in 2011 and 2012 illustrates the significant economic
impact of the sport sectors; together, they constitute a major industry, generating more than
2 per cent of EU gross domestic product.5 The report also shows that the vast majority of this
Figure 1.4 The church model of sport.
Adapted from: Jeroen Scheerder and Steven Vos, ‘Belgium: Flanders’, in Kirstin Hallmann and Karen Petry (eds), Comparative Sport
Development: Systems, Participation and Public Policy (New York: Springer Science, 2013).
90
Governance of sport
impact is created not by the relatively few sports stars’ astronomical salaries, sales of media
rights and merchandise, but by citizens’ individual spending in mass-participation sport.6
Why governance matters in grassroots sport
There are at least four reasons why good governance of the grassroots sport sector is of
huge and growing importance. First, grassroots sport has by far the highest level of popular
participation and direct involvement. Citizens participate in grassroots sport or recreational
physical exercise in various settings and in massive numbers. Second, the grassroots sport
sector comprises the largest number of governing bodies, primarily local associations or
sports clubs, and the environment in which they govern has become more complicated
and diverse. Third, as detailed above, the grassroots sport sector generates the greatest
economic impact in the overall sport sector, with its most significant financial contributions
coming from individual citizens and, to some extent, public authorities. Finally, the grassroots
sport sector is the arena in which most people exercise their ‘right to participate in sport’,7
and in which the ‘right to freedom and peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with
others’ are practised.8
The EU-supported ‘Good Governance in Grassroots Sport’ (GGGS) project of the
International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) shows how good governance can
be introduced into the grassroots sport sector and how steps towards setting up good
governance structures can be encouraged regardless of varying management structures,
differences in staffing capacity, etc.
Box 1.4 The ‘Good Governance in Grassroots Sport’ project
‘Good Governance in Grassroots Sport’ is a transnational project led by ISCA in partnership with five
universities and knowledge centres, ten national grassroots sport organisations, four international
sport organisations and three municipalities.9
The project has developed guidelines and an online self-assessment tool for governing bodies
in grassroots sport based on the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability and the
inclusion of stakeholders.10 While it is hoped that other stakeholders might benefit from them as well,
the principles and guidelines are meant primarily for organisations that (1) are non-governmental,
not-for-profit and democratic, based on a membership structure; (2) organise sport and physical
activities on a regular basis for purposes other than high-level performance; (3) operate on a
basis of voluntary board leadership in cooperation with salaried staff and further volunteers
(coaches, helpers, etc.); and (4) may be national-level (umbrella) organisations or regional-/locallevel organisations/clubs.
The self-assessment tool had over 12,000 page views and 4,600 users worldwide from its launch
in August 2013 to mid-October 2014. A further 190 users completed the self-assessment tool in
preparation for the ISCA General Assembly, which was held in late October 2014.
The project has been supported financially by the EU ‘Preparatory Actions’ in the field of sport.
The GGGS project recognised that grassroots sport’s governing bodies comprise a variety
of stakeholders, from small local clubs to national and regional organisations, with a mix of
elected voluntary leaders and contracted employed staff. Many of the local, regional and
Good governance in grassroots sports
91
national bodies are governed by board members elected at general assemblies. They are
often volunteers who offer their time and enthusiasm to the governing of the entity. Most of
the people who provide grassroots sport and exercise activities, including trainers, instructors
and coaches, also work as volunteers. This volunteerism does not lessen the responsibility
given to the individual, but the conditions of employment and potential penalties, such as
sanctions for not fulfilling tasks, are different from those for employees operating on a formal
work contract.
Naturally, the cultural, economic and political contexts in which these grassroots sport
volunteers operate are also diverse. The number of citizens whom their organisations reach,
the scope of their activities and their economic turnover all vary considerably. What their
organisations have in common, though, is that they are the delivery bodies located closest to
and involving the most citizens in physical activity on a daily basis.
Key findings and lessons learnt
‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’
When leaders of grassroots sport bodies are approached about good governance,
often their first reaction is to say: ‘We are working as volunteers for a good cause; we are
doing nothing wrong.’ For the most part, these leaders are creating and delivering positive
services and activities for the benefit of people other than themselves, with no or very little
material compensation, and the vast majority intend only to govern their organisations in a
proper and appropriate way. GGGS’s aim in facilitating good governance in grassroots sport
is therefore not to try to fix something that is not broken but, rather, to help grassroots
sport leaders reflect on governance procedures and to assist them in keeping their systems
intact. In other words, GGGS aims to create awareness and tools for handling potential
governing issues.
How can this rationale be presented to leaders of the grassroots sport sector? First, it
needs to be communicated that good governance is not about uncovering governance
problems in individual grassroots sport entities, but about preventing future governance
problems in the increasingly complex sporting landscape. Second, practical examples can
demonstrate that, despite the conviction in many organisations that they do not have any
governing problems, the reality is that the leaders of any sport club or governing body can
face situations and dilemmas every day that potentially involve risks, conflicts of interest and
maybe even undue advantages (see Box 1.5).
Box 1.5 Examples of risks to grassroots good governance
Conflicts of interest
• The board of a non-profit sports club has to decide on the awarding of a contract. The husband
of the vice president of the club is employed by one of the bidding companies.
• The manager of a sport federation is going to employ a new coach. One of the people who applies
for the job is the manager’s niece.
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Governance of sport
Undue advantages
• Two months after the conclusion of a sponsorship contract between a non-profit sports club and
a company, the sponsor’s manager presents high-quality sporting equipment to the president of
the sports club.
• A sport equipment manufacturer invites the president of a sports club and his wife to sit in the VIP
box of the local premier league football club. Some months later the president and his colleagues
on the board decide on a large order of sporting equipment.
Finally, it needs to be acknowledged that no single model will fit all circumstances, and
therefore the GGGS project principles and guidelines are flexible and can be adapted to each
organisation’s capacity and context.
Good governance: from the elite to everyday reality
One of ISCA’s overall concerns was the reception the GGGS would get: how great would
the interest and uptake be among the target organisations and leaders in the sector?
When introducing a topic such as good governance, it is necessary to provide practical,
simple tools and processes based on the everyday practical aspects of running clubs and
organisations, which can initiate awareness, reflections and first steps towards practical
solutions. In the event, the subject was well received by grassroots sport leaders at various
levels, indicating that they have an organisational and personal interest in learning and using
tools that can help them perform better and validate their decisions.
In general, the grassroots sport sector is doing reasonably well in terms of governance, but
in an increasingly complex political and societal reality there is always room for improvement
to allow for more open and transparent communication and decisions. This drive for selfimprovement is in itself the essence of good governance in grassroots sport.
Notes
1 Mogens Kirkeby is president of the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA). The
chapter has been co-authored by Rachel Payne, fundraising and communications officer
at ISCA, and Saska Benedicic Tomat, head of projects.
2 European Commission, Study on the Funding of Grassroots Sports in the EU: Final Report,
vol. I (Brussels: European Commission, 2011), http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/top_
layer/docs/FinalReportVol1_en.pdf.
3 For example, from the European Commission: ‘In Europe, the governance of sport is
traditionally organised along a pyramid structure. . . . At the bottom of the pyramid one
finds the sport clubs. One level above are the national federations, usually one per discipline.
They cover both high-level (elite) and grassroots sport. Each national federation plays a
leading role in implementing regulations and organizing championships. . . . At the top of
the pyramid one finds the International sport federations and/or Continental federations.’
Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on ‘The European Model of Sport’, 27 June 2011,
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/top_layer/docs/FinalReportVol1_en.pdf.
4 Jeroen Scheerder, Hanne Vandermeerschen, Charlotte Van Tuyckom, Remco Hoekman,
Koen Breedveld and Steven Vos, Understanding the Game: Sport Participation in Europe:
Facts, Reflections and Recommendations (Leuven: Research Unit of Social Kinesiology and
Sport Management, Catholic University of Leuven, 2011), http://faber.kuleuven.be/spm/
download.php?f=SPM10.pdf.
Good governance in grassroots sports
93
5 SportsEconAustria, Study on the Contribution of Sport to Economic Growth and
Employment in the EU: Final Report (Vienna: SportsEconAustria, 2012), http://ec.
europa.eu/sport/library/studies/study-contribution-spors-economic-growth-final-rpt.pdf.
6 Sport England, ‘Economic value of sport in England’ (London: Sport England, 2013),
www.sportengland.org/media/177230/economic-value-of-sport.pdf.
7 Council of Europe, ‘European Sport for All Charter’, article 1, www.coe.int/t/dg4/sport/
resources/texts/spchart2_en.asp.
8 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights’, articles 21 and 22, www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/
Pages/CCPR.aspx.
9 International Sport and Culture Association, Good Governance in Grassroots Sport:
What Does Good Governance Mean to Grassroots Sport? (Copenhagen: ISCA, 2014),
www.isca-web.org/files/GGGS_WEB/Files/GGGS_Final_Report.pdf.
10 Ibid., chap. 4.2.
1.14
The Code of Ethics for
sport in the Municipality
of Milan
A grassroots approach against organised
crime and corruption in sports
Paolo Bertaccini Bonoli and Caterina Gozzoli1
The problem
The city of Milan and the Lombardy region are traditional areas of industry and professional
services, providing approximately 25 per cent of Italy’s GDP, and are historically characterised
by a respect for the rule of law. However, the last decade has witnessed a gradual increase in
organised crime,2 with judicial investigations repeatedly uncovering the presence of the Mafia
in building, waste cycle management, trade, major infrastructure projects and retail commerce.
Greater attention was drawn in early 2014 in connection with the organisation of Expo 2015
in Milan, when serious cases of corruption surfaced.3
Nonetheless, it still surprised many in Milan that organised crime extended to the world of
grassroots sport. In March 2011 the Ripamonti sports facility in via Iseo was impounded as
part of the Milanese anti-Mafia operation ‘Redux-Caposaldo’. The operation found that the
facility was being managed by the Flachi clan, ‘which exercises all the powers typical of
dominus: deciding on staff, resolving disputes, managing services and raking in the profits.
And the City, as the owner of the centre, was unaware that it was funding the Flachi group by
supporting its economic initiatives.’4 As a result of the seizure, the facility was closed by the
prefetto (the central state authority) and the licence was revoked by the municipality. A further
arson attack on 8 October 2011 seriously damaged the building, and was clearly committed
for purposes of intimidation.5
Actions taken
The city of Milan and the Lombardy region have undertaken various measures to tackle
corruption and organised crime, including an Anti-Mafia Committee, which reports directly to
the mayor of Milan, a Municipality Council Anti-Mafia Commission and a ‘Head of Corruption
The Code of Ethics for sport in Milan
95
Prevention and Transparency’ in Lombardy.6 The city of Milan also undertook its first
whistleblowing procedure in October 2014.7
Specific to sport, it was in the shadow of the Ripamonti case and wider issues at the apex
of Italian sport8 that public opinion first became sensitised to the risks of organised crime and
illegality in sport, even at the grassroots level. Against this background, the City of Milan
initiated a policy to prevent and combat criminal infiltration of public sports facilities, thus
integrating sport into its anti-Mafia agenda. This was led by the Commissione Consigliare
Antimafia (Anti-Mafia Advice Committee) through its chairman, David Gentili, in coordination
with the Assessorato allo Sport (Department of Sport) and the Commissione Consigliare
Sport (Sports Advice Committee).
The chosen instrument was a Code of Ethics in sport, to be adopted by the management
licensees of the city’s municipal facilities (110 facilities managed by private sport clubs or
companies as a result of public bidding procedures) and the public company Milanosport
(which manages 24 municipal sports facilities).
In order to construct the Code and develop a plan for its implementation, the city of
Milan signed a memorandum of understanding with Avviso Pubblico9 and Transparency
International Italia10 on a voluntary basis to work alongside technical experts and representatives of public administration, starting with a preliminary collection of information and views on
the issue.
It became clear from the outset that what was needed was not an approach limited to
countering infiltration by organised crime, but an ‘overall’ approach to the contemporary
issue of ethics in sport. The final proposed version of the Code set out 12 areas to reach the
two key interrelated goals of combating organised crime and fostering integrity in sports
practices.
Box 1.6 Elements of the Code of Ethics for grassroots sport in the
city of Milan11
1. The principle of the supremacy of the ‘rule of law’ in social dynamics and in sport.
2. Self-regulation in the management of sports clubs.
3. Protection from the misuse of sport and from the effects of illegal, criminal and Mafia
interests.
4. Effective participation on the part of members in the activity and decisions of sports
associations/clubs, promoting awareness and individual and collective responsibility.
5. Strengthening the interchange between the sports clubs/associations and the local community.
6. Principles of fairness, honesty and loyalty in competitive and non-competitive sport and in
social relationships; sports associations/clubs to select their leaders on the basis of these
principles.
7. Developing sport to respect nature and promote environmental sustainability.
8. Strengthening the content and perception of sport as a clean and proper environment in which
there are no concealed or unverifiable interests.
9. Generating awareness that lawlessness and minor non-compliance within sports associations/
clubs increases the risks of criminal infiltration.
10. Promoting full transparency in order to make reporting and selection criteria for activities
accessible and verifiable.
96
Governance of sport
11. Recognising sport as important in the proper development and expression of the personality
of the child and the adult, thereby also assigning to sport an educational and cultural function
in the improvement of society and quality of life for individuals and communities.
12. Recognising that the principles promoted by sports associations/clubs also apply to all people
involved in the organisation and promotion of sports activities, including the local authority and
public administration.
The Code was conceived in recognition of the fact that sport plays a positive role in the
growth of the individual, so the Code itself is a tool for protecting, strengthening and
making more visible and explicit the ethical component of sport. A strategic choice was
also taken to consider the ‘cultural and behavioural context’. The trend in recent years
has been a watering down of the sporting spirit: excessive competition; the use of sport
for financial ends; personal grandstanding; foul and abusive language; insufficient technical
skills in sports performance; and family interference in the work of instructors. In addition,
inefficient models of sports organisation in Italy have encouraged minor misdemeanours,
contributing to a sharp reduction in public and private grants. The Code therefore addresses
the use of language by participants, information-sharing with families, the link between
training capacities and learning goals, risk management and procedures to be adopted in
controversial situations.
The process for the adoption and implementation of the Code is particularly innovative, as
it is both inclusive – open to all clubs in the area – and participatory, inviting inputs from
the same clubs to shape the initial draft. An initial tutoring phase involving six pilot clubs
will lead to a final compulsory adoption by all clubs on the basis of a shared, tried and tested
text. The Code can then be used by any legal entity active in the field of sports, from jointstock companies to non-profit grassroots associations. Unlike other codes, the Code also
empowers decision-makers to evaluate situations critically with a range of options, avoiding
the risk of the Code merely being adopted in form but not in substance, with the paradoxical
consequence of lowering self-responsibility. Instead, clubs are compelled to look at themselves
critically and take decisions tailored to their own circumstances.
Preliminary lessons learned and next steps
By the end of 2014 the Code and the implementation plan were being shared with the
110 licensees for possible improvements, with six sport clubs already in the process of
formally adopting it. In 2015 a dedicated website to the Code was launched to support
networking among licensees, the public authorities and citizens. From February to May 2015
an appointed commission evaluated the effectiveness of the application of the Code by the
pilot clubs so that additional clubs and the public administration itself can address gaps and
begin to tailor policies.
Among many emerging aspects, four key lessons can be drawn. The first is the importance
of having reliable data. The absence of systematic preliminary information on grassroots
sports’ connections to illegality, beyond the single case of the Ripamonti sport centre,
proved a challenge in terms of persuading potential stakeholders to take part. To remove
this obstacle, three steps have been taken: a training/information programme is currently
under elaboration; two stakeholder focus group meetings will take place; and fundraising for
dedicated research on a local scale is under way.
The Code of Ethics for sport in Milan
97
The second lesson is the importance of public–private partnerships, whereby the public
institution plays a start-up and accompanying role, and civil society and private actors
lead the programme. The involvement of NGOs such as Transparency International and
Avviso Pubblico, and their good reputation, made it possible for the municipality to roll out the
initiative in a credible and consistent way. Equally, active cooperation with local sport clubs is
decisive, not least in avoiding possible future fall-outs.
A third element is the importance of training sessions to support decision-makers in clubs
on implementation: most do not have the skills base to oversee ethics initiatives. Once the
issues of ‘corruption’ and ‘crime infiltration’ have been understood, the lack of tools becomes
immediately tangible to operators themselves. The organisation of tailored training sessions
will require additional time and resources.
Finally, the development of the Code of Ethics for sport of the Milan municipality has
shown that mobilising the grassroots sports movement as a force for the promotion of
ethical behaviour requires considerable effort by clubs, and it is therefore important to ensure
that a ready set of services can be delivered to them, for free or with reduced fees, so
that this effort/investment is feasible and of benefit. This will require resources, such as a
permanent assistance desk for critical situations, a shared mechanism to cooperate with
potential sponsoring companies interested in corporate social responsibility projects, and
shared public opportunities to foster the importance of ethics towards managers, trainers,
family and all participants in grassroots sport.
Notes
1 Paolo Bertaccini Bonoli works for Transparency International Italia and Caterina Gozzoli
is the director of the Alta Scuola di Psicologia Agostino Gemelli (ASAG) at the Catholic
University of Milan. This chapter is the result of personal experience in formulating the Code
of Ethics and its implementation programme, providing coordination expertise and being
directly involved in the process, and representing Transparency International Italia and the
Catholic University of Milan.
2 The consciousness-raising as a result of the presence of the Mafia in Milan has been quite
shocking for a city that saw itself as immune to organised crime. See CaféBabel (UK), ‘Milan
is the true capital of the ’Ndrangheta’, 9 April 2010, www.cafebabel.co.uk/society/article/
milan-is-the-true-capital-of-the-ndrangheta.html. See also DissentMagazine.org (US), ‘The
anti-Mafia movement in Milan’, 2 April 2014, www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/
the-anti-mafia-movement-in-milan. Nando dalla Chiesa, son of the Carabinieri general Carlo
Alberto Dalla Chiesa, who was murdered by the Mafia in Palermo in 1981, has been one of
the leaders of civil society movements against organised crime since the early 1980s, and
was appointed by the mayor of Milan in 2011 as chair of the Milan Anti-Mafia Committee.
See also Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno (Italy), ‘Suspected ’Ndrangheta mobsters arrested in
Lombardy’, 18 December 2014, www.lagazzettadelmezzogiorno.it/english/suspectedndrangheta-mobsters-arrested-in-lombardy-no678971.
3 Many corruption cases have emerged in recent months; see Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italy),
‘Antonio Acerbo, commissario Expo indagato per corruzione su “Vie d’acqua”’,
17 September 2014, www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2014/09/17/expo-il-commissario-delegatoacerbo-indagato-per-corruzione-e-turbativa-dasta/1123624; and ItalyChronicles.com,
‘Corruption scandal hits Milan Expo 2015 preparations’, 8 May 2014, http://italychronicles.
com/corruption-scandal-hits-milan-expo-2015-preparations. The concern about illegal
practices was nonetheless significantly present from the very beginning of the organisation,
leading to the adoption of a specific ‘Protocol of Legality’: Expo2015.org (Italy), ‘Protocol
of Legality’, www.expo2015.org/en/transparency/legal-notes/protocol-of-legality; this has
proved to be largely ineffective, however: ExpoLeaks.it (Italy), ‘Mafia and unclear bids,
“Controls on Expo 2015 are not enough” says Antimafia Committee’, 8 August 2014,
98
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Governance of sport
www.expoleaks.it/mafia-and-unclear-bids-controls-on-expo-2015-are-not-enough-saysantimafia-committee.
On 13 March 2011, order by Milan public prosecutor Giuseppe Gennari. See the text of the
order in the Italian Parliament Acts: www.camera.it/_dati/leg16/lavori/stenografici/sed533/
pdfbt13.pdf.
Corriere della Sera, ‘Pisapia: avvertimento della ’ndrangheta l’incendio di via Iseo’,
10 October 2011, http://milano.corriere.it/milano/notizie/cronaca/11_ottobre_10/incendioiseo-ndrangheta-1901773343877.shtml; Il Giorno, ‘Rogo al centro sportive ex feudo della
malavita’, 8 October 2011, www.ilgiorno.it/milano/cronaca/2011/10/08/596841-incendio_
centro_sportivo_feudo_della_malavita.shtml. See also MilanoX.eu (Italy), ‘Un anno fa la
’Ndrangheta bruciava il palazzetto di via Iseo’, 8 October 2012, www.milanox.eu/un-annofa-la-ndrangheta-bruciava-il-palazzetto-di-via-iseo.
The region of Lombardy introduced this position in May 2013: www.regione.lombardia.it/cs/
Satellite?c=Redazionale_P&childpagename=Regione%2FDetail&cid=1213619980676&pack
edargs=NoSlotForSitePlan%3Dtrue%26menu-to-render%3D1213582351799&pagename=
RGNWrapper.
The implementation process has been under way since the council finally gave approval
on 10 October 2014: Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italy), ‘Corruzione, Comune di Milano adotta il
“whistleblowing”: che Expo ha rifiutato’, 11 October 2014, www.ilfattoquotidiano.
it/2014/10/11/corruzione-comune-di-milano-adotta-il-whistleblowing-che-expo-harifiutato/1150186.
This includes the 2011 match-fixing scandal in football: see Wikipedia, ‘2011–12 Italian
football scandal’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E2%80%9312_Italian_football_scandal;
and the ‘Schwazer case’ of doping before the Olympic Games in London 2012: ESPN
(US), ‘Alex Schwazer caught doping’, 6 August 2012, http://espn.go.com/olympics/
summer/2012/trackandfield/story/_/id/8239963/2012-london-olympics-2008-olympic-racewalker-champion-alex-schwazer-caught-doping. See also the recent important interview
with Italian public prosecutor Guido Rispoli: La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy), ‘Caso Schwazer,
parla il procuratore Rispoli: “Ecco le nuove armi contro il doping”’, 23 September 2014,
www.gazzetta.it/Atletica/23-09-2014/caso-schwazer-parla-procuratore-rispoli-ecco-nuovearmi-contro-doping-90535055331.shtml; and, on fan-based violence, see CNN (US),
‘Violence mars Italian Cup final in Rome as fan remains critical in hospital’, 7 May 2014,
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/03/sport/football-italy-napoli-violence-ultras; and ANSA
(Italy), ‘Soccer: “Genny the Scumbag” arrested over Cup trouble – update’, 22 September
2014, www.ansa.it/english/news/2014/09/22/soccer-genny-the-scumbag-arrested-overcup-trouble-update_8114ef27-b072-44b0-861a-cd3ef8b9ee0e.html. The reference essay
on racism in Italian football is that by Mauro Valeri, Che razza di tifo: Dieci anni di razzismo
nel calcio italiano (Rome: Donzelli, 2010).
Avviso Pubblico is a primary Italian association that was founded in 1996 and associates
local public institutions (municipalities, provinces and regions); see www.avvisopubblico.it/
home/associazione/chi-siamo/about-us. In 2012 the ‘Charta of Pisa’ for transparency and
fairness in public administration was launched, now updated in the ‘Charta of Avviso
Pubblico’; see www.avvisopubblico.it/home/progetti/progetti-in-corso/carta-di-avvisopubblico.
Transparency International Italia is, in turn, collaborating with the masters programme in
sport at the Catholic University of Milan in the field of psychosocial intervention through sport,
within the advanced institute ASAG, directed by Caterina Gozzoli (http://asag.unicatt.it);
see http://asag.unicatt.it/asag-sport-e-intervento-psicosociale-ix-edizione-presentazione.
Summary of the key principles of the code of ethics. The full code will be made available
online at www.codiceeticosportmilano.net.
PART 2
Money, markets
and private interests
in football
2.1
Offside
FIFA, marketing companies and undue
influence in football
Jamil Chade1
‘You have created a monster.’ According to Sepp Blatter, this warning was imparted to him
by João Havelange, the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association
(FIFA) from 1974 to 1998.2 The Brazilian was not talking about corruption, bribes or
commissions, but was instead referring to the fact that multinational companies and TV
networks had been invited to the game, transforming sports forever and taking it to every
corner of the Earth. As there was no oversight, though, an unholy alliance had also been
created that would enable a small group of officials and businessmen to control football and
to kidnap the emotions of millions of fans around the world.
The evolution of FIFA
When Havelange took power in the mid-1970s, FIFA was a small entity located in the outskirts
of Zurich. It had 12 employees and, according to Blatter’s own account, was financially
in serious difficulties. Three aspects would cause a revolution, however. The first one was
political. Havelange saw the decolonisation process in Africa and Asia as an opportunity to
enlarge his organisation.3 After all, the newly independent countries across Africa and parts
of Asia would need not only a flag and a seat at the United Nations, but a national football
team as well. FIFA supplied financial help, uniforms and even footballs to these countries; in
exchange, Havelange made allies around the world.
The second aspect of this revolution was the decision to bring in sponsors. Adidas was
one of the first to sponsor, with a fundamental part of the game: the ball itself. In exchange for
huge investments poured into FIFA, Adidas could claim it owned the official ball of the World
Cup, as if other balls would not be appropriate for the game. A number of multinational
companies would follow suit, and, today, the tour of the football World Cup trophy is actually
a Coca-Cola event. A fan can hardly take a picture with the most desired cup in history
without the brand of the American company being visible on the back.
It was a third element, however, that would create the conditions for football to become
the richest and most popular sport on Earth: the increasing popularity of television and the
initial stages of live broadcasting. In exchange for the exclusive rights to show the game,
networks would pay millions of dollars to FIFA, which, in theory, the organisation would
reinvest in football.
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Money, markets and private interests
Political expansion, sponsors and the growth of television around the world would
transform FIFA from a small organisation on a hilltop in Zurich into a global superpower. Today
its financial reserves accumulated in Switzerland amount to some US$1.5 billion, a tenfold
increase in less than a decade.4 The last World Cup, in Brazil, generated a record revenue of
US$5.7 billion for FIFA,5 more than twice as much as the event in Germany in 2006.6
Where did this all lead to, though? What mechanisms were there to control what was
happening and the money that football was generating? This lack of control was precisely
the Achilles heel of the newly globalised structure. As football grew, the ‘world government’
of the sport was maintained as it had been in the 1970s, with a handful of people making all
the decisions, with no transparency or need to justify contracts, but unprecedented profits to
be made. What the US Department of Justice indictments of 14 FIFA officials and businessmen
on 27 May 2015 showed is the result of 40 years of a structure without control.
Bribery among marketing companies, TV networks
and multinationals
The indictments revealed how media and marketing companies paid commissions to those
in power at FIFA, and other sports organisations, to acquire, maintain or extend lucrative
contracts for the broadcasting of matches. The marketing companies would then sell on
these rights across the world, in return for a large profit.
The investigations also pointed out that the structure of power and the flow of payments
are not always direct. A system of intermediaries had been established, many of them to
channel bribes and other illegal payments from companies to football officials. Officially,
the intermediaries are presented as ‘marketing companies’. According to the Department of
Justice, however, they are mere facades to justify payments and corruption.7 In slightly over
20 years they are alleged to have moved over US$150 million in bribes around the world,8
often using offshore centres, such as the Cayman Islands.9
Bribery for lucrative broadcasting contracts is alleged to have included TV rights for a number
of tournaments, such as the rights to broadcast the Copa América from 2015 to 2023, purchased by Datisa, a joint venture of marketing companies from Argentina. According to the May
2015 US Department of Justice indictment, the bribes in this case alone reached US$110
million for a handful of sports officials, with José Maria Marin, the former president of the Brazilian
Football Confederation (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol: CBF), Eugenio Figueredo, the
former head of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), and the presidents
of each of the national associations in South America soliciting or intended to receive bribes.10
The investigation also demonstrates how businesses were ready to pay bribes in exchange
for exclusive deals. The case of the major US sportswear brand and its deals with the CBF,
as disclosed in the US FIFA indictments, is one of the most significant. According to the investigations, extra payments of US$40 million were deposited into Swiss bank accounts in order
to ensure the deal would be maintained.11
Having a gold mine under their control, FIFA officials would fight long and hard to retain
power and, with it, the capacity to enrich themselves by ‘selling’ football. Elections at FIFA
and the regional confederations became not only a matter of sports, but decisive moments in
establishing which groups would control these channels of payments.
Absence of accountability
There was no surprise when a proposal asking FIFA officials to establish a limit on the
mandates for themselves was unapproved, and it was equally unsurprising when a proposed
Marketing companies and FIFA 103
age limit for the presidency and members of the Executive Committee was vetoed. There was
no surprise even when, in 2010, the organisation decided that it would name the venue not
only for the 2018 World Cup then, but also the 2022 one. An entire generation of decisions
was locked in, as well as the profits for each of the actors involved.
In addition, the legal framework did not encourage investigators to look into such decisions.
FIFA had until very recently a status in Switzerland that made investigations into it almost
impossible. Around the world, however, it played a very simple game: any threats of investigations by national authorities would mean that the possibility of that country hosting a big event
would be almost erased. In other words: blackmail. Marketing companies, investors, TV
networks and multinational companies all played the game at FIFA, and, in a way, corrupted a
system that welcomed and, in fact, asked for compensations and commissions.
‘The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both
abroad and here in the United States’, said the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, in a press
release published on 27 May 2015.12 ‘It spans at least two generations of soccer officials
who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes
and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues
and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial
rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support
for the game makes those rights valuable.’13
Private undue influence: the case of Brazil
The undue influence of marketing companies can also be seen in national federations,
with the case of Brazil providing a stark example. The CBF signed a secret contract with Saudi
Arabian investors – ISE, part of the DAG Group – giving the latter the full right to organise,
explore and benefit from over 100 games of the Brazilian national side until 2022.14 According
to the contract between the CBF and the DAG Group, ‘CBF gives to ISE the exclusive rights
to organize, host, commercialize and produce the games to be held around the world, including
in Brazil.’15
Accordingly, the investors, in search of immediate financial results, had the right to obligate
the coach to select a team that would be most attractive in terms of marketing. The contract
states that ‘any changes in the list [of players] will be communicated to ISE in written form and
confirmed by mutual consensus. In this case, the CBF will do its utmost to substitute the player
for a new one with the same level, regarding marketing value, technique and reputation.’16
This has significant consequences for the game, as it limits the ability of a manager to
prepare the next generation of stars and a competitive team for the future. Instead, he or she
will always have to play with the best and most popular athletes of that moment in time,
leaving no space for investing in younger players.
Conclusion
What the FBI investigation shows, and the secret contracts reveal, is that football was
kidnapped by business groups and the personal interests of a few for far too long. Breaking
this structure will require law enforcement intervention, though this may not be enough in
itself. As long as there are no clear rules inside and outside FIFA, no transparency in contracts
for sponsors, TV rights and commercial partners, the room for undue influence from business
interests will remain a threat to the sport.
Until there is reform, establishing clear guidelines for those who are elected to key positions
at FIFA, the entity will continue to operate as a private, non-transparent company. Until there
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Money, markets and private interests
are limits to the mandates of officials as presidents of local federations and international
organisations, FIFA will be no more than an instrument of ‘football oligarchs’, who will profit
by exploiting and manipulating the emotions of millions of fans around the world.
Notes
1 Jamil Chade is the European correspondent for the Brazilian newspaper O Estadão.
2 Financial Times (UK), ‘Sepp Blatter warns FIFA sponsors not to rebel’, 29 May 2015,
www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/47c4986c-062a-11e5-89c1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3f8YimKLQ.
3 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘History of FIFA: a new era’, www.fifa.
com/about-fifa/who-we-are/history/new-era.html.
4 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA: Financial Report 2014 (Zurich: FIFA,
2015), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/02/56/80/39/fr2014weben_
neutral.pdf.
5 Ibid.
6 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA: Financial Report 2006 (Zurich:
FIFA, 2007), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/51/52/65/2006_fifa_
ar_en_1766.pdf.
7 United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Indictment 15 CR 0252 (RJD)
(RML), 20 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/file/450211/download.
8 US Department of Justice, ‘Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives indicted
for racketeering conspiracy and corruption’, 27 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/
nine-fifa-officials-and-five-corporate-executives-indicted-racketeering-conspiracy-and.
9 United States District Court, Eastern District of New York (20 May 2015).
10Ibid.
11Ibid.
12 US Department of Justice (27 May 2015).
13Ibid.
14 O Estadão (Brazil), ‘Documentos mostram como a CBF “vendeu” a seleção Brasileira’,
16 May 2015, http://esportes.estadao.com.br/noticias/futebol,documentos-mostramcomo-a-cbf-vendeu-a-selecao-brasileira,1688813.
15 Article 3.1 of the CBF and DAG Group contract, dated 27 December 2011: see O Estadão
(16 May 2015).
16 Article 9.3 of the CBF and DAG Group contract: see O Estadão (16 May 2015).
2.2
Measuring the
United Kingdom’s
‘offshore game’
George Turner1
For many years the Tax Justice Network (TJN) has set out to research the effects of the
offshore financial industry on the world’s economic activity. The TJN’s view is that the secrecy
and tax avoidance services offered by what are commonly termed ‘tax havens’ are damaging
to the global economy. Secret financial flows create opportunities for money-laundering,
undermine democracy, weaken the nation state and distort economic activity.
One particular strand of the TJN’s work has been to quantify the size of the offshore
industry. In 2005 TJN published its first report, The Price of Offshore,2 which estimated that
some US$11.5 trillion was held offshore by high-net-worth individuals.
In 2012 the TJN revisited3 that study and found that between US$21 and US$32 billion
was held offshore. This was a conservative estimate, as it did not take into account real
estate, yachts and other high-value luxuries. To put the figure into some perspective, the
entire world produces around US$74 billion in goods and services every year.
Offshore in sport
Offshore financial flows are pervasive, and are found in every part of economic life. In the
United Kingdom, for instance, even tax inspectors offshored their own office space.4 Sport is
no different. For years high-earning sports stars have based themselves in tax havens such
as Monaco or Switzerland. Despite proudly displaying their national flag when competing,
they seem reluctant to share their wealth with their nation.
In the British professional football leagues, a total of 34 clubs are now owned by offshore
companies5 – no fewer than 25 per cent of the country’s professional football clubs. The TJN
decided to try to quantify the amount of offshore finance in professional football, and ranked
UK clubs in a league table that looked at both the amount of finance flowing into clubs from
offshore and the secrecy of the jurisdiction from which that finance came. Our study found
that, in total, around £3 billion (about US$4.8 billion) in finance is held by companies based
offshore,6 the vast majority in secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens such as the Cayman
Islands and the British Virgin Islands.7
It is important to be clear about what the TJN sets out to do. The project is not about
looking at foreign ownership or foreign people; the sole concern is with loans and shares held
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Money, markets and private interests
by companies based in offshore financial centres. Almost always these companies were
found to be shell companies that had no other purpose than to control the club. The ultimate
owners of these companies could be anywhere, including the United Kingdom.
A tale of two cities
Take, for example, Bolton Wanderers FC. The club, currently in the bottom half of England’s
second tier, has a history going back to 1874, when Bolton was a booming industrial town.
It was one of the 12 founding members of the Football League in 1888. Today the club is
controlled by Eddie Davies OBE, a local boy who found riches in the thermostat industry. His
children still live in Bolton, although Davies lives in the Isle of Man.
Davies does not actually own the club directly, however. Instead, ownership and finance
is routed through a series of tax havens. Burnden Leisure PLC, the UK holding company, is
owned by the Fildraw Trust in Bermuda. Most of the money comes in the form of loans from
a company called Moonshift Investments Ltd, which is rumoured to be in the British Virgin
Islands.8 The TJN could find no public record of the company registration. Although Davies
has a beneficial interest in Moonshift,9 the TJN could not establish whether or not he actually
owns or controls that company. This is something that should be of concern to fans, as the
club is entirely dependent on these offshore loans.
On the other hand, take Southampton FC, which is owned by Swiss industrial heiress
Katharina Liebherr. Liebherr owns the shares in her own name, and not through some offshore
finance company, as can be seen by the annual return of St Mary’s Football Group Limited.10
It is an interesting quirk of the offshore game that a woman from a notorious tax haven,
Switzerland, owns shares in a UK football club in her own name but, for whatever reason, the
owner of Bolton Wanderers, who actually comes from Bolton, owns the club through a trust
registered thousands of miles away in a Caribbean tax haven. One might well ask what
possible reason there could be for such an arrangement.
Only the Bolton case represents a risk in terms of financial secrecy, as somebody
owning shares in a UK company in his or her own name is as transparent a set-up as the TJN
could ask for.
What value in measuring the offshore game?
Although, of course, anyone could set up an anonymous offshore company in the British
Virgin Islands just for the fun of it, and simply owning an offshore company does not mean in
itself that anything illegal is going on, the TJN’s experience is that these companies have a
considerably higher risk of engaging in tax avoidance, money-laundering and other illicit
financial activity.
In sport there have been several high-profile cases. For example, in 2009 Birmingham City
FC was bought by Carson Yeung Ka Sing, a self-styled hairdresser turned businessman.
Yeung said that he had accumulated his vast wealth from some clever property investments
and stock market plays he had made using the profits from cutting the hair of the rich and
famous and playing baccarat in Macau.11 The company that he used to complete the
transaction, Grandtop International Holdings, was incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and
later changed its name to Birmingham International Holdings.
The Hong Kong police were sceptical, however, and started investigating the source of his
funds. In 2014 Yeung was given a six-year prison sentence for money laundering.12 It was
found that he was dealing in criminal proceeds on behalf of third parties. It is more than possible that the money that was used to pay for Birmingham City also came from these sources.
Measuring the United Kingdom’s ‘offshore game’ 107
Harmless financial fun?
When club directors get involved with dubious or, as some might say, ‘exotic’ financial
transactions it is not a victimless crime. Every week millions of people go to support their club
as a means of escaping from the grind of daily life. They pour their heart, soul and dreams into
their club. As the experience of Scottish club Rangers FC demonstrates, however, the use of
offshore structures can also place the entire existence of the club at risk.
The Glasgow-based club was advised that it could make significant savings on income tax
payments if it set up Jersey trusts on behalf of its players.13 The author of the scheme was tax
adviser Paul Baxendale-Walker (who would later leave the tax profession to star in adult
films).14 In order for the scheme to work, financial secrecy was key. The trusts had to be
independent of the club, and they did not report payments made to players to the football
league. Rangers’ management signed a number of private agreements, however, guaranteeing
that the trusts would make payments to the players. This allowed the club to pay the players
more, as they would not have to make tax payments.
Was this a good thing for the fans, who would see their club attract better players and
more success? No. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found out about the side letters and
challenged Baxendale-Walker’s tax structure, concluding that the Jersey trusts were simply
another way of paying a salary to the players, and therefore should be taxed as such. HMRC
landed the club with a large tax bill for back taxes – a tax bill that, because of the club’s
precarious finances, it could not pay. The club was put into administration and eventually
liquidated. The tax case still rolls on, and so far the company has won every stage, but HMRC
continues to appeal to higher courts.15 A new company was set up to continue the Rangers
tradition, but it had to enter at the bottom of the Scottish professional football league.
A risky business
Sport is big business. According to Deloitte, the 20 highest-earning clubs in the world earned,
between them, over €6 billion (approximately US$6.7 billion) in 2013/2014.16 The global
betting industry, including the unregulated Asian markets, is said to be worth over US$1
trillion.17 With these vast financial flows surrounding the game, there are huge opportunities
for a wide range of illicit financial transactions, from tax avoidance to bribery and corruption.
Whatever the reason a club or an owner may use an offshore structure, it is undoubtedly
the case that, on a structural level, running large amounts of money through lightly regulated,
secretive financial centres and tax havens increases the risk that things may go wrong. The
TJN’s report on the ‘offshore game’ provides just one indicator of the level of risk in sports
finance: the amount of offshore finance in club ownership. The disconcerting finding was that,
in the United Kingdom at least, the practice is widespread.
The well-documented problems with the offshore economy pose a real risk to the financial
health of clubs. In the interests of the game and the fans, isn’t it now time for football and
sporting authorities to take the issue of financial secrecy seriously?
Notes
1 George Turner is a writer and researcher for the Tax Justice Network, which is based in
Chesham, United Kingdom.
2 Tax Justice Network, The Price of Offshore, briefing paper (Chesham, UK: TJN, 2005),
www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Price_of_Offshore.pdf.
3 Tax Justice Network, The Price of Offshore Revisited (Chesham, UK: TJN, 2012), www.
taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Price_of_Offshore_Revisited_120722.pdf.
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Money, markets and private interests
4 Accountancy Age (UK), ‘MPs slam HMRC “business acumen” over offshore company deal’,
14 April 2010, www.accountancyage.com/aa/news/1808456/mps-slam-hmrc-businessacumen-offshore-company-deal.
5 See The Offshore Game (UK), ‘The offshore league’, www.theoffshoregame.net/theoffshore-league.
6 The Offshore Game (UK), ‘£3bn in the UK’s offshore football league’, 14 April 2015,
www.theoffshoregame.net/3bn-in-the-uks-offshore-football-league.
7 Tax Justice Network, The Offshore Game (Chesham, UK: TJN, 2015), www.theoffshore
game.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Final-Offshore-Game-Report.pdf.
8 Ibid., p. 25: ‘Online forums state that Moonshift is registered in the British Virgin Islands,
but the Offshore game team could not find any official record confirming this.’
9 Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Bolton Wanderers must avoid Premier League relegation to tackle
£110m debt’, 13 January 2012, www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/boltonwanderers/9014275/Bolton-Wanderers-must-avoid-Premier-League-relegation-totackle-110m-debt.html.
10 See Company Check (UK), ‘St Mary’s Football Group Limited’, http://companycheck.
co.uk/company/06951765/ST-MARYS-FOOTBALL-GROUP-LIMITED/group-structure#
shareholders.
11 Financial Times (UK), ‘Carson Yeung, club owner who reeled from rags to riches to rags’,
7 March 2014, www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0654a212-a5ed-11e3-9818-00144feab7de.html#
axzz3YuisjEIW.
12 See the Legal Reference System website of the Hong Kong government: http://legalref.
judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/search/search_result.jsp?isadvsearch=0&txtSearch=dccc860%
2F2011&vm=GO%21&txtselectopt=4&stem=1&selDatabase=JU&selDatabase= RS&sel
Database=RV&selDatabase=PD&selall=1&order=1&SHC=&page=1.
13 The Scotsman (UK), ‘The unravelling of Rangers’, 16 April 2011, www.scotsman.com/sport/
the-unravelling-of-rangers-1-1587442.
14 See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Baxendale-Walker.
15 BBC (UK), ‘HMRC granted leave to appeal Rangers tax case decision’, 27 August 2014,
www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-28957732.
16 Deloitte (UK), ‘Deloitte Football Money League 2015’, January 2015, www2.deloitte.com/uk/
en/pages/sports-business-group/articles/deloitte-football-money-league.html.
17 Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Football’s authorities fighting $1trillion crime wave powered by illegal
betting markets in Asia’, 4 February 2013, www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/international/
9848868/Footballs-authorities-fighting-1trillion-crime-wave-powered-by-illegal-bettingmarkets-in-Asia.html.
2.3
Unfit, improper ownership
in UK football clubs
Arjun Medhi1
Introduction
Money-laundering and the improper ownership of football clubs are considered among the
main threats to the integrity of sport.2 Money-laundering is a process whereby criminals
disguise their illicitly gained wealth so it appears as though it came from a legitimate source,
and in football it can involve multifaceted aspects.3 It is achieved through a variety of means,
notably manipulating club accounts by inflating income from ticket sales, buying empty
spectator seats, inventing a fake revenue stream and engaging in the development of property
near stadiums. The international market for transferring players can also be a vehicle for
money-laundering, as the overvaluation of a player is similar to the money-laundering protocol
of inflating invoices for goods and services.4 Another vehicle for money-laundering is the use
of tax havens and the ability to use front companies and shadow directors as football club
owners. Such fraud and corruption in football are frequently reported in the media, and they
involve and affect the wider community, jeopardising the game and its brand value.
Football clubs, especially when they are in debt, can be attractive targets for criminals
seeking to launder their dishonest income. Wealth and power are often not spread in football
clubs, unlike large businesses in other sectors, leaving clubs vulnerable to the actions of one
or two individuals. Football in the United Kingdom also lacks effective regulation, making it
easier for criminals to outflank the systems of the football business. As a result of these
factors, vulnerable clubs are more likely to accept (perhaps unwittingly) criminally laundered
money.5 Furthermore, when it is impossible to identify their actual owners or their source of
wealth, UK clubs are clearly at risk of being vehicles for money-laundering. This raises the
question as to why the country’s football sector (its authorities and, to some extent, its fans)
allows unidentified rich investors to own clubs.
Countering money-laundering and the illegal financing of clubs
There are various strategies available to counter money-laundering and the illegal financing of
football clubs. These include establishing codes of conducts, introducing whistleblowing
policies, setting up ethics committees, imposing sanctions, instituting training courses to
raise awareness of fraud and corruption and ensuring accounts and records are audited.
A key strategy the UK football authorities use to protect football from fraud and corruption,
however, is the fit and proper person test. There are three such tests for potential club owners
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Money, markets and private interests
and directors, each operated by the Premier League (known as the owners’ and directors’
test), the Football League and the Football Association (FA), for their respective leagues.
These tests aim to:
• prevent anyone who holds a criminal record from owning or directing a football club;
• protect football clubs from people who do not have the long-term business interests of
the club at heart; and
• prevent anyone who lacks integrity from becoming an owner or director of a club.
A potential owner or director who undergoes these tests will be disqualified if he or she is
found to have:
• an unspent criminal conviction of fraud or dishonesty, in the United Kingdom or overseas;
• been declared bankrupt;
• been declared unlawful to act as a director of a UK-registered company;
• been a director of a football club that was declared insolvent more than twice;
• been banned from a sport ruling committee, accredited association or other regulator;
• breached FA rules on betting; or
• been, or still is, on the register of sex offenders.
6
Questions have been raised about the validity of these tests, however. Given the substantial
amount of unreported fraud in the country, clubs can appoint fraudsters unwittingly.7 The
testing needs to check for spent convictions, expanding beyond the United Kingdom. If an
individual has been disqualified from being a company director, he or she may still be able to
purchase a club, given that it is possible to purchase a club through a company where it is
sometimes impossible to identify its owner. The tests should also check owners or directors
against any international data-sharing schemes and international media reports.
Most of these issues would be addressed if one were to open up a financial business
in the United Kingdom. For example, one of the previous owners of Portsmouth FC,
Vladimir Antonov, was considered a fit and proper person by the Football League even
though the UK financial regulator would not allow Antonov’s business to trade in the country
(Antonov’s business failed to provide the necessary information required by the UK financial
regulator).8 There is insufficient information to know why the Football League allowed
Antonov to own a UK football club when he was not allowed even to trade his financial
services business in the country. Generally, leagues do not disclose information pertaining to
fit and proper person tests in the public domain, and release information only when someone
fails the test.9
Three people, so far, are known to have failed the test: (1) Dennis Coleman was twice
declared insolvent and was not allowed to be the director of Rotherham United;10 (2) Stephen
Vaughan, the previous owner of Chester City FC, failed the test and was forced by the
Football Association to reduce his shareholdings because of involvement in a £500,000
(US$840,000) VAT fraud;11 and (3) Louis Tomlinson, a member of the successful pop music
group One Direction, failed along with a co-investor to pass the test and become a co-owner
of Doncaster Rovers.12
Several owners and directors who are alleged to have committed fraud and corruption
have passed the test without explanation, however. Thaksin Shinawatra, a business tycoon
and former prime minister of Thailand, passed the Premier League’s fit and proper person test
to own Manchester City FC in 2007. Shinawatra had been ousted as prime minister in a
Unfit, improper ownership in UK football 111
military coup the previous year, following allegations of corruption and human rights violations,
and he was later charged with corruption and his assets of some £800 million (around US$1.2
billion) stored in Thai banks were frozen.13 Despite this, and being criticised by Human Rights
Watch, Amnesty International and Transparency International,14 the Manchester City board of
directors and the Premier League allowed Shinawatra to become the owner of a football club.
It is believed that Shinawatra passed the test because he had not been criminally convicted;
moreover, Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, proclaimed that the
League was unable to prevent an individual who faced criminal charges from an unelected
military government from owning a club.15 Shinawatra was eventually sentenced for corruption
by a democratically elected government in Thailand, and there is a warrant for his arrest.16
Although he had promised long-term investment in Manchester City, in 2008 he sold the club
to Abu Dhabi United Group, making a profit of some £20 million (around US$30 million) in
just over a year.17 The fit and proper person test should consider disqualification of an
individual from owning or directing a football club if he or she is subject to a fraud or corruption
investigation or prosecution anywhere in the world.
Another possible mechanism for countering money-laundering of football clubs is the
Financial Fair Play rule, introduced in 2013 by the Union of European Football Associations
(UEFA). The rule is a directive to football clubs to operate their business so as to break even.
This rule therefore restricts spending at football clubs, which should make it less easy, and
therefore less attractive, to launder money through football. It is not clear, however, whether
this is being properly enforced, as money-laundering involves disguising financial flows.
To bypass Financial Fair Play regulations and to encourage dishonest investment, creative
accounting techniques are required, such as inflating assets (for example, players, stadiums
and properties) and hiding liabilities.
Recommendations for reform
Although information on the application of the fit and proper person test is not in the public
domain, it is uncertain whether these tests are broad enough to protect football clubs. There
is no evidence that they verify the source of a prospective owner’s wealth, which is one of the
most important financial checks for countering money-laundering.
The United Kingdom has strong money-laundering regulations, and, as a result, organised
criminals are deterred from laundering their wealth through the country’s banking sector.18
Accordingly, some features of the financial sector’s regime should be extended to football.
The UK banking sector focuses on prevention, and an effective prevention strategy can be
underpinned by enhanced vetting. This could be incorporated into the fit and proper person
tests. Enhanced vetting involves a combination of objective and subjective checks, which
would also help to prevent fraudsters and corrupt individuals from entering the market and
to detect money-laundering at an early stage. Therefore, the fit and proper person and the
owners’ and directors’ tests should be expanded.
As with anti-money-laundering and enhanced vetting procedures, the tests must
incorporate:
• substantiated identity checking of owners, directors and other key senior staff;
• establishing the owner’s source of wealth, through the use of forensic accountants;
• for foreign investors, conducting checks against politically exposed person (PEP)
databases (PEPs are individuals, including their associates/family, who are entrusted with
a prominent public function by a country other than the United Kingdom, the European
Union or another international body);19
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Money, markets and private interests
• conducting checks with information-sharing schemes, nationally and internationally, with
other football authorities and with law enforcement authorities;
• considering checks with information-sharing schemes about individuals currently being
investigated for fraud or corruption;
• considering internet searches, bearing in mind that the results would need to be verified;
• conducting ethics and honesty checks (involving, for example, Amnesty International and
Transparency International); and
• carrying out a face-to-face meeting with the potential owner.
Given the lack of transparency in the football sector, the risk of corruption at UK football clubs
is high. Although an enhanced vetting strategy might deter money-launderers, further research
into the vetting strategies adopted in other sports sectors and other business sectors is
critical. Every effort needs to be made to try to ensure that only fit and proper persons own
and run football clubs in the United Kingdom.
Notes
1 Arjun Medhi is Technical and Development Manager at the UK’s Chartered Institute for
Public Finance and Accountancy.
2 Oxford Research, Examination of Threats to the Integrity of Sports (Frederiksberg, Denmark:
Oxford Research, 2010), p. 15, www.eusportsplatform.eu/Files/Filer/examination%20of%20
threats%20to%20sports%20integrity.pdf.
3 Financial Action Task Force (France), ‘What is money laundering?’, www.fatf-gafi.org/pages/
faq/moneylaundering.
4 Transparency International, ‘Sport’, www.transparency.org/topic/detail/sport; Graham
Johnson, Football and Gangsters: How Organised Crime Controls the Beautiful Game
(Edinburgh: Mainstream, 2006), p. 199; Financial Action Task Force, Money Laundering
through the Football Sector (Paris: FATF, 2009), pp. 15, 20, 21, www.fatf-gafi.org/media/
fatf/documents/reports/ML%20through%20the%20Football%20Sector.pdf.
5 Financial Action Task Force (2009); Johnson (2006); John Beech, ‘Written evidence
submitted by Dr John Beech, head of sport and tourism, Applied Research Centre for
Sustainable Regeneration, Coventry University (FG69)’, in House of Commons Culture,
Media and Sport Committee, Football Governance: Written Evidence – at 28 March 2011
(London: The Stationery Office, 2011), www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/
cmselect/cmcumeds/writev/792/792we.pdf.
6 Sean Hamil and Geoff Walters, ‘Financial performance in English professional football:
“An inconvenient truth”’, Soccer and Society, vol. 11 (2010), p. 355; Rachel Baird, Andrew
Hogg, Nick Mathiason and Alex Cobham, Blowing the Whistle: Time’s Up for Financial
Secrecy (London: Christian Aid, 2010), p. 10; All Party Parliamentary Football Group, English
Football and Its Governance (London: Thales, 2009), p. 2, www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/
sites/default/files/contentfiles/apfg_report_on_english_football_its_governance_april_20091.
pdf; Supporters Direct, Developing Football Regulation to Encourage Supporter Community
Ownership in Football (London: Supporters Direct, 2011), p. 25, www.supporters-direct.org/
wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Developing-Football-Regulation-to-Encourage-SupporterCommunity-Ownership-in-Football-Briefing-2.pdf; Geoff Walters and Sean Hamil,
‘Ownership and governance’, in Simon Chadwick and Sean Hamil (eds), Managing
Football: An International Perspective (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2010), p. 27.
7 City of London Police, ‘Tightening the net’, www.cityoflondon.police.uk/advice-and-support/
fraud-and-economic-crime/nfib/nfib-news/Pages/Tightening-the-net.aspx.
8 Baltic Times (Latvia), ‘Snoras barred from the UK’, 11 February 2009, www.baltictimes.com/
news/articles/22305.
Unfit, improper ownership in UK football 113
9 Baird et al. (2010), p. 14.
10Ibid.
11Ibid.; Guardian (UK), ‘Chester City chief becomes first owner to fail fit and proper person
test’, 18 November 2009, www.theguardian.com/football/2009/nov/18/chester-city-fitproper-person-test.
12 Guardian (UK), ‘One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson “misled” as Doncaster takeover bid fails’,
18 July 2014, www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jul/18/one-direction-louis-tomlinsonmisled-doncaster-takeover-john-ryan.
13 Walters and Hamil (2010); Football Supporters’ Federation, ‘Written evidence submitted by
the Football Supporters’ Federation (FG37)’, in House of Commons Culture, Media and
Sport Committee (2011).
14 BBC (UK), ‘A fit and proper Premiership?’, 31 July 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/
football/teams/m/man_city/6918718.stm; Guardian (UK), ‘City blinded by money in
race to bind Thais’, 23 May 2007, www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2007/may/23/
cityblindedbymoneyinrace.
15 Walters and Hamil (2010).
16Ibid.
17Ibid., pp. 27–28, citing The Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Soap opera involving Thaksin Shinawatra
and Manchester City damaging our game’, 12 August 2008, www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/
football/teams/manchester-city/2542658/Soap-opera-involving-Thaksin-Shinawatra-andManchester-City-damaging-our-game-Football.html; Football Supporters’ Federation (2011).
18 Jackie Johnson and Desmond Lim, ‘Money laundering: has the Financial Action Task Force
made a difference?’, Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 10 (2002).
19 Financial Services Authority, Bank’s Management of High Money-Laundering Risk
Situations: How Banks Deal with High-Risk Customers (Including Politically Exposed
Persons), Correspondent Banking Relationships and Wire Transfers (London: FSA, 2011),
p. 16, www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/fsa-aml-final-report.pdf.
2.4
Agents and beyond
Corruption risks in the football
transfer market and the need
for reform
Raffaele Poli1
Agents are at the heart of the transfer and labour market of football players. Among many
responsibilities, agents represent both clubs and players within the context of contract or
transfer negotiations, they deal with players’ image rights and they carry out scouting tasks
on behalf of clubs.
The main corruption issues with regard to agents in football are related to the misuse
of the transfer system by the different actors involved, both within and outside club structures, as a source of personal financial benefit. The key mechanism is the payment of
commission fees to agents upon the transfer of a player, which are then kicked back to
the different stakeholders, in particular originating club officials and owners, with whom the
agents collaborate.
Given the considerable amount of profits to be made, sports directors, scouts, coaches,
club shareholders and agents often have a financial interest in transferring more players
and for more money, even if doing so is detrimental to the financial health of the club. The
prevalence of vested interests in the football transfer market provides a stark picture of
the poor financial situation of many clubs around the world.
Data from the Transfer Matching System (TMS) of the Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) shows that expenditure for international transfers reached new highs
during the two last calendar years: US$3.98 billion in 2013 and US$4.06 billion in 2014.
Meanwhile, commission fees paid to intermediaries acting on behalf of clubs alone went up
from US$218 million in 2013 (5.5 per cent of total transfer expenditure) to US$236 million in
2014 (5.8 per cent of total transfer expenditure).2
Beyond commission fees for representing clubs, dominant agents also earn considerable
amounts of money by representing players. According to a report prepared by the Centre
international d’étude du sport (CIES),3 the yearly turnover of football intermediaries is above
€400 million (around US$450 million) in Europe alone. Moreover, powerful intermediaries with
the best connections are increasingly benefiting from transfer revenues, whether through
personal entitlement to shares of deals or as advisers to investment funds and companies
active in the third-party ownership business.4
Agents and the need for reform 115
Market concentration
As in other industries, the representation market in football is a business based on relationships,
with trust playing a crucial role. This raises crucial issues with regard to opaque arrangements
between business partners, corruption, unfair competition and market concentration based
on privileged relations.
According to the CIES report,5 in June 2011 694 individual agents – whether licensed or
not6 – or companies represented the 1,945 players employed by the clubs of the five major
European leagues7 for whom the authors were able to collect the relevant information. This
represents nearly three-quarters of all footballers in the ‘Big Five’ leagues. As illustrated
in Figure 2.1, the study also indicates that 50 per cent of the players were clients of
83 individual agents or agencies, and one-quarter of footballers were represented by only
24 of them. This clearly shows the high level of concentration in the representation market
of top league footballers.
From the perspective of market concentration, it is useful to recall that in June 2011 there
were more than 2,400 licensed agents domiciled in the countries hosting the ‘Big Five’
European leagues. This figure is much greater if we also include people acting as intermediaries
without the possession of a licence delivered by a national association, as well as lawyers and
players’ relatives.
The CIES report also highlights the existence of strong entry barriers to intermediaries
aspiring to work in the representation market for top league players. According to a survey of
licensed agents in the ‘Big Five’ leagues carried out for the report, the existence of established
agents dominating the market is considered to be an important hurdle for newcomers.8
Figure 2.1 Percentage of individual agents or agencies (entities) with clients in the ‘Big Five’ leagues according to the
percentage of players represented (2010–2011 season).
Source: CIES Football Observatory, Football Agents in the Biggest Five European Football Markets: An Empirical Research Report (Neuchâtel: Centre international d’étude du
sport, 2012), p. 17.
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Money, markets and private interests
The European Commission (EC) attempted to increase competition by facilitating agents’
ability to obtain licences through national associations, which was put into practice by FIFA
with the entry into force of a regulation on agents in 2001.9 This has fallen short of achieving
the EC’s and FIFA’s desired impact10 of a more accessible representation business, however.
FIFA’s recent efforts to no longer require licences for agents will hardly change the situation.
While more people will be able to be recognised as legitimate intermediaries, those who hold
the closest relationships with club officials will maintain their hold on the market.
In addition, the direct involvement of the most influential agents in deals entitling them or
other parties to shares of transfer revenues or as advisers of investment funds or companies
active in this business aggravates ‘cartelisation’ concerns, and leads to an institutionalisation
of the conflict of interest as the modus operandi in the transfer market. In fact, there are
investment funds and companies that collaborate on a regular basis with a small group of
intermediaries who maintain strong ties with clubs and their shareholders. These dominant
networks are exercising increasing control over footballers and clubs.11 This increases the
risks of insider trading, collusion and kickbacks, and gives dominant actors and networks
even more leverage over outsiders. As in all economic sectors, this oligopolistic position is
indeed advantageous; specifically in football, it drives up transfer costs for players, generates
ever greater profits and consolidates control of the market.
Transfer system reform
The corruption risks related to the role of football agents should be tackled from a holistic
perspective. Notably, the role played by team officials and shareholders within the context of
poor corporate governance at club level should be taken into account. To be effective, any
action with regard to agents should take into consideration the vested interests between the
multiple actors involved in the transfer market of football players.
Comprehensive reform is needed to move away from the speculative view of the transfer
market, which has gained ground during the last 20 years. The key objective should be to
make the transfer system better suited to fulfil the purpose for which it was first implemented
and has since been adapted: for contractual stability, the promotion of training and
development and fair income distribution. An efficient measure to accomplish this would be
to entitle each team that a player passes through to compensation for all transfers involving
the payments of fees that later take place over the course of that player’s career. This could
be done on a pro rata basis, according to the number of official matches played at the
club. In the current situation, the contribution to clubs that developed players is limited to
5 per cent of any transfer fee.
As an example, take footballer A, who begins as a professional in club X, playing
75 matches there before being transferred to club Y. After 25 games with club Y, the player
transfers to club Z. In the event of a ‘fee-paying’ transfer to club Z, club X is entitled to 75 per
cent of the transfer fee, regardless of club Y already having paid a fee to sign the player from
club X. In this scenario, obligations for increased transparency – including open negotiations,
expert valuation, compulsory disclosure, sporting and financial sanctions for non-compliance
– will be very important as a means of preventing the possibility of club Y hiding from club X
the real deal arranged with club Z. This would allow football governing bodies to ensure
that transfer incomes are evenly distributed throughout the whole chain of teams that have
contributed to players’ development.
With regard to contractual stability, this reform would ensure that clubs receive
compensation even if the player leaves at the end of his or her contract. This could also
enable teams to more easily afford hanging onto their best players for longer periods, and
salary inflation might also be better kept in check.12 This reform could also have a promising
Agents and the need for reform 117
impact on development and training, making investments in clubs or youth academies more
interesting from a financial standpoint. Importantly, training clubs would receive substantial
money in the event of a second, third or subsequent fee-paying transfer, which are generally
the most profitable. This should incentivise current or new club shareholders to invest in the
training of players instead of disproportionately speculating on specific talents from a shortterm profit maximisation perspective, with no real contribution to the smooth development of
football, as it is often the case currently.
The reform would also be beneficial from an income distribution perspective. Although the
wealthiest clubs, in their quest for success, will probably continue to spend huge amounts of
money to sign players, their investments would be split more evenly throughout the whole
chain of clubs that have developed them.
The increased guidance and control resulting from the proposed reform would help to
address the corruption risks related to agents in the transfer market. Although it would not
resolve all the concerns arising from the prevalence of vested interests in the transfer market,
it would help return the system towards the critical principles underlying its creation and
existence: contract stability, the reward of training and fair income distribution.
Notes
1 Raffaele Poli is the co-founder and head of the Football Observatory of the Centre
international d’étude du sport, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
2 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘International transfers break $4bn mark:
FIFA TMS Annual Report’, media release, 28 January 2015, www.fifa.com/governance/
news/y=2015/m=1/news=international-transfers-break-4bn-mark-fifa-tms-annual-report2512285.html.
3 Raffaele Poli and Giambattista Rossi, Football Agents in the Biggest Five European Football
Markets: An Empirical Research Report (Neuchâtel: Centre international d’étude du sport,
2012), www.football-observatory.com/IMG/pdf/report_agents_2012-2.pdf.
4 In this regard, see Asser International Sports Law blog, ‘Blog symposium: third-party
entitlement to shares of transfer fees – problems and solutions’, 15 April 2015, www.asser.
nl/SportsLaw/Blog/post/blog-symposium-third-party-entitlement-to-shares-of-transferfees-problems-and-solutions-by-dr-raffaele-poli-head-of-cies-football-observatory.
5 Poli and Rossi (2012).
6 In 1994 FIFA introduced a requirement for individuals to obtain a licence in order to officially
operate as agents. This required no tests, but the payment of CHF 100,000 (approximately
US$70,000). In a 2001 reform to open the market, tests, conducted by the national
associations under FIFA guidance, were required to obtain a licence. Lawyers and players’
relatives could also operate as agents. Non-licensed agents continued to be present in the
market. Various additional regulations exist in each country. In April 2015 FIFA abolished
its guidance on and control of the licensing system. Each national association is now
responsible for the development of its own regulatory framework regarding agents,
following FIFA’s minimum requirements.
7 The so-called ‘Big Five’ leagues include the English Premier League, the Spanish Liga, the
German Bundesliga, the Italian Serie A and the French Ligue 1.
8 Poli and Rossi (2012).
9 See endnote 6.
10 Stanislas Frenkiel, Une histoire des agents sportifs en France: Les imprésarios du football
(1979–2014) (Neuchâtel: Centre international d’étude du sport, 2014).
11 For further information on the role of investment funds and third-party ownership, see the
following two chapters.
12 As many clubs transfer players to avoid their leaving for free, or, alternatively, they are obliged
to pay them significantly increased salaries to persuade them to extend their contracts, the
reform would help limit salary inflation.
2.5
Third-party ownership
of football players
Human beings or traded assets?
Jonas Baer-Hoffmann1
Today, it’s shameful to see some players with one of their arms belonging to one person,
a leg belonging to a funds pension located who knows where, and a third person
owning his foot. It is shameful; we’re dealing with a type of slavery that belongs to
the past.2
UEFA president Michel Platini
The grip of third-party owners of economic rights in the transfers of footballers between
clubs worldwide has grown stronger in recent years, increasing economic and legal risks
and inviting corrupt behaviour and conflicts of interest. The three letters ‘TPO’ have come to
symbolise the commercial exploitation of sporting talent and the ever-growing trend of profit
maximisation in the transfer market for football players. Third-party ownership is considered
a risk so significant to players, clubs and football’s integrity that a global ban was imposed by
the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which is now subject to legal
challenge in the courts and at the European Commission (EC). This legal battle is a stand-off
between those who seek reform and those benefiting from a non-transparent transfer market
that is worth billions and is open to corruption.
Background
TPO is operated in different models around the world, but in the European markets arises in
the following rough scenario.
• A football club needs money, usually for the ‘acquisition’ of new employees (players), or
sometimes for other projects in a drive to boost competitiveness.
• A third party – an agent, investment fund or other entity – provides the club with the
required money.
• In return, this third party does not receive a typical commercial value (such as a
sponsorship) or a guarantee on the club’s infrastructure, but ‘acquires’ the partial or
complete rights to the fee the club will receive in the future for transferring the employee
to a new club.3
Third-party ownership of football players 119
The interest of the third-party investor is obvious: maximising his or her return on investment
via the transfer of the player to another club during the duration of his or her contract at
the maximum transfer fee, in the shortest possible timeframe. The risks of collusion and
sharing in undue financial kickbacks between agents, club managers and investors are high.
The football player, who at least in Europe is usually not party to these agreements and
is often not even aware of such agreements,4 thereby becomes the asset in an investment
agreement, while his or her rights as a citizen and worker are at risk.
The emergence of TPO has led to an intense political struggle5 – and, more recently, a legal
battle6 – about the impact, causes and prohibition of TPO. Proponents of TPO view it as a
regular investment policy, benefiting clubs’ competitiveness in a market of growing financial
disparity; these are mainly TPO investment funds (such as Doyen Sports Group), agents and
certain clubs deeply invested in TPO funding models.7 The fight to remove TPO is based on
concerns about infringements of human rights and labour rights, general threats to the
integrity of competitions and negative medium- and long-term economic consequences,
which have been characterised as setting clubs in a vicious cycle of debt and speculation.8
The trade unions representing professional football players are natural opponents of TPO,
and find support from FIFA and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Labour relations in professional football
Comprehending TPO requires an understanding of the very specific nature of the football
labour and transfer market system. In professional sport, the workforce of a club or franchise
is the most valuable asset of the employer, not only because of the labour the workforce
provides but also because of its image and intellectual property rights, which are of immense
importance to safeguard the main revenue streams – broadcasting, sponsorship and
merchandise, as well as gate receipts.9 On the other hand, having the freedom to offer their
services on the labour market is the key for athletes to maximise their salary income in what
is often a short-lived and precarious career.
Consequently, the history of collective labour relations in professional sport has been
marked by a struggle for freedom of movement and free agency on the part of the players,
against restrictive rules – such as retain and transfer systems, the reserve clause, salary caps,
etc. – that help to exert control over this workforce, and its pay, for clubs’ owners and
management.10 Prior to the 1995 ‘Bosman ruling’ of the European Court of Justice, a player,
even after the end of his or her employment relationship, depended on an agreement and
compensation payment between the former and future employers in order to have his or her
player licence transferred, and thereby being cleared to play. The Court recognised this as an
infringement of freedom of movement, permitting players to move to another club at the end
of a contract without a transfer fee being paid to the previous club.11
A subsequent investigation by the European Commission into specific labour market
regulations of football culminated in an informal agreement via an exchange of letters between
Mario Monti, the competition commissioner, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2001.12 This
agreement settled a long dispute between the Commission and football’s international
federations, and, while its legal status remains questionable, it established the basis on which
the current transfer system operates:
• A system of training compensation aligned with the movement of young players to reward
their training by the home club, as well as a solidarity mechanism to the same effect.
• The creation of two limited periods per year (transfer windows) during which transfers
of players are exclusively allowed.
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Money, markets and private interests
• Minimum and maximum duration of contracts of, respectively, one and five years.
• A protected period during which the unilateral breach of an employment contract is
subject to a sporting sanction, which in the case of the player equals a ban on
participating in matches.
• Breaches of contracts to be exclusively possible at the end of a season.
• A system of financial compensation for unilateral contractual breaches by clubs or
players.
• The creation of an arbitration system in which members are chosen equally by clubs
and players with an independent chairman, including an appeals body; such arbitration
is voluntary and does not prevent recourse to national courts.13
From the perspective of the players’ unions around the world, the implementation and
application of this agreement has failed football on various levels, and it continues to impose
an imbalance of power between the vast majority of players and their clubs while limiting
the application of general workers’ protections.14 It has also facilitated and sustained
widespread abusive practices, such as delayed or withheld salary payments and players
becoming trapped with clubs that are acting in bad faith, and has encouraged business
models such as TPO.
As a result, despite the Bosman ruling and the EC intervention, football continues to
operate as a market in which players and their labour are traded assets.
The relevance of TPO
This particular set of market mechanisms, paired with the accelerating commercial expansion
of football (2014’s US$4.1 billion in transfer compensations was the highest to date),15 has
opened the floodgates and attracted third parties seeking to exploit this opaque and at times
seemingly irrational industry. It is not surprising that such a market is subject to criminal activities such as money-laundering and trafficking, as recognised by the Financial Action Task
Force (FATF) in a 2009 report on the football industry.16 Long before TPO was a topic of public
debate the FATF concluded that
money laundering . . . through the football sector is revealed to be deeper and more
complex than previously understood . . . [with] a variety of money flows and/or financial
transactions . . . related to the ownership of football clubs or players, the transfer
market, betting activities, image rights and sponsorship or advertising arrangements.
Other cases show that the football sector is also used as a vehicle for perpetrating
various other criminal activities such as trafficking in human beings, corruption, drugs
trafficking (doping) and tax offences.17
The underlying philosophy and mentality in much of professional sport is one of short-term
success – the next match is in a few days, relegation or promotion are only weeks away –
and, in the absence of sustainable revenue-sharing structures, poor performances and
rankings can throw a club into a cycle of declining revenue and non-competitiveness. While
the highest payroll does not guarantee a title, competitiveness in professional football is
known to have a close correlation with expenditure on wages.18
The threshold to compete for the best players is based not only on the capacity to pay
wages over the course of a contract, but also on the ability to pay a large up-front transfer fee.
Clubs can therefore turn to high-risk budget management strategies and speculative
Third-party ownership of football players 121
investment models, such as TPO, in attempts to accelerate their sporting performance by
‘doping’ their financial capacity.
Although reliable data on TPO agreements are hard to come by, two recent studies
commissioned by FIFA and the European Clubs Association, an association of some 200
leading professional football clubs across Europe,19 projected that the market share of players
under TPO in all European leagues is between 3.7 per cent and 5.7 per cent, and the value
of third-party investments is between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of players’ market value.20
This amounts to an estimated US$359.52 million per season in transfer compensation. Of the
total amount of transfer compensation appropriated by third parties, 97.3 per cent concerns
European or South American releasing clubs.21
Effects of TPO
Investment by a third party with a purely commercial interest in the maximised transfer
of an individual player has the potential to undermine players’ fundamental freedoms to
move freely, choose their employer or even decide to enter a new career path. By
contrast, TPO supporters invoke the argument that investors could never blatantly
interfere with employment decisions, as, without the agreement of the current employer
and the player, no contract can be terminated and no transfer agreement made. While
this statement may hold true on paper, one of the most relevant objections concerns
the amount of freedom that the player and the current club have in giving or withholding their
consent.
There exists a public misconception about the negotiating power of players vis-à-vis their
current and possible future employers. The vast majority of non-‘superstar’ professional
players from the ‘secondary market’ offer their services to a limited number of clubs, so the
number of buyers (clubs) is small but the number of sellers (players) is large.22 Large parts of
the football industry are also prone to labour contract abuse and discriminative practices,
including the late payment or non-payment of salaries, harassment, violence and discrimination
in the workplace.23 A player’s career is short and precarious. Strong competition between
players means that market value has to be continuously established, and any period of nonperformance may limit football players’ future employment opportunities. Thus these players
can be very vulnerable to management’s power, and their consent can be forced.
Likewise, employing clubs can lose their decision-making freedom via TPO agreements.
Analysis of the few accessible TPO agreements shows the dominant position of third-party
owners, assigning them direct or indirect powers regarding employment decisions at the
club,24 including fines or extended ownership rights if a club extends a player’s employment
contract or fails to transfer a player by a certain date or for a certain value.
The risks of corruption are further increased with the commonly understood involvement
of some player agents, who are deeply engaged in TPO. Conflicts of interests are inevitable if
an agent who represents a player or a club in labour negotiations is at the same time financially
invested in the value of such agreements. The best personal choice of the player may very
well not be the most profitable for the agent. It therefore seems clear that third-party investors
can and do possess power over labour-related decisions, and thereby limit players’ freedom
of movement and undermine existing contracts.
TPO also affects the economic sustainability of football. Although TPO investments could
add further resources, these amounts plus interest are later withdrawn, while the clubs remain
reliant on the continued supply of such external funds to maintain their business models and
their sporting competitiveness. TPO also has the potential to affect the sporting integrity of
football. Controlling the rights of a network of players could provide third-party owners with
the ability to directly impact game performance. Such power has repeatedly been cited by the
122
Money, markets and private interests
Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionels (FIFPro) and UEFA
as a credible threat in terms of match-fixing.25
Finally, recent revelations about corruption scandals in and around FIFA have led to the
indictment, and guilty plea, of José Hawilla,26 the owner and founder of Traffic Group
(a multinational sports marketing conglomerate), who is reported to have detailed to US
authorities his central role in a bribery scheme of more than US$100 million in the acquisition
of commercial rights related to major sporting competitions.27 While no connection has been
established to these activities, it is worth noting that Traffic Group has been one of the leading
TPO investors in the South American market.28
The regulatory response
In September 2014 FIFA’s Executive Committee decided to impose a stringent prohibition of
TPO, and in December that year adopted an amendment to the FIFA Regulations on the
Status and Transfer of Players along the following principles:29
• TPO, under a more stringent definition then previously, was to be banned as of 1 May
2015;
• existing TPO agreements signed before 2015 would remain in force until their ordinary
contractual expiry;
• between January and April 2015 new TPO agreements could be signed with a maximum
duration of one year after the interdiction; and
• all existing TPO agreements were to be uploaded and disclosed by the clubs
participating in the FIFA Transfer Matching System.
Within weeks of this decision FIFA Circular 1464 (which encompassed this ban), as well as
existing domestic TPO bans,30 were the subject of legal challenges based on EU competition
law and EU internal market grounds by the football leagues in Spain and Portugal, where
the practice has been quite widespread, and by Doyen Sports, one of the more prominent
TPO providers, in front of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition
and in domestic courts in France and Belgium.31 In parallel, convinced of the inherent
illegality of TPO agreements on the grounds of human rights, workers’ rights, competition law
and EU internal market freedoms, a ‘counter’-complaint was jointly filed with the European
Commission in an unprecedented move by FIFPro and UEFA.32 At the time of writing it remains
to be seen which side will obtain the upper hand.
Those opposing the ban on third-party ownership present two central arguments. The first
is that TPO should be regulated rather than banned, in order to allow a continued yet regulated
supply of funding to clubs. It is very likely, however, that a formal acceptance of regulated
TPO would spread the practice, which is dominant only in certain regions at present, to other
markets, and therefore possibly lead to an overall growth in what FIFPro and UEFA view as,
in its very essence, an infringement of the fundamental rights of players. Moreover, football in
various other areas, such as agents and general labour relations, has shown a marked inability
to manage such regulations effectively.
The second defence of TPO is as a means to counter a growing financial and sporting
disparity between clubs. This speaks to an important problem of the growing financial preeminence of a small group of elite clubs in Europe, for which TPO seems an unsuitable and
ineffective intervention. Other responses that do not target the labour market, impact the
fundamental freedoms of players or carry such significant risks of corruption, but that allow a
Third-party ownership of football players 123
greater range of clubs, players and fans to share in the undeniable prosperity of the football
industry, should be identified.
Conclusion
While the legal arguments about third-party ownership are being exchanged in the courts
and in front of the European institutions, the media and the court of public opinion, it needs
to be realised that TPO, significant as it is in its own right, is a symptom and a symbol
of a larger malaise. Poor governance standards and an industry in which labour is a
commodity of trade have created the breeding ground for many of football’s most severe
problems. In addition to exorbitant agent fees, the non-payment of salaries, match-fixing,
money-laundering and the trafficking of minors, TPO corrupts labour relations in football
for the gain of private third entities, establishes conflicts of interest and may further other
financial crimes.
Ultimately, a meaningful reform of the culture and governance of football must put
individual rights and freedoms over commercial and power-driven self-interests, achieve
financial transparency and establish strong checks and balances and resilience against
corruption.
Notes
1 Jonas Baer-Hoffmann is the director policy of FIFPro Division Europe.
2 Reuters, ‘Platini delighted soccer’s “modern-day slavery” is ending’, 16 March 2015,
http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/03/16/soccer-platini-tpo-idINKBN0MC1B220150316.
3 This is the general model in the European market; a slightly different principle applies in the
South American market, which is explained in the next chapter of this report.
4 Daily Mail (UK), ‘Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala reveals he was clueless to
investment firm ownership during Porto spell’, 31 August 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/
football/article-2739023/Manchester-City-s-Eliaquim-Mangala-reveals-clueless-splitownership.html.
5 Reuters, ‘Platini makes plea to FIFA to ban third party owners’, 27 March 2014,
www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/27/us-soccer-uefa-congress-platini-idUSBREA2Q
0AX20140327.
6 Union of European Football Associations, ‘UEFA and FIFPro launch complaint against
third-party ownership’, 1 April 2015, www.uefa.org/stakeholders/players-unions/news/
newsid=2230203.html; ESPN (US), ‘Doyen Sports to challenge FIFA ban on third-party
ownership in court: report’, 18 March 2015, www.espnfc.com/story/2354720/
doyen-sports-challenges-fifa-transfer-third-party-ownership-ban-french-court-report.
7 Leaders in Sport (UK), ‘Daniel Lorenz, FC Porto: third-party ownership: a major source of
revenue’, 17 February 2015, www.leadersinsport.com/insight/business/226/daniel-lorenzfc-porto.
8 Centre international d’étude du sport and Centre de droit et d’économie du sport, Research
on Third Party Ownership of Players’ Economic Rights (Neuchâtel: Centre international
d’étude du sport, 2014).
9 Union of European Football Associations, Licensed to Thrill: Benchmarking Report on the
Clubs Qualified and Licensed to Compete in the UEFA Competition Season 2013/14 (Nyon,
Switzerland: UEFA, 2013), p. 35, www.uefa.org/MultimediaFiles/Download/Tech/uefaorg/
General/01/99/91/07/1999107_DOWNLOAD.pdf.
10 Beyond the Box Score (US), ‘Marvin Miller and how free agency came to baseball, part 1’,
24 November 2008, www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2008/11/24/668999/marvin-millerand-the-how.
124
Money, markets and private interests
11 Wall Street Journal (US), ‘Bosman still struggling with ruling that rewards soccer’s free
agents’, 2 July 2014, www.wsj.com/articles/the-jean-marc-bosman-ruling-benefitedsoccers-free-agents-but-the-man-himself-is-still-struggling-1404327335.
12 European Commission, ‘Commission closes investigations into FIFA regulations on
international football transfers’, press release, 5 June 2002, http://europa.eu/rapid/
press-release_IP-02-824_en.htm.
13 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Regulations on the Status and Transfer
of Players (Zurich: FIFA, 2007), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/
regulations_on_the_status_and_transfer_of_players_en_33410.pdf.
14 Fédération Internationale des Associations Footballeurs Professionnels, ‘FIFPro announces
legal challenge to transfer system’, press release, 17 December 2013, www.fifpro.org/en/
news/fifpro-announces-legal-challenge-to-transfer-system.
15 FIFA Transfer Matching System, Global Transfer Market Report 2015 (Zurich: FIFA TMS,
2015), www.fifatms.com/Global/Testimonials/Gtm/Preview-GTM15.pdf.
16 Financial Action Task Force, Money Laundering through the Football Sector (Paris:
FATF, 2009), www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/ML%20through%20the%20
Football%20Sector.pdf.
17 Ibid., p. 4.
18 Stefan Szymanski, Money and Football: A Soccernomics Guide (New York: Nation Books,
2015).
19 European Clubs Association, ‘About ECA’, www.ecaeurope.com/about-eca.
20 KPMG Asesores, Project TPO (Madrid: KPMG Asesores, 2013), www.ecaeurope.com/
Research/External%20Studies%20and%20Reports/KPMG%20TPO%20Report.pdf.
21 Centre international d’étude du sport/Centre de droit et d’économie du sport (2014).
22 KEA European Affairs and Centre de droit et d’économie du sport, The Economic and Legal
Aspects of Transfers of Players (Brussels: KEA European Affairs, 2013), http://ec.europa.eu/
sport/library/documents/cons-study-transfers-final-rpt.pdf.
23 Fédération Internationale des Associations Footballeurs Professionnels, FIFPro Black Book
Eastern Europe: The Problems Professional Footballers Encounter (Hoofddorp, Netherlands:
FIFPro, 2012), www.lefigaro.fr/assets/pdf/fifpro.pdf.
24 KPMG Asesores (2013), p. 15.
25 Soccerex (UK), ‘Third-party ownership has “no place” in football: Infantino’, 20 March 2013,
www.soccerex.com/news/2013/03/third-party-ownership-has-%E2%80%9Cno-place%
E2%80%9D-football-%E2%80%93-infantino.
26 US Department of Justice, ‘Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives indicted
for racketeering conspiracy and corruption’, 27 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/
nine-fifa-officials-and-five-corporate-executives-indicted-racketeering-conspiracy-and.
27 Bloomberg (US), ‘FIFA scandal unearths Brazilian power broker atop soccer fortune’,
2 June 2015, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-02/fifa-scandal-unearthsbrazilian-power-broker-atop-soccer-fortune.
28 Bloomberg (US), ‘Soccer hedge fund betting on players gets global FIFA ban’, 26 September
2014, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-09-26/soccer-hedge-fund-betting-onplayers-gets-global-fifa-ban.
29 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Regulations on the status and transfer
of players: third-party ownership of players’ economic rights (“TPO”)’, Circular no. 1464,
22 December 2014, www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/02/49/57/42/
tpocircular1464_en_neutral.pdf.
30 Domestic bans in Europe are currently in place in England, France and Poland.
31 Bloomberg (US), ‘Hedge fund challenges European soccer-transfer market ban’, 18 March
2015, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-18/hedge-fund-challenges-europeansoccer-transfer-market-exclusion.
32 ESPN (US), ‘UEFA, FIFPro join forces for ban against third-party ownership’, 1 April 2015,
www.espnfc.com/uefa-champions-league/story/2376057/uefa-and-fifpro-join-forces-forban-against-third-party-ownership.
2.6
Origins, practice and
regulation of third-party
ownership in South
America
Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud and Gonzalo Bossart1
Starting in the mid-1990s, two events – completely isolated and independent from each
other – combined to give birth to what is now called third-party ownership (TPO). In South
America, enormous flows of direct foreign investment, hungry for unexploited natural
resources, led to substantial and sustained economic growth in the region, and consequently
for new and more sophisticated business opportunities.2 Football stood apart from this
economic success story, however: several clubs were facing bankruptcy, and most were
struggling to survive. Banks, sponsors and television were turning their back on the activity.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the freedom of movement of individuals and workers was having
a major impact on the football transfer market, since European players were no longer
considered as foreigners by clubs within the European Union. This catapulted the demand for
and ‘prices’ of players worldwide,3 and the trend was quickly read by entrepreneurial South
American businessmen as a good business opportunity: on the one hand, South American
clubs were begging for new funds, and their players remained as their sole ‘assets’; on
the other hand, European clubs, with plenty of cash in their pockets, were thirsty for the
well-known talented South American players.4
TPO is understood as
the Agreement between a Club and a Third Party, such as investment funds, companies,
sports agencies, agents and/or private investors, in accordance to which, a Third Party,
whether or not in relation with an actual payment in favour of a club, acquires an
economic participation or a future credit related to the eventual transfer of a certain
football player.5
TPO has become a powerful and easy way for South American clubs to obtain new funds,
which in turn allow them to finance their youth teams, to reinforce their squads with new
players and even to cover their basic economic obligations that often cannot be afforded with
126
Money, markets and private interests
the standard forms of income (broadcasting rights, sponsorship, merchandising and ticketing,
among others).6
In practice, two types of investors partake in TPO. The first are legal persons, such as
companies or investment funds, which use TPO as a way to invest alongside other investors,
to benefit from the inherent advantages of working as part of a group. This takes place mainly
in Argentina and Brazil, where the TPO ‘culture’ is more widespread.7 The second are natural
persons, such as players’ agents, though an important role is also played by the so-called
‘clubes puente’ (‘bridge clubs’), which are used to ‘regularise’ the ownership of an investor
over the economic rights of a footballer, in order to circumvent bans on TPO, as well as to
avoid taxes.8
The regulation of TPO in South America varies from country to country. Some football
associations, such as those of Chile,9 Colombia10 and Uruguay,11 have a strict ban, according
to national law (Colombia and Uruguay) and the federation’s internal regulations (Chile). Brazil
bans the influence but not the practice – that is, a third party cannot be punished for acquiring
the economic rights of a player, as long as the investor is not granted the right to decide on
the player’s transfer – in line with article 18 bis of the Regulations on the Status and Transfers
of Players of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).12 In Paraguay and
Peru, there is no regulation of TPO.
Impact and implications of TPO on clubs and players
in South America
Although the direct impact of third-party ownership on players in South America is a foremost
concern, the impact on the clubs affects the players as well, and, as such, both are considered
below.
TPO in South America is carried out mainly through players’ agents. The phenomenon can
be described as follows:
The Clubs, because of the need to survive, resort to agents and offer them the
rights on the players who are still in formative divisions (juveniles). The Agents, taking
advantage of the extreme necessity of the teams, acquire the rights on the players at
very low prices in comparison to the final price in the international market.13
The other form of TPO is when clubs want to acquire players whom they cannot afford, and
rely on TPO to pay for their transfer fee.
From this financial perspective, the flourishing of TPO has provided clubs in need with a
certain cash flow, which might seem positive, given the clubs’ debts and financial obligations.
In the long term, however, it has proved to be financially unhealthy,14 since clubs enter into a
never-ending cycle of debt: they borrow money to acquire a player and then receive a much
lower proportion of the ultimate transfer fee, which is insufficient to replace the player; and,
additionally, they owe ‘favours’ to the investors. Therefore, after all the years of training and
educating a player, when the moment of the transfer arrives, the amount they receive is
minimal. Solidarity contributions15 – an important source of income for South American clubs
– are also reduced as a result of TPO, as they are calculated after the transfer amount owned
by the third party involved has been deducted.16
Moreover, South American clubs often acquire players they could normally not afford,
using mechanisms of TPO. This ends up with clubs being unable to pay the promised salaries
to the players, creating contract instability, and frustrating players, which can ultimately affect
their performance. Contract stability for players is also affected since investors continuously
incentivise trade, regardless of the contract terms,17 because it is when the player is transferred
Third-party ownership in South America 127
that the investors receive their percentage. As an example, this is what Sporting Lisbon
claims happened during Marcos Rojo’s transfer to Manchester United in the summer transfer
window of 2014.18
Most young players in South America are subject to TPO, with the level reaching almost
90 per cent in Brazil.19 This affects the career development of the players,20 who are seen
merely as assets and are transferred at the first opportunity that seems profitable, without
considering their age and experience. Inevitably, this raises social and sporting concerns.
Players are often pressured by third-party owners to agree to transfer to the club that
would be most profitable for the investor.21 Generally speaking, players from South America
are not as well educated as their European counterparts and come from more vulnerable
environments, which makes them easier to persuade and control.
The independence of the player, the player’s freedom of movement and the integrity of the
game are all at stake. There is also a risk of conflicts of interest, as third parties might own
various players at different clubs, which could damage the integrity of competitions.
The cases of Uruguay and Chile
Uruguay
The situation in Uruguay, historically a large exporter of high-quality footballers,22 is quite
peculiar. There are 31 clubs in the first and second professional divisions,23 most of them
located in the capital city of Montevideo, which has 1.5 million inhabitants. The disproportionate
number of clubs to potential supporters makes most clubs economically vulnerable. This has
opened the door to TPO, which has expanded hugely in recent decades. The occurrence of
TPO is common knowledge but difficult to prove, since, as it is prohibited, it is not registered,
so there are no formal figures.
In Uruguay, TPO is most commonly performed by agents who simultaneously act as
intermediaries and investors, since they acquire a percentage in the future transfer of the
player. As a result, there is usually a close relationship between the player and the investor,
since in these cases the investor is the player’s agent. This gives the agent an even stronger
influence on the player’s decision.
Uruguay passed a law prohibiting TPO in 1980,24 though it has never been properly
enforced. The president of the Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol (AUF) has stated that the
organisation enforces the law by prohibiting the registry of any contracts involving TPO. On
the other hand, he acknowledges that it would appear that it does exist in practice.25
Chile
Unlike their counterparts in Uruguay, Chilean clubs enjoy a relative healthy economic situation.
Broadcasting rights26 and clubs’ revised legal structures27 have substantially increased their
income, allowing them to support much of their costs. Even so, rising operating costs, in
particular transfer fees and salaries,28 impact most clubs’ budgets, forcing many of them to
seek ‘non-conventional’ funding. This is how, in spite of the prohibition set by the Football
Federation of Chile, agents finance the formation of young footballers, in exchange for a
percentage of the price paid in their future transfer. To a lesser extent, clubes puente have
been used, albeit as a way to reduce tax obligations.29
Impact of the new FIFA prohibition of TPO
In South America there is a popular saying, ‘Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa’, which means
that, when a law is created, a way to circumvent it is created as well. There is much truth in
128
Money, markets and private interests
the saying, so, in practice, and regrettably, clubs will probably find ways to circumvent the
new rule.
If this turns out not to be the case, however, and the rule is effectively enforced by the
football associations, it will have a major impact on South American football. TPO is so
widespread, and clubs’ financial and competitive dependence on TPO is so deep-rooted,
that it becomes difficult to see how it can disappear in the short term. It is an issue not just of
finance and competition but of culture as well. If the prohibition is put into effect, in the short
term it could actually bankrupt some clubs, taking into account that there are clubs that really
have very little in the way of fans and economic support, and carry on only as a result of TPO.
They are always late paying their players’ salaries, and do not so much ‘thrive’ as ‘survive’.
In any event, the termination of TPO will be positive for South American football, allowing
clubs finally to be able to receive the whole amount of the transfer fees, and to decide,
together with players, when and to which club a transfer is appropriate. The great talent of
South American players will not disappear with the prohibition and, in fact, the ban will probably lead to stronger clubs that can keep their players longer by enhancing their contractual
stability and giving them better development prospects. As the best-performing clubs are
those with stable teams,30 an effective TPO ban could improve the quality of the national and
regional championships in South America, as well as the labour conditions of the players.
Notes
1 Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud is a legal counsel at FIFPro and Gonzalo Bossart is a partner
at Alessandri, Bossart, Pacheo and Cia law firm.
2 United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ‘Síntesis y
Conclusiones’, www.cepal.org/publicaciones/xml/2/4262/sintesis.htm.
3 Stephan Zivec, ‘Freedom of movement for workers: impact on transfers of EU football
players – the Bosman case’, 2013, www.academia.edu/4221444/Freedom_of_Movement_
for_Workers_-_Bosman_Case.
4 Ariel Reck, ‘Third party player ownership: current trends in South America and Europe’,
EPFL Sports Law Bulletin, vol. 10 (2012).
5 KPMG Asesores, Project TPO (Madrid: KPMG Asesores, 2013), www.ecaeurope.com/
Research/External%20Studies%20and%20Reports/KPMG%20TPO%20Report.pdf.
6 IUSport.com, ‘¿Qué tipo de operaciones realizan los fondos de inversión en el fútbol?’,
3 August 2014, http://iusport.com/not/2629/-que-tipo-de-operaciones-realizan-losfondos-de-inversion-en-el-futbol.
7 Eduardo Carlezzo, ‘Investments in economic rights of football players: a Brazilian and
international overview’, EPFL Sports Law Bulletin, vol. 10 (2012); IUSport.com, ‘FIFA versus
fondos de inversión: ¿la estocada final?’, 20 February 2015, http://iusport.com/not/5273/
fifa-versus-fondos-de-inversion-la-estocada-final.
8 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Clubes argentinos y uruguayo
sancionados por “traspasos puente”’, media release, 5 March 2014, http://es.m.fifa.com/
aboutfifa/news/newsid=2292728.html.
9 Reglamento Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (Chile), article 152C.
10 Ley 181 de 1995 (Colombia), article 32.
11 Ley 14.996 (Uruguay), article 2.
12 Ley 9.615 (‘Ley Pelé’), article 27B.
13 Sala de Redaccíon [Newsroom] (Uruguay), ‘El bajo precio de la necesidad’, 28 November
2011, http://sdr.liccom.edu.uy/2011/11/28/el-bajo-precio-de-la-necesidad.
14 Centre de droit et d’économie du sport (CDES), Research on Third-Party Ownership of
Players’ Economic Rights (Part II) (Limoges: CDES, 2014), p. 79.
15 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Regulations on the Status and Transfer of
Players (Zurich: FIFA, 2014), annex 5, article 1: ‘If a professional moves during the course of
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Third-party ownership in South America 129
a contract, 5% of any compensation . . . shall be deducted from the total amount of this
compensation and distributed by the new club as a solidarity contribution to the clubs . . .
between the season of his 12th and 23rd birthdays.’
CDES (2014), p. 72.
Ibid., p. 71.
BBC (UK), ‘Manchester United: Sporting reveal Marcos Rojo sale “pressure”’, 3 October
2014, www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/29474696.
KPMG Asesores (2013), p. 33.
CDES (2014), p. 81.
Interview with professional players (names withheld) with author, 29 April 2015.
El Observador (Uruguay), ‘Uruguay, el mayor exportador de futbolistas’, 14 July 2011,
www.elobservador.com.uy/uruguay-el-mayor-exportador-de-futbolistas-n205478.
www.auf.org.uy/Portal/TOURNAMENT_URUGUAYAN/2.
See footnote 9.
Interview with Wilmar Valdez with author, 5 May 2015.
Centro de Investigación Periodística (Chile), ‘CDF: Cómo se reparte el “botín” más preciado
del fútbol’, 12 November 2012, http://ciperchile.cl/2012/11/12/cdf-como-se-reparte-el“botin”-mas-preciado-del-futbol.
Bolsa de Santiago (Chile), ‘Oportunidades de Financiamiento en Bolsa’, www.
bolsadesantiago.com/Biblioteca%20de%20Archivos/Emisores/Oportunidades%20de%20
financiamiento.pdf.
24 Horas (Chile), ‘Estos son los sueldos de los jugadores del fútbol chileno’, 29 December
2014, www.24horas.cl/deportes/futbol-nacional/estos-son-los-sueldos-de-los-jugadores-delfutbol-chileno-1540279.
Marca (Argentina), ‘La AFA suspende a dos jugadores a petición del Fisco’, 22 August
2012, www.marca.com/2012/08/22/futbol/futbol_internacional/argentina/1345657070.html.
CDES (2014).
PART 3
Events in the spotlight
3.1
The multiple roles
of mega-events
Mega-promises, mini-outcomes?
Martin Müller1
There was once a time when a sports event was just that: an occasion at which athletes met
to see who could run faster, jump higher, throw the javelin further. Today, sport remains the
anchor of the Olympic Games, the football World Cup and other mega-events – but it has
become a sideshow in many other senses. Of about 360,000 accredited personnel at the
London Olympic Games in 2012, fewer than 3 per cent were athletes.2 Although the number
of athletes at the Summer Olympic Games has hovered at around 10,000 for the past
20 years, the number of media representatives has almost doubled, while that of security
personnel has trebled.3 Neither does expenditure for venues and sports-related infrastructure
continue to be the most expensive item in the budget. Investment in transport infrastructure
or the upgrading of neighbourhoods eclipses money spent on sports, sometimes by several
times.4 Barcelona, for example, allocated 83 per cent of its budget for the 1992 Summer
Olympics to urban improvement, not to sport.5
Large sports events come in different shapes and sizes. They can be classified into three
tiers: major events, mega-events and – for the largest of them – giga-events. Size is measured
with four indicators: the number of visitors, the value of broadcasting rights, the total cost and
the capital investment (see Tables 3.1 and 3.2; Figure 3.1). The Summer Olympic Games and
Size
Visitor attractiveness
Number of
tickets sold
Mediated reach
Value of
broadcast rights
XXL (3 points)
> 3 million
> USD 2 billion
> USD 10 billion
> USD 10 billion
XL (2 points)
> 1 million
> USD 1 billion
> USD 5 billion
> USD 5 billion
L (1 point)
> 0.5 million
> USD 0.1 billion
> USD 1 billion
> USD 1 billion
Giga-event: 11–12 points total
Mega-event: 7–10 points total
Major event: 1–6 points total
Table 3.1 Scoring matrix for event classes according to size
Cost
Total cost
Transformation
Capital
investment
134
Events in the spotlight
Event
Location
Visitor
attractiveness
Number of
tickets sold
Mediated
reach
Value of
broadcast
rights
Cost
Total
cost
Transformation
Capital
investment
Total
Class
Olympic Games
London 2012
3
3
3
2
11
Giga
Euro
Ukraine/Poland 2012
2
2
3
3
10
Mega
Football World Cup
South Africa 2010
3
3
2
2
10
Mega
Expo
Shanghai 2010
3
0
3
3
9
Mega
Asian Games
Guangzhou 2010
2
0
3
3
8
Mega
Olympic Winter
Games
Vancouver 2010
2
2
2
1
7
Mega
Commonwealth
Games
Delhi 2010
2
0
2
2
6
Major
Universiade
Kazan 2013
1
0
2
2
5
Major
Rugby World Cup
New Zealand 2011
2
2e
0
0
4
Major
Pan American
Games
Guadalajara 2011
1
0
0
0
1
Major
Super Bowl
New Orleans 2013
0
1
0
0
1
Major
Table 3.2 Size classification of elected events
Source: Martin Müller, ‘What makes an event a mega-event? Definitions and sizes’, Leisure Studies (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2014.993333.
Note: e = estimate
the football World Cup are almost always the largest sports events according to these
indicators, followed by the European Football Championship, the Winter Olympic Games and
regional games such as the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games. 6
No matter the size, almost all large sports events are meant to play multiple roles beyond
their primary one as sports happenings. Promoters often regard them as panacea for all kinds
of social, political and economic ills. By hosting them, cities seek to reinvigorate languishing
neighbourhoods; regions want to build infrastructure and boost economic growth; countries
are keen to signal diplomatic stature and attract tourists; political parties strive to excite their
electorate; and companies hope to fill their order books. But the grand ambitions are often
not matched by the outcomes.
Economic stimulus
The expected economic impact forms an essential part of justifying bids for large sports
events. The unanimous message of studies before events is that they stand to generate
jobs, additional tax income and economic growth for the host region; this is a claim that
almost never materialises, however. For the 1994 football World Cup in the United States,
The multiple roles of mega-events 135
Figure 3.1 Sports-related cost overruns, 1998–2012 Olympics.
Source: Bent, Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart, Olympic Proportions: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Olympics 1960–2012, working paper (Oxford: Saïd Business School, University
of Oxford, 2012).
for example, studies commissioned by event promoters predicted a net economic gain of
US$4 billion for the host cities. An independent examination after the event revealed that
the net economic impact was, in fact, negative, and placed it in the region of US$5.5 to
US$9.3 billion.7
One problem with predicting economic impact is that ex ante studies operate with overly
optimistic assumptions to arrive at the desired results and sell the event to the public.8 After
all, public approval is crucial, as both a requirement for bidding and for potential referenda.9
Once the event is over, few care to follow up on the initial estimates. The ‘lowballing’ of costs
is particularly widespread. The Olympic Games, for example, have an average cost overrun
of 79 per cent – much more than any other type of large project (see Figure 3.1).10
Such underestimation of costs skews cost–benefit calculations before the event. Even
when the economic tally of large events may be positive, however, events may not constitute
the best use for public money, since other investment opportunities may create higher returns.
This is a question that studies of economic impact do not examine but that would have to
form part of a balanced assessment of costs and benefits. Arguably, it is more beneficial for
society if tax revenue is returned to taxpayers.
Image booster
Where economic growth is a tangible benefit, image improvements are the most frequently
cited intangible benefits accruing from large events. Brands such as the Olympic Games or
136
Events in the spotlight
the football World Cup enjoy unrivalled recognition and positive associations. Thus, 93 per
cent of the population recognise the Olympic rings and 73 per cent think that hosting the
Olympics leaves the host city with many benefits.11 Cities and countries hosting large sports
events seek to benefit from linking themselves with these brands – a phenomenon also
known as co-branding – and from the public attention that events generate, placing them in
the global limelight. Who in Western countries would have known about Sochi before the
2014 Winter Games, or about the rich cultural heritage of Lviv, Ukraine, before the 2012
European Football Championship?
This putative intangible benefit is much coveted in the global attention economy. But,
while some studies show that hosting a large event can create positive associations and an
increase in name recognition,12 others find that negative perceptions prevail if a country’s dirty
laundry is exposed to the world.13 Thus, China and Russia saw coverage of human rights
abuses and corruption during the run-up to their hosting the 2008 Summer and 2014 Winter
Olympic Games, respectively.14 Finally, large events are short-lived and follow in close succession, so the long-term image benefits remain uncertain and effects may often be short-lived.15
Once the event is over, attention declines as the spotlight moves on to the next host, and
positive associations tend to decrease, as it often becomes clear that expectations were too
overdrawn in comparison with the actual benefits.16 It is also unclear whether a better image
and higher awareness translate into tangible benefits such as higher growth.
Tourist attraction
Cities and countries speculate that the global attention that large sports events generate
will attract visitors, not just for the event itself, but also in the long run. Experts point to the
‘Barcelona model’, whereby the 1992 Summer Olympics were part of a larger package of
urban renewal that turned the city into a top tourist destination.17
On average, large events do indeed boost tourism to host countries. One study finds
an increase of 8 per cent in the year of the event.18 This boost occurs only for the largest
events, however, and only during the off-season, when event visitors do not crowd out other
tourists. In destinations such as London, that already run close to full capacity, large events
tend to displace other tourists rather than add significant additional demand. In the majority
of cases, there is also an increased tourist inflow before the event, though not afterwards.
This suggests that an event itself is not enough to radically alter the tourism growth path of a
city or country.
Infrastructural catalyst
The large numbers of visitors, journalists, officials and athletes who descend on event
hosts place high demands on the urban infrastructure. Among the key requirements are
high-capacity airports and public transport systems, high-bandwidth information and communication technology infrastructure, a reliable energy supply and hotel accommodation
in different service classes. When this infrastructure does not exist, it needs to be built. This
is why some claim that large events can become catalysts for a city, ‘accelerat[ing] its infrastructural development by up to 10 years’.19 Often cities can use events as levers to extract
funding from the central government and the taxpayer. This was the major reason the
then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was interested in the 2012 Summer Olympics:
‘I didn’t bid for the Olympics because I wanted three weeks of sport. I bid for the Olympics
because it’s the only way to get the billions of pounds out of the Government to develop the
East End.’20
The multiple roles of mega-events 137
Events and their immutable deadlines create a sense of urgency and political consensus
among often warring political parties, thus speeding up the delivery of infrastructure. What is
built is not necessarily what a city needs, however, or what city leaders promised.21 Events
often hijack urban planning, imposing event-specific requirements that do not tally with
master plans, thus altering rather than merely accelerating infrastructural development –
a phenomenon known as ‘event takeover’.22 When deadlines are looming and funding is
running out, it is more likely that the stadium will be finished than the new bus line.
Conclusion
Large sports events are increasingly about things other than sport. The plethora of promises
and expectations that a wide variety of actors – athletes, sponsors, citizens, businesses and
governing bodies such as the International Olympic Committee and Fédération Internationale
de Football Association – associate with events has invariably led to disappointment.
If there is one constant in the hosting of large events, it can be reduced to the formula
‘Overpromise, underdeliver’. As costs continue to grow, promises of what large events can
achieve are becoming even grander. Despite ‘boosterist’ claims to the contrary, Olympics,
World Cups and so on are inferior as strategies of urban and economic development. In this
sense, sports events remain primarily what they have always been: great spectacles.
Notes
1 Martin Müller is a Swiss National Science Foundation professor in the Department of
Geography at the University of Zurich.
2 Jean-Loup Chappelet, ‘Managing the size of the Olympic Games’, Sport in Society, vol. 17
(2014).
3 Ibid.
4 Hanwen Liao and Adrian Pitts, ‘A brief historical review of Olympic urbanization’,
International Journal of the History of Sport, vol. 23 (2006).
5 John Gold and Margaret Gold, ‘Olympic cities: regeneration, city rebranding and changing
urban agendas’, Geography Compass, vol. 2 (2008).
6 Martin Müller, ‘What makes an event a mega-event? Definitions and sizes’, Leisure Studies
(2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2014.993333.
7 Robert Baade and Victor Matheson, ‘The quest for the cup: assessing the economic impact
of the World Cup’, Regional Studies, vol. 38 (2004).
8 Andrew Zimbalist, Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble behind Hosting the Olympics
and the World Cup (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2015); Brian Mills and
Mark Rosentraub, ‘Hosting mega-events: a guide to the evaluation of development effects in
integrated metropolitan regions’, Tourism Management, vol. 34 (2013).
9 International Olympic Committee, 2020 Candidature Acceptance Procedure: Games of the
XXXII Olympiad (Lausanne: IOC, 2011), pp. 97–98.
10 Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart, Olympic Proportions: Cost and Cost Overrun at the Olympics
1960–2012, working paper (Oxford: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, 2012).
11KantarSport, IOC Research: Sochi 2014 (Chambourcy: Kantar Media, 2014), www.olympic.
org/Documents/Games_Sochi_2014/Research-directive-Kantar.pdf.
12 Brent Ritchie and Brian Smith, ‘The impact of a mega-event on host region awareness: a
longitudinal study’, Journal of Travel Research, vol. 30 (1991); Hyun-Jeong Kim, Dogan
Gursoy and Soo-Bum Lee, ‘The impact of the 2002 World Cup on South Korea:
comparisons of pre- and post-games’, Tourism Management, vol. 27 (2006).
13 Louise Heslop, John Nadeau, Norm O’Reilly and Anahit Armenakyan, ‘Mega-event and
country co-branding: image shifts, transfers and reputational impacts’, Corporate
Reputation Review, vol. 16 (2013).
138
Events in the spotlight
14 Amnesty International, Legacy of the Beijing Olympics: China’s Choice (London: Amnesty
International, 2007); Jane Buchanan, Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers
Ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (New York: Human Rights Watch,
2013).
15 Ritchie and Smith (1991), p. 8.
16 Kim, Gursoy and Lee (2006).
17 Francisco-Javier Monclús, ‘The Barcelona model: and an original formula? From
“reconstruction” to strategic urban projects (1979–2004)’, Planning Perspectives, vol. 18
(2003).
18 Johan Fourie and María Santana-Gallego, ‘The impact of mega-sport events on tourist
arrivals’, Tourism Management, vol. 32 (2011).
19 Holger Preuss, ‘Calculating the regional economic impact of the Olympic Games’, European
Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 4 (2004), p. 234.
20 Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Mayor tricked Govt. into 2012 Olympics bid’, 25 April 2008,
www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/2298374/Mayor-tricked-Govt.-into-2012-Olympicsbid.html.
21 Eva Kassens-Noor, Planning Olympic Legacies: Transport Dreams and Urban Realities
(London: Routledge, 2012).
22 Martin Müller, ‘The mega-event syndrome: why so many things go wrong in mega-event
planning – and what to do about it’, Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 81
(2015).
3.2
Who bids for events
and why?
Scarlett Cornelissen1
An important feature of major sport events today is that they have become so commercially
focused, driven by business corporations from the worlds of global media, marketing, sports
apparel and event organising, that their staging clusters vast volumes of transnational
capital. The Summer Olympic Games and the football World Cup are the archetypal megaevents in this regard, because of their size and levels of participation and the revenues
they generate. Although smaller in scale, second-order events such as the Commonwealth
Games or the rugby or cricket World Cups have also become highly commoditised.2 The
commercial nature of major events partly explains their appeal to many aspiring hosts
from across the globe – be they national governments or urban authorities – for which hosting
such an event offers a chance to lure capital and tourists, and which seek to leverage the
much-lauded branding opportunities that such an event can afford.
The motives underpinning bids
There are also other motivations for staging a major event. These include the search for
global prestige and prominence; the attempt to project a particular image of the host in the
international arena; and the use of an event to give force to certain diplomatic or domestic
objectives.3 It has been convincingly argued, for instance, that one of the key goals
behind the People’s Republic of China’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics was to mark the
country’s ascendance as one of the new world powers.4 Four decades earlier a similar
objective underpinned Japan’s hosting of the 1964 Summer Olympics,5 and the Japanese
government linked the staging of the games to the large-scale transformation of the capital
city and an ambitious plan to double national income over the next ten years – a feat
Japan went on to accomplish.6 In a comparable way, South Africa’s hosting of the 2010
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup was the culmination of a
lengthy period of experimenting with major and lesser events in the post-apartheid era in
order to help meet largely unaccomplished domestic goals of socio-economic transformation,
national unification and greater international visibility,7 while much the same can be said for
Brazil’s recent FIFA World Cup and prospective staging of the 2016 Summer Olympics.8
Sometimes the political motivations outweigh the economic rationale. This seems to be
the case for many aspiring hosts from the global South or the world’s emerging economies,
where foreign policy objectives are often placed ahead of goals like urban or national economic
140
Events in the spotlight
revitalisation that typically underpin bids from industrialised states.9 This helps to explain why
aspiring hosts are willing to spend vast amounts of money on extensive, protracted and –
more often than not – unsuccessful bid campaigns as they compete for the right to stage an
event. And it is not uncommon for bidding contests to be highly antagonistic or to become
mired in controversy as bidders use a variety of strategies to try to outwit their opponents.
Mostly these take benign forms, such as the mounting of public relations campaigns to cast
an aspiring host in a more favourable light vis-à-vis other contenders.
Sometimes, however, bid contests centre on discrediting opponents’ capabilities or
become an arena of bickering, personalised attacks and graft.10 Indeed, bidding wars have
become part of the theatre of major events, and reveal as much about the changing nature
of sport and event politics as they do about the states and cities that bid for events. It was
common discourse among the football elite in South Africa, for instance, that the country
was bundled out during the last stages of the contest for the 2006 FIFA World Cup as a result
of backroom deals.11 Further, the bid for the 2010 World Cup saw at times acrimonious
exchanges between the South African and English bid committees about South Africa’s crime
situation and the country’s capacity to host the event.12
How bids come about
Recent investigations into Russia’s and Qatar’s successful bids for the 2018 and 2022
FIFA World Cups, respectively, underline just how much is at stake for aspiring hosts and
the extent to which bidding processes can be manipulated for strategic purposes. The
organisational practices of the sport federation that holds proprietorship of the event, along
with prior institutional experiences in dealing with public scrutiny or scandals, are, arguably,
important factors shaping how sport federations steer bidding contests and the culture within
which such contests take place. In this sense, the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
experienced organisational shock much earlier than FIFA, being subject to a lot of criticism
and scrutiny concerning established practices of graft surrounding bidding contests. This
was the case particularly with the scandals and allegations of corruption in the lead-up to the
2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, since when the IOC has attempted to make bid processes
more transparent and to ensure stricter compliance with bidding guidelines.13
Most of what the public sees of bid campaigns results from extended processes of
networking, strategising and alliance formation among what could often be disparate interest
groups in a given domestic context, including the likes of sport associations, business
groupings, political office bearers and city managers. As a rule, bids to stage a particular
event can be submitted to the international sport federation in whose name the event is
staged only by the national member, such as the national Olympic committee in the case of
the Olympic Games, or the national football, cricket or rugby organisations in the cases of the
FIFA, cricket and rugby World Cups.
By the time a bid is presented to an international sport federation it has gone through
several processes of domestic consensus-building, as well as political layers. While it may
be typical that campaigns to host Olympic Games are initiated by alliances between
city governments and local businesses seeking to draw profit for the city (or sometimes
themselves14), eventually their campaign would have to appeal to a wider group of political
actors in order to muster national support (Figure 3.2).
To mount a campaign for a multi-city tournament such as the FIFA World Cup, numerous
coalitions would have to be clustered around the national football organisation, and an array
of urban authorities, local and transnational firms, and sometimes political parties and other
constituencies would have to be persuaded of the potential merits of the event. In the case of
Who bids for events and why? 141
Figure 3.2 Domestic inputs to major event bids
South Africa’s bids for the 2006 and 2010 finals, for instance, the national football association
had to procure the support of the governing party, the country’s largest trade unions and, in
the later phases of the bid, the members of the Confédération Africaine de Football. Typically,
therefore, bidding campaigns involve a range of stakeholders and usually unfold over several
phases. It is not uncommon for the character and central messages of the bid to morph as
key champions change or have to be secured.
Concluding remarks
Cities and states launch campaigns to host major sport events for a variety of reasons, and
the way in which they prioritise certain objectives relative to others, be they economic or
political in nature, suggests something about prevailing socio-political dynamics in the
domestic settings. In all instances, the content of bid campaigns represents the outcome of
extended processes of consensus-building among varied urban or national actors. However,
history suggests that it is usually the interests of the most powerful corporate or political
players that determine the shape, flavour and eventual impacts of events, and that most bid
142
Events in the spotlight
campaigns reflect what has been termed ‘strategic misrepresentation’ and ‘a deep-rooted
culture of deception’ concerning the potential costs and benefits of staging an event.15 Bids
usually project a positive future vision for the aspirant host, but they are seldom called to
reckoning when these lofty goals are not realised.
Notes
1 Scarlett Cornelissen is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch
University, South Africa.
2 See, for instance, David Black, ‘Dreaming big: the pursuit of “second order” games as a
strategic response to globalization’, Sport in Society, vol. 11 (2008).
3 David Black and Janis van der Westhuizen, ‘The allure of global games for the “semiperipheral” polities and spaces: a research agenda’, Third World Quarterly, vol. 25 (2004).
4 Xu Xin, ‘Modernizing China in the Olympic spotlight: China’s national identity and the 2008
Beijing Olympiad’, Sociological Review, vol. 54 (2006).
5 William Kelly, ‘Asia pride, China fear, Tokyo anxiety: Japan looks back at Beijing 2008 and
forward to London 2012 and Tokyo 2016’, International Journal of the History of Sport,
vol. 27 (2010).
6 Japan Times, ‘Olympic construction transformed Tokyo’, 10 October 2014; Taipei Times,
‘Japan says “banzai” over Olympics’, 18 September 2013.
7 Scarlett Cornelissen and Albert Grundlingh (eds), Sport Past and Present in South Africa:
(Trans)forming the Nation (London: Routledge, 2012).
8 Christopher Gaffney, ‘Mega-events and socio-spatial dynamics in Rio de Janeiro,
1919–2016’, Journal of Latin American Geography, vol. 9 (2010).
9 Jonathan Grix (ed.), Leveraging Legacies from Sports Mega-Events (Basingstoke: Palgrave,
2014).
10 John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson, ‘International power struggles in the governance of world
soccer: the 2002 and 2006 World Cup bidding wars’, in John Horne and Wolfram
Manzenreiter (eds), Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup (London: Routlege, 2002).
11 Sunday Times (UK), ‘How a humiliated old man sold SA’s World Cup hopes down the river’,
9 July 2000; Peter Alegi, ‘“Feel the pull in your soul”: local agency and global trends in
South Africa’s 2006 World Cup bid’, Soccer and Society, vol. 2 (2001).
12 Marcel Korthes and Manfred Rolfes, ‘Unsicheres Südafrika, Unsicheres WM 2010?
Überlegungen und Erkentnisse zur Medialen Berichterstattungen im Vorfeld der
Fubballweltmeisterschaft’, in Christoph Haferburgh and Malte Steinbrink (eds), Mega-Event
und Stadtentwicklung im globalen Süden: Die Fubballweltmeisterschaft 2010 und ihre
Impulse für Südafrika (Frankfurt: Brandes & Apsel, 2010).
13 Kristine Toohey and Anthony James Veal, The Olympic Games: A Social Science
Perspective, 2nd edn (Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing, 2007).
14 Helen Lenskyj, Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic Power and Propaganda
(Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2008).
15 Bent Flyvbjerg, ‘Case study’, in Norman K. Denzin and Yvonne S. Lincoln (eds), The Sage
Handbook of Qualitative Research (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011); Bent Flyvberg, ‘Policy
and planning for large-scale infrastructure projects: problems, causes, cures’, Environment
and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 34 (2007).
3.3
The problem with
sporting mega-event
impact assessment
Eleni Theodoraki1
Introduction
Authors of reports of positive impacts from sporting mega-events attribute to them such
qualities as acting as economic growth stimuli, urban regeneration catalysts, social change
inspirers, destination brand developers, and so on. On the other hand, authors of reports
of negative impacts describe sporting mega-events as leading to civil rights abuses, atmospheric pollution, rampant nationalism, exploitation by corrupt multinationals and bribery of
officials. To look into the reason for such differences of opinion we can turn to Hippocrates,
who studied medicine and understood the challenges for practising it that were created by
the circumstances faced by physicians and medical professionals.
Life is short, and science long; the time fleeting; experience perilous, and decision
difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also
to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate.
(Hippocrates, writing in 460 bc)2
Like Hippocrates trying to find ways to cure patients and realising the importance of all
stakeholders involved, those trying to measure mega-event impacts, or evaluate related
studies, sooner or later realise the omnipresent effects of the wider context within which they
find themselves, which affects what impacts are being investigated, where, when and how.
To date, assessment of the impact of sporting mega-events has been incomplete
and/or biased, and not conducive to obtaining a clear view of the evidence. As one study
confirms,
[T]he persistent under-performance of mega-projects occurs despite trends [albeit in
few countries] in administrative reform seeking to impose market discipline on public
projects (and in most instances mega-projects are at least part-financed by public
subsidies or loans due to the vast financial commitment involved), and to scrutinise
public policies and spending according to the standards of cost–benefit analysis (CBA),
cost-effectiveness and value for money.3
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Events in the spotlight
Attempts to justify expenditure by creating a positive legacy also affect the funding and
research design of studies to capture impacts and legacy. In the case of the Athens 2004
Summer Olympic Games, impact assessment efforts were reported to have been affected by
clientelism (giving contracts for services in return for electoral support) in academic circles
and by the national election results.4
Box 3.1 Mega-event impact assessment: Athens Olympics 2004
In 2001 Pascal van Griethuysen and Pierre-Alain Hug developed a 150-indicator impact evaluation
programme named Olympic Games Global Impact (OGGI) for the International Olympic Committee
(IOC). The Athens 2004 Olympic Games organisers were to be the first to employ its methodology to
assess the Games’ impact, and the information collected was intended to also form part of the final
official report of the organisers to the IOC. The local organising committee, ATHENS 2004, accepted
initial responsibility for collecting and delivering data, and the work started in earnest in 2003,
approximately one year before the Olympic Games, undertaken by a dedicated manager and research
teams in Greek universities. Following the general election in March 2004 and the change of government, however, it was reported5 that the composition of the original research teams that had started
preliminary work on OGGI had been changed, to reflect the changed political interests in power, and
this meant a delay in any progress with the OGGI programme. When the Games were over ATHENS
2004 quietly withdrew from its original plans to capture the Games’ impacts through OGGI, and
dropped the project, with the committee’s senior managers suggesting that there was in fact no
contractual responsibility to incorporate the programme in the report to the IOC.
The above example highlights the fact that, despite the existence of a quite comprehensive
framework through which to capture impacts, the Athens OGGI programme failed to deliver because
of political intervention: the composition of the research teams changed when there was a change of
government following the early 2004 general election, and the new political leaders sought to reward
their supporters in academic circles. It was also undermined by a lack of commitment on the part of
ATHENS 2004 senior management, and a consequent failure to engage fully.6
Source: Pascal van Griethuysen and Pierre-Alain Hug, Projet OGGI: Olympic Games Global Impact: Cadre d’analyse pour l’identification de l’impact global des Jeux
Olympiques (Lausanne: International Academy of Sports Science and Technology, 2001).
Image-making imperatives, contractual obligations to the event owners and nationalist
agendas also influenced communication about the impact of the event to various audiences,
through different means and at various stages in its life cycle. Importantly, the rhetoric varied
depending on the circumstances.
A seminal systematic review on socio-economic impacts on major multi-sport events from
1978 to 2008 also confirmed this: ‘No attempts have been made to bring together the large
amount of research on the impact of major multi-sport events on host populations.’7 In light
of this, it is important to investigate the root cause for the weak state of, and lack of rigour in,
sporting mega-event impact assessment.
Definition of problem and conceptual insights
The problem with such impact assessment has its roots in (1) the positive emotive predisposition of the public towards sporting mega-events, which renders them biased; and (2) the
The problem with mega-event assessment 145
national, international and transnational mega-event governance structures and systems,
which are founded on monopolistic or oligopolistic contracts. This can be illustrated with
reference to relevant literature.
• ‘Mega sport events achieve [the] “shared presence” . . . of significant proportions of the
world’s population through the medium of television [and] are powerful transmitters of
messages.’8
to the
• ‘Mega sport events are loved by the public, who overall have strong affinity
respective brands (event, owners, organising committees, sponsors).’9
• ‘Mega sport events are owned by monopolistic transnational organisations.’10
• ‘Mega sport events11are gigantic, commercialized, and rely heavily on volunteer, corporate
and state support.’ They also present unique opportunities for the development of
discourses on the presence and origins of risk (leading to risk colonisation), which is
described as the spread of the logic and formal managerial practice of risk
management.12
• ‘Mega13sport events are presented by those in political and economic power as panacea
to ills.’
development
• ‘Mega sport events present an unmovable deadline which can spearhead
and bypass due process (environmental, anti-money laundering, etc.).’14
Importantly, the governance of sporting mega-events presents an ironic relationship between
the power and the risk-taking of the stakeholders involved, namely event owners (such as the
IOC, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and so on), event producers
(organising committees, partners, sponsors) and event hosts/consumers. As Figure 3.3
illustrates, the greater the power held by event owners, the lower the risk taken with regard to
the impact outlook/result that lies with event hosts (to include local affected communities)
as well as event consumers worldwide. Mega-events such as the Olympic Games are
overwhelmingly funded by the public purse,15 and yet the losers are not just host city/nation’s
Figure 3.3 Event stakeholder power–risk irony
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Events in the spotlight
taxpayers but a range of other groups that one would normally expect to benefit from public
spending. They include relocated communities of residents and businesses; human rights
activists (if negative images and voices that can harm the Olympic brand and the host city’s
image are suppressed); environmental and social sustainability movements; and non-Olympic
sports and other good causes, such as those sections of the arts and culture in general that
suffer from the prioritisation of Olympics-related projects.16
The complexity of assessing the impacts of sporting mega-events is linked to the various
thematic areas of conceptualising impacts (such as economic, political, social, cultural and
environmental), the various geographies where impact is felt (locally, regionally, nationally
and globally) and the time periods when impact is created, power exercised and risks taken
(the bid phase, the build-up, the event time itself and the post-event and legacy phase).
Furthermore, I believe that we cannot evaluate impact studies if we do not know the
opportunity cost (what else we could have done instead) or counterfactual (what would have
happened anyway) and have conducted a full CBA.
It is not possible under current circumstances to generalise findings either, as, apart from
the notable exception of the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, for which 150 indicators were
used,17 we do not have comprehensive impact studies. In contrast, the British Department of
Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) chose to focus primarily on specific positive effects of the
London 2012 Olympic Games rather than set out to capture impact as the academic literature
defines it, including negative as well as positive effects.18
Box 3.2 Mega-event impact assessment: London Olympics 2012
The DCMS report set out to ‘undertake a comprehensive and robust “meta-evaluation” of the
additionality, outputs, results, impacts and associated benefits of the investment in the 2012
Games’.19 None of the 79 research questions used to guide the meta-analysis of primary and
secondary research20 were explicitly seeking to capture negative impacts of the London Games,
however. Some negative impacts are mentioned in the report (such as on transport congestion,
population divisions on the basis of affluence, increased population movement in and out of the area
where the Games were held, the diversion of passing trade because of changes in transport, tenancy
terminations and increased numbers of squatters), but the meta-evaluation did not set out to
investigate negative impact along the political, social, cultural and environmental thematic areas.
As a result, negative impacts are captured only when a positive impact that was anticipated, and
phrased accordingly in the respective question, did not materialise. Had the study posed direct
questions as to what the negative impacts had been, as reported in various studies, the metaanalysis would have reported many more impacts that are negative.
Gerry McCartney et al. conclude: ‘Until decision makers include robust, long term evaluations
as part of their design and implementation of events, it is unclear how the costs of major
multi-sport events can be justified in terms of benefits to the host population.’21 They
add: ‘How the impacts of events are evaluated needs to improve to allow decision makers
pitching for future events to make informed judgments on the basis of known effects and
known areas of uncertainty.’22 Andrew Zimbalist, writing for the International Monetary Fund,
concurs: ‘The economic and noneconomic value of hosting a major event like the Olympic
Games is complex and likely to vary from one situation to another. Simple conclusions are
impossible to draw.’23
The problem with mega-event assessment 147
An additional complexity in assessing impact stems from the preoccupation of event
owners with events’ legacies and the growing demand on bidders to predefine them as part
of their respective bid preparations. Both the event owners and the event franchisees (local
organising committees) then engage in discussions in the public eye on event legacy, which,
according to John MacAloon, ‘generate a perception of common and laudable purpose’
when in fact there is a strong hidden relationship between Olympic legacy manager and
Olympic brand managers.24
Attributing effects to sporting mega-events and establishing causality is fraught with
challenges. In the case of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the team of academics
at the University of British Columbia in charge of impact assessment used the control city of
Alberta. This allowed them to account for changes to indicators that may be simply explained
by looking at government policies or that may have been created by development trends
(hence the need to capture baseline data on impact indicators). Their research approach,
protocols, tools and careful claims of causality present the most thorough and watertight
attempt at measuring sporting mega-event impact seen to date.
Having summarily defined the problem with sport mega-event impact assessment, I now
turn to the conceptual literature for illumination and reflection. The concepts of effectiveness
(the achievement of intended goals), efficiency (the achievement of goals in the most economical way) and equifinality (achieving the same goals via different means) have resonance
with impact assessment25 and focus at the organisational level. Sustainability is another key
concept in the discussion of event impacts.26 It links to that of effectiveness and the idea that
multiple stakeholder viewpoints need to be considered when the company is not strictly
for-profit only and when effects on the physical environment and social fabric are at stake.
In this way, sustainability presents a conceptual lens that embraces the whole ecosystem
and considers power balances and effects within it.
A more recent addition to the vocabulary of mega-event impacts is the Aristotelian27 virtue
of phronesis – ‘a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to the things that are
good or bad for man’. Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram define phronesis
as the ‘intellectual virtue of reason capable of action’,28 and Flyvbjerg has used phronetic
social science repeatedly,29 asking pertinent questions of mega-projects, including sporting
mega-events, such as: where are we going, who gains and who loses, how, and is this
development desirable? Phronetic social science can illuminate the debate on how negative
and positive sport mega-event impacts balance. Figure 3.4 illustrates the concepts of
effectiveness, sustainability and phronesis and their respective level of focus, from the microorganisational to the ecosystem meso level, to the macro moral/ethical/virtue level.
Unfortunately, effectiveness offers a one-sided view, as delivering an event does not mean
that the impacts promised to accompany it actually materialise. Effectiveness in the wider
event and impacts sense can be somewhat elusive to ascertain, on account of the multiple
themes through which we can capture it, the multiple stakeholders and their various
perceptions, the many time phases during which impacts occur and the various geographies
where impacts are felt. Sustainability is equally problematic when used to assess megaevents. As the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 confirms:
[We] have always maintained that, taken in isolation, delivering an Olympic and
Paralympic Games is an inherently un-sustainable thing to do. We therefore cannot call
the programme truly sustainable unless the inspirational power of the Games can be
used to make a tangible, far-reaching difference.30
Undertaking to support the continuation of sporting mega-events in the hope that their
inspirational power can counterbalance their inherently unsustainable nature seems to run
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Events in the spotlight
Figure 3.4 Concepts and levels of focus
contrary to any notion of phronesis and applying reason to actions. Increasingly, of late, cities
have withdrawn their bids for staging such events, and in other cities currently preparing to
host them loud and clear dissenting voices are heard.31
Regardless of the still unanswered rhetorical question of whether sporting mega-events
are ‘desirable’ for the collective long-term development of the world’s population, the
challenge of impact assessment will remain as long as these events are staged, and the next
section proposes an analytical framework for the endeavour of measuring them.
Epilogue and proposed framework
Evidently, unbiased mega-event impact assessment is currently unattainable because the
stakes (in terms of political and capital power) are so high while the rigour of the methodology
applied has, to date, been weak. Notwithstanding the fact that the challenges of event impact
assessment is an under-researched area and the fact that signs of strength in the approach
are becoming apparent, as, for example, in Mike Weed et al.’s meta-evaluation of findings,32
the task is truly mammoth. Accusations of relativity in terms of findings and an inability
to extrapolate or generalise also rightly arise from the diversity of contexts within which
mega-events take place. Comparable, holistic overviews of thorough multidimensional
and longitudinal studies are needed. The current focus of investigations on impacts to the
event host (communities, city, country) also diverts attention away from what impacts are
accrued for the event owners and producers in the form of allied companies, such as their
sponsors and trusted global partners. A 360-degree approach to sporting mega-event
The problem with mega-event assessment 149
Figure 3.5 Sporting mega-event impact sphere
impact assessment would encompass impacts to them, too. Figure 3.5 attempts to do this,
and to provide a framework for future assessment. It seeks to encapsulate the various
dimensions of impacts, namely the thematic one (economic, social, environmental and
political), the applicable scale (local to global), the temporal dimension (bid phase to legacy
stage) and the actors involved (event owner, event producer, event consumer). Sporting
mega-event impact assessment needs to explore both the negative and the positive effects
on all the above dimensions if it is going to be adequate to capture who creates what effects,
where and when, and, in so doing, affects whom.
Although, at a practical level, fully applying the impact assessment framework shown in
Figure 3.5 would be politically challenging and costly in terms of the resources needed,
conceptually it offers researchers an overview that would allow them to position their variables
and units of analysis in the overall sphere of impact and appreciate what is still missing from
their particular viewpoints.
To return to the medical analogy and Hippocrates’ aphorism, I would contend that
understanding the dynamics of the context of sporting mega-event impact assessment is key
to understanding the root causes of the above conflicting indicators of what actually happens
to the host city/nation. Having grasped the fundamental causation of a condition and studied
its associated symptomatic impacts, anti-corruption agents, sports organisations and other
stakeholder bodies would be able to diagnose what a host city/nation faced and what the
sporting mega-event actually entailed, and could then advise corrective actions.
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Events in the spotlight
Notes
1 Dr Eleni Theodoraki is reader in festival and event management in the School of Marketing,
Tourism and Languages at Edinburgh Napier University.
2 Elias Marks, The Aphorisms of Hippocrates (New York: Collins & Co., 1817).
3 Will Jennings, ‘Governing the games: high politics, risk and mega-events’, Political Studies
Review, vol. 11 (2013), p. 4.
4 Eleni Theodoraki, ‘Organisational communication on the impacts of the Athens 2004
Olympic Games’, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, vol. 1 (2009);
Eleni Theodoraki, ‘Expressions of national identity through impact assessments of the
Athens 2004 Olympic Games’, in Philip Dine and Seán Crosson (eds), Sport, Representation
and Evolving Identities in Europe (Berne: Peter Lang, 2010).
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Gerry McCartney, Sian Thomas, Hilary Thomson, John Scott, Val Hamilton, Phil Hanlon,
David Morrison and Lyndal Bond, ‘The health and socioeconomic impacts of major multisport events: systematic review (1978–2008)’, BMJ, vol. 340 (2010), c.2369, p. 7, www.bmj.
com/content/bmj/340/bmj.c2369.full.pdf.
8 Maurice Roche, ‘Olympic and sport mega-events as media-events: reflections on the
globalisation paradigm’, in Kevin Wamsley, Bob Barney and Scott Martyn (eds), The Global
Nexus Engaged: Past, Present, Future Interdisciplinary Olympic Studies (London, ON:
International Centre for Olympic Studies, University of Western Ontario, 2002), p. 6,
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/ISOR/ISOR2002a.pdf.
9 Benoit Séguin, André Richelieu and Norm O’Reilly, ‘Leveraging the Olympic brand through
the reconciliation of corporate consumers’ brand perceptions’, International Journal of Sport
Management and Marketing, vol. 3 (2008).
10 Eleni Theodoraki, Olympic Event Organisation (Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007).
11 Jean-Loup Chappelet and Brenda Kübler-Mabbott, The International Olympic Committee
and the Olympic System: The Governance of World Sport (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008).
12 See Will Jennings, Mega-Events and Risk Colonisation: Risk Management and the
Olympics, Discussion Paper no. 71 (London: Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation,
London School of Economics and Political Science, 2012), for an explanation of how
mega-events are linked to broader societal and institutional hazards and threats, but at the
same time induce their own unique set of organisational pathologies and biases.
13 Bent Flyvbjerg, Nils Bruzelius and Werner Rothengatter, Megaprojects and Risk: An
Anatomy of Ambition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
14 Robert Baumann and Victor Matheson, ‘Assessing the infrastructure impact of mega-events
in emerging economies’, in Gregory Ingram and Karin Brandt (eds), Infrastructure and Land
Policies (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2013).
15 See Reuters (UK), ‘Factbox: how the Olympic Games are funded’, 8 March 2012,
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/08/uk-olympics-funding-idUKBRE8270TY20120308,
for the breakdown of funding for the London 2012 Olympic Games; and Dennis Coates and
Brad Humphreys, ‘Do economists reach a conclusion on subsidies for sports franchises,
stadiums, and mega-events?’, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5 (2008), for discussion on
mega-event subsidies.
16 Eleni Theodoraki, ‘The modern Olympic Games: governance and ownership of risk’, Royal
United Services Institute Monitor, vol. 8 (2009), www.bl.uk/sportandsociety/exploresocsci/
sportsoc/mega/governanceownership.pdf.
17 Robert VanWynsberghe, ‘The Olympic Games Impact (OGI) study for the 2010 Winter
Olympic Games: strategies for evaluating sport mega-events’ contribution to sustainability’,
International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, vol. 7 (2015).
18 Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Post-Games Evaluation: Meta-Evaluation of
the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games:
Summary Report (London: DCMS, 2013), www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/
uploads/attachment_data/file/224143/Report_5_Research_Questions_FINAL.pdf.
The problem with mega-event assessment 151
19 Ibid., p. 4.
20 Ibid., pp. 251–255.
21McCartney et al. (2010), p. 1.
22 Ibid., p. 7.
23 Andrew Zimbalist, ‘Is it worth it?’, Finance and Development, vol. 47 (2010), p. 11, www.imf.
org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2010/03/pdf/zimbalist.pdf.
24 John MacAloon, ‘“Legacy” as managerial/magical discourse in contemporary Olympic
affairs’, International Journal of the History of Sport, vol. 25 (2008), p. 2060.
25 See Trevor Slack and Milena Parent, Understanding Sport Organizations: The Application of
Organization Theory (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2006), for a review of the literature
and how it relates to the context of sport organisations; Wendy Frisby, ‘Measuring the
organizational effectiveness of national sport governing bodies’, Canadian Journal of
Applied Sport Sciences, vol. 11 (1986), for her use of the goals and systems models of
effectiveness; and Eleni Theodoraki and Ian Henry, ‘Perzeptionen der organisatorischen
Effektivitat in nationalen Sportorganisationen Großbritanniens‘, in Günther Lüschen and
Alfred Rütten (eds), Sportpolitik: Sozialwissenschaftliche Analysen (Stuttgart: Naglschmid,
1996), for the plurality of concepts and perceptions of effectiveness.
26 Sustainable development is defined as ‘development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains
within it two key concepts: the concept of “needs”, in particular the essential needs of the
world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed
by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet
present and future needs.’ United Nations, Report of the World Commission on Environment
and Development: Our Common Future (New York: UN, 1987).
27Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), VI.5.
28 Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram, ‘Important next steps in phronetic
social science’, in Bent Flyvbjerg, Todd Landman and Sanford Schram (eds), Real Social
Science: Applied Phronesis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p. 287.
29 Flyvbjerg, Bruzelius and Rothengatter (2003); Bent Flyvbjerg, ‘Design by deception: the
politics of megaproject approval’, Harvard Design Magazine, vol. 22 (2005); Bent Flyvbjerg,
‘Truth and lies about megaprojects’, inaugural speech for professorship and chair at Faculty
of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology, 26 September
2007, http://flyvbjerg.plan.aau.dk/Publications2007/InauguralTUD21PRINT72dpi.pdf.
30 Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, Game Changing? Annual Review 2010
(London: Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, 2011), p. 6, www.cslondon.org/
wp-content/uploads/downloads/2011/04/CSL-Annual-Review-20102.pdf. The author
served as core commissioner on the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012.
31 The Conversation (UK), ‘There would be no shame in Brazil ditching the Olympics’, 8 May
2014, https://theconversation.com/there-would-be-no-shame-in-brazil-ditching-theolympics-26204.
32 Mike Weed, Suzanne Dowse, Mat Brown, Abby Foad and Ian Wellard, London Legacy
Supra-Evaluation: Final Report (Canterbury: Centre for Sport, Physical Education and
Activity Research, Canterbury Christ Church University, 2013), www.london.gov.uk/sites/
[email protected]%20-%20London%20Legacy%20Supra-Evaluation%20Final%20
Report%20RE-DRAFT%20V.pdf.
3.4
Corruption and
the bidding process
for the Olympics and
World Cup
Andrew Zimbalist1
The process
Every four years the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Internationale
de Football Association (FIFA) run an international bidding competition that ends in the
awarding of the Olympics or the football World Cup to a host city or country roughly seven
years before the event is held. In the case of the Olympics, the international competition is
often preceded by a national competition among cities in many of the potential host countries.
For instance, in February 2013 the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) sent out an
invitation to 50 US cities asking if they would be interested in hosting the 2024 Summer
Games. In July 2014 the USOC named four cities (Washington, Boston, San Francisco and
Los Angeles) as its finalists (even though Boston had never made a formal decision to be a
candidate). The USOC anointed Boston as the official US candidate in January 2015.2
The US candidate now enters into a competition with multiple ‘applicant’ cities from
around the world. Applicant cities pay the IOC US$150,000 for the privilege of being considered in the contest.3 In 2016 the IOC will narrow the list down to three to five ‘candidate’
cities; candidate cities pay the IOC an additional US$500,000, in theory to cover the costs
of the IOC’s consideration of their application.4 The IOC will pick the ‘winner’ in 2017. FIFA
follows a similar process and timeline, with the exception that it is countries, not cities, that
host the month-long final World Cup competition. In both cases, though, there is a fundamental, underlying economic reality: there is one seller (the IOC or FIFA), there is a monopoly
and there are multiple bidders (and more potential bidders) from around the world. In the case
of the Olympics, as indicated above, the process involving the monopoly seller with multiple
bidders happens in two stages, first at the country level and then at the international level,
raising the expense for the participants in the bidding game.
Well beyond these payments to the IOC or FIFA are the costs entailed in putting together
a plan, hiring consultants, producing glossy brochures and videos, purchasing insurance,
exploring financing options with investment bankers and public bodies, hosting IOC or FIFA
Corruption and the bidding process 153
executives, travelling to IOC or FIFA meetings, and so on. Chicago spent around US$100
million in its failed bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.5 Other cities and countries have
reported similar sums, or more: Tokyo supposedly spent US$150 million in its failed bid to
host the 2016 Summer Games.6
In November 2014, as part of an effort to enlist more applicants, the IOC released a set
of proposed reforms to make it less expensive for cities to bid. Other than some hortatory
language, the only concrete change is that the IOC would pay for some of the travel expenses
for applicants to attend meetings. In sum, the savings here will be a few hundred thousand
dollars per applicant – a small token relative to the tens of millions of dollars typically expended
in a bid.
The Netherlands has been considering a bid to host the 2028 Summer Games. According
to a study by RTLnews, the largest commercial broadcaster in the country, as of 2012 the
Dutch had already spent US$105 million in direct costs to study the feasibility of hosting,
draw up preliminary plans, mobilise the relevant parties and organise events ‘to entice IOC
members to vote for us’.7 At the time of writing (late August 2014) the Netherlands has not
made a formal decision on whether to bid for the 2028 Games.
The voters at the IOC and at FIFA have appreciable power to sway the choice of a host.
Examples from Nagano to Salt Lake City to Qatar abound of vote processes that have been
tainted by payoffs.
What follows is a stylised model of the bidding process. The model presents three possible
situations or cases under different assumptions, going from the least realistic (case 1) to the
most realistic (case 3).
Case 1
• Perfect information and no principal–agent problem
• Outcome: expected net gains are bid away
In this case, it is assumed that the IOC or FIFA each has complete information about the
bidders and that each of the bidders has complete information about its own bid and those
of its competitors. It is further assumed that there is no principal–agent problem; this means
that the body representing the city or country (the local organising committee) fairly represents
the interests of the entire resident population: the local organising committee is the agent
of the entire resident population (the principal). With the assumption of perfect information,
each bidder will know what its potential gain is from hosting and will continue to bid until
just before its gain is fully eroded. (In theory, if each bidder also knows the gains of other
bidders, it will stop bidding at just above the gain to the second highest bidder, leaving a small
potential gain.) Note that if the overall return to hosting approaches zero, and if there are
feel-good benefits from hosting, this implies that there will be a negative financial result – that
is, the host will have to pay to achieve any feel-good effects, bringing the overall net return to
zero.8 This case is the most favourable for the bidding cities or countries. It is also the least
realistic of the three cases.
Case 2
• There is imperfect information and no principal–agent problem
• Outcome: winner’s curse and net loss
The sole difference between this case and the prior one is that the assumption of perfect
information is dropped, making case 2 a better approximation of reality. In this case, each
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Events in the spotlight
bidder does not know what its potential benefits and costs are when it participates in the
bidding competition. The winning bid in such a case usually goes to the most exuberant
bidder, which not only outbids all the other bidders but also generally bids higher than the
possible gain (the winner’s curse). The result is a net financial loss and a net overall loss, even
though the organising committee (agent) in this case is still assumed to fairly represent the
interests of the local population (the principal).
Case 3
• There is imperfect information and a principal–agent problem
• Outcome: outlandish overbid
This case takes a step closer to reality by dropping one more assumption and acknowledging
the existence of a principal–agent problem – in this case that the organising committee
(agent) is controlled by the private interests that stand to gain the most from hosting, and that
these interests are not coincident with those of the population. There is still imperfect information, which facilitates extravagant bids from each of the prospective hosts. The expected
outcome is substantial financial and overall losses, which will only be exacerbated by cost
overruns once construction begins.
A corrupted process
There are two manifest opportunities for corruption in this process. First, there is the
exploitation by FIFA and the IOC of the bidding cities. The monopoly market power of the two
organisations enables them to extract enormous rents out of the bidding process. In order
to win the bid, cities and countries have to yield to the extravagance and gigantism of FIFA
and IOC expectations. The costs of the bidders and the eventual ‘winner’ explode, as do
FIFA and IOC revenues.9 The costs are paid overwhelmingly by the taxpayers. The revenues
from the event in substantial measure are not shared with the host city or country, but are
retained by FIFA and the IOC for sport development and to defray high executive salaries –
and, in the case of FIFA, plethoric operating expenses and ballooning reserve funds.10
Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, earns a salary in excess of US$1 million on top of what
seems like an unlimited expense account. Other FIFA executives earn compensation
packages well into six-figure sums.11 Blatter had been giving the 25 members of the FIFA
Executive Committee annual bonuses ranging from US$75,000 to US$200,000 a year on top
of their salary of US$100,000 for very part-time work. For appearances’ sake, the practice
of annual bonuses was ended in 2014, but FIFA’s Sub-Committee on Compensation (an
appointed body of Executive Committee members)12 made up for this by secretly voting to
double their pay to US$200,000, according to documents uncovered by the London Sunday
Times. The Sunday Times also reported that Executive Committee members receive a
US$700 per diem while doing FIFA work, travel via business class and stay in five-star hotels.13
FIFA and its six regional confederations host myriad meetings in exotic locations each year,
paying for the best hotels, restaurants, entertainment and transportation for the participants.
At the end of the four-year cycle that came with the conclusion of the 2010 South African
World Cup, FIFA took in a surplus of US$631 million, which raised FIFA’s accumulated reserve
fund to US$1.3 billion. The anticipated surplus from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is larger still,
and the reserve fund surpassed US$1.5 billion at the end of 2014.
While the members of the IOC, including its president, Thomas Bach, are unpaid,
Bach receives luxury housing in Lausanne and a lavish expense account. The IOC and its
Corruption and the bidding process 155
Figure 3.6 South Africa 2010
Adapted from: Eddie Cottle (ed.), South Africa’s World Cup: A Legacy for Whom? (Durban: University of KwaZulu–Natal Press, 2011).
various committees hold frequent meetings around the globe, stay in five-star hotels and
enjoy improvident spending budgets. At the end of 2012 the IOC reportedly had a reserve
fund of US$558 million.14
The second opportunity for corruption arises from the capture of the host city by economic
interests. In either democratic or authoritarian countries, the tendency is for event planning
to hew closely to the interests of the local business elite.15 Construction companies, their
unions (if there are any), insurance companies, architectural firms, media companies,
investment bankers (who float the bonds), lawyers and perhaps some hotel or restaurant
interests may get behind the Olympic or World Cup project. They stand to gain substantially
from the massive public funding. Typically, these interests hijack the local organising
committee, hire out an obliging consulting firm to perform an ersatz economic impact study,
understate the costs, overstate the revenues and go on to procure political consent.16
According to one study, in the build-up to hosting the 2010 World Cup the average profits
of the ‘Big Five’ construction companies in South Africa rose from ZAR158 million (some
US$25 million) in 2004 to ZAR1.67 billion (some US$200 million) in 2009 – a 10.5-fold increase
in rand terms!17
Thus, while the taxpayers of the city or country stand to lose from the bidding process and
from hosting the event, the private interests that coalesce to push the hosting project stand
to gain handsomely. Here, as elsewhere, the political process is corrupted.
Notes
1 Andrew Zimbalist is the Robert A. Woods professor of economics, Smith College,
Northampton, Massachusetts. This chapter is adapted from his book Circus Maximus:
The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup (Washington,
DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2015).
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Events in the spotlight
2 ‘Boston wins USOC bid to host 2024 Olympic Games’, WCVB-TV, 8 January 2015,
www.wcvb.com/sports/boston-wins-usoc-bid-to-host-2024-olympic-games/30599954.
3 See, for example, International Olympic Committee, ‘IOC 2022 candidature acceptance
procedure’, www.olympic.org/Documents/Host_city_elections/2022-CandidatureAcceptance-Procedure-FINAL-with-cover.pdf, p. 25.
4 Ibid.
5 CNN (US), ‘Chicago loses Olympic bid to Rio’, 2 October 2009, http://money.cnn.com/
2009/10/02/news/economy/chicago_olympics_rejection/.
6 Asahi Shimbun (Japan), ‘Mizuno says Tokyo 2020 bid budget will be slashed’, 3 December
2011, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/sports/AJ201112030021.
7 Michel de Nooij, ‘Mega sport events: a probabilistic social cost–benefit analysis of bidding
for the games’, Journal of Sports Economics, vol. 15 (2014), p. 412. The indirect costs are
estimated at an additional US$142 million.
8 Note that cities and countries do not bid with US dollar figures. Rather, they bid with fancy
facilities and appealing infrastructure and amenities. Since these have a price, their bids can
be translated into US dollar figures.
9 See Bent Flyvbjerg and Allison Stewart, Olympic Proportions: Cost and Cost Overrun at the
Olympics 1960–2012, working paper (Oxford: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford,
2012).
10 Merco Press, ‘FIFA with record revenue and cash reserves, after 2014 World Cup’,
23 March 2015, http://en.mercopress.com/2015/03/23/fifa-with-record-revenue-andcash-reserves-after-2014-world-cup.
11 See The Least Thing, ‘Further thoughts on Sepp Blatter’s FIFA salary’, 17 June 2013, http://
leastthing.blogspot.com/2013/06/further-thoughts-on-sepp-blatters-fifa.html.
12 According to Domenico Scala, a member of the three-man Compensation Sub-Committee,
the pay levels chosen are meant to emulate the compensation paid to executives in
similarly sized companies in the private sector: www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/
footballgovernance/news/newsid=2384045/index.html.
13 Sunday Times (UK), ‘Fifa’s chiefs pocket secret 100% pay rise’, 22 June 2014.
14 Chicago Tribune (US), ‘Pay IOC president? Yes, but . . .’, 26 April 2013.
15 See Zimbalist (2015).
16Ibid.
17 Eddie Cottle (ed.), South Africa’s World Cup: A Legacy for Whom? (Durban: University of
KwaZulu–Natal Press, 2011).
3.5
Compromise or
compromised?
The bidding process for the award of the
Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup
Stefan Szymanski1
Introduction
History will judge the period between 1998 (when the scandal broke over bribes paid to
secure votes for Salt Lake City as host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games) and 2015 (when
Sepp Blatter, president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for
17 years, resigned six days after the US Justice Department had issued indictments concerning corrupt activities by 14 senior figures in FIFA and marketing company executives) as the
era when the governance of international sport came to the brink of collapse. Between the
1960s and the 1990s the administrators behind the world’s two most popular sporting events,
the Olympic Games (summer and winter) and the FIFA World Cup, found themselves in
control of events capable of generating billions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship revenues, while incurring negligible costs. They found themselves to be dispensers of largesse
on a massive scale. The evidence suggests that many administrators within these organisations have failed in their duties and succumbed to corruption.2 Since 1998, the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) has been attempting to reform itself.3 Under Blatter’s leadership,
the efforts of FIFA were, at best, half-hearted. Following his resignation, there is optimism in
some quarters that a similar process can be undertaken within FIFA.
The actual process of awarding the flagship events (the Olympic Games and the football
World Cup) represents only one dimension of the corruption that has been identified within
the IOC and FIFA, which is itself only a subset of the instances of corruption that can be found
in sports.4 For example, most of the charges in the US Justice Department indictments
of FIFA in May 2015 related not to the World Cup itself but to the sale of broadcast and marketing rights to lesser tournaments in North and South America. Nonetheless, the IOC has
acknowledged corrupt practices in the process of bidding for the right to host the Olympic
Games, notably in the case of Salt Lake City. At the time of writing it seems likely that corruption will be acknowledged by FIFA in relation to several World Cups, and irregularities have
already been acknowledged in relation to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 events.5
Investigative journalists such as Andrew Jennings, who assisted the US Justice Department
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Events in the spotlight
ahead of the FIFA indictments, have gone much further in alleging bribery and corruption in
the bidding process.6
Competition for the right to host these highly popular sporting events is often intense, and
the decisions are often surrounded by controversy. The fundamental problem is that these are
self-regulating organisations, and the scale of the events has grown much more rapidly than
their capacity to manage them. The value of the broadcast rights for the Rome Olympics in
1960 was less than US$3 million (US$23 million at current values).7 The combined value of
the broadcast rights for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and the 2012 London Summer
Games was US$3,850 million,8 a near 170-fold increase in real terms in the space of just
14 Olympiads. Sponsorship revenues have also increased dramatically. Both the FIFA World
Cup and the Summer Olympic Games generate in the region of US$6 billion in terms of
broadcast, sponsorship, ticketing and merchandising.9 A large fraction of those responsible
for the governance of the IOC and FIFA are either current or former athletes, however. This is
not necessarily the best preparation for business decision-making, even if these organisations
now maintain large professional staffs.
The decision as to where to award both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games is made
by the members of the IOC, of which there are currently 100. Twelve are appointed as current
athletes, 11 are members ex officio as heads of large international sports federations. Thirtyseven members have competed in an Olympic Games themselves. The decision to award the
football World Cup was, until 2013, a decision of the Executive Committee, who are appointed
by confederations and associations, except the president, who is elected by the 209-member
FIFA Congress. Following the alleged bribery surrounding the award of the 2022 World
Cup to Qatar, future decisions, starting with the 2026 event, will be made by a vote of the full
209-member Congress.
Background
In the early years these organisations relied essentially on the goodwill of cities and
governments around the world to host the events. Although some governments recognised
the propaganda value of hosting (notably the Nazi government in Germany and the Berlin
Olympic Games in 1936, and Mussolini’s Fascist government and the 1934 football World
Cup in Italy), competition was often restrained, given the limited taxpayer support either
requested or offered. The 1948 Olympic Games were hosted in London because no one else
was interested, and until the advent of global broadcasting these events remained relatively
low-key.
From the 1960s onwards the bargaining power shifted in favour of the IOC and FIFA,
and bidding intensified as the global reach provided by TV significantly enhanced the attractiveness of these events. This in turn created the incentive to pay bribes to secure victory in
the bidding contest, thus necessitating the adoption of rules prohibiting such practices.
Historically, both FIFA and the IOC had operated as gentleman’s clubs, and, according to the
received ideology, gentlemen cannot be corrupted.10 There were other aspects of the gentleman’s club mentality that caused problems. Most of the members came from Europe, and
there was a strong tendency to engage in horse-trading. For example, in 1966 the hosts for
the 1974, 1978 and 1982 World Cups were allocated simultaneously. At the time West
Germany and Spain were both interested, and so they did a deal: Spain refrained from bidding
for 1974 and West Germany withdrew its bid for 1982.11 To insiders, this no doubt seemed a
natural trade-off; to outsiders, it looked like a fix.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a huge expansion of membership of these two organisations
following the end of colonialism and the expansion of the number of sovereign nations.
Awarding the Olympics and World Cup 159
They brought different perspectives. While IOC founder Pierre de Coubertin and his followers
had espoused an ideal of sport independent of politics and the state, many new nations saw
sport and the state as intimately linked, and, indeed, in their own contexts saw the state as a
major pillar in the support of sports organisations. By the 1960s the threat of boycotts from
African nations if South Africa and Rhodesia were allowed to participate became evident.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the survival of the Olympics, in particular, as a global event
was challenged by the politics of national and international sport. In seeking to maintain
the unity of their global organisations, the IOC and FIFA had to adapt to different cultural
expectations.
Over time, the bidding process has evolved significantly. While the fiction remains that
cities bid to host the Olympics and national football associations bid to host the World Cup,
the reality is that both require significant government support, political and financial alike.
Thus a bid usually emerges through a process of domestic lobbying for government support,
leading to a formal submission of interest. A process of review lasting up to two years then
culminates in a vote at the relevant congress of the IOC or FIFA.
Potential for corruption
Since the awarding of these events depends on bidding, it is not surprising that, as hosting
has become more attractive, the role of inducements has grown. One problem for FIFA and
the IOC has been to establish the difference between legitimate and illegitimate inducements.
It can also be that attitudes to inducements can vary by culture and time. It is a matter of
history, for example, that access to senior office (such as in the military or the civil service) in
the nations of north-western Europe had to be bought well into the nineteenth century, and
such practices were often exported to colonial administrations. By the twentieth century,
though, such practices came be seen as corrupt and discredited; not everyone has followed
the path of the western European nations, however, nor have they drawn the same conclusions. These differences can be seen in metrics such as those developed by Transparency
International, which regularly identify European and North American nations as perceived to
be among the least corrupt, and developing nations at the bottom of the list.12
The key moment in the development of FIFA was the 1974 electoral defeat of then
president Stanley Rous, an Englishman with a barely concealed colonial mentality,13 by João
Havelange, a Brazilian, who promised to ensure that some of the riches generated by World
Cup broadcast rights – mainly in Europe – would be recycled to African and Asian countries
in exchange for their votes. This subsequent recycling of profits has been beneficial in
terms of developing the sport in these countries. Sepp Blatter was Havelange’s chosen
successor, and he made it his business that a World Cup should be played for the first time
in Africa. As a result, the Havelange and Blatter regimes are not universally perceived to be
as unambiguously damaging as they are in Europe. This helps to explain why Sepp Blatter
has managed to hold office since 1998, despite the near-universal European perception that
he is corrupt.14
The IOC is a more European organisation than FIFA (47 per cent of IOC members are from
Europe). It acted more decisively in the face of corruption allegations in relation to the awarding
of major events. The scandal surrounding the award of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games to
Salt Lake City caused an internal crisis. It emerged that relatives of several IOC members had
received educational scholarships worth tens of thousands of dollars. Various other forms
of bribery were identified, including direct payments. As a result, six IOC members were
expelled in 1999, four from Africa and two from South America. The IOC took steps to limit
contact between members and the bidding committees, in particular prohibiting visits
160
Events in the spotlight
by members to potential hosts – a process that gave rise to extensive opportunities for
corruption.15 Since 1999 allegations of corruption surrounding the award of the Olympics
have not disappeared altogether, but the reform process has been advanced by some as a
model of internal reform.16
One contributory factor to this change may also be the growing role of the technical
assessment. Historically, the IOC has looked for guarantees and a clear plan for host cities,
but in recent decades the detail required of bidders has grown considerably. Although the
vote of the IOC members is still decisive, the technical assessment of the bid documents and
the bid cities has become far more important. This reflects the fact that the contract between
the host city and the IOC has also grown in size. For example, the technical manuals provided
by the IOC for the London Olympics ran to about 4,000 pages.17 Agreement to host the
games also requires the host nation to change its laws, mainly in order to assure the IOC that
its intellectual property (the Olympic rings, etc.) is fully protected. In 2014 the city of Oslo in
Norway announced that it was withdrawing its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, largely
because of the scale of demands imposed by the IOC (such as providing mobile phones
to every IOC member, and seasonal fruit and cakes to be supplied in every member’s
hotel room).18
The corruption allegations surrounding the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar have
been the most damaging to FIFA, largely because of the obvious difficulty of playing the
tournament in a country where temperatures in the summer hover around 40º C.19 In
2014 FIFA decided that the event should be played in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter
months, interrupting the regular league football calendar in many countries, creating further
discontent. Additional concerns surround claims that hundreds of migrant workers are dying
on stadium and infrastructure construction sites in Qatar,20 and the potential problems
for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender players, officials and fans, who risk being arrested
because of their sexual identity.
In 2012 FIFA appointed Michael Garcia, a distinguished US lawyer, to investigate allegations of corruption surrounding the bid processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The
report was delivered in 2014 but not published. A summary of the report, written by the chair
of FIFA’s Ethics Adjudicatory Chamber, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, was published
and then immediately repudiated by Garcia, on the grounds that it did not accurately reflect
the substance of his original report.21
In the Salt Lake City case the question of withdrawing the Games was never seriously
considered by the IOC (even though the payment of bribes by the bidding committee was
acknowledged), and FIFA had previously maintained that the award to Qatar would not be
nullified.22 Given the problems facing a tournament held in Qatar, however, the pressure to
take the unprecedented step of nullifying the original decision has become a real possibility.23
Given that Qatar is the first nation from the Middle East to be awarded a World Cup, and the
potential for the Qataris to use their immense wealth to lobby within FIFA, there must also be
a real risk of a geographical split developing within the organisation.
Conclusion
The awarding of the right to host sporting mega-events is inherently prone to corruption
risks. Events involving contracts worth billions of dollars are distributed by between maybe
100 and 200 individuals, on grounds that are ultimately subjective. Those involved may have
agendas that are often quite complex, and sometimes it is difficult to separate organisational
objectives (such as the promotion of football) from personal objectives. The accusation of
political and social bias is ever-present on all sides. Moreover, these are private organisations,
Awarding the Olympics and World Cup 161
not government agencies that can be forced by politicians to adopt particular rules (even if,
in some cases, there is extensive overlap). Indeed, many would argue that there are large
risks involved with allowing too much government interference in the running of international
sports federations.
There is no doubt that greater transparency in terms of bidding processes and decisionmaking can help to suppress some corrupt elements, but it is unlikely that the accusation of
corruption, and perhaps the reality, can ever be completely removed. The greatest challenge,
for FIFA in particular at the present time, is to find a consensus on the meaning of corrupt
activities and agree an agenda that enables the organisation to minimise the risks of illicit
payments while preserving the commitment to transfer resources to the developing nations
– a commitment that has, at least in part, helped to make it such a powerful and cohesive
organisation.
Notes
1 Stefan Szymanski is Stephen J. Galetti collegiate professor of sport management at the
University of Michigan School of Kinesiology and co-director of the Michigan Center for
Sport Management.
2 On scandals in the IOC, see particularly the evidence relating to the award of the Winter
Olympic Games of 2002 to Salt Lake City, discussed by Thomas Hamilton, ‘The long
hard fall from Mount Olympus: the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games bribery scandal’,
Marquette Sports Law Review, vol. 21 (2010), http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/
sportslaw/vol21/iss1/7. On scandals relating to the award of the FIFA World Cup, see Kate
Youd, ‘The winter’s tale of corruption: the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the impending
shift to winter, and potential legal actions against FIFA’, Northwestern Journal of International
Law and Business, vol. 35 (2014), http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njilb/
vol35/iss1/5.
3 For the strategic roadmap of IOC planning and reform, see International Olympic
Committee, ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’, www.olympic.org/olympic-agenda-2020.
4 For a survey of recent corruption in sport, see, for example, Wolfgang Maennig,
‘Corruption in international sports and sport management: forms, tendencies, extent
and countermeasures’, European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 5 (2005).
5 See Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Statement of the chairman of the
Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee on the Report on the Inquiry into the
2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bidding Process prepared by the Investigatory Chamber of the
FIFA Ethics Committee’, 13 November 2014, http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/
affederation/footballgovernance/02/47/41/75/statementchairmanadjcheckert_neutral.pdf.
6 See, for example, Andrew Jennings, Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging
and Ticket Scandals (London: HarperCollins, 2006).
7 Holger Preuss, The Economics of Staging the Olympics: A Comparison of the Games
1972–2008 (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004).
8 International Olympic Committee, Olympic Marketing Fact File: 2013 Edition (Lausanne:
IOC, 2013), www.olympic.org/Documents/IOC_Marketing/OLYMPIC_MARKETING_FACT_
FILE_2013.pdf.
9 For Vancouver and London combined, the IOC (2013) states that total revenues were US$8
billion. For the World Cup, see Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA:
Financial Report 2014 (Zurich: FIFA, 2015), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/
administration/02/56/80/39/fr2014weben_neutral.pdf.
10 This view seems to have been especially attractive to Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the
IOC, who was particularly attracted to the ideal of the English gentleman: ‘The English sport
ideology presupposed a certain attitude among the participants: the amateur spirit of the
sport aficionado expressed most clearly in the enlightened and benevolent sportsman and
162
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
Events in the spotlight
gentleman. Coubertin wanted to introduce into modern sport “the spirit of gay candour,
the spirit of sincere disinterestedness which will revitalise . . . and make collective muscular
exercise a true school of moral perfection”.’ Sigmund Loland, ‘Pierre de Coubertin’s ideology
of Olympism from the perspective of the history of ideas’, in Robert Knight Barney and
Klaus Meier (eds), Critical Reflections on Olympic Ideology (London, ON: Centre for Olympic
Studies, 1994).
See, for example, David Goldblatt, The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer (London:
Penguin Books, 2008).
The 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index ranked perceptions of
corruption in 177 countries. It put Botswana as the least corrupt African nation by some
margin; 15 European nations ranked higher than this. The average ranking of European
nations was 45th, the average for Asian nations was 100th and the average for African
nations was 116th.
See, for example, the account by Goldblatt (2008), chap. 13.
Blatter is particularly respected in Africa, since he is credited with the award of the 2010
World Cup to Africa. Significant legitimate payments were made to developing nations,
which may have partly formed the basis of his support. Given the lack of transparency of
FIFA accounting, it has been hard to distinguish cronyism (meaning legitimate payments
aimed at maintaining his supporter base) from outright corruption (illicit payments). See this
piece of information from a poll of football fans across the world carried out in May 2015
by Transparency International: ‘4 in 5 football fans say Blatter should not stand for FIFA
president: poll of 35,000 in 30 countries’, 26 May 2015, www.transparency.org/news/
pressrelease/4_in_5_football_fans_say_blatter_should_not_stand_for_fifa_president_poll_o;
and Transparency International, ‘Following FIFA World Cup corruption scandals, should
Sepp Blatter be standing again for president of FIFA? Percentage who voted “no”’, www.
transparency.org/files/content/pressrelease/2015_FIFAElectionInfographic_900.jpg.
See, for example, Hamilton (2010).
On a positive note, see Roger Pielke, Jr, ‘How can FIFA be held accountable?’, Sport
Management Review, vol. 16 (2013); and, on a more critical note, see Hamilton (2010).
Putting the requirements on paper does not rule out corruption, but it does help to focus on
the relevant issues.
Inside the Games, ‘“Pompous” IOC demands “led to withdrawal of Oslo 2022 Olympic bid”’,
3 October 2014, www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1023008/pompous-ioc-demands-led-towithdrawal-of-oslo-2022-olympic-bid.
Youd (2014).
See, for example, Guardian (UK), ‘Qatar World Cup 2022: 70 Nepalese workers die on
building sites’, 1 October 2013, www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/01/qatarworld-cup-2022-nepalese-die-building-sites.
See Maennig (2005).
See, for example, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘FIFA responds to
independent Ethics Committee statement’, media release, 13 November 2014, www.fifa.
com/governance/news/y=2014/m=11/news=fifa-responds-to-independent-ethicscommittee-statement-2474201.html.
Guardian (UK), ‘Russia and Qatar may lose World Cups if evidence of bribery is found’,
7 June 2015, www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/07/russia-qatar-lose-world-cups-ifbribery-found-fifa.
3.6
The planning and
hosting of sports
mega-events
Sources, forms and the prevention
of corruption
John Horne1
Introduction
Writing as the revelations about alleged corruption at the Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) and the dramatic resignation speech of the organisation’s president, Sepp
Blatter, are still being digested,2 it is all too easy to consider corruption as yet another form of
bread and circuses entertainment provided by sport. Individuals – the ‘bad guys’ and the
‘good guys’ – are being identified, and in some cases mocked and vilified for alleged abuses
of entrusted power for their own private gain (such as Blatter, Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer
of, or once of, FIFA),3 or praised and celebrated for doggedly tracking them down (such
as English investigative reporter Andrew Jennings).4 Individuals are easier to identify than
complex systems, however. This can allow the structure that enables corruption to remain
intact. The structure of the system is the ‘elephant in the room’; just as the ‘criminogenic
environment of the financial system’5 was responsible for the economic crash of 2007–2008,
it is necessary to consider the crisis of international sport as part of a systemic crisis. This
chapter sketches some of the ways in which corruption risks enter into the planning and
hosting of sports mega-events. It recognises that the sources, forms and consequences of
corruption are ‘embedded within political and economic systems. Its precise role and effects
will depend on the configurations and dynamics of such systems.’6
The concept of regional corruption binaries creates the potential for accusations of
overstepping territorial jurisdiction,7 as has happened with respect to the role of the FBI and
the US attorney general in the 2015 crisis at FIFA, which served as the basis for concerns that
the action taken was politically motivated against Russia (host of the 2018 World Cup) and
Qatar (host of the 2022 World Cup).8 This also raises an important question, though: how else
are international sports organisations (ISOs) such as FIFA or the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) to be regulated?
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Events in the spotlight
Corruption and sport
Why should corruption matter in sport? Because sport matters: sport in its mega-event form
is used to political effect by hosts and ISOs alike; elite sport has become a transnational multibillion-dollar industry; and it engages with the everyday lives of billions of people across the
globe. In sports mega-events, this relates to activities such as vote-rigging and the use of
undue influence in elections or the selection of hosts, embezzlement and fraud, and bribery.
In other words, it involves non-competition decisions made by sports officials, associations
and governing bodies.
Corruption in sport is as old as the ancient Olympic Games.9 Those guilty of corruption
related to the games had to erect columns of shame (zane) at their own expense, or that of
their city, at the entrance to the Olympic stadium to atone for their actions. In contemporary
sport, Wolfgang Maennig suggests that it is no greater nor ‘more widespread in sport than
corruption in other areas of human endeavour’.10 The number of reported cases of management corruption in sport has been increasing, however.11 To examine this we need to consider
the context, types and circumstances in which corruption can occur in sports mega-events.
Sports mega-events
Since the 1980s rent-seeking behaviour – ‘seeking control of assets and resources that can
be used to extract rent from users’ – has become the economic imperative.12 This has had
implications for elite sport, and in particular its flagship mega-events: the Olympic Games
and the men’s football World Cup. At the same time as there has been massive growth in
the involvement of commercial interests in sport – creating a ‘global media sports cultural
complex’13 in which the role of corporate media and sponsors especially has got bigger and
bigger – regulatory systems and demands for greater transparency and accountability in
governance have also emerged. In these circumstances, suspicions about the practices of
self-regulating bodies claiming relative autonomy from local jurisdictions, such as international
sports associations, have grown.
As the IOC and FIFA, among other sports organising bodies, have become businessoriented international non-government organisations, journalists, sociologists and other
social scientists have sought to investigate shortcomings in their operations.14 At the same
time, several features of the sports mega-events that these bodies oversee have become
attractive and have been used by states for a variety of non-sporting ends, such as economic
and social development, nation-building and -signalling (by branding the nation) and to
assist in economic and political liberalisation. As Barry Houlihan notes, the ‘willingness of
governments to humble themselves before the IOC and FIFA through lavish hospitality
and the strategic deployment of presidents, prime ministers, royalty and supermodels is a
reflection of the value that governments place on international sport’.15
Since the 1970s there has been concern about ‘gigantism’ and ‘white elephants’ in the
Olympics – the growth in scale of the events, on the one hand, and the potential to build
facilities and stadiums that will be more costly to use and maintain than they are worth, on the
other. Economists and other social scientists have assessed sports mega-events in terms of
their costs and benefits.16 Bent Flyvbjerg suggests that an ‘iron law of mega-projects’,
including sports mega-events, is that they will be ‘over budget, over time, over and over
again’.17 Whether this is a constant or not, it is certainly the case that most sports megaevents since the 1970s have attracted political controversy.
There are a number of ‘known unknowns’ with respect to sports mega-events that have
remained part of the political debate about these events.18 These include:
The planning and hosting of mega-events 165
• the emphasis on consumption-based development, as opposed to social redistribution,
with respect to the goals of hosting sports mega-events;
• urban regeneration that often leads to the ‘gentrification’ of specific areas being
regenerated;
• the displacement (and subsequent ‘replacement’) of poor and less powerful communities
of people;
of (often quite extensive) public sector funds to enhance private corporate sector
• the use
gain;19
• the local host sites and spaces benefiting global flows of capital, trade and finance;
• the spatial concentration of the impact of the event;
• the impact on employment of hosting sports mega-events – and the duration of the
impact;
• the impact on tourism flows is never near what is predicted by proponents of sports
mega-events, mainly because ‘non-sport’ tourists usually defer their visit to the location
of events and thus effectively are ‘displaced’ by ‘sport-event tourists’;20
• the way in which proponents have to resort to the manufacturing of the21consent of local
and national publics to get them on their side about staging the event; and
event coalitions as a result of some or all of these
• the growth of opposition
developments.22
Symbolic politics – the politics of promotional culture via public diplomacy, ‘soft power’ and/
or propaganda – are thus fundamental features of the contemporary risks of sports megaevents. Whether competing with other cities or nations to host an event, winning the right to
do so or actually hosting an event, the potential for symbolic power plays, or pitfalls, is real.
All such exercises in promotional politics – nation-branding, city-branding, image alteration –
run the danger of heightening reputational risk to the bidders (and eventual hosts) involved.
For example, according to the 2014 GfK survey of national image, hosting the 2014 World
Cup, rather than boosting Brazil’s reputation in the world, saw the country lose ground in
the rankings, while World Cup winners Germany knocked the United States off the top spot
after five years.23
Types and circumstances of potential corruption
in sports mega-events
In a relatively simplistic formula, Robert Klitgaard suggests that ‘corruption = monopoly +
discretion – accountability’.24 Where and when can corruption in sports mega-events occur?
Maennig suggests that in circumstances when a sport (or sports event) enjoys high levels of
popularity and attractiveness that make it capable of generating large cash flows, economic
rents ‘result from the fact that . . . the relevant international sports bodies have a unilateral
monopoly over the awarding of sporting title honours’.25
In the case of sports mega-events, several factors increase the scope for corruption. The
large number of disparate organisations involved in staging a sports mega-event includes
the ISOs, the international federations (IFs), national organising committees (NOCs in the
case of the Olympic Games), local organising committees (LOCs), bid teams and associated
political and commercial entities. The membership of these organisations may vary considerably in terms of their recruitment and appointment practices and collective experience,
including in the case of LOCs working within a largely inflexible timetable for the completion
of projects. The intense international interest in mega-events adds considerably to the
166
Events in the spotlight
scrutiny that their organisers will face, yet this can also create the conditions where anxiety
over the pressure to deliver leads to corrupt practices. Corruption in relation to the management of sports mega-events, real or suspected, can thus take a number of forms: for example,
acquiring certain positions in sports associations; influencing the allocation of broadcasting or
other media rights; fixing the allocation of construction contracts or subcontracts for building
stadiums or facilities; or subcontracting to, for example, small- to medium-sized enterprises
to undertake work in preparation for the event.26
One constant potential source of corruption is, of course, the governance (internal
procedures) of international sports associations and related sports bodies involved in sports
mega-events, as the crisis at FIFA in 2015 demonstrates. The announcement in December
2014 that the IOC would adopt ‘Agenda 2020’, a package of recommendations designed to
change policy on a variety of issues, including ethics and good governance, promises
to create a new benchmark, at least in the IOC.27 However, sceptics might still ask if
Agenda 2020 is as much a bid to restore public confidence in hosting the Olympics – at least
in democratic states – as an effort to bring about fundamental reforms.
Conclusion: cultures of corruption in the management
of sports mega-events
It may be possible to identify ways in which the risk of corruption could be managed better in
sports mega-events. Greater democracy, transparency, solidarity and checks and balances
within ISOs, NOCs and IFs would all improve governance. Five suggestions in particular have
been put forward to manage corruption in sport and in general.28
1. Provide and publicise clear codes of conduct to measure behaviour and misbehaviour
by those involved – ISOs, IFs, OCs and other agencies.
2. Ensure the fair distribution of any financial surpluses accrued by the staging of sports
mega-events – whether by host cities, organising committees or sports governing
organisations.
3. Have a high degree of transparency – including detailed documentation of decisionmaking processes, the monitoring of executive and administrative bodies by an internal
auditing department to monitor staff and reducing the degrees of discretion and freedom
of information legislation applicable to sport.
4. Create financial and other incentives to offset the temptations for corruption by insiders.
5. Install systematic internal auditing and control measures in sports bodies, which should
bear direct responsibility for any crimes committed by subordinates.
Efforts to manage corruption risks require the establishment of certain defined procedures
and protocols. These then become the new ‘rules of the mega-event hosting game’ that, as
in other sports, can in turn be tested, tweaked and, frequently, bent to enable competing
potential hosts to gain an advantage. Putting new rules into practice is difficult, however,
since changing the culture of an organisation – the tacit, unwritten, unofficial ways of doing
things – requires changing the rituals, routines and daily practices of the organisation. When
corruption is proved there is a need to focus on anti-corruption measures and cronyism in the
re-engineering of the organisation.29
It is possible that Michael Garcia, the former US prosecutor who investigated allegations
of wrongdoing with regard to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting decisions, was correct
when he said as he resigned from FIFA that ‘[n]o independent governance committee,
investigator, or arbitration panel can change the culture of an organization’.30 This may be
The planning and hosting of mega-events 167
especially the case for organisations with the distinctive governance characteristics of ISOs
that create the potential for corruption31 mixed with an enduring belief in the ‘great sport
myth’ – an almost ‘unshakeable belief about the inherent purity and goodness of sport’.32
One way forward may be to demand that ‘sports governing bodies have to start operating
as big businesses, using best business practices’,33 possibly using Play the Game sports
governance indicators and other means of managing corruption risks. It needs to be remembered, though, that operating in an organisational ‘culture of ethical failure’34 is a systemic
problem, not one of individual agents. Will the FIFA crisis in 2015 change everything? Probably
not, but it will change some things.
Notes
1 John Horne is professor of sport and sociology at the University of Central Lancashire,
based in Preston, United Kingdom.
2 See CNN (US), ‘Sepp Blatter: resignation speech in full’, 2 June 2015, http://edition.cnn.
com/2015/06/02/football/sepp-blatter-resigns-fifa-speech; and BBC (UK), ‘FIFA corruption
crisis: key questions answered’, 17 June 2015, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe32897066.
3 BBC (17 June 2015).
4 Washington Post (US), ‘How a curmudgeonly old reporter exposed the FIFA scandal that
toppled Sepp Blatter’, 3 June 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/
wp/2015/06/03/how-a-curmudgeonly-old-reporter-exposed-the-fifa-scandal-thattoppled-sepp-blatter.
5 Andrew Sayer, Why We Can’t Afford the Rich (Bristol: Policy Press, 2014), p. 273.
6 Robert Williams, ‘Editorial: the new politics of corruption’, Third World Quarterly, vol. 20
(1999), p. 488.
7 Corruption remains a slippery concept, and discussion of it tends to create binaries:
the Western and Eastern blocs, developed and developing societies, democratic and
authoritarian regimes, regulated and self-regulated organisations and associations. The
power to define corruption may be said to lie with the dominant party, with Africa, South
America and Asia often considered to be the continents and subcontinents particularly
affected by corruption.
8 BBC (UK), ‘Fifa scandal: is the long arm of US law now overreaching?’, 4 June 2015,
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-33011847.
9 Wolfgang Maennig, ‘Corruption in international sports and sport management: forms,
tendencies, extent and countermeasures’, European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 5
(2005).
10Ibid.
11Ibid.
12 Sayer (2014), p. 53.
13 David Rowe, Global Media Sport: Flows, Forms and Futures (London: Bloomsbury
Academic, 2011), p. 34.
14 Vyv Simson and Andrew Jennings, The Lords of the Rings: Power, Money and Drugs in the
Modern Olympics (London: Simon & Schuster, 1992); Andrew Jennings, Foul! The Secret
World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals (London: HarperCollins, 2006);
John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson, Badfellas: FIFA Family at War (Edinburgh: Mainstream
Publishing, 2003); John Sugden and Alan Tomlinson, FIFA and the Contest for World
Football: Who Rules the Peoples’ Game? (Cambridge: Polity, 1998); Alan Tomlinson, FIFA
(Fédération Internationale de Football Association): The Men, the Myths and the Money
(London: Routledge, 2014).
15 Barrie Houlihan, ‘Political involvement in sport, physical education and recreation’, in
Anthony Laker (ed.), The Sociology of Sport and Physical Education: An Introductory
Reader (London: Routledge, 2002), p. 194.
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Events in the spotlight
16 Holger Preuss, The Economics of Staging the Olympics: A Comparison of the Games
1972–2008 (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2004); David Whitson and John Horne,
‘Underestimated costs and overestimated benefits? Comparing the outcomes of sports
mega-events in Canada and Japan’, in John Horne and Wolfram Manzenreiter (eds), Sports
Mega-Events: Social Scientific Analyses of a Global Phenomenon (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
17 Bent Flyvbjerg, ‘What you should know about megaprojects and why: an overview’, Project
Management Journal, vol. 45 (2014).
18 John Horne, ‘The four knowns of sports mega-events’, Leisure Studies, vol. 26 (2007),
pp. 81–96.
19Ibid.
20Ibid.
21Ibid.
22 Many of these issues are discussed further in the contributions to Richard Gruneau and
John Horne (eds), Mega-Events and Globalization: Capital and Spectacle in a Changing
World Order (London: Routledge, 2015).
23 GfK (Germany), ‘Germany knocks USA off best nation top spot after 5 years’, 12 November
2014, www.gfk.com/news-and-events/press-room/press-releases/pages/germany-knocksusa-off-best-nation-top-spot.aspx; EBC (Brazil), ‘Copa do Mundo não melhorou imagem
do país no exterior, aponta índice britânico’, 17 November 2014, www.ebc.com.br/noticias/
internacional/2014/11/copa-do-mundo-nao-melhorou-imagem-do-pais-no-exterior-apontaindice.
24 Robert Klitgaard, Controlling Corruption (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988).
25 Maennig (2005), p. 208.
26 On some of these issues with respect to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), see James
M. Dorsey, ‘Reforming soccer governance: tackling political corruption alongside financial
wrongdoing’, 6 June 2015, http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.sg/2015/06/reforming-soccergovernance-tackling.html.
27 International Olympic Committee, ‘Olympic Agenda 2020: 20+20 Recommendations’,
December 2014, www.olympic.org/Documents/Olympic_Agenda_2020/Olympic_
Agenda_2020-20-20_Recommendations-ENG.pdf.
28 Derived and adapted from Maennig (2005) and Vito Tanzi, ‘Corruption around the world:
causes, consequences, scope, and cures’, IMF Staff Papers, vol. 45 (1998).
29 The Conversation (UK), ‘With Blatter gone, the hard work of changing FIFA culture starts
now’, 3 June 2015, https://theconversation.com/with-blatter-gone-the-hard-work-ofchanging-fifa-culture-starts-now-42776.
30 Cited by The Conversation (UK), ‘Sepp Blatter’s FIFA exit opens door for prosecutors,
reformers’, 2 June 2015, https://theconversation.com/sepp-blatters-fifa-exit-opens-doorfor-prosecutors-reformers-42729.
31 See Roger Pielke Jr, Chapter 1.4 ‘Obstacles to accountability in international sports
governance’, in this report.
32 Jay Coakley, ‘Assessing the sociology of sport: on cultural sensibilities and the great sport
myth’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, vol. 50 (2015).
33 Transparency International, ‘Defining the boundaries: a blue print for enhancing cricket
administration’, 31 January 2012, http://blog.transparency.org/2012/01/31/defining-theboundaries-a-blue-print-for-enhancing-cricket-administration.
34 Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything (London: Allen Lane, 2014), p. 334.
3.7
Preventing corruption
in the planning of major
sporting events
Open issues
Wolfgang Maennig1
Corruption in the planning of major events may start as early as during the bidding process,
as demonstrated in the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic bid.2 Likewise, corruption may
not end with the opening of the event, as demonstrated in the gold medal decision in the
2002 Olympics figure skating competition in favour of the Russian skating duo.3 The activities
between these phases also provide many opportunities for corruption. Corruption affects
almost all stages of the value creation chain, and in all groups of ‘stakeholders’, including
nominations for positions, the allocation of TV or marketing rights and the commissioning of
construction works for sports arenas and other venues.4
Truly world-leading ambitions for international
sporting institutions
With the Olympic Games and the men’s football World Cup, the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) control two
of the most fascinating global sporting events, which attract the desire to host them in all
parts of the world. These institutions have high ambitions (and positions) in promoting sports
and making profits, which should be mirrored by equal ambitions to serve humankind more
generally. In a sense, the IOC and FIFA are in a unique position to change the world for the
better, and are potentially more influential than any other international institution, including
even the United Nations and NATO, because of the prohibitively high ‘costs’ arising from
those institutions exercising their power (alienation of sections of the global community in the
event of diplomatic pressure being applied, human casualties and infrastructural destruction
in the extreme case of military force being used). FIFA and the IOC could conceivably use their
positions to enforce standard requirements for good governance, labour regulations and
the protection of minority rights, by declaring them as a precondition for being eligible to bid
or organise their events. Many nations with deficiencies in these areas might change their
practices, just to be able to bid.
170
Events in the spotlight
Any counter-argument that the IOC and FIFA do not have a general political mandate
would be invalidated if these organisations made it clear that they were simply applying
internationally agreed standards, developed by institutions such as the International Labour
Organization (ILO), World Trade Organization, and so on, as they indeed should. Another
potential counter-argument may be that such standards are biased towards current ‘Western
values’, which even Western nations themselves did not live up to a few decades ago, and
that such prescriptions imply ambitions towards a Western hegemony, including, for example,
religious arrogance and/or a protectionist attempt to hinder competition from emerging
regions. For this reason, if the IOC and FIFA were to reform their bidding requirements, they
should do so such that they possess an inclusive character, in line with internationally
accepted standards, such as those of the UN and ILO. The time is ripe for these organisations
to be more ambitious, lead by example and make a genuine impact.
Referenda and participation as formal prerequisites
A general critique is that the bidding for and organising of major sporting events are ‘elitist
actions’ that serve the interests of few (e.g. athletes, real-estate owners, construction firms,
politicians), harm the lives of many (e.g. by the displacement of underprivileged people) and
do not serve the majority of the population. These critiques are often linked with accusations
of corrupt behaviour, for example against political officials who are accused of being misled
by influential individuals and making decisions against the ‘real will’ of the majority. Such
critiques regularly hinder the efficient planning and organising of these events.5 Furthermore,
such critiques undermine the positive image of sports organisations. The violent protests in
Brazil in 2013 were a clear signal that successful sporting mega-events need to have the
support of a broad majority of the population and need to be planned and managed in an
accountable manner.
As a far-reaching mechanism to counter allegations of elitism and corruption, the IOC,
FIFA and other sporting institutions could require ex ante referenda or similar processes as
a precondition for bidding. This could be accompanied by an extension of the time period
generally allowed for the process – from the commencement of bidding up to the opening
ceremony – by an additional two years at least. The longer period of pre-bidding preparation
would fit well with the ambitions of event organisers to use the Games as a tool for urban
regeneration – something that is hardly feasible in multi-layered societies with well-ordered
checks and balances within the present preparation period.
A requirement to hold pre-bidding referenda implies the risk of fewer cities/nations coming
forward to bid in the first place. On the positive side, though, the quality of the bids would
improve. Interested cities and nations would need to invest more resources into developing
bidding concepts that convince their own populations (and, consequently, the decisionmaking bodies in the sports organisations).
Host selection: choosing a pool of future hosts
The time period between the selection and hosting of the Olympic Games or the World Cup
appears to be too short for many cities and countries, if the events are interpreted as a
tool for urban regeneration. It is sometimes argued that the time pressure is itself a major
source of corruption and cost escalation, because decision-makers lack alternatives for
completing the projects on schedule. As a response, the IOC and FIFA could change their
selection modus. Instead of selecting one city seven years ahead of the Olympic Games, or
one country six years in advance of the World Cup,6 the institutions could select a pool
Preventing corruption in planning major events 171
of some three to four future hosts. The final selection of the host would take place some four
years ahead of the event, based on the current status of the preparation. After each final
determination of the next host, a new future host would be added to the pool. Such a
mechanism would have the advantage that the host could make use of different speeds of
preparation, without hindering investments, as there would be the certainty of being the host
at some stage in the near future.
Looking beyond public finance for sporting mega-events
Private financing for major sporting events has been proposed as an alternative approach, in
order to avoid the need to draw upon and further stress public finances.7 When considering
corruption as an intentional choice, this would make sense as well: the risk of corruption
generally increases if sufficiently large bribes can be financed.
The significant increase in budgets for World Cups and Olympic Games over recent
decades, which – including urban infrastructure – now easily reach double-digit billion-dollar
levels,8 provide a potential additional impulse for corruption. With private financing and no
public funds, there would be much less investment for sport facilities and other infrastructure,
severely limiting the scope for corruption. With effective regulations, CEOs will have far fewer
incentives for allowing corruption to happen on their watches. The Los Angeles 1984 and
Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games were organised with minimal or no public finance,
and their examples should be scrutinised by other bidding nations.9 This method would
bring the Games much closer to their roots, as a sporting event rather than an occasion for
urban regeneration.
If removing public finances from the funding of major sporting events appears too farreaching a move, at least public broadcasters should not be allowed to bid for World Cup and
Olympic broadcasting rights (at least when there are private bidders willing to provide free
broadcasting of the event). As such, a decrease in the TV (and marketing revenues) of major
sporting events can be expected. Inevitably, this would not be a policy actively promoted by
international sports organisations. With a worldwide consensus on the part of public
authorities to exclude public sector institutions from bidding for TV and marketing rights,
however, the available funds – and thus the risk of corruption – should be reduced.10
Human resources: selection, rotation, limitation, payment
and accountability
The decision-making should be participatory, especially in the selection of the leadership for
the bidding and organising teams. Up to now, in almost all cases, the selection process has
been limited to a small circle of decision-makers in a non-transparent process. In too many
instances the selection process has led to the enthroning of politically connected individuals
who ‘represent a greater degree of risk of corruption’.11 Furthermore, there are various cases
of bids and organisation processes for major sporting events when the leading individuals
had to be removed because of inadequate performance. A selection that includes a public
participation process may well increase the quality (and acceptance) of the leadership team.
Such a selection process may well conclude with the decision not to install a single ‘head’
but, rather, a team of peers with different abilities, specialisations and backgrounds – a wellestablished everyday principle in almost all team sports.
It might be useful to consider making higher payments to officials working for sports
organisations, especially in FIFA and the IOC, notwithstanding the above reasoning for
reducing the budgets of sporting events by excluding public finance. This may imply a need
172
Events in the spotlight
to change the human resource concept for officials in such institutions, to a system whereby
officials should be paid a salary that is higher than the standard market wage for equivalent
activities (‘efficiency wages’).12 In combination, a deferred compensation model13 should be
constructed; in other words, a large part of the officials’ income would have to be paid into
funds, be they pension or otherwise, which would be paid out only at the end of a corruptionfree tenure. A sufficiently high perceived risk of losing this future income would decrease the
corruptibility of sporting officials.
Finally, some other measures could be considered. For example, other sporting institutions
should weigh up the benefits of adopting the term limits and job rotation policies of the
IOC, which would tend to mitigate corruption risks by preventing too high a level of trust
developing between potential providers and recipients of bribes. It might also be instructive,
in the context of public finances for the sporting mega-events, to look at the case of the
governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, whose contract extension was linked to
performance – in this instance, targeted inflation rates not being exceeded.14 Similarly, the
contract and/or the payment of chairmen or -women for organising sporting mega-events
could be linked to not exceeding event budgets.
Notes
1 Wolfgang Maennig is professor of economics at Hamburg University and an Olympic
champion (rowing eights at the 1988 Summer Olympics).
2 Some argue that it may have even started earlier (see section headed ‘Referenda and
participation as formal prerequisites’); New York Times (US), ‘Olympics: leaders of Salt
Lake Olympic bid are indicted in bribery scandal’, 21 July 2000, www.nytimes.com/
2000/07/21/sports/olympics-leaders-of-salt-lake-olympic-bid-are-indicted-in-briberyscandal.html.
3 ESPN (US), ‘Sale, Pelletier share gold with Russian pair’, 15 February 2002, http://sports.
espn.go.com/oly/winter02/figure/news?id=1333280.
4 For an overview up to 2004, see Wolfgang Maennig, ‘Corruption in international sports
and sport management: forms, tendencies, extent and countermeasures’, European Sport
Management Quarterly, vol. 2 (2005). In recent years most cases of corruption in sports
have been betting-related; see Christian Kalb, Integrity in Sport: Understanding and
Preventing Match-Fixing (Lausanne: SportAccord, 2011), www.sportaccord.com/multimedia/
docs/2012/04/SportAccordIntegrityReport_A4_V2UpdatedApril2012.pdf; and David Forrest
and Wolfgang Maennig, ‘The threat to sports and sports governance from betting-related
corruption: causes and solutions’, in Paul Heywood (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Political
Corruption (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).
5 For more information on and a critique of the planning displacement, see Libby Porter,
Margaret Jaconelli, Julian Cheyne, David Eby and Hendrik Wagenaar, ‘Planning
displacement: the real legacy of major sporting events’, Planning Theory and Practice,
vol. 10 (2009); for the other critical aspects in the case of Brazil 2014/2016, see Thêmis
Aragão and Wolfgang Maennig, ‘Mega sporting events, real estate, and urban social
economics: the case of Brazil 2014/2016’, in Paulo Esteves, Andrew Zimbalist and Luis
Fernandes (eds), BRICS and the Sports Mega Events: Experience and Perspectives
(Rio de Janeiro: BRICs Policy Center, forthcoming).
6 This is typically a period of six years, though the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in
2010 was an exception.
7 Boston Globe (US), ‘Olympic bid draws fire over funding omissions’, 28 May 2015, www.
bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/28/walsh-says-public-money-can-used-for-olympicinfrastructure/aIjtE75n1JDlVe2nCqsz2N/story.html; Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), ‘Keine
öffentlichen Gelder für Olympia!’, www.faz.net/aktuell/sport/sportpolitik/keine-oeffentlichengelder-fuer-olympia-13331809.html.
Preventing corruption in planning major events 173
8 Andrew Zimbalist, Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics
and the World Cup (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2015).
9 Boston Globe (US), ‘Atlanta Games’ venues left some lessons for Boston’, 3 August 2014,
www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/02/atlanta-games-venues-from-left-legacy-somelessons/Jj8zIJqrUcdTT6sEXUjseK/story.html.
10 Free TV could nevertheless be a prerequisite.
11 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), The United Nations Convention Against
Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding Against Corruption in Major Public Events (Vienna:
UNODC, 2013), p. 19, www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/2013/13-84527_
Ebook.pdf.
12 Editor’s note: Transparency International understands that, although the organisations do
not publish salary bands and salaries of executive officials, these officials already receive
sufficiently high if not exceedingly high salaries, and does not advocate raising them.
13 Edward Lazear, ‘Why is there mandatory retirement?’, Journal of Political Economy, vol. 87
(1979); Wolfgang Maennig, ‘On the economics of doping and corruption in international
sports’, Journal of Sports Economics, vol. 3 (2002).
14 David Archer, ‘Inflation targeting in New Zealand’, paper presented to the International
Monetary Fund, Washington, DC, 20 March 2000, sect. I, www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/
seminar/2000/targets/archer.htm#iiia.
3.8
Malpractice in the 2010
Delhi Commonwealth
Games and the renovation
of Shivaji Stadium
Ashutosh Kumar Mishra1
The 2010 Commonwealth Games, held in New Delhi, were marred by allegations of corruption and mismanagement, which tarnished the image of India by presenting it as a country
blighted by high levels of fraud and malpractice.2 From the very beginning the event was
shrouded in controversies, which continually surfaced and have still not been fully resolved.
Concerns were raised during the preparatory phase, with construction work falling behind
schedule and volunteers quitting in large numbers because of dissatisfaction with their
assignments and with the training programme. Gross violations of workers’ rights were
reported at construction sites, where workers were forced into begar.3 The conclusion of the
Games brought to the fore further issues, such as the reported flouting of contracting rules by
officials of the organising committee and the awarding of work contracts to incompetent
agencies at hugely inflated prices.4
At the start it was not clear whether the organising committee would be covered under the
national Right to Information (RTI) Act, as it did not come under the purview of the definition
of ‘state’.5 Such grey areas can create a sense of immunity from rules, procedures and
accountability.
Concerns about the management of the project were raised when the British revenue
and customs department (HMRC) raised objections over a substantial amount of money
transferred to a UK company, AM Films.6 The potential discrepancies surfaced in March 2010
when the organising committee reportedly asked HMRC for a VAT refund on its payments
to AM Films, thus opening a Pandora’s box.7 It was reported that AM Films claimed that
the payments were for car hire services, toilets, barriers and electricity, with the organising
committee saying that they were for the purchase of video equipment, while HMRC held that
no services had been procured in line with a proper tendering process.8
A judgment from the Delhi High Court in January 2010 brought the whole gamut of
activities related to the Commonwealth Games within the ambit of the RTI, however. The High
Court sided with the government’s claim that the RTI laws were applicable to these activities
The 2010 Commonwealth Games and Shivaji stadium 175
on the grounds that nearly all the funding for the organising committee was provided by the
government and that the committee was not an independent body.9 This provided a fillip to
various activists and members of the media in their efforts to expose potential malpractice.10
A special committee led by the former comptroller and auditor general of India, V.K.
Shunglu (the ‘Shunglu Committee’), was set up by the government on 25 October 2010 to
probe the allegations of corruption and mismanagement in organising the Commonwealth
Games. Given the colossal amount of public money that was involved, several other investigative agencies, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance
Commission (CVC), the Directorate General of Income Tax Investigation and the Enforcement
Directorate, also scrutinised the financial irregularities.
The chairman of the organising committee, Suresh Kalmadi, and several others were
subsequently arrested by the CBI on 25 April 2011, linked to the awarding of the timing/
scoring/result system contract to a Swiss firm, Swiss Timing Omega, at an exorbitant cost
of Rs. 141 crore (some US$23 million) and the rejection of Spanish firm MSL’s much
lower bid of Rs. 62 crore (around US$10 million), which resulted in a loss of over Rs. 80 crore
(about US$13 million) to the exchequer.11 They were charged with cheating, forgery and
criminal conspiracy, criminal intimidation and destruction of evidence under the Prevention of
Corruption Act.12
Several other serious allegations came to light, relating in particular to the Queen’s Baton
Relay, held in London and coordinated by the Organising Committee. This included the
awarding of transportation work to AM Car and Van Hire and the aforementioned contracting
of AM Films, which reportedly entailed irregular contracting processes and the charging of
exorbitant rates.13
The example of the renovation of the Shivaji Stadium
The renovation of the Shivaji Stadium, located in New Delhi, is a classic case of the potential
risks involved with large construction projects. Concerns of corruption have been exposed
mainly through information procured by whistleblowers and RTI applications. The Shivaji
Stadium was to be used solely as a practice stadium for women’s hockey teams, rather than
for any event during the Commonwealth Games. However, the renovation of the stadium
proceeded so slowly that it could not be used even for practices during the Commonwealth
Games. Although the tender for the renovation of the stadium stipulated that experience
working with the Indian authorities was required, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC)
contracted M/s China Railway Shisiju Group Corporation (CRSGC), which did not have
such experience.14 The tender estimated that Rs. 808,518,605 (some US$11.5 million) was
needed for the renovation, but CRSGC negotiated a sum of Rs. 1,602,716,430 (around
US$23 million) for the contract.15 The company then subcontracted the work in its entirety,
contrary to the terms of its contract, to M/s Simplex Projects Ltd (SPL) and allegedly at half
the cost of its original contract.16
Although there have not been conclusive findings to date that the work or procurement
activities carried out in relation to the renovation involved corruption, there are incidents
that raise serious concern. For instance, CRSGC, via SPL, allegedly purchased stadium
chairs from abroad at six to seven times the price of chairs locally available in Delhi.17 During
the execution of the project the work was investigated by various government bodies, including the Shunglu Committee, the comptroller and auditor general, and the chief technical
examiner of the CVC. The investigations found that CRSGC was not eligible to apply for the
tender, that its subletting of the work to SPL was illegal and that the contract was awarded at
an inflated cost.18
176
Events in the spotlight
Based on the various irregularities, the NDMC revoked CRSGC’s contract, reassigned
the renovation to other agencies and debarred CRSGC.19 Soon afterwards the Shunglu
Committee submitted its report, and the government formed a committee consisting of a
group of ministers to look into its findings and recommendations. As of July 2013, a case had
been registered against the former NDMC chairman for alleged irregularities relating to the
awarding of the contract to CRSGC.20 Since then, however, no further known action has been
taken on the Shunglu Committee’s recommendations, and there is no evidence that any
advances have been recovered from CRSGC.
After Transparency International India learnt from a whistleblower about various potential
irregularities and malpractices that had occurred during the award and execution of the contract, and in an effort to find out what actions had been taken by the government on the
recommendations of the Shunglu Committee, TI India filed an RTI application. After the initial
application, and a subsequent appeal, government officials refused to share critical information, citing section 8(1)(i) of the Right to Information Act, which empowers the government
to exempt certain information from disclosure; the authorities stated that the CBI was still
investigating the matter, and questioned the need for an RTI request to be filed.
Of the Rs. 1,602,716,430 (about US$23 million) negotiated by CRSGC for its work on the
renovations of Shivaji Stadium, it ultimately received Rs. 987,231,667 (some US$12.5 million)
for the work.21 Since the work is still ongoing at the time of writing and the final bills are yet to
be paid to the agencies completing the project, there is no estimate of the actual expenditure
incurred for the stadium’s renovation.
It remains the case, at present, that the authorities are uncertain as to the expected date
of completion and the total expenditure that is being incurred to upgrade this stadium.22 The
investigations are still ongoing, without any tangible outcome. The renovations were scheduled to be completed before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, but the fact that the work is
still in progress even though the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, are already over
points to the laxity that has seeped into the political system, allowing corruption to become
endemic and deep-rooted.
Notes
1 Ashutosh Kumar Mishra is executive director of Transparency International India.
2 NDTV (India), ‘Commonwealth Games scam may be to the tune of R8,000 crore: CVC’,
20 October 2010, www.ndtv.com/article/india/commonwealth-games-scam-may-be-tothe-tune-of-rs-8-000-crore-cvc-60984.
3 ‘Begar’ is a Hindi term for ‘forced labour’: Economic and Political Weekly (India), ‘Violation of
workers’ rights at the Commonwealth Games construction site’, 13 June 2009.
4 NDTV (India), ‘CWG scam: Kalmadi’s aide caught on camera’, 28 April 2011, www.ndtv.
com/india-news/cwg-scam-kalmadis-aide-caught-on-camera-454204; the organising
committee was composed of an executive board and a 500-member general body, within
which there were special subcommittees (for accreditation, transport, publicity, etc.) and
functional area subgroups (sanitation, accommodation, catering, etc.). The 15-member
executive board was led by a chair, vice chair, secretary general and treasurer: http://d2010.
thecgf.com/organisation_structure.
5 Article 12 of the Indian constitution defines what is meant by the term ‘state’, and the Right
to Information Act, 2005, is applicable to only those institutions that are covered under the
definition of ‘state’.
6 The Hindu (India), ‘Shadow over Commonwealth Games’, 1 August 2010, www.thehindu.
com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/shadow-over-commonwealth-games/
article545691.ece.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games and Shivaji stadium 177
7 The Hindu (India), ‘Major scam hits Commonwealth Games’, 31 July 2010, www.thehindu.
com/news/national/major-scam-hits-commonwealth-games/article542593.ece.
8 The Hindu (1 August 2010).
9 The Hindu (India), ‘CWG committee, IOA come under RTI Act: court’, 7 January 2010,
www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/cwg-committee-ioa-come-under-rti-act-court/
article77008.ece.
10 The verdict was pronounced on 7 January 2010; see http://lobis.nic.in/dhc/SRB/
judgement/20-01-2010/SRB07012010CW8762007.pdf.
11 NDTV (India), ‘CWG case: Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot and 9 others charged with
corruption, conspiracy’, 21 December 2012, www.ndtv.com/article/india/cwg-casesuresh-kalmadi-lalit-bhanot-and-9-others-charged-with-corruption-conspiracy-308113.
12 Governance Now (India), ‘CWG scam: court frames charges against Kalmadi, 9 others’,
4 February 2013, www.governancenow.com/news/regular-story/cwg-scam-courtframes-charges-against-kalmadi-9-others.
13 Economic Times (India), ‘CBI arrests Suresh Kalmadi in Commonwealth Games corruption
investigation: report’, 25 April 2011, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/
2011-04-25/news/29471351_1_dig-s-k-palsania-suresh-kalmadi-cwg-scam.
14 The following bidders participated in the tender: M/s China Railway Shisiju Group
Corporation; M/s Ahluwalia Corporation (India) Ltd; M/s JMC Projects Ltd; M/s Nagarjuna
Const Co.; M/s YMC Buildmore; and M/s Unity India Projects Ltd. This information was
provided by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Stadia Project), Civil Engineering
Department, New Delhi Municipal Council on 5 August 2014, in response to an RTI
application filed by TI India.
15 Information provided by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Stadia Project), Civil
Engineering Department, New Delhi Municipal Council on 28 November 2014, in response
to an RTI application filed by TI India; a report by the Office of the Chief Technical Examiner
of the Central Vigilance Commission was also provided in response to the RTI request.
16 Information provided by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Stadia Project), Civil Engineering
Department, New Delhi Municipal Council on 28 November 2014, in response to an RTI
application filed by TI India. Outlook (India), ‘Was Rs 185 Cr wasted on Shivaji Stadium
renovation?’, 10 April 2011, www.outlookindia.com/news/article/was-rs-185-cr-wasted-onshivaji-stadium-renovation/718288.
17 This was among the irregularities reported by a whistleblower to TI India.
18 Information provided by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Stadia Project), Civil
Engineering Department, New Delhi Municipal Council on 28 November 2014, in response
to an RTI application filed by TI India.
19 M/s Johnson Lifts Pvt Limited and M/s Ingersoll Rand Climate Solution: ibid.
20 Economic Times (India), ‘NDMC annuls Rs 160 crore contract with Chinese firm’, 23 July
2013, http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-07-23/news/40749697_1_
commonwealth-games-chinese-firm-crore-contract.
21 This information was provided to TI India by the Office of the Executive Engineer (Stadia
Project), Civil Engineering Department, New Delhi Municipal Council on 5 August 2014 and
7 November 2014, in response to an RTI application filed by TI India.
22Ibid.
3.9
Preventing corruption
ahead of major
sports events
Learning from the 2012 London Games
Kevin Carpenter1
Introduction
The hosting of major sporting tournaments is the most sought after of all types of major
events by countries, with the pinnacle of all those to be awarded being the Summer Olympic
and Paralympic Games. Once the Games have been awarded by the International Olympic
Committee (IOC), the host country’s thoughts must immediately turn to implementing the bid
proposal by thoroughly planning the event. London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games
by the IOC on 6 July 2005.2 One of the key risks the London organisers had to plan carefully
for was the threat from corruption in its various guises.3 This was reflected in preamble R of
the Host City Contract: ‘WHEREAS [London] and the [British Olympic Association] acknowledge and agree to carry out their activities pursuant to this Contract in full compliance with
universal fundamental ethical principles, including those contained in the IOC Code of Ethics.’4
Giving corruption the widest ambit possible, a number of areas of the delivery of the Olympic
and Paralympic Games can be affected, including: financial management, public procurement, major infrastructure and construction, and security and private sector involvement.5
Establishing the organisational structure to deliver
the London 2012 Games
The obligations under the Host City Contract, particularly preamble T and section 2,6 led the
UK government to enact special legislation to establish two new bodies to plan, organise and
deliver the 2012 Games. First, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games
(LOCOG) was incorporated, as a private company limited by guarantee.7 Second, the London
Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006 (the Olympic Act) established, and set the
mandate of, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA).8 The difference between the two bodies
has been described as follows: ‘The two organisations have complementary but distinct
roles: the ODA is a publicly funded body charged with building the venues and infrastructure
Preventing corruption ahead of major sports events 179
for the 2012 Games; [LOCOG] stages the events of the 2012 Games, and is almost entirely
funded by privately raised revenues and sponsorship.’9
The ODA constituted a single body with overall responsibility for the construction of the
venues and the infrastructure, as well as the transfer of assets after the Games and the transition to legacy use.10 The ODA also shared responsibility with LOCOG for delivering the
services required for the Games. As a public body, the ODA was accountable for its work to
the government, specifically the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (who had to
consult with the Mayor of London on key issues).11
Pursuant to the Olympic Act, two Standing Orders were also issued in relation to the ODA,
the first of which set out important anti-corruption provisions for the board.
Paragraph 7
In accordance with the Management Statement the Board is also responsible for the
following:
. . .
b.ensuring that the high standards of corporate governance and financial management and control are observed at all times.
. . .
Paragraph 9
Board members are required to:
a.comply at all times with the Code of Practice adopted by the ODA and with all
relevant rules relating to the use of public funds and to conflicts of interest;
b.act in good faith in the best interests of the ODA;
c.not misuse information gained in their capacity as Board members for personal gain
or for political profit, nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote
their private interests or those of connected persons or organisations;
d.comply with the ODA’s rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality and of
business appointments (Management Statement para 5.16).12
There were also provisions in relation to conflicts of interest on the part of board members,
and the declaration of those interests, in paragraphs 35 to 40.
Such provisions are particularly important when engaging private organisations for aspects
of the delivery work. Indeed, there were accusations of ‘cronyism’ when the ODA originally
awarded the contract to build the centrepiece Olympic Village, as it was to be financed by
Lend Lease, an Australian company previously headed by the then chief executive of the
ODA, David Higgins.13 In 2008, however, during the global credit crunch, Lend Lease’s private
financing project collapsed, and the British government had to finance the scheme using
public funds instead.14
In addition to the Olympic Act, the United Kingdom already had a robust anti-corruption
legislative framework in place, which included the Fraud Act 2006, the Prevention of Corruption
Act 1906 (and later the Bribery Act 2010) and the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 for
whistleblowing.15
Financial management
Sound financial management and preventing mismanagement through corruption are
paramount to the success of any major sporting event. The UK government recognised this
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Events in the spotlight
for the ODA when it passed the two Standing Orders, which included rigorous financial
control and oversight mechanisms and set out in detail the delegated authority and financial
limits of spending and who was authorised to sign contracts entered into by the ODA at
different values.16
Despite these strict regulations, a troubling incident of fraud still struck the ODA before the
Games, when a man wrote to the authority pretending to be the finance director of Skanska,
the construction firm that had been awarded the contract for landscaping the Olympic Park,
with a change of account details ahead of a payment. The details he provided were actually
for his own bank account. The money was paid to him, and his fraud was discovered by the
Crown Prosecution Service only when he tried to disguise the money trail by sending
£2 million to Nigeria before planning to buy a number of shops in Wolverhampton. He, and
two accomplices, were jailed for between three and a half and four and a half years for
defrauding the ODA and Skanska out of a total of around £2.4 million. The ODA managed to
recover almost all the money, but a spokesman admitted that ‘[o]ur payments system was
reviewed and strengthened immediately after the incident to further limit the risk of fraud’.17
This was quite a faux pas by the ODA, given the value of the corrupt transaction, and it stands
as a stark warning to the organisers of major events, who have to deal with a vast volume and
array of contracts and financial arrangements.
Public procurement
Public procurement for major events, including those in sport, is a function that has traditionally
been beset by corruption. As a result, there is a particular need for transparency, competition
and objective criteria in decision-making.18
As a non-departmental public body, the ODA had to comply with the stringent procurement regulations already in place in the United Kingdom.19 It went one step further, however,
and developed and published its own procurement policy.20 Two chapters of this publication
covered specific aspects of corruption: chapter 4, ‘Governance’, and chapter 5, ‘Management
of risk and opportunity’. Chapter 4.1 highlighted how aware the ODA was of the need for the
procurement process to be clean: ‘The ODA recognises that the programme will be subject
to intense scrutiny at all levels. It has therefore decided to adopt a “balanced procurement”
approach to cascade its requirements down from the policy to the small sub-contractor on a
site.’21 The need to ensure that such an approach was imposed upon all designers, contractors and subcontractors was paramount and required back-to-back obligations in all contracts, as well as diligent contract monitoring, supervision and enforcement.22 Chapter 4
specifically mentioned corruption in procurement under the heading of ‘Probity and business
ethics’, saying that it would ‘damage the integrity of the programme and/or project and the
image of the Games’.
Further areas covered in the policy document that are important for the prevention of
corrupt practices in procurement were transparency, sponsorship rights and fair competition.
The need for the ODA to be transparent was enshrined in UK law through the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000), which, as explained in chapter 4.11, ‘establishes a general
right of access to all types of “recorded” information held by public authorities’.23 To comply
with any requests under FOIA 2000, the ODA needed to have good and secure storage and
access to the information obtained through the tendering and procurement process, while
also being mindful of any commercially sensitive information that had been provided. As for
sponsors, chapter 6.11 made it clear that private bodies that were also sponsors of LOCOG
could tender for ODA contracts, but with the safeguards that they would be treated equally
with other bidders, and that any sponsorship payments were strictly between themselves and
LOCOG and would not be considered.
Preventing corruption ahead of major sports events 181
Security arrangements
The delivery of security-related infrastructure and services requires particular attention for
major sports events because of its political sensitivity. For this reason, security costs often
constitute a large proportion of the overall costs of a major event. Indeed, London 2012 had
the largest security investment of any event in the history of the United Kingdom.24 The private
security company G4S was selected by the ODA at a cost of £284 million, to provide security
guards for the Games.25 The anti-corruption safeguards in the ODA’s procurement policy in
the award of this contract were satisfied by the fact that G4S had a robust and comprehensive
business ethics policy in place, available for public inspection, and the fact that the company
regularly reported on the measures it took at all levels of the organisation to ensure the company’s integrity. In addition, G4S had in place a programme on anti-bribery risk assessments,
anti-bribery control and anti-bribery audits, and also had a whistleblowing hotline.26
Even with these safeguards in place, the decision to award the contract to G4S caused
huge embarrassment to the ODA when it became apparent just weeks before the Games
were due to get under way that G4S would be able to provide only 7,000 guards, at most, of
the 10,400 promised, as a result of catastrophic recruitment and training failures.27 This led
to the police and armed forces having to plug the shortfall, and G4S’s chief executive, Nick
Buckles, being brought before a Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing at short notice
and describing the company’s handling of its Olympics contract as a ‘humiliating shambles’.28
Buckles subsequently stepped down as chief executive29 amid a collapse in profits by onethird after the company was forced to pay out £88 million over its London 2012 failures, after
much painful negotiation with LOCOG.30
Lessons for the planning of future major sporting events
The increasing commercialisation of sport, particularly the Olympic Games, means that the
opportunities and incentives for unscrupulous individuals to gain unlawful profits through corrupting major sporting events are continually growing. London 2012 was in a good starting
position to fight corrupt practices because of the United Kingdom’s legislative instruments
already in place, but LOCOG, and particularly the ODA, enhanced this further through their
processes in planning and delivering the Games, with the result that they were kept largely
free from corruption and provided a good framework for other host countries in the future –
the latter being part of the requirement in preamble P of the Host City Contract.31 The sheer
size and complexity of the event, and the commercial arrangements that had to be entered
into, meant nevertheless that there was always a risk of some isolated instances of corruption
in the lead-up to the Games. Such incidents did, unfortunately, occur, but LOCOG, the ODA
and/or the UK government acted decisively to ensure that the impact of such events was
lessened to the fullest extent. The combination of the largely successful organisation and the
outstanding sporting achievements in London during that magical summer left the IOC and
other Olympic stakeholders broadly in agreement that they were the best Games to date.
Notes
1 Kevin Carpenter is a principal and consultant for Captivate Legal and Sport Solutions.
2 Guardian (UK), ‘London wins 2012 Olympics’, 6 July 2005, www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/
jul/06/olympics2012.olympicgames1.
3 House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, Preparations for the London 2012
Olympic and Paralympic Games: Risk Assessment and Management (London: The
Stationery Office, 2007), www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/
cmpubacc/377/377.pdf.
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Events in the spotlight
4 International Olympic Committee, Host City Contract: Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012
(Lausanne: IOC, 2005), www.gamesmonitor.org.uk/files/Host%20City%20Contract.pdf.
5 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nation Convention against
Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events (Vienna:
UNODC, 2013), www.unodc.org/documents/corruption/Publications/2013/1384527_Ebook.pdf.
6 IOC (2005).
7 See Finance Act 2006, section 65, www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/25/contents.
8 See London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, sections 3–9 and Schedule
1, www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/12/contents.
9 House of Commons, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, London 2012 Olympic Games
and Paralympic Games: Funding and Legacy, vol. II (London: The Stationery Office, 2007),
www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmcumeds/69/69ii.pdf.
10Ibid.
11Ibid.; London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act 2006, Schedule 1, Part 2.
12 Olympic Delivery Authority Standing Orders (1), revised 20 June 2013, www.gov.uk/
government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/208226/Standing_Orders_1.pdf.
13 Corruption UK, ‘What is the real price of the London Olympics?’, 4 April 2012, www.
corruptionuk.net/what-is-the-real-price-of-the-london-olympics.
14Ibid.
15 London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, LOCOG
Sustainability Obligations Register, Version 4, LOCOG in Confidence (London: The
Stationery Office, 2012), http://learninglegacy.independent.gov.uk/documents/pdfs/
sustainability/cp-sustainability-obligations-register.pdf.
16 Olympic Delivery Authority Standing Orders (1), paras. 32 and 33; Olympic Delivery Authority
Standing Orders (2), para. 3(d) and appendix 1, revised 20 June 2013, www.gov.uk/
government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/208227/Standing_Orders_2.pdf.
17BBC (UK), ‘Two jailed over £2.3m Olympic authority fraud’, 24 April 2012, www.bbc.co.uk/
news/uk-england-17829021.
18 United Nations Convention against Corruption, article 9, 31 October 2003, www.unodc.org/
documents/treaties/UNCAC/Publications/Convention/08-50026_E.pdf.
19 UNODC (2013), p. 35.
20 Olympic Delivery Authority, Procurement Policy (London: The Stationery Office, 2007),
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120403073945/http://www.london2012.com/
documents/business/oda-procurement-policy.pdf.
21Ibid.
22 UNODC (2013), p. 37.
23 ODA (2007).
24 UNODC (2013), p. 46.
25 Guardian (UK), ‘Olympic security chaos: depth of G4S security crisis revealed’, 13 July
2012, www.theguardian.com/sport/2012/jul/12/london-2012-g4s-security-crisis.
26 UNODC (2013), p. 48.
27 Guardian (2012); Financial Times (UK), ‘MPs lambast G4S Olympics shambles’, 17 July
2012, www.ft.com/cms/s/0/344a0e3c-d001-11e1-a3d2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3F51a
CS29.
28Ibid.
29 Daily Telegraph (UK), ‘Timeline: how G4S’s bungled Olympics security contract unfolded’, 21
May 2013, www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/supportservices/10070425/
Timeline-how-G4Ss-bungled-Olympics-security-contract-unfolded.html.
30 Guardian (UK), ‘G4S profits tumble on Olympics failings’, 13 March 2013, www.theguardian.
com/business/2013/mar/13/g4s-profits-tumble-olympics-failings.
31 IOC (2005).
3.10
The 2014 Sochi
Winter Olympics
Who stands to gain?
Oleg Golubchikov1
Introduction
The Sochi Winter Olympics and Winter Paralympics, which took place in February/March
2014, made the news worldwide as the most expensive events in history. While the initial
bid’s cost estimate for the Games was in the range of US$11 billion, the final bill skyrocketed
to US$50 billion. Much of this cost has been borne by the federal budget, state-owned
corporations and state-underwritten loans.2
It is easy to assume, as many did,3 that the high cost was merely a testimony to mismanagement and corruption. This is to ignore the results of earnest probing into the causes and
implications of expensive sporting mega-events, however, including how symptomatic they
are of the wider tendencies of transnational sport to intersect with national economies and
politics. Global sporting events, including the Olympic Games, are some of the most conspicuous mega-projects. What is the function of mega-projects, though? As Bent Flyvbjerg
argues, mega-projects ‘are designed to ambitiously change the structure of society, as
opposed to smaller and more conventional projects that . . . fit into pre-existing structures
and do not attempt to modify these’.4 It can be further contended that, as nation states
‘hollow out’ (that is, experience a weakened capacity to project their economic powers over
their own territories in the face of globalisation, welfare state retrenchment and the increasing
self-reliance of subnational regions), mega-projects remain one of the few important means
still available to national governments to pursue radical structural strategies with respect to
national spatial development.
Similarly, the Sochi Olympic project reflects a strategy of the Putin government to
modernise Russian geography. Indeed, as documented below, almost 80 per cent of the
Sochi cost was unrelated to sport. This is well reflected in the official rhetoric: the Winter
Olympic Games were seen as a lever for an overhaul of Sochi and making it a new
‘growth pole’ in the country.5 This rationale goes beyond the direct calculus of the Games
themselves, or even the expectation of a direct financial payback. This is not without controversies, however, including over issues such as the transparency of decision-making and
the juxtaposition of the costs versus wider benefits of such geographically concentrated
modernisation projects.
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Events in the spotlight
This chapter further outlines the context behind the Sochi project and its costs, and
provides an assessment of the Olympic legacy in the aftermath of these Games.
Counting the cost of Sochi
The political dimension of the Sochi Games is well recognised; indeed, most commentators
have argued that, much like, for example, the Beijing Olympics before them, the Sochi Games
were an attempt to display Russia’s re-emerging power to the rest of the world.6 What is
missing in this discourse, however, is the fact that the Sochi Games sought not only (and
probably not so much) to put Russia on the map of world powers but to put Sochi on Russia’s
(and the world) map.7 Here, the Sochi Games should be seen in the context of the Putin
government’s attempts to restructure Russia’s regional geography, based on the premise of
promoting a few select locations as ‘strategic’ (economically and geopolitically) and making
them the key nodes of Russia’s spatial modernisation.8 Sochi has been ‘appointed’ as one
such location; the city has long been favoured by President Putin as a sea resort, and it has
an important geostrategic location at the Black Sea and the Caucasus. The Winter Olympics
worked as the catalyst for the city’s elevation within Russian geography.
This politics of growth poles is by no means idiosyncratic to Russia, nor was it born
there;9 but Russia, like other quasi-authoritarian emerging economies, does particularly rely
on government spending and administrative leverages. The main sponsors of the Olympics
have been large corporations, most of which are state-controlled (such as Gazprom and
Rosneft), while key private investors took state-underwritten credits from state-owned banks
(such as VEB and Sberbank).10
Sochi has become the first Olympic city for which the entire main sports infrastructure
was constructed from scratch and the existing transport infrastructure and hospitality sector
were thoroughly remade. Overall, more than 800 construction objects were built in Sochi.
Some of these were, of course, sporting facilities, but most of the cost was associated with
a generic upgrade of the urban and regional infrastructure, including power stations and
supply, new water and sewerage systems, telecommunications, a massive transport network,
and so forth.11
The resultant Sochi expenses are commonly reported as some US$50 billion – a
considerable portion of Russia’s GDP (Figure 3.7). This roughly corresponds to the official
figures of Olympstroy, the state corporation managing and overseeing the preparations for
Sochi.12 In its 2013 (final) budget statement from June 2014, it reported total allocated funds
of RUB 1,524.4 billion (US$49.4 billion) and funds actually spent by the end of 2013 as RUB
1,415.2 billion (US$45.9 billion).13
How much of this was directly related to sport? According to the Accounts Chamber of
the Russian Federation,14 the direct cost of the Games and the sporting facilities was RUB
324.9 billion (US$10.5 billion), including RUB 103.3 billion (US$3.3 billion) directly funded by
the federal budget. This suggests that around 21 per cent of the total Sochi spending can be
attributed to the sporting side.15
This peculiar cost structure was already part of Russia’s original bid; the total budget
was then envisaged at RUB 313.9 billion (or some US$11.3 billion at the exchange rate
prevailing then), however.16 These moneys were allocated for the Federal Target Programme
(FTP) for the Development of Sochi as a Mountain Climate Resort, which framed the
Olympic bid.17 What is interesting is that the FTP was also allocated RUB 122.9 billion
(US$4.4 billion) in case Russia’s bid for the Winter Olympics was declined in 2007. Although
that was much less than in the Olympic scenario, it still signifies the strategy of making Sochi
a development hotspot.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics 185
Figure 3.7 Costs of the Olympic Games per capita and as a percentage of GDP, 2002–2014
Source: Anti-Corruption Foundation, Sochi 2014: Encyclopedia of Spending (Moscow: Anti-Corruption Foundation, 2014), http://sochi.fbk.info/en.
Public participation and transparency investigations
The high bill for the Winter Olympics, and particularly its inflation since 2007, have attracted
much criticism within and outside Russia.18 State finances were greatly involved, and the
main corporate investors and banks were also heavily exposed to the overspending.19 The
overspends are attributed to a number of factors – notably a lack of sufficient preparatory
investigations at the bidding stage, and underestimations of the challenging engineering
conditions in the swampy Imereti Valley, as well as other areas where the projects were
built; other factors included the poor quality of the initial design specifications, additional
emerging requirements of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and inflation.20
Embezzlement and kickbacks almost certainly played a role too – as proved by a number of
official investigations.21 The full extent of corruption is open to speculation, but such speculation often ignores the other factors leading to overspending.22 Indeed, even private investors
experienced considerable overspends; for example, Interros, the main investor and owner of
the Rosa Khutor Alpine resort, saw a sixfold increase in its costs, from the planned US$350
million to US$2.07 billion.23
Nevertheless, there has been a perceived lack of follow-up investigations to existing
corruption allegations. Despite the official rhetoric of transparency and participation, the
Olympic monetary flows and, in particular, contract allocation procedures, were not exposed
to public scrutiny in a systematic manner, while public participation commonly remained
nominal.24
The most prominent and critical public investigation reviews have been those prepared
by representatives of Russia’s opposition, including with the participation of the opposition
leaders Alexei Navalny25 and the late Boris Nemtsov.26 A report produced by Nemtsov in
collaboration with Leonid Martynyuk, for example, accused the Putin government of a
deliberate plot to make the most expensive games in a challenging location as an opportunity
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Events in the spotlight
for malfeasance and the distribution of state resources to the benefit of ‘Putin’s cronies’.
A report by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation quoted personal ties between contractors and government officials as the most frequent point of concern over the Olympic
projects. It needs to be borne in mind, however, that this reflects the objective realities
of corporate capacity to undertake large-scale projects, given the oligarchic structure of
Russia’s economy.27
At the same time, there has surely been a lack of information about government-led
investigations, even though it is known that a number of criminal investigations were launched
following inspections by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, the country’s
principal financial watchdog.28 Most of the Accounts Chamber’s discoveries seem to have
not led anywhere, however. For example, it was reported that in its 2012 annual report
the Accounts Chamber accused Olympstroy’s executives of creating the conditions for an
unjustified increase in the estimated costs of the sports facilities, resulting in a cost increase
of RUB 15.5 billion (around US$500 million).29 Ever since the resignation of its long-serving
head, Sergei Stepashin, in September 2013, however, little has emerged about further
investigations. Moreover, the Account Chamber’s full reports have not been made available to
the public, on the pretext that to do so would disclose commercially sensitive information.30
Generally, the extant expectations of widespread corruption investigations once the
Games were over have failed to materialise.31 This may be attributable to the post-Olympic
environment of public satisfaction with the successful execution of the Games in general
and the outstanding performance of the Russian team in particular, as well as the ensuing
geopolitical tensions over Ukraine, which overshadowed Sochi.
Usually, an important role in directing public attention is played by the mass media and
investigative journalism. During the preparations for the Games, however, their interventions
with respect to corruption were limited. The Western media gave prominence to a series of
stories that exploited the stereotypes of the Western audiences but provided little evidence
of investigative journalism. Some Russia-based journalists and organisations attempted
more in-depth investigations, highlighting structural problems such as environmental concerns
in the Sochi National Park, migrant labour exploitation and resettlement problems.32 Even so,
there were no sustained and unbiased follow-ups to the cases of alleged corruption.
Sochi in the aftermath of the Winter Olympic Games
The high Sochi spending aside, what is the economic impact of the Games on the host city?
The Olympic legacy in the immediate aftermath of the Games appears to be rather mixed.
To start with, the city has been thoroughly retrofitted, while the continuous media and
government focus on the Sochi Winter Olympics and other events in Sochi has made the city
an easily recognisable ‘brand’. Without doubt, the holding of the Winter Olympics in Sochi
has changed not only the hitherto deteriorating resort city, but also the mental geography of
Russia in the eyes of the Russian population itself. This is reflected in the rise of tourism
to Sochi. After the years when Sochi was ‘Russia’s largest construction site’, with all the
associated hassles and troubles, since 2014 Sochi has begun to enjoy an increase in visitor
numbers. The Winter Olympics appear to have made the largest contribution to this, but
the trend has been maintained through the rest of 2014 and into 2015. The city’s mayor is
reported to expect 5.5 million tourists coming to Sochi in 2015, a rise from the 5.18 million
arrivals in 2014,33 and sharply up on the 3.7 million in 2006 before the Olympic project got
under way.34
The rise in tourism is a welcome trend to city residents, who endured the years of
construction disruption, often combined with a loss of tourism-related income and, sometimes,
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics 187
employment. In addition, hundreds of people were removed from their former sites when they
were subject to compulsory purchase, and were compensated only for legally registered
properties, not for any informal extensions, including those used as guest rooms.35 Therefore,
one year on from the Games, Sochi residents remained divided as to whether the Winter
Olympics had benefited them or not.36
Tourists are attracted to Sochi for various reasons: the new or modernised skiing resorts;
the Olympic Park; the sea resort facilities; and the post-Olympic sporting and business
events and conferences that the government encourages to go to the city, such as the
Formula One Grand Prix in 2014, some matches of the 2018 men’s football World Cup and
many others.37 Tourism helps in returning capital invested in the hospitality business and
bringing in jobs and tax revenues.38 Nonetheless, tourism in Sochi cannot escape the wider
geopolitical context, and Russia’s economic troubles because of the fall in oil prices since
2014.39 On the one hand, as the real incomes of the Russian population have dropped, many
Russians can no longer spend money on tourism – disadvantaging Sochi. On the other hand,
as the Russian rouble has lost its international value, many have switched their holiday plans
to internal tourism, thus benefiting the city. As a further complication, the annexation of
Crimea – another prime holiday destination for Russians – will probably represent a competitive
challenge for Sochi’s tourism.
Uncertainties remain over the economic future of some key sporting facilities in Sochi.40
The Games themselves were held in two clusters, largely separated and distant from the
main urban areas and the city centre. The coastal cluster contains the Olympic Park,
where the main sports facilities and the Olympic Village are located. The mountain cluster
contains the skiing facilities and alpine resort infrastructure. Although the cluster approach
produced a concentration of all activities in these two areas, thus preventing traffic congestion, providing easier access and facilitating security measures, it also raised the issue of
remoteness. For example, when no sporting or other events are taking places in the Olympic
Park, the facilities appear to be rather empty. On this basis, many commentators have been
quick to prophesy that the key stadiums are doomed to collect dust and fall into disrepair.
Although a direct payback on the investment in these facilities is indeed questionable
(also exposing the lack of planning for a post-Olympic legacy),41 the future is by no means
predetermined here. What is necessary is a sustained effort, smart management and coordinated actions on the part of the governments of different levels and other stakeholders to
make sure that the sporting facilities do not become white elephants, but bring further social
(if not financial) value.
Another point of public criticism has concerned the most expensive non-sporting
investment in the Sochi project: a combined motorway and railroad link, comprising tunnels
and bridges through the mountains and connecting the coastal and mountain clusters.
Olympstroy reported that the project had cost RUB 317.9 billion (some US$10.3 billion),42 or
21 per cent of Sochi’s total allocated funds (effectively, this project alone cost more than the
wide majority of the Olympic Games beforehand). It was built to serve as the main traffic
artery during the Games, allowing a flow of up to 20,000 passengers per hour.43 The utilisation
of the roads has been low ever since, however, undermining the rationale for its expensive
construction and maintenance.44
Ahead of the Sochi Games, much investment, especially private, went into the real-estate
construction sector, and not just into hotels but housing as well. Sales of residential properties
have not been as intensive as expected, however, especially in the wake of the economic
slowdown – though this is, overall, a highly speculative market.45 Of particular concern are
reports of ‘ghost settlements’ emerging around housing originally built for residents relocated
from expropriated plots. For example, in one settlement, only 17 of the total 79 detached
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Events in the spotlight
homes are reported to have been occupied since they were built in 2011, some others being
vandalised.46
On balance, it appears that the extent to which Sochi will actually become a magnet for
tourism, further sporting events, conferences and other commercial and non-commercial
activities – and, indeed, a growth pole of national (and international) significance – is not as
yet certain but, rather, remains dependent on the sustained effort to further capitalise on the
work already undertaken, including by government itself.
Conclusion
As already stated, Sochi needs to be seen in the context of the wider political project of
Russian modernisation, the logic of which stretches beyond pure financial calculus. Although
this approach has been conventionally criticised (as being wasteful, ad hoc and exposed to
corruption risks),47 one result is the re-emergence of spatial policy in Russia, which seeks
to rebalance growth away from Moscow and to recalibrate the traditional sectoral approach
of the federal government’s modus operandi to the spatial approach of territorial development and urban policy. Following the disorganisation (and even degradation) of the national
regional policy and spatial planning in Russia after the collapse of the planned economy of
state socialism in the 1990s, various mega-events and mega-projects have recently become
a ‘hook’ for the government to regain control over spatial and urban redevelopment policy.
Sochi has become one of the most prominent cases in this new spatial policy in Russia.48
The urban conditions and infrastructure of Sochi prior to the Games were certainly
poor, and the Winter Olympics have radically changed the city’s fortune. Focusing on selected
locations intensifies the spatial and social inequalities of a country that has already been
unevenly developed and socially divided, however. The scale of the mega-projects also
makes them less sensitive to public oversight, exposing the democratic deficit and corruption
risks. This is a generic problem inherent to all mega-events, but it is more conspicuous
in quasi-authoritarian emerging capitalist economies. It is yet a matter of political choices:
political elites undertake such projects over and over again in hopes of certain gains, disregarding their opportunity costs. Ultimately, a key factor for politicians is the electorate’s
support. In this respect, it must be encouraging for the Putin government that, a year after
the Winter Olympics, according to a survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center,
75 per cent of Russians said they would still support the holding of further sporting megaevents in the country.49
Notes
1 Oleg Golubchikov is senior lecturer in human geography at Cardiff University’s School of
Planning and Geography.
2 Anti-Corruption Foundation, Sochi 2014: Encyclopedia of Spending (Moscow: AntiCorruption Foundation, 2014), http://sochi.fbk.info/en.
3 See, for example, The Economist (UK), ‘Castles in the sand: the most expensive Olympic
games in history offer rich pickings to a select few’, 13 July 2013, www.economist.com/
news/europe/21581764-most-expensive-olympic-games-history-offer-rich-pickings-selectfew-castles; The Economist (UK), ‘Sochi or bust: the conspicuous dazzle of the games
masks a country, and a president, in deepening trouble’, 1 February 2014, www.economist.
com/news/briefing/21595428-conspicuous-dazzle-games-masks-country-and-presidentdeepening-trouble-sochi.
4 Bent Flyvbjerg, ‘What you should know about megaprojects and why: an overview’, Project
Management Journal, vol. 45 (2014), p. 6.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics 189
5 See Martin Müller, ‘After Sochi 2014: costs and impacts of Russia’s Olympic Games’,
Eurasian Geography and Economics, vol. 55 (2014).
6 See, for example, Emil Persson and Bo Petersson, ‘Political mythmaking and the 2014
Winter Olympics in Sochi: Olympism and the Russian great power myth’, East European
Politics, vol. 30 (2014).
7 Oleg Golubchikov and Irina Slepukhina, ‘Russia: showcasing a “re-emerging” state?’, in
Jonathan Grix (ed.), Leveraging Legacies from Sports Mega-Events: Concepts and Cases
(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
8 Oleg Golubchikov, ‘World-city-entrepreneurialism: globalist imaginaries, neoliberal
geographies, and the production of New St Petersburg’, Environment and Planning A,
vol. 42 (2010).
9 See, for example, Neil Brenner, New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of
Statehood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
10 See, for example, Anti-Corruption Foundation (2014).
11 For an overview of Sochi projects and the Olympic legacy from the Games there,
see International Olympic Committee, ‘Sochi 2014: facts and figures’, factsheet (Lausanne:
IOC, 2015), www.olympic.org/Documents/Games_Sochi_2014/Sochi_2014_Facts_and_
Figures.pdf.
12 The costs reported in US dollars depend on the exchange rates used for the Russian
rouble, which have fluctuated much during the execution of the project (and even more
so after the Games). It is not entirely correct to convert the costs into dollars at the date of
their reporting, as investments are cumulative, so that each period needs to be converted
separately. However, this makes it difficult to make conversions in practice. For the purpose
of simplification, this chapter uses the average annual nominal exchange rates of 30.86
roubles per US$1 for the five-year period of 2009–2013, when the overwhelming majority of
spending was made. The Central Bank of Russia reports daily rates and average nominal
exchange rates; see www.cbr.ru/currency_base/dynamics.aspx and www.cbr.ru/statistics/?
Prtid=svs&ch=Par_57946.
13 See the Olympstroy website for its financial reports: www.sc-os.ru/ru/about/financial/index.
php?id_101=3153; www.sc-os.ru/common/upload/otchet_2013/form_14.pdf.
14 The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, ‘Analiz mer po ustraneniyu narusheniy pri
podgotovke i provedenii XXII Olimpiyskikh zimnikh igr i XI Paralimpiyskikh zimnikh igr 2014
goda v Sochi’, 10 April 2015, http://audit.gov.ru/press_center/news/21280.
15 Müller (2014) claims that more than half the non-sports-related costs were cost inflation on
account of the Olympics that would not have occurred otherwise.
16 At the average nominal exchange rate of 27.68 in the first half of 2006 (according to the
Central Bank of Russia). If rouble inflation is factored in, RUB 313.9 billion in December
2005 translates into RUB 618.5 billion in December 2013, meaning that the final overspend
was much less than on dollar-based calculations. Price inflation was already assumed in the
FTP, however.
17 Government of the Russian Federation, ‘Decree from 08.06.2006 N357 on the Federal
Target Programme “The Development of the City of Sochi as a Mountain Climate Resort
(in 2006–2014)”’.
18 Large overspends are not unique in the worldwide context of mega-projects. As indicated
by one of the most prominent commentators on the subject, Flyvbjerg (2014, p. 6), there is
the ‘iron law of megaprojects’: ‘over budget, over time, over and over again’. At one
extreme, the budget for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics was overspent 14 times.
19 The Anti-Corruption Foundation (2014), on the basis of an analysis of corporate reports and
federal budgets, has estimated the following breakdown of RUB 1.5 trillion of the total Sochi
costs: direct public budget costs – RUB 855 billion; expenses of state corporations – RUB
343 billion; VEB loans to private companies – RUB 249 billion; equity of private companies
– RUB 53 billion.
20 RBC (Russia), ‘Stoimost’ Olimpiady v Sochi perevalila za 1.5 trln rub.’, 4 February 2013,
http://top.rbc.ru/economics/04/02/2013/843458.shtml.
190
Events in the spotlight
21 For example, for earlier corruption cases in Olympstroy, see Gazeta.ru, ‘Sledovateli zayavili
o korruptsii v “Olimpstroye” na 23 mln rubley posle otstavki Bolloeva’, 31 January 2011,
www.gazeta.ru/news/business/2011/01/31/n_1682318.shtml.
22 Famously, Jean Franco Kasper, then president of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and
a member of the International Olympic Committee, was reported saying that one-third of
the budget of the Games was stolen. He later underplayed the claim as rumours rather
than his personal estimate, however. See Vedomosti (Russia), ‘Chlen MOK: Tret’ deneg na
Olimpiadu v Schoi rastrachena iz-za “razgula korruptsii”’, 10 January 2014, www.vedomosti.
ru/business/articles/2014/01/10/chlen-mok-tret-deneg-na-olimpiadu-v-sochi-rastrachenoiz-za; and RT (Russia), ‘Sochi Olympics venues, sports infrastructure most modern in the
world: IOC official’, 28 January 2014, http://rt.com/news/sochi-modern-venues-ioc-273.
23 This also exposed the state-owned bank VEB, which provided a loan of US$1.67 billion
for this particular development; see Forbes, ‘Milliarder na Olimpe: kak Potanin stal glavnym
chastnym investorom Sochi-2014’, 30 January 2014, www.forbes.ru/milliardery/250267milliarder-na-olimpe-kak-vladimir-potanin-stal-glavnym-chastnym-investorom-sochi. It is
also noteworthy that the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation complained in
2012 about VEB financing knowingly loss-making projects; see, for example, Izvestia
(Russia), ‘Olimpiyskiye kredity ushli v ofshor’, 29 August 2012, http://izvestia.ru/news/
533192.
24 Boris Nemtsov and Leonid Martynyuk, ‘Zimnyaya Olimpiada v Subtropikakh’ (Moscow,
Nemtsov: 2013), www.putin-itogi.ru/zimnyaya-olimpiada-v-subtropikax; Nezavisimaya
Gazeta (Russia), ‘Korruptsiya ustanovila olimpiyskiy rekord’, 7 June 2010, www.ng.ru/
economics/2010-06-07/1_corrupciya.html.
25 Anti-Corruption Foundation (2014).
26 Nemtsov and Martynyuk (2013).
27 On progress with transparency in Russia’s state corporations, see Transparency International
Russia, ‘Monitoring the transparency and compliance of state-owned enterprise in Russia’,
http://transparency.org.ru/en/news/russian-state-corporations-need-to-take-further-anticorruption-measures.
28 See, for example, Izvestia (Russia), ‘Olimpiyskiye stroyki poluchili pervye ugolovnye dela’,
9 August 2012, http://izvestia.ru/news/532535.
29 RT (Russia), ‘Olympic overstate: Sochi embezzlement reaches $506mn’, 6 March 2013,
http://rt.com/news/sochi-embezzlement-overstating-costs-901.
30 See, for example, a response of the Accounts Chamber to a request of Russia’s Republican
Party following Nemtsov and Martynyuk’s (2013) report: http://svobodanaroda.org/news_
part/4144.
31 Vedomosti (Russia), ‘Olimpiyskiye geroi’, 3 June 2014, www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/
articles/2014/06/03/olimpijskie-geroi.
32 For example, Human Rights Watch produced an extensive report on migrant workers:
Human Rights Watch (US), Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers Ahead of
Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2013),
www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/russia0213_ForUpload.pdf. For references to
other concerns, see Human Rights Watch (US), ‘Russia’s Olympian abuses’, 8 April 2013,
www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2013/04/08/russias-olympian-abuses.
33 Vedomosti (Russia), ‘Trassa svernula v Sochi’, 29 April 2015.
34 According to travel agencies, during Russia’s traditional May holiday break, Sochi in 2015
replaced Paris as the most popular destination among Russians, seeing an 80 per cent
increase in ticket sales for this period from a year earlier: RBC (Russia), ‘Kuda edut na
mayskiye prazdniki: Sochi, Simferopol i Tel-Aviv’, 17 April 2015, http://top.rbc.ru/business/1
7/04/2015/55310fc79a7947d461cb9607.
35 Gazeta.ru, ‘“Vse eto delalos’ ne dlya sochintsev”’, 5 February 2015, www.gazeta.ru/social/
2015/02/04/6399989.shtml.
36Ibid.
37 See International Olympic Committee (2015).
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics 191
38 Sochi has 55,000 hotel rooms, exceeding the 41,300 in Moscow: Vedomosti (Russia),
‘Sostyazaniye za 1.5 trln’, 27 December 2013.
39 Washington Post (US), ‘Russian economic crisis helps save Putin’s post-Olympic dream at
Sochi’, 18 January 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-economic-crisishelps-save-putins-post-olympic-dream-at-sochi/2015/01/17/d8c7bbd8-92b1-11e4-a66f0ca5037a597d_story.html?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost.
40 For a review of the planned and current use of sporting facilities in Sochi, see Gazeta.ru,
‘Olimpiada v Sochi: God Spustya’, www.gazeta.ru/sport/sochi2015.
41 For further discussions on this, see, for example, Müller (2014).
42 Olympstroy (Russia), ‘Otchet ob osuschestvlenii stroitel’stva olimpiyskikh obyektov i vypolnenii
inykh meropriyatiy, svyezannykh so stroitelstvom olimpiyskikh obyektov za 2013 god’, p. 16,
www.sc-os.ru/common/upload/otchet_2013/form_14.pdf.
43 Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Russia), ‘Igry vysshey proby’, 12 April 2013.
44 Some estimates suggest that the costs that the government has to incur in order to
subsidise, operate and maintain post-Olympic venues and tourist and transport
infrastructures in Sochi may remain well above US$1 billion per year; see Müller (2014).
45 Kommersant (Russia), ‘Igry, v kotorye igrayut v Sochi: kogda okupitsa olimpiyskoye
nasledstvo’, 8 September 2014, www.kommersant.ru/doc/2554133.
46 Kavkazskiy Uzel (Russia), ‘V Sochi predstaviteli obschestvennosti napravili prezidentu akt
obsledovaniya pustuyuschego poselka dlya olimpiyskikh pereselentsev’, 3 April 2015,
www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/259950.
47 See, for example, Martin Müller, ‘Higher, larger, costlier: Sochi and the 2014 Winter
Olympics’, Russian Analytical Digest, vol. 143 (2014); Robert Orttung and Sufian
Zhemukhov, ‘The 2014 Sochi Olympic mega-project and Russia’s political economy’,
East European Politics, vol. 30 (2014).
48 See Golubchikov (2010); and Nadir Kinossian, ‘Stuck in transition: Russian regional planning
policy between spatial polarization and equalization’, Eurasian Geography and Economics,
vol. 54 (2013).
49 Russian Public Opinion Research Center, ‘Olimpiada v Sochi: god spustya’, 5 February
2015, http://wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=115138.
3.11
The need for transparency
and monitoring ahead
of the 2018 World Cup
in Russia
Anna Koval and Andrey Jvirblis1
In 2010 Russia was awarded the right to host the next Fédération Internationale de Football
Association (FIFA) World Cup. After the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2018 World Cup
will become the second major international sports event held in the country in its recent history.
In contrast to the Sochi Olympics, the geography of the World Cup is much broader. The
matches will be held in 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities. The Russian government approved
a total budget of 660 billion roubles (US$16 billion) for the event.2 There will be 335 billion
roubles (US$8 billion) allocated from the federal budget, 223 billion roubles (US$5.5 billion) will
come from private investment and 102 billion roubles (US$2.5 billion) will be provided from
the budgets of the 11 constituent regions that host the World Cup matches.3 In particular,
174 billion roubles have been allocated for the construction of sport facilities, with 120 billion
from the federal budget, 44 billion from the respective regional budgets and nine billion from
private investors.4
Such a high amount of public spending requires increased transparency and accountability
in order to prevent corruption and any abuse of public funds. Already, however, Transparency
International Russia has concerns regarding the transparency of the organisations responsible
for the World Cup and their activities.
Transparency in the preparations for the 2018 World Cup
A number of organisations have been created and entrusted with providing support to and
monitoring the preparation process: the Bid Committee, named Russia 2018; the Local
Organising Committee (LOC); Arena-2018, the organisation tasked with monitoring the stadiums’ compliance with FIFA recommendations; and the Centre for Planning and Monitoring of
the official 2018 World Cup preparation programme. According to the website of the Ministry
of Justice, the Bid Committee and the Centre for Planning and Monitoring have not submitted
any annual reports despite the legal requirement to do so before 15 April each year.5 The LOC
The 2018 World Cup in Russia 193
Federal
Regional
Local
Total
Ekaterinburg
4,232
21,790
739
26,761
Kaliningrad
6,722
1,403
17
8,142
Kazan
2,907
1,686
–
4,593
94
64,280
–
64,374
Nizhniy Novgorod
12,583
6,755
8,742
28,080
Rostov-on-Don
26,969
10,895
11,474
49,338
St Petersburg
22,168
51,223
–
73,391
Samara
17,595
26,823
1,699
46,117
Saransk
6,724
9,452
–
16,176
Sochi
1,461
997
27
2,485
Volgograd
8,174
3,595
929
12,698
109,629
198,899
23,627
332,155
Moscow
Total
Table 3.3 Public funds budgeted for the 2018 World Cup preparations (millions of roubles)
Source: Governmental decrees from each of the respective regions.
submitted its 2013 annual financial reports to the ministry on time, but its 2012 reports
appeared online with a remarkable delay of about one year – in July 2014.6 Only Arena-2018
has met all its legally required reporting obligations, with not just its 2013 report but also its
2014 report already available online.7
Another key organisation involved in the preparations for the 2018 World Cup is the stateowned Federal State Unitary Enterprise named Sport-Engineering (Sport-In), which answers
to the Ministry of Sport. The company, first registered in 2006, was appointed in 2013 to
manage the construction and subcontracting for the seven stadiums to be built for the FIFA
World Cup.8 The company also won the contracts to design five of the stadiums. Sport-In
does not do the design work alone, but actively engages subcontractors, some of which are
designing more than one stadium.9 According to the official bidding information, in certain
cases a contract was awarded to the only bidder.10 This arrangement, as well as a number of
other aspects concerning the selection of companies responsible for the stadiums, calls for
the careful monitoring and evaluation of transparency and compliance with the requirements
of Russian anti-corruption legislation.
The high level of expenditures allocated for the football World Cup preparations, together
with the shortcomings in the transparency of the actors and activities involved, led
Transparency International Russia to call on the Ministry of Sport to establish a comprehensive monitoring system for public spending on World Cup preparation activities. The system
should make the details of public spending openly available and easy to access, so that any
interested person or group can track how the funds are allocated and used. The portal should
contain information on the awarding of contracts and other selection procedures and
outcomes; a list of all the companies, contractors and consultants involved, including any
194
Events in the spotlight
Figure 3.8 The geography and funding of mega-events in Russia
Sources: Guardian (UK), ‘Sochi 2014: the costliest Olympics yet but where has all the money gone?’, 9 October 2013; and Vedomosti (Russia), ‘Оргкомитет
ЧМ-2018:Объем финансирования ЧМ по футболу в России – 664,1 млрд рублей’, 15 October 2015.
beneficial owners; and updates on the progress and implementation of stadium and facility
construction. Finally, the portal should be updated on a regular basis, accumulating and featuring any relevant information made available elsewhere on public resources dedicated to
the World Cup.
Looking back: the need for transparency in the preparations
for the Sochi Olympics
Turning to the Sochi experience, no such comprehensive system was ever established
for that event. Those wanting to track the flows of money had to consult a range of different
sources and double-check any information they found. The most successful attempt to bring
together and analyse the details behind the preparation for the Sochi games has come
from civil society. The Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF),11 a Russian non-profit organisation,
has issued a comprehensive report covering the main actors, sports venues and money
flows, purely on the basis of open sources (federal laws, governmental decrees, public procurement contracts, annual reports of involved entities, among others). The ACF also launched
an interactive website presenting the report’s findings.12
The 2018 World Cup in Russia 195
The main problems with the preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games identified in the
ACF report were overpricing (with Sochi venues costing much more than comparable venues
elsewhere), offshore ownership stakeholders, the starting of construction without permission,
environmental violations and, most frequently, personal ties between contractors and
government officials.13 According to the report, ‘A significant part of the money was received
by companies explicitly or implicitly related to several Russian officials.’14 The result was
delays in the completion of stadiums, as well as poor quality and/or inflated prices. Had civil
society been better informed as to which actors were involved, how they were selected and
how the contracts were awarded and implemented, some of these ‘red flag’ points could
have been identified in time and avoided.
The current state of transparency and disclosure for
the World Cup
At present only limited information is available on public spending for the 2018 World Cup
preparations. It is possible to find data on how the public contracts have been awarded,
as this information has to be made available by law on the official government portal on
public procurement.15 Little to nothing is known about what happens with the contracts
then, however. We know only that there are more private subcontractors that take over
the contracts, and there is no open official information on how the process actually carries on
from there.
The main official source on the preparation process at present is the information published
by the LOC. As stated in its 2012 Annual Report on the FIFA website,16 the LOC does not run
a separate official website, but uses the FIFA website to cover relevant news and its own
activities, both in Russian and in English. The LOC also has an official Russian-language
Twitter account. Both sources focus on the news and very basic information on the stadiums
and host cities.17 They do not provide documents or procedural or financial information
on how the main actors are selected, nor do they provide information on how funds are allocated or spent, or even links to other sources containing this type of data. The sole annual
report on the LOC’s activities that is available on the FIFA website covers 2012 only, and it is
not available on the Russian-language version of the website.18
The other official source of information is the website of the Accounts Chamber of the
Russian Federation, which audits the effectiveness of the use of public funds for the World
Cup preparations. Only one report with information on public spending on the design and
construction of new stadiums has been published, in May 2014.19 The report highlights
overpricing, delays in construction and payments, conflicts over land rights, and non-delivery
by subcontractors, and addresses governance-related problems, such as timely issuance
of governmental decrees and the development of project evaluation methodologies.20 The
auditors concluded that diligent monitoring of the spending process is required, due to
the high amount of public expenditures.21 A new audit was planned for December 2014,22
but there is no information on its progress yet. Such reports are a valuable resource, but they
are sporadic and disclose only the audit results, thereby falling well short of the standard
that Transparency International Russia recommends be provided: the regular disclosure of
comprehensive information.
There is also an unofficial website that, according to its description, was launched in 2011
by a group of football fans to ‘cover the preparation process in a transparent way’.23 The
website features an array of news sources on the 2018 World Cup preparations. In a manner
similar to the LOC page on the FIFA website, however, the information is news-oriented and
misses the depth and the detail that would allow tracking and control of the money flows
196
Events in the spotlight
around the preparation activities. On the positive side, the website is updated regularly and
covers a broad range of relevant news, so it can at least be used as a starting point for an
activist’s own investigation. The content sometimes lacks links to original sources, however,
so the reliability of the information needs to be double-checked.
Applying the lessons learnt from Sochi
If information about activities and public expenditures for the World Cup preparations is not
disclosed on time, the same issues faced in Sochi could resurface. Creating a portal to disclose
information about the spending and the actors involved in the preparation process would be a
crucial step to mitigate the various corruption risks – such as over-invoicing, bribery and conflicts
of interest – that come from the high costs of the event and a lack of transparency and
competitiveness. Making information publicly available and easy to access may help prevent
many of the corruption-related problems that accompanied the Sochi Olympics. The Ministry of
Sport should take responsibility for creating such a portal for the 2018 World Cup.
The government has shown that it has the capacity to create such systems, namely in the
portals for the Federal Target Programmes and the Federal Investment Programmes.24 Both
are large-scale, costly programmes that are funded in part by the federal budget and cover
structural reforms and capital investment, respectively. Both have portals hosted on the official website of the Ministry for Economic Development that provide information on the volume
of funding for the programmes, progress in their implementation and the results achieved by
the programmes, The disclosure of this information is required by federal law.25 These portals
could serve as a general model for creating a comprehensive resource on the 2018 event, but
the World Cup portal should present the information in a more accessible and interactive way.
Public officials also appear to recognise the need for a comprehensive resource to
track public spending on the 2018 World Cup. One Accounts Chamber auditor has admitted
that the general public receives little information on the preparation process, from a variety
of scattered sources, after which he suggested a comprehensive resource be created to
address the problem.26 At the moment, however, it is not clear if his recommendation will be
acted upon.
Finally, it needs to be stated that it is not only the in-country actors that are responsible for
transparency and disclosure regarding the 2018 World Cup. FIFA itself should also make
greater efforts to promote transparency. FIFA should require all bidding and winning countries
to publish their bid books, and should also require the host country’s LOC, or the relevant
government actors, to maintain a comprehensive resource about the preparation process,
focusing on the use of public money. It should also insist that the organising committee
publish annual reports in the official language(s) of the host country.
Notes
1 Anna Koval and Andrey Jvirblis are project manager and deputy director for Transparency
International Russia, respectively.
2 The Programme of Preparation of 2018 World Cup in Russia, approved by Governmental
Decree no. 518 of 20 June 2013, last updated 22 May 2015.
3 Ibid.; FIFA, ‘Destination: host cities’, www.fifa.com/worldcup/destination/index.html.
4 Ibid.
5 Article 32 of the federal law on non-profit organisations (these organisations are considered
non-profit entities under Russian law). Any reports submitted are available here: http://unro.
minjust.ru/NKOReports.aspx. A specific report may be found by the non-governmental
organisation’s (NGO) unique registration number.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia 197
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid.
8 Ministry of Sport, Правительство Российской Федерации: Постановление от 20
июня 2013 г. no. 518 (Moscow: Ministry of Sport, 2013), www.minsport.gov.ru/
documents/518.pdf.
9 The data have been collected from the official portal for public procurement: http://zakupki.
gov.ru/epz/main/public/home.html. Part of it can also be found at the website of
Sport-In, under the sections of the corresponding stadiums: http://sportin.su/activity/
championship-2018.
10 The data have been collected from the official portal for public procurement: http://zakupki.
gov.ru/epz/main/public/home.html. The site does not allow for direct links to the search
results.
11 The Anti-Corruption Foundation is a Russian NGO based in Moscow. It was founded in
2011, is involved with the Progress Party and is highly critical of the current administration.
12 Anti-Corruption Foundation, Sochi 2014: Encyclopedia of Spending (Moscow: AntiCorruption Foundation, 2014), http://sochi.fbk.info/md/file/sochi_fbk_report_en_1.pdf. The
interactive website is available at http://sochi.fbk.info/en.
13Ibid.
14Ibid.
15 Официальный сайт Российской Федерации в сети Интернет, для размещения
информации о размещении заказов на поставки товаров, выполнение работ,
оказание услуг, http://zakupki.gov.ru/epz/main/public/home.html.
16 Local Organising Committee for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, 2012 Annual Report
(Moscow: Local Organising Committee, 2012), http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/
tournament/loc/02/07/81/59/2012-annual-report_eng.pdf.
17 Ibid.; Twitter, ‘Футболисты и тренеры “Крылья Советов” посетили место строительства
стадиона’, 8 April 2015, https://twitter.com/fifaworldcup_ru.
18Ibid.
19 Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, ‘A summary report on the results of “Testing
the effectiveness of budget spending for the design and construction of sports facilities
being built for the World Cup 2018” (with Control Directorate of the President of the Russian
Federation)’, Бюллетень Счетной палаты no. 5 (май) 2014 [Bulletin of the Accounts
Chamber no. 5 (May) 2014], www.ach.gov.ru/activities/bulleten/783/17773/?sphrase_
id=645495 (available in Russian only).
20Ibid.
21Ibid.
22 Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Press Center, ‘Счетная палата начнет
проверку расходования государственных средств на ЧМ-2018 в конце года – аудитор
Владимир Катренко’, 27 October 2014, www.ach.gov.ru/press_center/news/19423.
23See Россия 2018, http://россuя2018.рф (available in Russian only).
24 Available at http://fcp.economy.gov.ru/cgi-bin/cis/fcp.cgi/Fcp/Title/1/2015 and http://faip.
economy.gov.ru/cgi/uis/faip.cgi/G1, respectively.
25 See Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation website, http://economy.
gov.ru/wps/wcm/connect/economylib4/en/home/activity/sections/ftp.
26 Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation Press Center (27 October 2014).
3.12
Sporting mega-events,
corruption and rights
The case of the 2022 Qatar World Cup
Sharan Burrow1
The concentration of wealth, corporate interests and unregulated international bodies in sport
has grown to unprecedented levels. Sporting mega-events jostle for space each year, and
with them comes a growing body of evidence around abuse of power, abuse of workers’
rights and corruption. The investigations by the Swiss and US authorities into corruption
allegations linked to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have put the
global spotlight on this issue as never before.
The international trade union movement, not least the International Trade Union
Confederation (ITUC), began to take a close interest in sporting mega-events during the
1990s, when it documented the scandal of child labour being used in the production of
footballs with ‘FIFA Approved’ emblems in Sialkot, Pakistan, to be sold during the 2002 FIFA
World Cup.2 The child labour was linked to violations of other international labour standards,
with adult workers in Sialkot effectively being denied the right to organise unions and bargain
for decent wages.3
In September 1996 FIFA eventually agreed that a ‘Code of Labour Practice’ would incorporate, in its commercial contracts, respect for a package of core labour rights based
on International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on freedom of association, collective
bargaining, non-discrimination and protection from child labour and forced labour.4 A cornerstone of the agreement was transparency: factory owners would need to declare their
‘hidden’ workforce – the large numbers of football stitchers, many of them women and children, working long hours at home to supply footballs to the factories in return for poverty-level
wages.5 FIFA subsequently transferred responsibility for the Code to the World Federation of
the Sporting Goods Industry, an employer body.6
Some progress was made on tackling child labour, but, when measured against the
objectives of ensuring respect for core ILO standards on freedom of association, collective
bargaining, non-discrimination and protection from forced labour and child labour, the Code
became yet another failed example of voluntary ‘corporate social responsibility’. Moreover,
although the Code was brought in specifically in connection with merchandise, the violation
of labour rights is also a concern for sporting events, in particular relating to the construction
and renovation of infrastructure for World Cups and other major events.7
Sporting mega-events, corruption and rights 199
Sialkot and the inadequate FIFA Code are just two examples of how today’s ‘supply chain’
or ‘value chain’ business model, after three decades of globalisation, is still failing to ensure
decent lives and decent jobs for millions of people. Lax or absent regulation in many countries
in which production is based, combined with the multiple tiers of contractual relationships
between producer factories, intermediaries and the global brand names, frequently leave
workers without protection or rights.
The compromising of human rights for the 2022 World Cup
These fault lines are evident in the organisation and marketing of sporting mega-events. The
relentless quest for profit, through merchandise deals and in building stadiums and other
infrastructural elements for high-profile events, continues to outweigh public concern over the
exploitation of the workers who deliver them.
One of the most disturbing features of the labour market today is the prevalence of modern
slavery in global value chains. Here again, major sports events are part of the problem.
Although workers facing ‘slave-like conditions’ in the building of World Cup infrastructure in
Brazil were freed through government action,8 the opposite is the case for the US$140 billion
World Cup infrastructure programme in Qatar.9 There, the government itself is responsible for
modern slavery, through the ‘kafala’ system, used widely across the Middle East, which ties
impoverished migrant workers to their employer.10
Under kafala, workers cannot change jobs without the permission of their employer. Their
freedom of movement is heavily restricted, and they cannot leave Qatar without an exit visa
signed by the employer. The ITUC has dealt with many cases of construction workers,
company executives11 and even professional football players12 who have been stuck in Qatar
for months – even years – because their employer refuses, or simply doesn’t bother, to give
them an exit visa. Qatar even refused to suspend kafala to allow grieving Nepalese workers
to return home for the funerals of their loved ones after the massive earthquake in May 2015
that killed thousands in Nepal.13
As many as 1.75 million workers in the construction, domestic service and other sectors
are trapped in this system of modern slavery.14 Unregulated migration agencies promise
young people from Nepal, India, the Philippines and elsewhere the chance to work in Qatar
for a good wage in a decent job.15 The practice of ‘contract substitution’, whereby workers
are informed prior to departure that they will work in a particular job for a particular wage,
only to find things very different when they arrive in Qatar, remains common.16 This practice
is made possible – in addition to kafala law and the absence of ILO-compliant labour
laws – by the failure of Qatar and country-of-origin governments alike to ensure proper
regulation of migration agencies.17 Despite efforts by some government agencies in workers’
countries of origin, as well as pre-departure outreach programmes by non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and trade unions, many migrant workers do not know about the
kafala system.18
Once the workers have set foot in Qatar the reality hits, as they find themselves entrapped
in a wage system that pays them according to their race or nationality rather than the nature
of their job.19 After work days of 12 hours or more, on construction sites in temperatures that
regularly exceed 40º C, the workers return to sprawling labour camps on the outskirts of
Doha, with unsanitary and filthy conditions.20 Dissent is not tolerated, however: workers who
join together to complain are detained and deported, while foreign journalists who look too
deeply behind Qatar’s public relations facade may receive the same treatment.21
Hundreds of thousands of workers have been and continue to be enlisted to build the
infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar asserts that the only infrastructure construction
200
Events in the spotlight
currently under way in the country that is relevant to the World Cup relates to the stadiums
themselves, maintaining that the construction of roads, public transport infrastructure,
accommodation and all the other facilities and services required to host the 2022 event are
instead for more general purposes.22 This is at odds with the announcements made during
and immediately after the World Cup bidding process, in 2010, which placed the World Cup
at the centre of Qatar’s infrastructure-building programme.23
Over the past several years an annual average of around 200 migrant workers from each
of India and Nepal have died as a result of the appalling working and living conditions24
(figures for other countries of origin are often suppressed by the local embassies in Doha,
pressured by the Qatari authorities). The cause of death is rarely established, as there are no
post-mortems, and usually there is no compensation for the families left destitute by the loss
of remitted income. The death rate of migrant workers from India actually increased from
2013 to 2014 by 16 per cent.25
The role of external influencers
The ITUC initiated new discussions with FIFA after their awarding of the 2022 World Cup
hosting rights to Qatar, which was tainted by allegations of corruption. The ITUC and FIFA
met at the latter’s Zurich headquarters in 2011, with the ITUC insisting that the event should
go ahead in Qatar only if the country changed its medieval labour laws. Despite some
public statements,26 FIFA has nevertheless failed to put the necessary pressure on Qatar, with
serious consequences for the huge and growing migrant workforce as it races against time
to deliver the vast World Cup infrastructure programme.
The ILO supervisory bodies have made strident criticism of Qatar’s labour laws and
called on the authorities to bring them into line with ILO standards.27 These standards
are widely adhered to around the world, yet Qatar and its fellow Gulf states Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates refuse to respect them.28 In March 2014 the ILO reported
that the kafala system in Qatar constituted a violation of its Convention 29, the Forced
Labour Convention,29 which was adopted nearly a century ago but strengthened in 2014
because of the persistence of trafficking in forced labour worldwide. In the same month the
ILO urged Qatar to address the absence of freedom of association for migrant workers – and,
indeed, for the limited rights afforded even to Qatari workers.30 Regrettably, Qatar has not
acted on the ILO’s calls for reform; rather, it has used its economic power to bully other
governments in an attempt to stall plans for an ILO Commission of Inquiry into its system of
forced labour, or even to allow an ILO mission of government, employer and worker
representatives into the country.31
The ongoing tragedy for Qatar’s migrant workforce is not a government responsibility
alone. Multinational construction companies, which are generating huge profits from their
joint ventures in Qatar, should also be held responsible. These companies are now under
the spotlight. Litigation has been launched in France against construction giant Vinci,32
and the main World Cup contractor, CH2M Hill, is under heavy public pressure.33 Further
legal action against other companies involved in World Cup construction is understood
by the ITUC to be in progress. Global brands that sponsor FIFA are also feeling the
pressure.34 The international trade union movement is in talks with several of the major
companies, demanding that they ensure that international labour standards be respected
in every part of their Qatar operations.35 Another important stakeholder is the Sports and
Rights Alliance of NGOs,36 which is pressing for reform of FIFA and has demonstrated its
impact, with progress now being made at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with
its Agenda 2020.
Sporting mega-events, corruption and rights 201
The interdependence of transparency and labour rights:
Qatar and beyond
Qatar today is a prime example of the link between corruption and the repression of workers’
rights in global value chains, though it is far from alone in this respect. The absence of respect
for international labour standards, and in particular the kafala system, leave workers exposed
to corrupt practices in relation to their recruitment, including through the contract substitution
described above, as well as their actual work in Qatar. Time and again the absence of transparency and the rule of law is a key factor in industrial tragedies, such as the Rana Plaza
building collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, in which over 1,000 workers were killed. One of the
key achievements of the union-endorsed Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety was
to secure the disclosure of the supply chains of roughly 200 companies sourcing from the
country, which has finally allowed them to be inspected by competent, honest inspectors.37
The Bangladesh example shows how, on labour rights issues, constructive engagement by
the private sector with trade unions increases protection and fairness for workers and contributes to ethical production, with consequent benefits for companies’ reputations as well as
returns to local communities. Such opportunities for engagement are why the ITUC places
such a high value on cooperation between labour rights and anti-corruption groups, as
demonstrated by the Sports and Rights Alliance.
International pressure on FIFA and Qatar, and on other sporting mega-event host countries,
including from governments, international sporting bodies and corporate sponsors, must be
stepped up. Many lives are at stake, and failure on the part of the international community on
these issues would further entrench corruption and the exploitation of workers as accepted
ways of doing business. The same challenge is faced by the IOC, to turn its Agenda 2020 into
a real vehicle for change.
Notes
1 Sharan Burrow is the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.
2 International Labour Office, Action Against Child Labour (Geneva: International Labour
Office, 2000), p. 267; India Committee of the Netherlands, ‘Child labour used to
manufacture “World Cup” balls’, 22 May 2002, www.indianet.nl/a020522.html; International
Labor Rights Fund, Child Labor in the Soccer Ball Industry: A Report on Continued Use of
Child Labor in the Soccer Ball Industry in Pakistan (Washington, DC: International Labor
Rights Fund, 1999), www.laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/
ILRF%20Soccer%20Balls%20in%20Pakistan%20report%20Feb99.pdf.
3 See International Labor Rights Forum, Missed the Goal for Workers: The Reality of Soccer
Ball Stitchers in Pakistan, India, China and Thailand (Washington, DC: International Labor
Rights Forum, 2010), www.cleanclothes.org/resources/recommended-reading/ilrfsoccerball-report.pdf; and see also the letter sent to FIFA by the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation
and the Union Network International on 6 July 2000, which is available at www.indianet.nl/
ivvvbr.html.
4 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Labour codes for footballs’, 3 September
1996, http://m.fifa.com/newscentre/news/newsid=70068/index.html.
5 ‘Code of labour practice for the production of goods licensed by the International Federation
of Association Football (FIFA)’, www1.umn.edu/humanrts/links/fifa.html.
6 Rhys Jenkins, Ruth Pearson and Gill Seyfang (eds), Corporate Responsibility and Labour
Rights: Codes of Conduct in the Global Economy (London: Earthscan, 2002); Fédération
Internationale de Football Association, ‘Social responsibility’, http://quality.fifa.com/en/
Footballs/Quality-Programme-for-Footballs/Social-responsibility.
202
Events in the spotlight
7 International Trade Union Confederation, The Case against Qatar: Host of the FIFA 2022
World Cup (Brussels: ITUC, 2014), p. 15, www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/the_case_against_
qatar_en_web170314.pdf.
8 BBC (UK), ‘Brazil World Cup workers “face slave-like conditions”’, 26 September 2013,
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24292174.
9 ITUC (2014).
10Ibid.
11 Human Rights Watch (US), ‘Qatar: abolish exit visas for migrant workers’, 30 May 2013,
www.hrw.org/news/2013/05/30/qatar-abolish-exit-visas-migrant-workers.
12Ibid.; Euronews (France), ‘“Desperate” French footballer trapped in Qatar’, 14 November
2013, www.euronews.com/2013/11/14/desperate-french-footballer-trapped-in-qatar.
13 International Business Times (US), ‘Nepali minister blasts Qatar, FIFA, over treatment of
World Cup migrant workers’, 24 May 2015, www.ibtimes.com/nepali-minister-blastsqatar-fifa-over-treatment-world-cup-migrant-workers-1936125.
14 Guardian (UK), ‘Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup “slaves”’, 25 September 2013, www.the
guardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/revealed-qatars-world-cup-slaves; Independent
(UK), ‘FIFA’s real crime with Qatar 2022 is ignoring the workers’ plight’, 3 March 2015,
www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/sam-wallace-fifas-real-crimewith-qatar-2022-is-ignoring-the-workers-plight-10081450.html.
15 Human Rights Watch (US), ‘Qatar: migrant construction workers face abuse’, 12 June 2012,
www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/12/qatar-migrant-construction-workers-face-abuse.
16 International Labour Organization, ‘Representation (Article 24): Qatar – Co29’, 24 March
2014, www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:50012:0::NO::P50012_
COMPLAINT_PROCEDURE_ID,P50012_LANG_CODE:3113101,en.
17 United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants,
François Crépeau: Addendum: Mission to Qatar (New York: United Nations, 23 April 2014),
www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/SRMigrants/A-HRC-26-35-Add1_en.pdf.
18 Just Here (Qatar), ‘Quota system for issuing work visas may stop soon’, 2 December 2014,
www.justhere.qa/2014/12/quota-system-issuing-work-visas-may-stop-soon; Business for
Social Responsibility, Migrant Workers and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar: Actions
for Business (New York: Business for Social Responsibility, 2012), www.bsr.org/en/ourinsights/report-view/migrant-workers-and-the-fifa-world-cup-2022-in-qatar-actions-forbusiness; The Peninsula (Qatar), ‘The rising cost of hiring maids’, 2 November 2013,
http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/259293/the-rising-cost-of-hiring-maids.
19 ITUC (2014).
20Ibid.
21 National Public Radio (US), ‘Talking to Qatar’s World Cup workers gets BBC reporter
arrested’, 22 May 2015, www.npr.org/2015/05/22/408680072/talking-to-qatar-s-world-cupworkers-gets-bbc-reporter-arrested.
22 Qatar News Agency, ‘Qatar’s government communication office denies Washington Post
article about worker conditions in Qatar’, 2 June 2015, www.qna.org.qa/en-us/News/
15060218340056/Qatars-Government-Communication-Office-Denies-Washington-PostArticle-about-Worker-Conditions-in-Qatar.
23 Hukoomi (Qatar), ‘FIFA World Cup 2022’, http://portal.www.gov.qa/wps/portal/topics/
Tourism,+Culture+and+Leisure/FIFA+World+Cup+2022; Online Qatar, ‘Qatar World Cup
2022’, www.onlineqatar.com/worldcup-2022; Online Qatar, ‘The 2022 World Cup
countdown begins’, www.onlineqatar.com/worldcup-2022/world-cup-countdown.aspx.
24 Guardian (UK), ‘Qatar World Cup construction “will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead”’,
26 September 2013, www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/sep/26/qatar-worldcup-migrant-workers-dead; Human Rights Watch, Building a Better World Cup: Protecting
Migrant Workers in Qatar ahead of FIFA 2022 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2012),
www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/qatar0612webwcover_0.pdf; International Trade
Union Confederation, ‘New evidence of abuses of workers’ rights in Qatar prompts ITUC
investigation’, 16 May 2012, www.ituc-csi.org/new-evidence-of-abuses-of-workers;
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
Sporting mega-events, corruption and rights 203
Al Jazeera America, ‘Qatar migrant workers die by hundreds’, 18 February 2014,
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/17/hundreds-of-migrantworkersfacedeathin
qatar.html.
Times of India, ‘279 Indians died in Qatar in 2014’, 31 January 2015, http://time
sofindia.indiatimes.com/nri/other-news/279-Indians-died-in-Qatar-in-2014/articleshow/
46079097.cms.
Fédération Internationale de Football Association, ‘Meeting between FIFA and the ITUC’,
21 November 2013, www.fifa.com/worldcup/videos/y=2013/m=11/video=meetingbetween-fifa-and-the-ituc-2227304.html; ESPN (UK), ‘Blatter: Qatar World Cup labour
issues unacceptable’, 20 November 2013, http://en.espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/
259317.html.
International Labour Organization, ‘Eighth supplementary report: report of the committee set
up to examine the representation alleging non-observance by Qatar of the Forced Labour
Convention 1930 (no. 29), made under Article 24 of the ILO Constitution by the International
Trade Union Confederation and the Building and Woodworkers International’, 24 March
2014, www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meeting
document/wcms_239846.pdf.
International Trade Union Confederation, ‘ITUC Global Rights Index names world’s ten worst
countries for workers’, 10 June 2015, www.ituc-csi.org/ituc-global-rights-index-names;
Migration Policy Institute (US), ‘Global civil society in Qatar and the Gulf Cooperation
Council: emerging dilemmas and opportunities’, 9 April 2014, www.migrationpolicy.org/
article/global-civil-society-qatar-and-gulf-cooperation-council-emerging-dilemmasand-opportunities.
ILO (24 March 2014).
International Labour Organization, 371st Report of the Committee on Freedom of Association
(Geneva: ILO, 2014), www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/
meetingdocument/wcms_239692.pdf.
International Trade Union Confederation, ‘Qatar buys time at the ILO’, 30 March 2015,
www.ituc-csi.org/qatar-buys-time-at-the-ilo.
Guardian (UK), ‘France: Vinci Construction investigated over Qatar forced labour claims’,
26 April 2015, www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/26/france-vinci-construction-qatarforced-labour-claims-2022-world-cup.
Independent (3 March 2015).
Guardian (UK), ‘Visa expresses “grave concern” to Fifa over migrant workers in Qatar’,
20 May 2015, www.theguardian.com/football/2015/may/20/visa-fifa-migrant-workersqatar-world-cup.
Building and Wood Worker’s International, ‘BWI meeting on working conditions of migrant
workers in Qatar hosted by ILO sets path for joint strategy’, 27 October 2014, www.bwint.
org/default.asp?index=5813&Language=EN.
The Sports Rights Alliance is a coalition of leading human rights and sports groups,
including Amnesty International, FIFPro – World Players’ Union, Football Supporters
Europe, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, Supporters
Direct Europe, Terre des Hommes and Transparency International Germany.
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, http://bangladeshaccord.org/progress.
3.13
The Brazilian experience
as ‘role model’
Christopher Gaffney1
Brazil’s World Cup experience has been instructive for future hosts, in that it has presented a
number of problems related to the transparency of the bidding process, the size of the country
and the ambitions of urban authorities, the emergence of strong opposition to infrastructure
spending and privatisation, and critical governmental interventions that eventually allowed for
the successful realisation of the event.
The major Brazilian sports confederations, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF)
and the Comitê Olímpico Brasileiro (COB), have tended to be dominated by a narrow range
of vested interests for decades.2 As these two organisations took the lead role in the bidding
for the World Cup and Olympics, respectively, their institutional cultures have negatively
impacted the transparency of the events themselves.3 The lack of public consultation and
open debate in the preparation of bid dossiers continues to be one of the major obstacles to
ensuring that mega-events serve the broadest range of stakeholders.4
The case of Brazil is exemplary in that the bid dossier for the 2014 World Cup was never
made public and the Rio 2016 bid book has become the de facto urban planning document
for the city of Rio de Janeiro.5 These are problematic developments because, in the former
case, there is no public record of what the CBF and the Brazilian government proposed or
promised to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA); subsequent
developments had major impacts on 12 Brazilian cities. In the latter case, the city of Rio de
Janeiro is being transformed to match the proposed ‘Olympic city’, with dire consequences
for tens of thousands of families, which have been forcibly removed from their homes.6
The logistical challenges of organising a World Cup in Brazil were exacerbated by
the ambitions of the Brazilian executive branch to have as many host cities as possible;
FIFA required between eight and ten host cities, but the Brazilians opted for 12. None of
the 18 potential host cities circulated their proposals for public input prior to or during
the bidding process. This meant not only an increase in costs and impacts, but that several
cities without notable football traditions would acquire FIFA-standard stadiums, five-star
hotels and world-class training facilities. Although the realisation of the World Cup in Manaus,
Cuiabá, Brasília and Natal may have accelerated necessary upgrades to airports, these
cities have not experienced an improvement in urban mobility or basic services, or an
increase in tourism.7 To the contrary, these cities have gone into debt since the World Cup to
maintain ‘white elephant’ stadiums that will remain a burden on municipal budgets for the
foreseeable future.8
The Brazilian experience as ‘role model’ 205
Figure 3.9 Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha: Brasilia’s white elephant
Sources: Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Estádio Nacional de Brasília – Brasília, http://pt.fifa.com/worldcup/destination/stadiums/stadium=5002284/index.
html; Washington Post, ‘High costs, corruption claims mar Brazil World Cup’, 12 May 2014.
In addition to the problem of ‘white elephant’ infrastructure, all the World Cup projects
were exempted from normal contracting procedures so that the building process could
be accelerated. The combined effects of the so-called Differential Public Procurement
Regime (RDC in Portuguese) and an exemption to the Law of Fiscal Responsibility, which
requires cities to have balanced budgets, have pushed all the World Cup host cities into
debt, as municipal and state governments took advantage of the situation to build on
a massive scale in an accelerated time frame.9 The inclusion of infrastructure projects in
World Cup development agendas typically falls under the category of ‘legacy’, but when
206
Events in the spotlight
these projects occur under emergency planning and execution regimes their transparency
tends to decrease.10
Another problematic of the 2014 World Cup was the way in which municipal and state
governments interpreted FIFA’s host city demands. When FIFA declared, as early as 2007,
that Brazil did not possess a single stadium capable of hosting a World Cup match, the
Brazilians interpreted this to mean that they should build or renovate 12 stadiums that met or
exceeded all FIFA’s technical requirements.11 As the FIFA documents had no provisions for
social, economic or urban sustainability, however, the Brazilians constructed stadiums that
are isolated from their urban contexts, very expensive to maintain and dependent on imported
technologies, and that do not fit within the cultural paradigms of Brazilian ‘fandom’. The
majority of the World Cup stadiums were formerly public installations that were demolished
and rebuilt with public money, and are now operated through so-called public–private
partnerships (typically 30-year concessions won by the civil construction firms hired for the
rebuilding).12 This has resulted in a transfer of public space to private interests and an increase
in the cost of attending football matches, and further exacerbated the crises of social and
urban fragmentation in Brazil.13
Beginning with the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013, it became apparent that Brazil
had exposed itself to significant risk in the pursuit of mega-events. An a priori assumption
of hosting mega-events is that they will serve to attract international media attention, and
stimulate tourism, business and national pride. With the advent of massive protests against
the exorbitant public spending on the World Cup, it became clear that Brazil was risking its
international image and that the Workers’ Party, the largest element in the governing coalition,
was alienating its political base through its acquiescence to FIFA’s stringent demands. The
chronic lateness or incompleteness of stadium, airport, communications and transportation
infrastructure, as well as the public displays of disaffection between the 2014 Local Organising
Committee (LOC) and FIFA, further hurt Brazil’s image abroad.14
The unprecedented scale and intensity of the protests during the 2013 Confederations
Cup focused greater international attention on FIFA’s business model than ever before. The
federal government dealt with this crisis situation through heavy-handed policing and strategic
negotiations with key social actors.15 Despite the very real threats to a successful staging of
the contest, including pitched battles between police and protesters at many venues, and
repeated denunciations of human rights abuses, event organisers and international observers
alike declared it a success.
Emboldened by the effectiveness of protests in bringing attention to the impact of the
World Cup on Brazilian cities, protesters organised further strikes and public actions throughout 2013 and into 2014. One of the federal government’s primary responses was to create
a 10,000-strong military shock force that could be rapidly deployed to potential trouble
spots during the World Cup.16 This force, combined with an estimated BRL 1.9 billion (some
US$780 million) in federal security spending and an additional 15,000 security officers,
ensured that protesters threatening the staging of the World Cup would be contained.17 For
the final, there were no fewer than 25,000 police personnel in Rio de Janeiro, and 19 activists
were arrested on the eve of the match.18
Another major risk to the realisation of the 2014 World Cup was the derelict state of
Brazil’s urban and inter-urban transportation. In order to guarantee uninterrupted urban traffic
circulation and inter-city flights during the World Cup, each host city decreed a holiday on
game days. This effectively cleaned the streets of their habitual users, diminishing the risk
of traffic jams, overstretched metro services or crowded airports.19 The suspension of
urban normalcy across the Brazilian host cities was key to the operational success of the
World Cup.
The Brazilian experience as ‘role model’ 207
The response of the international sports organisations to the problems of hosting the
2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics has been tepid. Partially as a result of the pursuit
of FIFA-standard stadiums for the World Cup, Brazilian football tickets are now the
most expensive in the world relative to the national minimum wage.20 There has been no
institutional reform of the cloistered and opaque CBF, and FIFA appears content to follow
the Brazilian model of hosting in Russia and Qatar, where dissent and public protests are
much less likely.
The preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics are worryingly similar to those of the
World Cup, although their effects are concentrated in Rio de Janeiro. The construction of
three non-governmental regulatory agencies to deal with the financing and execution
of Olympic-related projects has eroded democratic institutions and created significant
vacuums of responsibility.21 Large-scale infrastructure projects that are part of Olympic and
Paralympic transportation planning have removed tens of thousands from their homes without
due process or compensation.22 These projects are accelerating and their impacts increasing
as the Olympic deadline approaches.
The multiple levels of authority and bureaucracy have created a kind of shell game, in
which no one agency or individual is responsible for the impact of a given project. The
International Olympic Committee (IOC), for example, is focused only on the delivery of
housing, transportation, brand protection and venues for its competition; it is not concerned
with how these projects are developed, or their impacts on residents.23 The Comitê
Organizador dos Jogos Olímpicos e Paralímpicos Rio de Janeiro 2016 (Rio 2016) is preoccupied with Games operations, not infrastructure development.24 Two governmental oversight organisations (the Autoridade Público Olímpico and Empresa Municipal Olímpica)
are responsible for project delivery, but the city government has taken the lead on the transportation infrastructure that will link the nominal Olympic zones.25 These multi-layered
interventions are predicated on the content of and subsequent changes to the Rio 2016 bid
book – a document that was prepared behind closed doors and chosen as the winning
bid in the October 2009 IOC session in Copenhagen. All these projects benefit elite sectors
of Rio’s vast metropolitan area, while socialising the costs and localising the negative impacts
in Rio’s poorest communities.26
It may be that the experience of Brazil 2014 and Rio 2016 will mark both the interventionist apogee and the social nadir of the era of mega-event gigantism.27 The massive
public protests that rocked Brazil have sent a strong signal to the international community:
sports mega-events are not worth it. While it is yet to be seen what the public reaction
to Rio 2016 will be, the declining number of cities that are willing to host the Summer
and Winter Olympics is perhaps a sign that the protesters’ message has been heard.
Unfortunately, the FIFA World Cup in Russia looks as if it will employ the same kinds of
security measures, privatisations and suspensions of urban normalcy learnt from Brazil’s
‘successful’ World Cup.28
At the heart of the mega-event problem is a lack of transparency in bidding and building,
an absence of public participation and deliberation and an unequal sharing of the economic
burden between hosts and rights holders. Because the IOC and FIFA are monopolistic rights
holders that enforce strict financial, political, infrastructural, security, communication and
other requirements for their events, but are unwilling to pay for any of these, the result is that
citizens, cities and countries are forced to pay so that others can play.29 Global and local
resistances to these processes have been growing for some time.30 The bidding process
continues to be as opaque and non-participatory as ever. As the Brazilian experience
has shown, this has dire consequences for cities, for economies and for the guarantee of
human rights.
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Events in the spotlight
Notes
1 Christopher Gaffney is a senior research fellow in the Department of Geography, University
of Zurich.
2 Amaury Ribeiro Jr, Leandro Cipoloni, Luiz Carlos Azenha and Tony Chastinet, O Lado Sujo
do Futebol: A Trama de Propinas, Negociatas e Traições que Abalou o Esporte Mais
Popular do Mundo (São Paulo: Planeta, 2014).
3 The CBF has been mired in corruption and malfeasance scandals for decades, controlling
Brazilian football through nepotism and political favouritism: Terra (Brazil), ‘Promotor confirma
que MP entrará com Ação Civil Pública contra CBF’, 3 February 2014, http://esportes.terra.
com.br/flamengo/,9c5a1bc3b59f3410VgnVCM20000099cceb0aRCRD.html; Folha de
S. Paulo (Brazil), ‘Receita Federal Multa a CBF Em R$ 3 Milhões Por Sonegação de Imposto
de Renda’, 29 August 2010, www1.folha.uol.com.br/esporte/790573-receita-federal-multaa-cbf-em-r-3-milhoes-por-sonegacao-de-imposto-de-renda.shtml. The same individual who
has used intimidation tactics to maintain power while limiting the development of Brazilian
Olympic sports has dominated the COB for two decades: Blog Do Juca Kfouri (Brazil), ‘COB
acusado de calote’, 22 January 2013, http://blogdojuca.uol.com.br/2013/01/cob-acusadode-calote; ESPN (Brazil), ‘Exclusivo: Confederação brasileira de esportes no gelo é
perseguida pelo COB por não apoiar Nuzman’, 3 October 2012, http://m.espn.com.br/
video/284999_exclusivo-confederacao-brasileira-de-esportes-no-gelo-e-perseguida-pelocob-por-nao-apoiar-nuzman.
4 3 Wire Sports (US), ‘The IOC’s big bid problem’, 5 May 2014, www.3wiresports.com/
2014/05/05/iocs-big-bid-problem.
5 Christopher Gaffney, ‘Mega-events and socio-spatial dynamics in Rio de Janeiro,
1919–2016’, Journal of Latin American Geography, vol. 9 (2010).
6 Articulação Nacional das Comitês Populares da Copa e Olimpíadas, Megaeventos e
violações de direitos humanos no Brasil, 2nd edn (Rio de Janeiro: ANCOP, 2014),
www.portalpopulardacopa.org.br/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=198:dossi%
C3%AA-nacional-de-viola%C3%A7%C3%B5es-de-direitos-humanos.
7 Agência Brasil, ‘Falta de planejamento pode comprometer mobilidade urbana da Copa
do Mundo e Olimpíadas, diz especialista’, 15 May 2011, http://memoria.ebc.com.br/
agenciabrasil/noticia/2011-05-15/falta-de-planejamento-pode-comprometer-mobilidadeurbana-da-copa-do-mundo-e-olimpiadas-diz-especialis; Instituto Humanitas Unisinos
(Brazil), ‘Estádio de Manaus poderá se pagar em 198 anos’, 7 March 2012, www.ihu.
unisinos.br/noticias/507238-estadiodemanauspoderasepagarem198anos; G1 Amazonas
(Brazil), ‘Artur e Omar descartam BRT e Monotrilho para Copa em Manaus’, 30 October
2012. http://g1.globo.com/am/amazonas/noticia/2012/10/artur-e-omar-descartam-brt-emonotrilho-para-copa-em-manaus.html.
8 BBC (UK), ‘Copa: prejuízo de “elefantes brancos” já supera R$ 10 milhões’, 19 February
2015, www.bbc.co.uk/portuguese/noticias/2015/02/150212_elefantes_brancos_
copa_rm.
9 Law no. 12.348, Lei que permite a alteração de limite de endividamento dos municípios
envolvidos com a Copa 2014 e Olimpíadas 2016, www2.camara.gov.br/legin/fed/lei/2010/
lei-12348-15-dezembro-2010-609683-norma-pl.html; Law no. 12.462, Regime diferenciado
de contratações públicas, www2.camara.gov.br/legin/fed/lei/2011/lei-12462-4-agosto2011-611147-norma-pl.html.
10 Alberto de Oliveira, ‘O emprego, a economia e a transparência nos grandes projetos
urbanos’, paper presented at the Congress of the Associação de Estudos LatinoAmericanos (Rio de Janeiro, 11 June 2009), http://pfdc.pgr.mpf.mp.br/atuacao-econteudos-de-apoio/publicacoes/direito-a-moradia-adequada/artigos/o-empregoa-economia-alberto-de-oliveira; Carta Maior (Brazil), ‘Pouco transparente, Copa de 2014
já estoura prazos e orçamento’, 25 March 2010, www.cartamaior.com.br/templates/
materiaMostrar.cfm?materia_id=16485&editoria_id=4.
The Brazilian experience as ‘role model’ 209
11 Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Brazil Bid Inspection Report for the 2014
FIFA World Cup (Zurich: FIFA, 2007), www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/mission/
62/24/78/inspectionreport_e_24841.pdf.
12 Christopher Gaffney, ‘A World Cup for whom? The impact of the 2014 World Cup on
Brazilian football stadiums and cultures’, in Paulo Fontes and Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda
(eds), The Country of Football: Politics, Popular Culture and the Beautiful Game in Brazil
(London: Hurst, 2014), www.academia.edu/8528132/A_World_Cup_for_Whom_The_
Impact_of_the_2014_World_Cup_on_Brazilian_Football_Stadiums_and_Cultures.
13 Gilmar Mascarenhas and Christopher Gaffney, ‘A Festa Acabou? Esta recomeçando? Os
Novos Estádios de Futebol e a Disciplina Socioespacial’, in Bernardo Buarque de Hollanda
and Guilherme Burlamaqui (eds), Desvendando o Jogo: Nova Luz Sobre o Futebol (Rio de
Janeiro: EDUFF, 2014).
14 Guardian (UK), ‘Brazil’s World Cup courts disaster as delays, protests and deaths mount’,
16 February 2014.
15 France24 (France), ‘Clashes mar Brazil Confederations Cup opener’, 16 June 2013, www.
france24.com/en/20130616-brasilia-clashes-confederations-cup-opener-police-world-cupprotest; BBC (UK), ‘Brazil unrest: “million” join protests in 100 cities’, 21 June 2013, www.
bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-22992410; Amnesty International, ‘They Use a Strategy
of Fear’: Protecting the Right to Protest in Brazil (London: Amnesty International, 2014),
www.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/brazil_world_cup_-_aibr_briefing_eng.pdf; Daily Mail
(UK), ‘Protests rumble on at Confederations Cup as violent scenes tarnish Spain win over
Italy in Brazil . . . and FIFA announce £45-a-bottle champagne as partner for World Cup’,
28 June 2013, www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2350595/ConfederationsCup-2013-Brazil-protests-continue-FIFA-announce-Taittinger-champagne-partner.
html#ixzz3QD8CMnMO; Inter Press Service, ‘Police brutality fuels protests in Brazil’,
25 June 2013, www.ipsnews.net/2013/06/police-brutality-fuels-protests-in-brazil.
16 Consultor Jurídico (Brazil), ‘Legado da Copa para a segurança pública é discutível’, 24 June
2014, www.conjur.com.br/2014-jun-24/josias-alves-legado-copa-seguranca-publicadiscutivel; Portal Brasil, ‘Dez mil profissionais da Força Nacional atuarão na segurança
das cidades-sede’, 8 January 2014, www.brasil.gov.br/defesa-e-seguranca/2014/01/
dez-mil-profissionais-da-forca-nacional-atuarao-na-seguranca-das-cidades-sede.
17 Index on Censorship (UK), ‘Brazil: bills rushed through congress in bid to suppress
World Cup protests’, 17 February 2014, www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/02/brazilbills-world-up-protest; Portal Da Copa, ‘Conheça detalhes dos investimentos em
segurança previstos para a Copa’, 19 November 2012, www.copa2014.gov.br/pt-br/
noticia/diario-oficial-traz-resolucao-do-gecopa-que-inclui-atividades-de-segurancana-matriz-da-copa.
18 BBC (UK), ‘World Cup final security: Brazil plans huge security op’, 12 July 2014, www.bbc.
com/news/world-latin-america-28274738; Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), ‘Doze ativistas presos
na véspera da final da Copa são liberados no Rio’, 17 July 2014, www1.folha.uol.com.
br/poder/2014/07/1487192-doze-ativistas-presos-na-vespera-da-final-da-copa-saolibertados-no-rio.shtml.
19 O Globo Extra (Brazil), ‘Paes decreta feriados e suspende obras durante a Copa’, 12 March
2014.
20 O Globo Extra (Brazil), ‘Ingressos para futebol no Brasil são os mais caros do mundo,
aponta pesquisa’, 24 March 2013.
21 Autoridade Publíco Olímpico (APO), Matriz de Responsibilidades: 2016 Jogos Olímpicos e
Paralimpicos de Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro: APO, 2014), www.apo.gov.br/downloads/
matriz/201401/livro_matriz_20140128.pdf; Gazeta Esportiva (Brazil), ‘APO divulga
incompleta Matriz de Responsabilidades de Rio-2016’, 29 January 2014; Arnaldo Cedraz
de Oliveira, O TCU e as Olimpíadas de 2016: Relatório de Situação (Brasília: Tribunal de
Contas da União, 2013); Wall Street Journal (US), ‘Brazil Olympic Committee raises budget
estimate for 2016 Games’, 23 January 2014.
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22 Comitê Popular da Copa e Olimpíadas do Rio de Janeiro, Megaeventos e Violações dos
Direitos Humanos no Rio de Janeiro (Brasilia: Comitê Popular da Copa/Olimpíadas do Rio
de Janeiro, 2012), http://comitepopulario.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/dossic3aamegaeventos-e-violac3a7c3b5es-dos-direitos-humanos-no-rio-de-janeiro.pdf.
23 Terra (Colombia), ‘El COI se impresiona con los avances de Río’, 9 June 2012,
http://deportes.terra.com.co/mas-deportes/el-coi-se-impresiona-con-los-avances-de-rio,
f7717eb12b670310VgnVCM20000099f154d0RCRD.html.
24 Rio 2016, ‘Frequently asked questions’, www.rio2016.org/en/transparency/frequentlyasked-questions.
25 O Globo (Brazil), ‘Projeto de Paes muda lei ambiental para setor privado construir campo
de golfe na Barra’, 2 November 2012, http://oglobo.globo.com/rio/projeto-de-paes-mudalei-ambiental-para-setor-privado-construir-campo-de-golfe-na-barra-6618880; O Globo
Extra (Brazil), ‘Rio dá a largada para transcarioca’, 19 December 2009, http://extra.globo.
com/noticias/rio/rio-da-largada-para-transcarioca-387421.html.
26 Observatório das Metrópoles (Brazil), ‘Sobre o relatório do ONU – Copa 2014, Olimpíadas
2016 e megaprojetos: remoções em curso no Brasil’, 4 May 2011; O Globo, 2 November
2012; À Beira do Urbanismo (Brazil), ‘O Rio de Janeiro e as Olimpíadas 2016: “Nós
Lucramos, Vocês Pagam a Conta – O Retorno”’, 19 January 2008; Folha de S. Paulo
(Brazil), ‘TCU vê falta de planejamento da Rio-2016’, 26 September 2013.
27 O Globo Esporte (Brazil), ‘“Gigantismo” ameaça o sucesso dos Jogos do Rio 2016 e
futuras edições’, 11 April 2013, http://globoesporte.globo.com/olimpiadas/noticia/2013/04/
gigantismo-ameaca-o-sucesso-dos-jogos-do-rio-2016-e-futuras-edicoes.html; Al Jazeera
(Qatar), ‘Brazil: protests of discontent’, 19 June 2013, www.aljazeera.com/programmes/
insidestoryamericas/2013/06/20136197823131177.html; Amnesty International (UK), ‘Right
to protest under threat as Brazil pushes “terrorism” law ahead of World Cup’, 12 May 2014,
www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/right-protest-under-threat-brazil-pushes-terrorism-lawahead-world-cup; CourierMail (Australia), ‘Video shows Rio police officer firing live shots at
World Cup protesters’, 16 June 2014, www.news.com.au/sport/football/video-shows-riopolice-officer-firing-live-shots-at-world-cup-protesters/story-fnkjl6g2-1226956079539.
28 BBC (UK), ‘Russia 2018: major challenges for next World Cup hosts’, 22 July 2014,
www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28409784.
29 Boston Globe (US), ‘IOC and FIFA: monopoly power makes pricey games’, 6 June 2014,
www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/06/07/ioc-and-fifa-monopoly-power-makes-priceygames/hK7oGc2KZkJxZxx8fVXzRK/story.html.
30 Kevin Gotham, ‘Resisting urban spectacle: the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition and the
contradictions of mega-events’, Urban Studies, vol. 48 (2011); Mary Ann Glynn, ‘Configuring
the field of play: how hosting the Olympic Games impacts civic community’, Journal of
Management Studies, vol. 45 (2008); Malte Warburg Sørensen, ‘Mega events in Rio de
Janeiro: the case of Vila Autódromo – community planning as resistance to forced evictions’,
master’s thesis, Roskilde University, 2013; Graeme Hayes and John Karamichas (eds),
Olympic Games, Mega-Events and Civil Societies (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011);
Christopher Gaffney, ‘Virando o Jogo: the challenges and possibilities for social mobilization
in Brazilian football’, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, vol. 37 (2013).
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 Orden1
Brazil’s modern democracy is but three decades old. With the Brazilian people now taking to
the streets in protest at public corruption, the government is enacting new laws and learning
to effectively enforce them. The nation is thus feeling the growing pains of an emergent
commitment to transparency.
In this, the window between Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 Fédération Internationale de
Football Association (FIFA) World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, it is timely to ask
what the spotlight of these two events has revealed about the nation’s anti-corruption
measures. How is the government responding to exposed corruption risk? Will the Olympics
ultimately make good on their promise to be an agent of positive change? This chapter
discusses issues related to Brazil’s federal anti-corruption laws generally, its changing
procurement laws and the Olympic contracts and governance organisations.
A rapidly evolving legal system
After the monarchy was overthrown in the late nineteenth century, Brazil went through four
distinct government models before emerging as a democracy in 1985.2 The cultural belief
that corruption was inherent, acceptable and necessary – the ‘jeitinho brasileiro’ (loosely
translated as the ‘Brazilian way’) – emerged from the wreckage of a century of unstable and/
or authoritarian rule.3
Many Brazilians believe that Brazil is changing culturally, however, and that the people will
have a measure of success in rooting out corruption.4 Young Brazilians especially are calling
for reform both within the government and society. This movement is exemplified by recent
protests against President Dilma Rousseff and the perceived corruption in her administration.5
Brazil’s system of government is itself designed, at least in part, to curb corruption.
Seemingly heeding Lord Acton’s famous admonition that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’, the constitution grants an extraordinary amount of authority to the states and local
governments to govern themselves.6 The country’s brand of federalism appears to be
grounded in an institutional and cultural distrust for centralised power, probably borne of its
recent history. To the extent that Brazil’s federalism succeeds in preventing the concentration
of power, it creates conditions that have historically tended to limit corruption.
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In seeking to check corruption, however, Brazilian federalism also creates a distinct
corruption risk. This risk is exemplified, perhaps ironically, in Brazil’s recent landmark federal
statute, referred to variously as the Anti-Corruption Law or the Clean Companies Act. The
statute creates corporate liability for bribery, and contains various provisions that incentivise
compliance and facilitate public enforcement.7 Although the passage of the Clean Companies
Act is a watershed moment for Brazil’s anti-corruption movement, the law was enacted
without an integrated national enforcement system. What exists now is a fragmented enforcement regime consisting of autonomous entities that compete both within and between
the federal, state and municipal levels. It remains uncertain as to how the new statute will
eventually be enforced, or by whom; it was hardly used at all to curb World Cup corruption.
In response both to this uncertainty and to the continuing anti-corruption protests, the
Rousseff administration has recently passed a decree that clarifies key areas of the statute.8
Many believe that it will be years before scholars, lawyers and judges are able sort it all out,
however. Only time will tell whether the government can effectively enforce this law to reduce
corruption in connection with the Olympics.
Brazil’s procurement regime is also now evolving, with implications for curbing Olympic
corruption that remain unclear. The applicable law for public procurement purposes prior to
the 2014 football World Cup was Federal Law no. 8,666/1993.9 The main criticism of this law
was that it required the government to go through two requests for proposals (RFPs), the first
for the project design, called the ‘technical project’, the second for the actual construction.
Typically, different companies would win each of the bids, leading to a misalignment of
incentives. Procurement lawyers frequently lamented this messy state of affairs, from which
litigators profit handsomely.10
The Olympics and World Cup gave Brazil a chance to experiment with a new bidding
law. In 2011 the government enacted Federal Law no. 12,462, the Regime Diferenciado
de Contratações Públicas, or RDC.11 The RDC seeks to make bidding procedures more
efficient by removing the requirement for a technical project RFP. Another provision included
in the RDC makes the budget for government projects confidential. In theory, a ‘blind’ bidding
process should produce more competitive offers for the government: bidders are forced to
set prices without knowing their competitors’ prices, potentially preventing bid inflation.
Anonymity in bidding may also create corruption risk, however, as bidders cannot keep each
other in check. Furthermore, two lawsuits have been filed that challenge the constitutionality
of the blind bidding process.12
The RDC and the Clean Companies Act, as well as the enforcement mechanisms that give
life to each of them, will of course remain long after the Olympic Games are gone. They are
part of the legal infrastructure that will prove an important component of the Games’ legacy.
Brazil has also adopted a number of measures specifically for the Olympics, however, as
discussed below.
Olympic anti-corruption measures
Brazil has implemented a number of anti-corruption laws and institutions specifically for the
Olympics. The Autoridade Pública Olímpica (APO) is the primary Olympic authority in Rio de
Janeiro, and it integrates the federal, state and municipal governments in the planning of the
Games.13 This is a unique body in Brazil – the first and only public body to bring all three levels
of the government together – and it was one of the strongest points of Rio’s bid.14 The
organisation allocates responsibilities and coordinates preparation for the Games among the
many entities, public and private, that are overseeing the construction infrastructure, and
revitalisation projects taking place around Rio. These entities include the Empresa Olímpica
Rio 2016 and transparency 213
Municipal (the municipal body in charge of many of the stadium and infrastructure projects
and operating out of the Rio mayor’s office)15 and Rio 2016 (the private organisation responsible
for the events and athletes during the Olympic Games),16 as well as the participating offices
of the federal and state governments.17
Given the large sums of money at play in preparation for the Olympics, and Brazil’s rank as
the 69th perceived least corrupt country in the world,18 speculation involving constructionrelated corruption for the games is prevalent. This speculation is only compounded by
the recent corruption scandals involving Petrobras and the construction industry.19 The
two overarching features providing public transparency and hedging against corruption
for the games are the Responsibility Matrix (Matriz de Responsibilidades) provided by
the APO and the auditing provided by the Tribunal de Contas do Município do Rio de Janeiro
(TCMRJ).20
The Responsibility Matrix, as mentioned above, tracks all commitments of government
agencies for projects directly related to the Rio 2016 Games, be they the responsibility of the
federal government, the state government or the municipal government. Although a useful
tool in tracking construction progress, the document has its limits: it is effectively available
only in Portuguese, as the English version21 is updated infrequently; it lists a budget and
deadlines only for those projects with a ‘maturation level’ of 3, on a scale from 1 to 6; and it
tracks projects only within its one-third of the budget.22
The TCMRJ is one of two municipal auditing oversight courts in Brazil. In this capacity, it
monitors government procurement activities by analysing construction bidding documents,
before the execution of the contract and during inspections, and it also examines the rendering
of accounts.23 It is the body responsible for ensuring that the people of Rio have fair
government contracting and that these contracts are completed on time and on budget. One
of the major issues that the TCMRJ faces leading up to 2016 is the sheer volume of contracts
that it has to oversee. In one of the largest cities in the world, already overseeing all government
expenditures, the body must now add to its administrative burden all municipal contracting
arising from the Olympic Games.
These infrastructure projects create an additional corruption risk of a very different kind.
As with the 2014 World Cup, the Olympics will almost inevitably elicit protests by Brazilian
citizens living in the favelas, and other disaffected citizens who have grown tired of corruption.
Corruption is particularly prevalent within the Pacifying Police Units, whose purpose is to
bring security to favelas. These officers are reported to steal personal and residential property
to sell and make a profit from, without any kind of accountability.24
An additional source of Olympic law relevant to corruption risk is the contractual obligations
that the bid city undertakes with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). When a city is
selected to host the Games, the promises made in the course of the bid become contractual
obligations. The pressure to deliver on these obligations has the potential to encourage
corner-cutting, and to open the way for corruption. Some of the promises made in Rio’s
Candidature File are the expansion of the capacity of Rio International Airport, a renovation of
Rio’s port and a guarantee that all three of Brazil’s levels of government (federal, state and
municipal) will cover any economic shortfall encountered by the Local Organising Committee
(LOC).25 The LOC has estimated that more than 30 million items are needed to meet the
demands of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.26
Despite these myriad risks, the IOC does not appear to be helping much to reduce Olympic
corruption in Rio. In contrast to the highly detailed sponsor- and trademark-related guarantees
that the IOC typically demands from host cities, none of the host-city documents contains an
anti-corruption guarantee. Similarly, our interviews with various individuals doing Olympicsrelated work revealed a widely held perception that the IOC simply is not concerned about
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Events in the spotlight
host-city corruption. While insisting on protecting the commercial interests of its sponsors,
the IOC does not seem to have a comparable insistence on protecting the host city’s citizens
from corruption.
Conclusion
This chapter has provided just a cursory discussion of Brazil’s anti-corruption framework
in advance of Rio 2016. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether enforcement will
prove more robust for the Olympics than it was for the World Cup. A full report, to be released
in the spring of 2016, will discuss these and many other issues in substantial detail. The
world deserves to know all that Brazil has done to curb public corruption, and all it still has
to do.
Box 3.3 Projeto Jogos Limpos: the ‘Clean Games’ project in Brazil
Instituto Ethos 27
When Brazil was chosen to host the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic
Games, the Ethos Institute of Business and Social Responsibility launched the ‘Clean Games:
Inside and Outside Stadiums’ project, with the goal of increasing transparency and preventing
corruption in the preparation of the events.28 Companies and public officials signed transparency and
anti-corruption agreements, and the project also created tools for government and civil society to
monitor public expenditure related to both events.
Following the approval of the federal Anti-Corruption Law29 and the Access to Information Law in
recent years,30 both of which the project campaigned for, the Ethos Institute has seen greater
transparency in the dealings between and among local governments and an increase in the
willingness of companies to engage in collaboration towards integrity.
Engaging governments
The Ethos Institute has employed three strategies to pressure local governments to increase
transparency in public expenditure. First, it set up a network of local branches in each of the 12 World
Cup host cities. Second, it secured the commitment of mayoral candidates in these cities to increase
transparency and engaged them to ensure that anti-corruption measures were on their agendas for
the 2012 municipal elections (in which 89 per cent of the candidates committed themselves to
‘transparency pacts’).
The project also developed ‘Transparency Indicators for Local and State Governments’,
which enabled media and civil society to monitor governments’ expenditure effectively, and
governments to improve transparency by using the indicators as a checklist. The success of
these strategies is visible in the improved performance of cities and states according to the
Transparency Indicators; in one year 11 of the 12 cities improved their performance, as well as
10 of the 11 states (the Federal District was counted only as a city). Moreover, the Ethos Institute
was able to engage governments by holding high-level meetings in seven cities in three
different states.
Rio 2016 and transparency 215
Engaging companies
There have been two main approaches for engaging and supporting companies. The first is the
publication Fighting Corruption in Sport Sponsorship and Hospitality: A Practical Guide for Companies
(and the discussions organised around it), developed in collaboration with the UN Global Compact
to prevent corruption by providing a practical framework for managing sports sponsorship in a
transparent and responsible manner.31 The second approach consists of ‘sectoral agreements’:
voluntary anti-corruption agreements signed by individual companies from given sectors. This
collective action model was inspired by a similar initiative in Colombia, whereby companies commit
to observe various transparency and anti-corruption principles.
Although there was considerable difficulty at first in persuading companies to commit to these
agreements, two sectoral agreements have now been secured since the Anti-Corruption Law entered
into force. The first, among companies from the health product sector and headed by the Ethos
Institute with the support of the Brazilian Association of Importers and Distributors of Implants
(Abraidi), was signed in mid-2015. The second, involving a number of sports sponsorship companies,
has been led by Ethos in partnership with the Atletas pelo Brasil (Athletes for Brazil, composed of
current and former athletes) non-governmental organisation. Several sponsors of FIFA and the
Confederação Brasileira de Futebol are due to sign in a ceremony in August 2015.
Notes
1 The authors are a professor and eight students from the University of Richmond School
of Law, Virginia, studying Brazil’s anti-corruption reforms. Their complete report should be
available in the spring of 2016.
2 From 1889 to 1930 the country was a ‘democracy-in-kind’, influenced by the coffee and
rubber industries in an oligarchical form. Between 1930 and 1945 a military junta led to
Getúlio Vargas being installed after a successful coup. After another coup in 1945 a weak
democratic government ruled from Rio de Janerio, and later Brasilia, before falling to a third
coup in 1964. From then a series of five generals controlled the country as dictators until
democracy was again restored in 1985. A new constitution was drafted in 1988. See New
York Times (US), ‘A brief history of Brazil’, www.nytimes.com/fodors/top/features/travel/
destinations/centralandsouthamerica/brazil/riodejanerio/fdrs_feat_129_9.html?page
wanted=1&n=Top/Features/Travel/Destinations/Central%20and%20South%20America/
Brazil/Rio/%20de%20Janeiro.
3 Fernando Prestes Motta and Rafael Alcadipani, ‘Jeitinho brasileiro, controle social e
competição’, Revista de Administração de Empresas, vol. 39 (1999), www.scielo.br/pdf/rae/
v39n1/v39n1a02.pdf.
4 This includes the Autoridade Pública Olímpica (APO), which in a presentation reiterated the
fact that Brazil is an emerging young nation that is changing in order to adapt to Western
norms. This includes the implementation of the Transparency Matrix, which the APO argued
was a sign of Brazil’s changing approach to corruption.
5 Beginning in the middle of March 2015, several nationwide protests have called for the
president’s impeachment.
6 For an English translation of the constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, see
www.stf.jus.br/repositorio/cms/portalstfinternacional/portalstfsobrecorte_en_us/anexo/
constituicao_ingles_3ed2010.pdf.
7 Brazilian Anti-Corruption Act, Lei no. 12.846 (Federal Law no. 12,846/2013), www.planalto.
gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2013/lei/l12846.htm.
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8 Leonardo Ruiz Machado, ‘President Dilma Rousseff regulates the Brazilian Anti-Corruption
Act’ (São Paulo: Machado, Meyer, Sendacz e Opice Advogados, 2015) (on file with lead
author).
9 Lei no. 8.666 (Federal Law no. 8,666/1993), www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/l8666cons.
htm.
10 Interview with lawyers at Machado Meyer, March 2015 (on file with lead author).
11 Lei no. 12.462 (Federal Law no. 12,462/2011), www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato20112014/2011/Lei/L12462.htm.
12 For the lawsuit filed by various political parties, see www.stf.jus.br/portal/processo/
verProcessoAndamento.asp?incidente=4131802 (in Portuguese). For a lawsuit filed
by the Attorney General of the Republic, see www.stf.jus.br/portal/processo/verProcesso
Andamento.asp?incidente=4138546. See also Daniel Teixeira, ‘The differential public
procurement regime (“RDC”) for the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio
Olympics’, paper presented at 6th International Public Procurement Conference,
15 August 2014.
13 Autoridade Pública Olímpica, ‘About APO’, www.apo.gov.br/index.php/about-apo.
14 Interview with the Autoridade Pública Olímpica, Rio de Janeiro, 13 March 2015 (notes on
file with lead author).
15 See Cidade Olímpica, ‘Empresa Olímpica Municipal’, www.cidadeolimpica.com.br/
empresaolimpica.
16 See Rio 2016, Candidature File for Rio de Janeiro to Host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic
Games (Brasília: Ministério do Esporto, 2009), vol. I, p. 53, www.rio2016.com/en/organisingcommittee/transparency/documents.
17 Interview with the APO, 13 March 2015.
18 This ranking is according to the Corruption Perceptions Index: www.transparency.org/
cpi2014/results.
19 Guardian (UK), ‘Petrobras scandal: Brazilian oil executives among 35 charged’,
12 December 2014, www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/12/petrobras-scandalbrazilian-oil-executives-among-35-charged.
20 Brasil 2016, ‘Matriz de Responsabilidades’, www.brasil2016.gov.br/en/paraolimpiadas/
governan%C3%A7a/matriz-de-responsabilidades; and see the website of Tribunal de
Contas do Município do Rio de Janeiro: www.tcm.rj.gov.br.
21See http://brasil2016.gov.br/en/noticias/olympic-public-authority-apo-publishes-updateresponsibility-matrix.
22 Brasil 2016, ‘Matriz de Responsabilidades’.
23 Lei no. 289 (Federal Law no. 289/1981).
24 Rio Olympics Neighborhood Watch (Brazil), ‘Pacifying Police Unit (UPP installations) part 3:
2012’, www.rioonwatch.org/?p=20694. RioOnWatch is a programme managed by Catalytic
Communities (CatComm), a non-profit organisation with a US 501(c)(3) charitable status
based in Rio de Janeiro that advocates for the rights of favela communities impacted by
the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympic Games in the city. The website RioOnWatch.org
is the principle means whereby CatComm publishes reports and relevant news stories.
25 Rio 2016 (2009).
26 João Saravia, Procurement for Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games (São Paulo: Rio
2016, 2012), www.brazilcouncil.org/sites/default/files/OlympicCommittee_Procurement%20
Presentation2012.pdf; Rio 2016, ‘Rio 2016 launches procurement portal in order to meet
Games demands’, 8 August 2013, www.rio2016.org/en/news/news/rio-2016-launchesprocurement-portal-in-order-to-meet-games-demands.
27 Instituto Ethos is based in São Paulo, and seeks to mobilise, encourage and help companies
manage their business in a socially responsible manner.
28 See the Clean Games website: www.jogoslimpos.org.br.
29 Federal Law no. 12,846, Lei anticorrupção, entered into force on 1 August 2013.
30 Law no. 12.527, Lei de acesso à informação, entered into force on 18 November 2011;
see www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2011/lei/l12527.htm.
Rio 2016 and transparency 217
31 United Nations Global Compact, Combatendo a Corrupção no Patrocínio Esportivo e nas
Ações de Hospitalidade: Um Guia Prático para Empresas [Fighting Corruption in Sport
Sponsorship and Hospitality: A Practical Guide for Companies] (New York: UN Global
Compact Office, 2014), www.jogoslimpos.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Guia_
Combate_Corrupcao_no_Patrocionio.pdf.
3.15
Sports mega-event
legacies
From the beneficial to the destructive
Helen Lenskyj1
Sports mega-events, most notably the Olympic Games, have generated legacies that range
from beneficial to destructive. Potentially positive outcomes include short-term boosts to
tourism and local economies, and improved sporting facilities and infrastructure. Although
negative financial, social and environmental impacts are widespread and thoroughly
documented, they are overshadowed by the Olympic industry’s ‘feel-good’ mythology and
mainstream media’s pro-Olympic bias. An understanding of exaggerated and misleading
legacy promises related to recent Olympics will help to inform future ‘resistance’ efforts.
Olympic principles and promises
In common usage, a ‘legacy’ is a benefit handed down by one’s predecessors. In the context
of the Olympic industry,2 the term includes the post-Olympic boost to civic pride and worldclass city status, as well as improvements to infrastructure and sporting facilities. Since
Olympic organisers’ accounting methods usually exclude capital spending, however, it is
misleading to present construction projects as a legacy.3 New infrastructure and sporting
facilities concentrated in one urban area, but heavily subsidised with public money from all
citizens in the host state/province and country, do not constitute an Olympic windfall. They
are, in effect, a cash purchase made on behalf of taxpayers by elected representatives, who
are frequently pressured by the government in power to vote in a non-partisan manner on
Olympic spending. Even at the bid stage, opposition or critique by local politicians is rare,
although, in 2014, in what may prove to be an emerging trend, Munich, Oslo and St Moritz all
withdrew their bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics following negative referendum results and
concerns about mounting costs.4 Similarly, in Boston, the US bid city for the 2024 Olympics,
community opposition has forced organisers to agree to a referendum on the bid in 2016.5
The internal structure of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), bid committees and
organising committees is characterised by a critical lack of accountability and transparency,
while the myth that sport is, or should be, apolitical silences critics.6 The popular call to ‘keep
politics out of the Olympics’ belies the fact that they are by definition political: they involve
politicians and significant amounts of public money. By officially recognising a country’s
Olympic committee and welcoming it to the Olympic fold, the IOC has long had significant
Sports mega-event legacies 219
political power on the world stage, in effect ‘conferring political recognition although [it] had
no formal diplomatic status’.7
The IOC, a self-appointed, self-perpetuating body, views its members as representatives
to, not representatives of, their home countries.8 It is difficult to imagine any other international
body that could function in this way, although one researcher has suggested parallels with the
Roman Catholic Church.9 Given the pseudo-religious mythology surrounding Olympism,
the Olympic spirit and the Olympic Movement, as well as the IOC’s self-defined status as the
‘supreme authority on world sport’, the analogy is fitting.
Following the bribery and corruption scandals of 1998/1999, linked to the bid for the 2002
Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, the IOC has claimed to have introduced significant
reforms.10 However, since that time there have been at least two examples in the public
domain of questionable arrangements relating to the bid process, one involving two prime
ministers, Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi,11 and the other Vancouver bid committee chair
John Furlong and Russian oligarch Yury Luzhkov.12 Blair described a private visit in 2004 to
his ‘friend’ Berlusconi, who subsequently assured him that the Italian IOC members would
support London’s 2012 bid. In Furlong’s case, during the 2003 bid process for the 2010
Winter Olympics, he promised to give Luzhkov Vancouver’s campaign strategy to aid
Russia’s 2014 bid, in exchange for Russian votes for Vancouver’s 2010 bid. The fact that
Blair and Furlong both disclosed details of these events in their published memoirs reflects
a sense of entitlement and immunity that is common in Olympic decision-making circles.
For its part, the IOC sided with Furlong’s assertion that the deal was neither illegal nor
unethical. After a superficial investigation, it claimed that those involved were not bound by
the IOC’s code of conduct – despite the fact that the code clearly governs bid committee
members – and dismissed the matter.13
The single goal of a bid committee is to win the right to host the games, and generating
support through promises in its bids of affordable housing, sporting facilities and infrastructure makes the bid more appealing to the taxpaying public. Regardless of social and
environmental impact assessments, community consultations and government involvement,
the organising committee is under no direct obligation to that public. In fact, in the case
of Sydney 2000, the organising committee protected itself from Freedom of Information
requests by using private subcontractors that were by definition non-government bodies.14
Oversight of Olympic preparations lies in the hands of a coordination commission appointed
by the IOC, whose chief concern is timely completion of Olympic-related construction. At the
local level, public order bylaws, municipal development applications and social/environmental
impact assessments are frequently fast-tracked, and, in these scenarios, the rights of homeless people and tenants are disregarded, low-income housing is gentrified and environmental
damage is incurred.15
The IOC introduced the principle of environmentally sustainable development (ESD)
as a requirement for Olympic host cities in 1991, but this policy is, at best, of the ‘light green’
or ‘greenwashing’ variety – appearing environmentally sustainable while not threatening
corporate profit. In the case of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, for example, two rare
and protected woodlands were demolished to construct a cycling track, while, in preparations
for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, an endangered ecosystem was destroyed to make
way for Olympic highway construction.16
In 2014, when the official IOC strategic plan, Agenda 2020, was introduced, ESD requirements were diluted when the document encouraged the use of temporary or demountable
facilities ‘where no long-term legacy need exists or can be justified’ – a move that, ironically,
also eroded bid boosters’ legacy promises. As the same document also requires ‘state-ofthe-art’ facilities, it seems unlikely that a temporary building would suffice.17 Furthermore, one
220
Events in the spotlight
of the criteria for evaluation bids refers to pre-existing facilities, which obviously cannot be
considered ‘state-of-the-art’ if they are standing when the bid is prepared, seven years before
the event. On a more positive note, Agenda 2020 managed to include some changes that
made the bid process less expensive and cumbersome. However, in the face of diminished
interest in hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics – with only two bid cities in the running by the
end of 2014 – the motive for these changes may have been self-interest.
Legacies: unplanned and undelivered
Given the critical lack of transparency and accountability relating to Olympic bids, preparations
and outcomes, it is not surprising that many planned or promised legacies fail to materialise.
Vancouver’s 2010 bid committee redefined ‘legacy’ by creating an organisation called 2010
Legacies Now in 2000, three years before the bid was submitted, with the goal of ‘leveraging’
the Olympics into ‘local, tangible legacies’ in hundreds of communities in the province.18 In
reality, as investigative journalist Bob Mackin reported in 2013, there were numerous broken
promises. These related to the failure to develop affordable housing, the gentrification of the
low-income Downtown Eastside, the use of public money to subsidise the high operating
costs of the curling centre, speed skating oval, sliding centre and athletes’ village, and the
dramatic leap in the province’s public debt between 2001 and 2011.19
Legacy rhetoric claims that hosting the Olympics will inspire young and old across the host
country to become more physically active; that increased rates of sporting participation will
flow from the new facilities and opportunities; that the television spectacle of sports played
on the ‘home field’ will spark interest; and that the influence of Olympic ‘role models’ will
promote young people’s participation. London’s 2012 bid promised ‘to inspire a new sporting
generation to play sport’, but allocated only 1.5 per cent of its budget to a programme called
Places People Play.20 England received the full 1.5 per cent (£135 million, or some US$215
million), while Scotland, which had contributed £150 million (about US$239 million) to staging
the games, received none, as did Wales and Northern Ireland.21 An extensive 2008 Australian
government survey covering the post-Olympic period from 2001 to 2008 found that the
biggest increases were in non-organised, non-Olympic sports, as well as in aerobics and
fitness, while participation in Olympic sports did not grow.22 These and similar findings point
to the difference between Olympic sports, many of which are elitist, expensive and unpopular,
and non-Olympic sports, such as cricket, netball and the various codes of football, as well as
aerobics and fitness activities, that attract mass participation. Hence, existing recreational
interests and priorities will largely determine if an Olympic facility will become a valued legacy
or a white elephant. Furthermore, some Olympic venues – ski jumps and sliding centres,
for example – can be used safely only by high-performance athletes. Olympic stadiums,
constructed with public money, are often turned over to professional sports teams, while
maintenance fees for underused facilities continue to demand government subsidies.23
In 2008 the state government of New South Wales fast-tracked legislation to convert the
central boulevard at the Sydney Olympic site into a car-racing circuit, destroying hundreds of
trees in the process, and generating noise, crowds and the risk of toxic spills.24 Following a
similarly problematic conversion, Sochi hosted the Formula One Grand Prix a few months
after the 2014 Winter Olympics.25 In addition, on the issue of ‘repurposing’, in 2015 Sochi’s
regional government approved some US$46 million to have the stadium roof removed for the
2018 football World Cup.26 Other Sochi ‘repurposing’ projects included converting the speed
skating arena into an exhibition centre and tennis academy, dismantling the temporary
freestyle skiing venue and using the curling centre as a concert venue – all projects that fail to
meet the IOC’s environmental principles and Sochi’s legacy promises.27
Sports mega-event legacies 221
Steps towards anti-corruption principles
Since the 1980s anti-Olympic and Olympic watchdog groups in bid and host cities have had
some successes in raising public awareness of the financial, social and environmental costs
of hosting the Games, as well as identifying the lack of accountability and transparency in
relation to public spending for construction and the post-Olympic maintenance of often
underused facilities. The biggest challenge facing Olympic resisters is the mythology that
surrounds all things Olympic. With seemingly limitless funds for propaganda, the Olympic
industry has successfully perpetuated the myths of the ‘pure Olympic athlete’ and ‘pure
Olympic sport’ – both serving as a smokescreen for the ‘underestimated costs and overestimated benefits’ that characterise Olympic legacy rhetoric.28 Thorough documentation of the
factual evidence, obtained, for example, through freedom-of-information channels, is a key
first step in challenging the hyperbole and holding elected representatives accountable.
Notes
1 Helen Lenskyj is professor emerita at the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies
in Education.
2 The term ‘Olympic industry’ is used to emphasise the profit motive and the involvement of
corporate sponsors, broadcast rights holders, developers, resort and hotel owners, and
other business stakeholders. See, for example, Helen Lenskyj, Inside the Olympic Industry:
Power, Politics and Activism (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2000).
3 The omission of capital spending was identified as early as September 2000, at the time
of the Sydney Olympics: Globe and Mail (‘Report on Business’) (Canada), ‘Summer Olympic
red alert’, September 2000.
4 Guardian (UK), ‘Oslo withdrawal from Winter Olympics bidding is missed opportunity –
IOC’, 2 October 2014, www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/oct/02/oslo-withdrawal-winterolympics-2022-ioc.
5 Boston Globe (US) ‘With referendum, Boston residents to have say on 2024 Olympics’, 24
March 2015, www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/03/24/boston-calls-for-statewidereferendum-olympic-plans/KVjS0zU1jRjexUa3ElstfM/story.html.
6 Helen Lenskyj, ‘Olympic power, Olympic politics: behind the scenes’, in A. Bairner and
Gyozo Molnar (eds), The Politics of the Olympics (London: Routledge, 2010).
7 Richard Espy, The Politics of the Olympic Games (Berkeley, CA: University of California
Press, 1979), p. 28.
8 See the IOC member list and description on the IOC website: www.olympic.org/iocmembers-list.
9 Saul Fridman, ‘Conflict of interest, accountability and corporate governance: the case of the
IOC and SOCOG’, University of New South Wales Law Journal, vol. 22 (1999), www.austlii.
edu.au/au/journals/UNSWLJ/1999/28.html.
10 Guardian (UK), ‘Bribes scandal forces Olympics shake-up’, 29 January 1999, www.the
guardian.com/sport/1999/jan/25/olympic-bribes-scandal-investigation.
11 Tony Blair, A Journey: My Political Life (Toronto: Knopf, 2010), p. 546.
12 John Furlong, with Gary Mason, Patriot Hearts: Inside the Olympics that Changed a Country
(Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), pp. 46–47; National Public Radio (US), ‘IOC
scrutinizes Vancouver Olympics bidding deal’, 24 February 2011, www.npr.
org/2011/02/24/134015260/ioc-scrutinizes-vancouver-olympics-bidding-deal.
13 ESPN (US), ‘IOC clears John Furlong’, 12 March 2011, http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/
story?id=6209719.
14 See Helen Lenskyj, The Best Olympics Ever? Social Impacts of Sydney 2000 (Albany, NY:
SUNY Press, 2002), pp. 26–28.
15 Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), Fair Play for Housing Rights: MegaEvents, Olympic Games and Housing Rights (Geneva: COHRE, 2007).
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Events in the spotlight
16 Lenskyj (2002), p. 160; Helen Lenskyj, Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic
Power and Propaganda (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2008), p. 62.
17 International Olympic Committee, Olympic Agenda 2020: 20+20 Recommendations
(Lausanne: IOC, 2014), www.olympic.org/Documents/Olympic_Agenda_2020/Olympic_
Agenda_2020-20-20_Recommendations-ENG.pdf.
18 See the 2010 Legacies Now website: http://2010andbeyond.ca.
19 The Tyee (Canada), ‘Ten legacies of the Vancouver Olympics’, 2 July 2013, http://thetyee.
ca/News/2013/07/02/Vancouver-Olympics-Legacies.
20 Independent (UK), ‘The last word: London’s legacy is a big fat myth’, 26 June 2011, www.
independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/the-last-word-londons-legacy-is-a-big-fat-myth2303005.html.
21Ibid.
22 Australian Sports Commission and Department of Health and Ageing, Participation in
Exercise, Physical Activity and Sport: Annual Report 2007–2008 (Canberra: Australian
Sports Commission, 2008), p. 18.
23 See, for example, The Tyee (2 July 2013).
24 Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), ‘Tree felling for V8 Supercars gets black flag’, 31 July
2009.
25 CNN News (US), ‘Sochi’s formula for the future: “fantasy” becomes reality’, 22 February
2014, www.edition.cnn.com/2014/02/21/sport/sochi-formula-one-winter-olympicsecclestone-tilke-f1/index.html.
26 Moscow Times (Russia), ‘Russia to spend $50 million taking roof off Sochi Olympic
stadium’, 20 January 2015, www.themoscowtimes.com/article.php?id=514657.
27 Architecture of the Games blog, ‘Sochi 2014: one year on’, 24 February 2015,
http://architectureofthegames.net/2014-sochi/sochi-2014-one-year-on/; Nemtsov
(Moscow), ‘Зимняя Олимпиада в субтропиках: коррупция и произвол’, 7 June 2013,
www.nemtsov.ru/old.phtml?id=718790. For a full discussion of the Sochi 2014 Winter
Olympics, see Helen Lenskyj, Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics (Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
28 David Whitson and John Horne, ‘Underestimated costs and overestimated benefits?
Comparing the outcomes of sports mega-events in Canada and Japan’, in John Horne
and Wolfram Manzenreiter (eds), Sports Mega-Events: Social Scientific Analyses of a Global
Phenomenon (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006).
3.16
Urban speculation by
Spanish football clubs
Nefer Ruiz Crespo1
Corruption and football have always gone hand in hand. The ‘beautiful game’ deals with huge
amounts of money, and public institutions have all too often been accused of possible corrupt
involvement.
The fact that a 2013 Europol report exposed a corruption network in professional football
involving match-fixing in more than 15 countries and 425 individuals around the world,2 but
with no Spanish among them, might suggest that Spanish football is not implicated. The
reality is quite different, however. Corruption in Spanish football tends to assume a different
form, through urban-planning speculation, with clubs becoming involved in land ‘rezoning’,3
and often, allegedly, collaborating with government institutions.
Urban-planning corruption in Spanish football derives from the rezoning of land that is a
consequence of the real-estate boom in recent decades, combined with the growing political
and social influence of football clubs. Social pressures generated by these football authorities
first led the Spanish government, primarily the Treasury and the Ministry of Employment and
Social Security,4 to allow clubs to become burdened with progressively higher levels of
indebtedness.5 Debts became so high that it was clear the clubs could never realistically pay
them back.6
A new Sports Act (Law 10/1990) was therefore enacted to redress the debt imbalance and
improve the transparency of companies operating in professional sports in Spain.7 The law
obliged an indebted club to be legally categorised as a ‘sociedad anónima deportiva’ (SAD), a
‘public limited sports company’ – a special form of public limited company in Spain. This allowed
the government to negotiate with these clubs on how to repay their debts in instalments,
according to their economic circumstances.8 In Spain there are only four football clubs that are
not SADs: Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona, Athletic Club Bilbao and Osasuna Athletic Club.
Conversion to SAD status also meant that clubs’ social capital was put on sale through
company shares. When this coincided with a national urban development model that
encouraged speculation, the absence of anti-corruption oversight, coupled with an abuse of
public power arising from massive political decentralisation, created the ideal conditions for
criminal enterprise.9
Boom times to 2010
After 1990 the construction of most football fields in Spain has consisted of relocating the
new stadium to the outskirts of the city on land of little value, which has then been rezoned
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Events in the spotlight
by the municipalities, thus converting rural land into urban areas and giving rise to speculation
and profiteering from the sale of the remaining land.10 The clubs of the Spanish First and
Second Divisions have collectively made more than €1 billion from rezoning to date.11
Illegal activities were carried out through agreements between the clubs’ management and
public agencies with zoning authority.12 Rural land or spaces were rezoned for public facilities
and services (parks, petrol stations, etc.) through clause modifications not requiring the
revision of the General Urban Plan.13 The intensity of the alterations carried out by these
clause modifications was significant enough to merit a review by higher authorities but,
because they were simply clause modifications, they were approved.14 With this rezoning,
deviating from the common interest and the spirit of the law, large sports facilities were built
and, at the same time, commercial complexes were constructed around the facilities, on land
that now had a much higher value than before the rezoning.15 In this way, clubs received large
revenues, which served to stabilise their finances, and, in turn, the local councils benefited
from the rezoning and increased their assets.
Many SAD clubs and boards of directors have been investigated for rezoning corruption or
illegal transfers16 since the enactment of Law 10/1990.17 These have largely been cases of
mismanagement conducted by club leaders, most of them businessmen linked to building
businesses (19 of La Liga’s 42 teams in the First and Second Divisions have fallen into
bankruptcy since the creation of SAD clubs).18 These leaders, elevated to administrative roles
in top clubs by purchasing blocks of shares, took advantage of their position and sought
solutions to debt through speculation on urban land, often with the participation of public
agencies.19
Examples of this practice include the city council of Murcia, which purchased one million
square metres of rural land for €3 per square metre, reclassified it and then valued it at €600
per square metre, with an increase of 20,000 per cent for the construction of a new stadium:
the New Condomina.20 Similarly, Valencia Football Club announced plans to demolish the
Mestalla stadium, sell the site and build a new field on newly reclassified land to the north of
the city (the stadium is still standing but a court order has mandated its demolition soon).21
Even the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) was implicated in a 1998 urban-planning
scandal for an irregular transfer of 120,000 square metres of public land by the municipality
of Las Rozas, just outside Madrid. In 2007 the Superior Court of Madrid confirmed the illegality
of the transfer of public land, and ruled that the land be returned to Las Rozas.22
Investigations of the multiple and complex relationships between private football clubs and
public money led in 2011 to the approval of a Regulation of Economical Control to promote
accountability, increase transparency and protect creditors. In 2013 the regulation was
completed with the ‘rules of economic control a priori of 2013’, ratified by the Sports Council
of the Spanish government. Similarly, article 74.2 (d) of Law 10/1990, the Sports Act, gives
professional leagues the administrative authority to discipline and sanction clubs in order to
establish order and rationalise club finances.23
Urban-planning regulation needs to improve in Spain, as current standards are ineffective in
controlling land speculation activity. One of the greatest problems in urban development
control is the wide range of agents who have discretion over matters of urban planning, leading
to confusion and legal uncertainty. If all the state and regional regulations were published
together, the document would be over 5,000 pages long.24 Implementing the legal framework
contained in the Land Act of 2008 could be a good step towards reducing the number of
competing authorities in this area, though it would probably fall short in this respect.25
Any urban-planning anti-corruption strategy requires several instruments to be effective: a
clear and strong political will to raise collective awareness and provide the means to overcome
it; strong sanctions for perpetrators; citizen involvement; and the assessment of both public
Urban speculation by Spanish football clubs 225
Figure 3.10 Land value before and after construction of the New Condomina stadium, Murcia
Source: El Periódico Extremadura, ‘El presidente del Real Murcia protagoniza un sonoro pelotazo’, 16 February 2004, www.elperiodicoextremadura.com/noticias/deportes/
presidente-real-murcia-protagoniza-sonoro-pelotazo_96698.html.
and private institutions’ vulnerability to corruption.26 Rigorous administrative control is
necessary in Spain, but is in short supply. Such oversight is at the discretion of the local
councils themselves, with no real control exercised by the regional governments, even though
this is stipulated by law. Greater legal/administrative control should begin with the creation of
a state agency that monitors urban planning, as well as a reformulation of urban-planning
laws in the country. 27
Notes
1 Nefer Ruiz Crespo is a lawyer working at A25 Abogados y Economistas sl, and is a member
of Transparency International Spain.
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Events in the spotlight
2 Europol, ‘Results from the largest football match-fixing investigation in Europe’, 6 February
2013, www.europol.europa.eu/content/results-largest-football-match-fixing-investigationeurope.
3 See Público (Spain), ‘Bruselas confirma el expediente a Real Madrid y Barça por recibir
ayudas públicas ilegales’, 18 December 2013, www.publico.es/deportes/490070/
bruselas-confirma-el-expediente-a-real-madrid-y-barca-por-recibir-ayudas-publicas-ilegales.
4 The debt incurred with the social security corresponds to the proportion of the IRPF
(personal income tax) of the player’s salary that has to be paid by the club (third paragraph
of the reference). See article V of the Finance Law, chapter II, Del régimen de la Hacienda
Pública estatal, section 1a, Derechos de la Hacienda Pública estatal, at ‘Ley 47/2003, de
26 de noviembre, General Presupuestaria’ [‘Law 47/2003, of 26 November, on the General
Budget’]: www.seg-social.es/Internet_1/Normativa/index.htm?ssUserText=188871&dDocN
ame=195014#5.
5 El Economista (Spain), ‘El fútbol profesional español debe 752 millones de euros sólo a
Hacienda’, 13 March 2015, http://ecodiario.eleconomista.es/futbol/noticias/3816543/03/12/
El-futbol-profesional-espanol-debe-a-Hacienda-752-millones-de-euros.html#Kku8Wm
V3SS234GfV; El Confidencial (Spain), ‘Montoro da vida a los clubes de fútbol al aplazarles
deuda por 255 millones de euros’, 29 September 2014, www.elconfidencial.com/
economia/2014-09-29/montoro-da-vida-a-los-clubes-de-futbol-al-aplazarles-deuda-por255-millones-de-euros_216617.
6 See El Confidencial (Spain), ‘Atlético y Deportivo lideran el ranking de la deuda con 120 y
90 millones de euros’, 8 July 2013, www.elconfidencial.com/deportes/futbol/2012/03/15/
atletico-y-deportivo-lideran-el-ranking-de-la-deuda-con-120-y-90-millones-de-euros94365.
7 Law 10/1990 of 15 October, on Sport; effective from 6 November 1990.
8 El País (Spain), ‘La Liga intensifica la presión para aplazar la deuda de los clubes’, 7 October
2014, http://deportes.elpais.com/deportes/2014/10/06/actualidad/1412620473_204155.
html.
9 Juan-Cruz Alli Aranguren, ‘Del inicio de la prueba de la corrupción urbanística’, Auditoría
Pública, no. 46 (2008).
10 For a detailed assessment, see Jordi Blasco Díez, ‘La especulación inmobiliaria de los clubs
de fútbol en España’, Revista Bibliográfica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales, vol. 13 (2008).
11Ibid.
12Ibid.
13Ibid.
14 See, for example, 20 Minutos (Spain), ‘El ladrillazo: los ayuntamientos con urnaismo
polémico’, 18 June 2008, www.20minutos.es/noticia/165247/0/corruptelas/urbanisticas/
ediles. See also Alli Aranguren (2008).
15 Manuel Villoria Mendieta, ‘Corrupción en España’, in Peter Eigen (ed.), Las Redes de la
Corrupción: La Sociedad civil contra los Abusos del Poder (Barcelona: Planeta, 2003).
16 See, for example, IUSport.es, ‘El Supremo reitera la ilegalidad de la Ciudad Deportiva de
Las Rozas’, 4 March 2010, www.iusport.es/php2/index.php?option=com_content&task=vie
w&id=1158&Itemid=27.
17 The European Union has indicted seven Spanish football clubs for possible violations of
EU free competition regulations regarding the acceptance of state aid. See El Diario (Spain),
‘Los “señores” del fútbol español, de la A a la Z’, 26 January 2015, www.eldiario.es/
deportes/duenos-futbol-espanol_0_221528591.html.
18 They include Alfonso García Gabarron (president of Union Deportiva Almería), Enrique Ortiz
(president of Hercules Football Club), Agapito Iglesias (former president of the Real Zaragoza
SAD) and Jesus Samper Vidal (Real Murcia Football Club). For a recent case and background, see As (Spain), ‘Se abre una causa general de la FIFA contra el fútbol español’,
27 January 2015, http://futbol.as.com/futbol/2015/01/27/primera/1422317098_357755.
html; and El País (Spain), ‘A diabolical business’, 17 April 2013, http://elpais.com/elpais/
2013/04/17/inenglish/1366204502_127818.html.
Urban speculation by Spanish football clubs 227
19 For a detailed assessment, see Jordi Blasco Díez, ‘La especulación inmobiliaria de los clubs
de fútbol en España’, Revista Bibliográfica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales, vol. 13 (2008).
20 El Periódico Extremadura (Spain), ‘El presidente del Real Murcia protagoniza un sonoro
pelotazo’, 16 February 2004, www.elperiodicoextremadura.com/noticias/deportes/
presidente-real-murcia-protagoniza-sonoro-pelotazo_96698.html.
21 El Mundo (Spain), ‘El Valencia será multado si la UE prueba que recibió ayudas ilegales’,
18 September 2014, www.elmundo.es/comunidad-valenciana/2014/09/18/541a888ce2704
ed6768b456c.html; Valencia Plaza (Spain), ‘Recados para Lim: La Generalitat reactiva
el proyecto del nuevo campo de Mestalla’, 4 June 2015, www.valenciaplaza.com/ver/
132642/-recados-para-lim--la-generalitat-reactiva-el-proyecto-del-nuevo-campo-demestalla.html.
22See Marca (Spain), ‘Bruselas expedienta a Real Madrid y Barça por ayudas de Estado
ilegales’, 16 December 2013, www.marca.com/2013/12/16/futbol/1adivision/1387212302.
html?a=5c595d78d2f1353e1ba3e6dd975a8977&t=1423264575; La Vanguardia (Spain),
‘Bruselas expedient a Madrid, Barça y otros cinco clubes’, www.lavanguardia.com/
deportes/20131218/54398344430/bruselas-expedienta-a-madrid-barca-y-otros-cincoclubes.html; El Mundo (Spain), ‘Bruselas expedienta a España por ayudas ilegales a a siete
clubes de fútbol’, 16 December 2013, www.elmundo.es/deportes/2013/12/16/52af2b9f61f
d3de1798b4599.html; and IUSport.es, ‘El Supremo reitera la ilegalidad de la Ciudad
Deportiva de Las Rozas’, 4 March 2010, www.iusport.es/php2/index.php?option=com_
content&
task=view&id=1158&Itemid=27.
23 Noticias Jurídicas (Spain), ‘Ley 10/1990, de 15 de octubre, del Deporte: titulo XI’ [‘Law
10/1990, of 15 October, on Sport: article XI’], http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/
Admin/l10-1990.t11.html#t11.
24 Fundación Alternativas, Urbanismo y Democracia: Alternativas para Eviter la Corrupción
(Madrid: Fundación Alternativas, 2007).
25Ibid.
26 See Spanish-language edition (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamérica, 1994), pp. 10 et seq., of
Robert Klitgaard, Controlling Corruption (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988).
27 Fundación Alternativas (2007).
Part 4
Match-fixing
4.1
Why sport is losing
the war to match-fixers
Declan Hill1
The war against match-fixers is being lost. Part of the reason for the defeat is that the antimatch-fixing industry is drowning in nonsense – nonsense that is being propagated by a
mixture of commercial agendas, professional conflicts of interest and ignorance. This chapter
will do two things: first, it will show the real situation of current-day match-fixing; second, it
will explain some of the key mistakes in contemporary research into match-fixing.
Methods
This chapter is based on a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research techniques.
I conducted over 400 interviews with players, referees, coaches, team managers, league
officials, policemen, prosecutors, bookmakers, gamblers and match-fixers who have direct
experience in match-fixing. Along with the interviews, there has also been a text analysis of a
‘confession databank’, consisting of documents (over 450,000 words) gathered from 30
jurisdictions.
The research has also been shaped by behavioural observation, when I directly witnessed
match-fixers attempting to corrupt matches at major international football tournaments. In
addition, there is a quantitative analysis from the construction of several databases. The two
key databases relate to fixed/non-fixed games and fixing/non-fixing players.2
Match-fixing explained
There has always been match-fixing in sport. If you had gone to the stadium of the ancient
Olympics in Greece, you would have found a row of statues. These statues had been built
with fines paid by athletes who had fixed a result or cheated thousands of years ago. Fixing
has a long history and has touched many sports.
We of this generation are facing an almost entirely new form of match-fixing, however. It is
as if someone had taken fixing and injected it with the steroid of globalisation. This new form
of match-fixing is sweeping through sport. It has destroyed many Asian sports. It is now
threatening tennis, cricket, football and a host of other sports based in Europe. This wave of
corruption is also lapping at the doors of North American sport.
In the last five years over 1,000 sports events – from top-level soccer games to Olympic
badminton matches to international cricket competitions – have been fixed. Hundreds of
232
Match-fixing
athletes, coaches, referees and gamblers have been arrested. It is a revolution in sport, which
reaches from dingy bookmakers on the streets of Asia to some of the largest stadiums in
the world.
The essential issue of this new wave of match-fixing is the globalisation of the sports
gambling market. A generation ago it was not worth fixing many events in relatively minor
sports leagues. Nowadays, though, three factors drive the profitability of modern-day fixing:3
1. the liquidity of the sports gambling market has grown and become unified;
2. it is now possible to bet money on more games in more leagues; and
3. international broadcasts are bringing sports to new audiences.
Contemporary match-fixing
In the early 1990s a group of match-fixers based in Malaysia/Singapore and Indonesia began
to travel to international football tournaments to corrupt teams and games. In interviews
with these fixers, corroborated by football officials, referees and players, their presence was
confirmed at the women’s World Cup, the Under-17 and the Under-20 World Cups, the
Olympic football tournament and the men’s World Cup itself between 1991 and 2014.4
By the early 2000s, these fixers were also working as brokers for corrupted players/
referees and team officials in dozens of countries in five different continents. Their essential
modus operandi was that the players/referees/officials would do the actual fixing of the game.
Then they would pass the information to the Asian-based fixers, who would fix the gambling
market in a series of manoeuvres to conceal the fix from bookmakers.5
Despite the publication of an international best-selling book that revealed the existence of
these gangs and a series of successful prosecutions led by German police investigators in
Bochum (2011) and Finnish police in Rovaniemi (2011), the fixers continued almost unabated
until 2013, when the Singapore authorities finally arrested key leaders of the group.6 The fixing
gangs continue to work in this region, however.7 Worse for sport, the match-fixing has now
spread to a variety of different criminal groups in Russia and China.8
The red flags of nonsense
Much of the research into this new form of fixing has been hampered by a series of commercial
agendas, conflicts of interest and ignorance. In this section some of these problems are
examined.
‘Illegal betting’
A few members of the gambling industry have misdirected the debate by emphasising the
issue of ‘illegal betting’ rather than match-fixing. One potential motive for this misdirection is
that it helps bookmakers gain a commercial advantage over their rivals if they can declare
them ‘illegal’.
Despite contemporary match-fixing being driven by the globalisation of the sports
gambling market, the discussion of ‘illegal betting’ is a side issue in the debate on fixing.
Almost all bookmakers are legal, wherever their headquarters are located. What they are
doing is providing a commercial service that some members of the public want. A senior
Asian bookmaker from a company that his European rivals declare to be ‘illegal’ said in an
interview, ‘What is “illegal” gambling? What I do is legal on this side of the street. On the other
side of the street, it is illegal.’
Why sport is losing the war to match-fixers 233
The real issue is match-fixing. Fixing defrauds bookmakers, whether they are regulated by
governments, are private European companies or are located in an Asian tax-free zone.
‘The police are not fighting match-fixing’
Sports authorities have an inherent conflict of interest in reporting corruption in their own
industry. Their position is akin to that of the owner of a sausage factory who discovers a
tainted product: he may try to stop the bad meat being sold, but he also does not want his
customers to find out about it.9
Accordingly, many sports associations tend to emphasise two flawed concepts when
speaking about match-fixing: first, that the police and the government authorities are not
doing anything to help them; second, that fixing is largely the preserve of ethically challenged
players or referees, who can be educated back to morality.
Even the normally sound researcher Kevin Carpenter may have been swayed by this myth
in his ‘key framing article’ for Transparency International’s Corruption in Sport Initiative when
he argues that police generally do little work in stopping match-fixing because it is not a
priority.10 The facts are almost completely opposite to this view. Many people involved in
official law enforcement actions against match-fixing speak of the difficulty of working with
sports officials. This is an excerpt from a typical interview with a senior prosecutor involved
in a European match-fixing investigation: ‘We [the law enforcement agencies] received
no help from the football association. In fact, quite the opposite; they closed ranks. They do
not want to admit publicly that it [match-fixing] goes on.’ In 2013 I did research on the question
‘Who began the investigations of match-fixing?’. This work showed that fewer than 2 per cent
of cases were initiated by sports associations; more than 40 per cent were begun by the
police.11
In Europe alone there have been high-level judicial investigations into match-fixing in
27 countries since 2009. In 24 of them the prosecutors secured convictions of players/
referees and team officials.12 The trials have produced hundreds of thousands of legal
documents on fixing. Almost everything evidence-based that is known about the fixers comes
from these documents or researchers with first-hand experience of the fixers.13
The failure of education campaigns
In early 2015 the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) released a report into
the failure of anti-doping controls in professional cycling.14 In the anti-doping world during the
1990s and early 2000s the blame was often pushed onto the athletes rather than officials,
who administered a system that covertly encouraged doping. Millions of anti-doping dollars
were put into projects to ‘educate’ athletes. In particular, there was an attempt to portray
doping in cycling as an ethical failure on the part of a very few cyclists.
The findings of the CIRC report are very explicit, however. The decision to dope in the
1990s and early 2000s was mostly a result of rational choice. In that era, if a young cyclist
wanted to win, he or she was, essentially, forced to dope. Many cyclists who had other ways
of making a living left the sport rather than cheat. The athletes who had few other career
options stayed in the sport – and, to win, many of them doped.
There are similarities in match-fixing. Currently, there are groups of relatively well-paid
consultants and gambling companies giving lectures to relatively badly paid players about
the ‘ethics’ of match-fixing.15 The ongoing Italian investigations of Serie C and Pro-Lega
show the relative failure of the ‘education’ of players. The police allege that a fixing ring
existed in over 30 professional teams in southern Italy. The investigators claim the fixing was
organised by the team owners. National police forces in other European countries allege that
234
Match-fixing
similar conditions exist in their countries.16 Milan Sapina was one of the most successful
modern-day fixers, with a network of corruption stretching across three continents until
he was arrested by German police in 2011. He stated, when I interviewed him in 2007,
that there was a similar pattern. Hill: ‘Why is there fixing?’ Sapina: ‘Sometimes it is the clubs
who are friends with each other. They may want to help each other. Sometimes it is the
president who arranges with the other president. Or sometimes it is the boss of the club.
The bosses then bet on the results. It happens a lot in lower divisions.’
These team owners are, in some cases, the same people who help organise anti-matchfixing sessions for their players. This dynamic, whereby the corruptors may be in the room,
effectively turns some anti-match-fixing education campaigns into lessons in hypocrisy.
A number of players who were interviewed claim that a similar phenomenon exists in Asian
leagues. This is one typical example:17
Our team was run by a group of top politicians and I am not saying they were fixing, but
I am saying that there were very strong rumours and suspicions around them for several
years. I can’t accuse him. You have to get proof. These guys are untouchable. You are
talking about corruption at the highest level of society. If there is corruption going on at
the level that there is no hope, the game has absolutely no hope.
Conclusion
Match-fixing has taken on a new manifestation, linked to the globalised sports gambling
market. It is threatening sports around the world. Much of the research on contemporary
match-fixing has been misdirected, however; it is time for a return to evidence-based work.
As the police investigations into the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) in
May 2015 have shown, there is a possible nexus between bad sports governance and
match-fixing. An executive who commits commercial fraud cannot be expected to crack
down on match corruption.
One potential example concerns the South African men’s football World Cup in 2010,
which was marred by fixers corrupting exhibition matches in the days before the start of the
tournament (as well as approaching referees and, potentially, players at the tournament
itself).18 They were helped by at least one person inside the South African Football Association,
but there has been no official investigation based in South Africa. In the 164-page indictment released by the US Department of Justice in May 2015 in connection with the FIFA
investigations, however, it was alleged, in part, that the South Africans had paid bribes to
secure the World Cup hosting rights.19 If this is correct, it is a potential reason why there has
been no South African investigation into the match-fixing.
There are similar cases in other football associations around the world. A recent confidential
interview with a senior person involved with sports integrity revealed that, in his opinion, at
least half a dozen of the presidents of national football associations have been involved
in fixing matches. If this is correct, then the sport needs new solutions in the fight against
match-fixing.
One practical solution is to create an independent, anti-corruption agency for sport. Ideally,
it would be akin – or even linked – to the World Anti-Doping Agency. It would be financed by
arm’s-length sponsors and operate separately from sport governance control. It would give
whistleblowers and people fighting against sports corruption a secure place to report
corruption. If organised and staffed correctly, it would be free from the commercial agendas,
professional conflicts of interests and ignorance that clog so much of today’s struggle against
match-fixing.
Why sport is losing the war to match-fixers 235
Notes
1 Declan Hill is an investigative journalist, academic and documentary-maker.
2 For a more detailed examination of the research methods, see Declan Hill, The Insider’s
Guide to Match-Fixing in Football (Toronto: Anne McDermid, 2013), pp. 14–27.
3 Ibid.
4 Declan Hill, The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008);
Ralf Mutschke, interviewed in Frankfurter Allgemeine (Germany), ‘Fifa-Sicherheitschef:
“Kriminelle wollen WM-Spiele manipulieren”’, 12 January 2014, www.faz.net/aktuell/sport/
fussball-wm/fifa-sicherheitschef-kriminelle-wollen-wm-spiele-manipulieren-12747485.html;
Wilson Perumal, Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano, Kelong Kings: Confession of the
World’s Most Prolific Match-Fixer (New York: Invisible Dog Press, 2014).
5 Declan Hill, ‘How gambling corruptors fix football matches’, European Sport Management
Quarterly, vol. 9 (2009); Tribunale Ordinario di Cremona, ‘Ordinanza di Applicazione della
Misura della Custodia Cautelare in Carcere’, 9 December 2011, www.invisible-dog.com/
DOC%20FIX/LAST_BET_ORDINANZA_DIC_2011.pdf.
6 Hill (2008); Rovaniemen Toimipiste KRP, ‘Report on the activities of Wilson Raj Perumal’,
August 2011; Tribunale Ordinario di Cremona (2011).
7 See, for example, AsiaOne (Singapore), ‘SEA Games football hit by fix claims’, 20 June
2015, http://news.asiaone.com/news/sports/sea-games-football-hit-fix-claims.
8 Il Messaggero (Italy), ‘Calcioscommesse nella Lega Pro, 50 arresti e 70 indignati tra dirigente
e giocatori’, 20 May 2015, http://sport.ilmessaggero.it/calcio/newscalcioscommesse_
arresti_lega_pro_serie_d_giocatori_dirigenti/1362124.shtml.
9 Hill (2013), p. 248.
10 See Kevin Carpenter, ‘Why are countries taking so long to act on match-fixing?’, www.
transparency.org/files/content/feature/Feature_TakingLongMatchFixing_Carpenter_GCR
Sport.pdf. Carpenter’s analysis is correct in a few jurisdictions, such as Canada, where the
police and sports associations both claim that ‘there is nothing they can do’.
11 Hill (2013), pp. 250–252.
12 In the other three countries – the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden – the investigations are
still continuing (as of June 2015).
13 See, for example, Rovaniemen Toimipiste KRP (2011); Tribunale Ordinario di Cremona
(2011); Preumal, Righi and Piano (2014); Hill (2008, 2013).
14 Cycling Independent Reform Commission, Report to the President of the Union Cycliste
Internationale (Aigle, Switzerland: Union Cycliste Internationale, 2015), https://docs.google.
com/viewerng/viewer?url=http://www.cyclisme-dopage.com/actualite/2015-03-08-circreport.pdf.
15 Some of the consultants giving these educational sessions have received funding from
organisations that suffer from credibility issues on integrity, such as the Fédération
Internationale de Football Association and the Qataris.
16 See, for example, Fédération Internationale des Associations Footballeurs Professionnels
(FIFPro), FIFPro Black Book Eastern Europe: The Problems Professional Football Players
Encounter (Hoofddorp, Netherlands: FIFPro, 2012); Inside World Football, ‘Greek corruption:
Olympiacos owner charged in match-fixing ring round-up’, 28 April 2015, www.insideworld
football.com/world-football/europe/16904-greek-corruption-olympiacos-owner-chargedin-match-fixing-ring-round-up; B92 (Serbia), ‘“Clubs organize match fixing,” says sports
minister’, 16 June 2015, www.b92.net/eng/news/politics.php?yyyy=2015&mm=06&dd=
16&nav_id=94455.
17 Hill (2013), p. 226.
18 New York Times (US), ‘Fixed soccer matches cast shadow over the World Cup’, 31 May
2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/sports/soccer/fixed-matchescast-shadow-over-world-cup.html?_r=0.
19 United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, Indictment 15 CR 0252 (RJD)
(RML), 20 May 2015, www.justice.gov/opa/file/450211/download.
4.2
The role of
the betting industry
Ben Van Rompuy1
Although match-fixing is not a new phenomenon, the rapid expansion of the global sports
betting market and the involvement of transnational organised crime has substantially
increased the threat of betting-related match-fixing. This is not only a critical issue for sport,
but also for the betting industry – a point that is often overlooked. Apart from the direct losses
that they may face in the event of match-fixing, betting operators are also adversely affected
in the long term since consumers’ confidence in the integrity of sports competitions is vital to
their business. In light of this convergence of interests, this chapter explores the pivotal role
that the betting industry, operating in a regulated environment, can play in the prevention and
fight against betting-related match-fixing.
The Asian betting market
Sports betting has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. The gross gaming revenue (GGR)
of the regulated sports betting market was estimated at US$58 billion in 2012 and is forecast
to reach US$70 billion in 2016.2 The volume of sports betting on the illegal markets is believed
to dwarf the turnover on the regulated market. Some estimates put the total turnover of illegal
sports betting at US$500 billion per annum,3 but the lack of transparency evidently makes it
hard to approximate the size of the illegal betting market reliably. Most of this activity emanates
from south-east Asian countries, where the failure to provide an attractive, regulated betting
market coupled with a culture of gambling has allowed enormous illegal betting networks to
flourish. Unfortunately, most of these countries continue to demonstrate a lack of political will
to take (more) aggressive action against this black economy.
There is a growing consensus that professional match-fixers predominantly use the illegal
Asian betting markets to place their bets directly.4 Regulated bookmakers generally restrict
stakes, require registration and identification of the player and even withdraw betting markets
in the case of irregular betting activity. In contrast, the Asian system of bookmaking – in which
bets are collected from the street, in betting shops, online and through telephone betting, and
are passed up through a hierarchical agent system – allows bets to be placed anonymously
and without betting limits. To manage their risks, local illegal operators lay off their unbalanced
bets along the chain to the next tier. Eventually many of the bets end up with the largest Asian
bookmakers licensed in loosely regulated jurisdictions, such as the Philippines. By then the
bets are hidden in larger parcels and almost impossible to trace back to their source.5
The role of the betting industry 237
It would be too easy to put all the blame on the illegal Asian betting markets, however.
As various documented cases exemplify, betting-related match-fixing can and does occur
also in regulated betting markets. The point is rather that keeping sports betting activity
within well-regulated, and therefore controlled, channels is the best way to identify and
manage integrity risks. As the remainder of this chapter will demonstrate, in such a regulated
environment the betting industry can be an important part of the solution.
Betting monitoring and fraud detection
Like any other type of corruption, betting-related match-fixing is a covert and consensual
activity, which makes it extremely difficult to detect instances of fraud. Proactive intelligencegathering and the sharing of information are therefore critical components of the fight against
match-fixing. It is here that regulated betting operators can play a fundamental role.
Over the last decade a number of betting-monitoring systems have been put in place by
betting industry bodies (such as the European Sports Security Association and the Global
Lottery Monitoring System), sports organisations (for example, the FIFA Early Warning
System), commercial monitoring companies (such as Sportradar) and gambling regulators.
In parallel to these systems, each betting operator has its own surveillance system, to monitor
the betting activity of its customers and to spot unusual movements across the betting
market. This is an integral part of betting operators’ internal risk management analysis, carried
out to control financial risks and thus improve their profitability.
Many sports organisations, especially the better-resourced ones, have entered into
voluntary memoranda of understanding (with betting operators or betting industry bodies)
and/or commercial agreements (with monitoring companies) to keep themselves informed
about irregular betting activities relating to their events. Even so, it is of vital importance that
national gambling regulations oblige regulated betting operators to report information on
suspicious betting activity to the authorities or the national platform, as envisaged by the
Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions.6 While each of
the betting monitoring systems mentioned above have their specific features and assets,
typically only the betting operators have access to the records of individual transactions,
including the amounts of the bet and the identity of the customer.
Good practice in the European Union highlights the fact that having a centralised platform
that coordinates the gathering, analysis and exchange of information-sharing at the national
and supranational levels is crucial in addressing the match-fixing threat to sport.7 A good
example is the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit (SBIU), which was created within the United
Kingdom’s Gambling Commission in 2010. The SBIU acts as the gateway for information on
potentially corrupt betting activity related to British sports events. In the vast majority of cases
this information is submitted by betting operators.8 Once a piece of information has been
received, such as a report on suspicious betting activity, the SBIU corroborates the report
with other pieces of intelligence and decides on the most appropriate course of action, right
through to when the case is closed. A detailed investigative decision-making framework
documents how the SBIU determines whether to refer the case to a sports governing body
or betting operator, proceed to criminal prosecution, issue a caution or take no further action.9
The underlying presumption of this decision-making framework is that only the more serious
cases are likely to be appropriate for criminal sanction. Given that criminal prosecution
is a challenging task that requires satisfying a high burden of proof (beyond reasonable
doubt), disciplinary action by the sports governing body can often be the most effective – and
even, sometimes, the only possible – course of action. Of course, sports organisations are
powerless against criminal gangs and individuals outside their sport. Yet one must not forget
238
Match-fixing
that while not every match-fixing case has a criminal component, it always has a disciplinary
component: a fix can only occur with the involvement of at least one person covered by the
regulations of the sports governing body. Preparing and progressing disciplinary proceedings
for breaches of these regulations is a necessary component of an effective strategy to combat
match-fixing.10
Obviously, the operation of national betting integrity platforms raises important questions
about adequate resourcing, staffing and the granting of the necessary clearance to process
and investigate betting data. Thought would have to be given to how the betting industry
might assist in capacity-building at a national level, financially or otherwise. Moreover, it is
important to develop guiding principles for what constitutes suspicious betting activity. The
requirement for betting operators to report irregular betting patterns to the regulator or the
national platform loses much of its relevance if it is left entirely to them to decide when and
what to report. The setting of such integrity industry standards demands the involvement of
all the relevant stakeholders who have built up experience in this regard. The Follow-up
Committee to the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions would be well
placed to foster the development and convergence of standards at the European level.
Betting bans for sportspeople
In most of the leading sports, sports organisations have made it a disciplinary offence for
athletes, their support personnel and/or officials to (1) bet on sports events in which they are
involved and (2) disclose inside information. Some sports organisations, such as the English
Football Association, extend this prohibition to all betting on their sport. Betting bans for
sportspeople can also be found in a number of national gambling regulatory frameworks.11
Although such rules target only possible instances of individual fraud (such as a football player
or referee conceiving and exploiting his or her own manipulation), which do not pose the
threat that corruption involving criminal organisations does, they have an important educational and deterrence function. By precluding improper influence due to conflicts of interest,
these prohibitions embed awareness and compliance in relation to betting-related match-fixing.
The enforcement rate of these betting bans is extremely low, however.12 The main
impediment to effective enforcement is that generally only betting operators, which have a
duty to identify their customers, are able to detect non-compliance. In fact, the majority of
sports betting operator’s terms and conditions equally prohibit people who may influence the
results of sports events from placing bets on those events. In the event of any breach of these
terms and conditions, the operator may refuse payment of any winnings or cancel the bet (on
the grounds of a breach of the contractual basis of the bet), but is not necessarily obliged to
report this to the relevant sports organisation. Once again, cooperation between the different
stakeholders and information-sharing are essential for the effective protection of integrity in
sport and sports betting.
In Australia, for instance, sports organisations may request licensed betting operators to
undertake integrity checks, such as an annual check that players and officials have not placed
bets on their own sport.13 In France, pursuant to information obligations imposed on licensed
betting operators, the Online Gaming and Regulatory Authority (ARJEL) has access to all
betting information related to players registered with these operators (that is, their identity,
postal and IP addresses, and details of every gaming activity).14 Sports federations may
request ARJEL to cross-check this information with a data-filing system of all competition
stakeholders subject to a betting ban (also specifying the scope of this ban).15 If the analysis
reveals that a person featuring on the ‘ban list’ has placed any bets, ARJEL informs the
federation, which can then initiate disciplinary proceedings for breach of the betting ban.
The role of the betting industry 239
In the United Kingdom, licensed operators that accept sports bets are required to ‘provide
the relevant sports governing body with sufficient information to conduct an effective
investigation’ if the licensee suspects that information in its possession may relate to a breach
of a rule applied by a sports governing body.16 The information provided by the operator can
then be used to prepare and progress disciplinary proceedings.
Whatever mechanism is used, the enforcement of betting bans for sportspeople necessitates information-sharing between betting operators and sports organisations (with the regulator or national platform acting as a coordinator). Without such means of collaboration, the
bans contained in disciplinary regulations or gambling regulations are of merely symbolic value.
Other conflict-of-interest provisions
The Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions also places considerable
emphasis on the need to subject regulated betting operators to strict requirements to prevent
conflicts of interest. Among other things, it calls on the signatories to prohibit (1) persons
involved in developing sports betting products from betting on these products and (2) the
offering of bets on sports events when the operator has a controlling interest in the event or
its participants.17
The identification and management of potential conflicts of interest on the betting industry’s
side remains largely unexplored. In Europe, for instance, only a minority of EU member
states currently have such arrangements in place: the national gambling regulatory frameworks of only eight such countries impose a betting ban for the operators’ owners and
employees. While in some cases this betting ban applies solely to those directly involved in
the development of the (sports) betting offering (in the Czech Republic, Italy and Sweden, for
example), in other member states the ban extends to participation via third persons such as
close relatives (such as France, Hungary and Spain).18 Only six members prohibit regulated
betting operators from accepting bets on sports events that they control by way of ownership
or employment. In France, betting operators must even notify the regulator of sponsorship agreements with organisers of sports events or their participants. The regulator then
scrutinises the agreement to see whether it might conceal an indirect form of control by one
party over the other.19
Even when prohibitions and restrictions are in place, putting them into daily practice has
proved to be a challenge. While most of the gambling regulators check compliance with
the regulatory framework (including the conflict-of-interest provisions) in the context of the
licensing process, limited staff and resources often impede sufficient or active post-licensing
monitoring. Voluntary commitments contained in self-regulatory codes of conduct of betting
industry bodies20 are a useful complement, but not a substitute for implementing binding
regulatory requirements. Of the many unknowns connected to the implementation of the
recommendations of the Council of Europe’s convention, the question of how to ensure
compliance with these conflict-of-interest provisions deserves particularly careful attention.
Conclusion: friend or foe?
In recent years the betting industry has become a significant source of sponsorship funding
for professional sport, and commercial partnership agreements continue to increase in
number. When it comes to preserving the integrity of sport, however, the relationship between
the sports world and the betting industry goes from hot to cold. Many international and
national sports organisations still fail to understand that close cooperation between all
stakeholders, including betting operators, is indispensable in order to combat match-fixing in
240
Match-fixing
an effective way. As highlighted in this chapter, regulated betting operators have a crucial role
to play, especially in supporting preventative and investigative measures against bettingrelated match-fixing through the sharing of information.
Notes
1 Professor Ben Van Rompuy is a senior researcher at the TMC Asser Instituut in The Hague,
where he heads the Asser International Sports Law Centre, and is a guest professor at the
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels).
2 GGR is the difference between the wagered amounts and the winnings returned to players.
Jason Foley-Train, Sports Betting: Commercial and Integrity Issues (Brussels: European
Gaming and Betting Association, 2014).
3 Université Paris I Panthéon–Sorbonne, Fighting Against the Manipulation of Sports
Competitions (Paris: Université Paris I Panthéon–Sorbonne, 2014).
4 See, for example, Interpol, Match-Fixing in Football: Training Needs Assessment 2013
(Lyon: Interpol, 2013), p. 16; University Paris I Panthéon–Sorbonne and International
Centre for Sport Security, Protecting the Integrity of Sport Competition: The Last Bet for
Modern Sport (London: SportBusiness Communications, 2014), pp. 81–83; Sportradar,
World Match-Fixing: The Problem and the Solution (St Gallen, Switzerland: Sportradar,
2014), p. 10.
5 David Forrest and Wolfgang Maennig, ‘The threat to sports and sports governance from
betting-related corruption: causes and solutions’, in Paul M. Heywood (ed.) Routledge
Handbook of Political Corruption (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).
6 Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, 18 September
2014, http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/215.htm. In Europe, this is
currently the case for fewer than half of the EU member states: Oxford Research, Study
on the Sharing of Information and Reporting of suspicious Sports Betting Activity in the EU
28 (Frederiksberg, Denmark: Oxford Research, 2014).
7 TMC Asser Instituut, Study on Risk Assessment and Management and Prevention of
Conflicts of Interest in the Prevention and Fight against Betting-Related Match Fixing in
the EU 28 (The Hague: TMC Asser Instituut, 2014).
8 Gambling Commission, Gambling Industry Statistics April 2009 to March 2014 (Birmingham:
Gambling Commission, 2014).
9 Gambling Commission, The Gambling Commission’s Betting Industry Decision Making
Framework (Birmingham: Gambling Commission, 2013), www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/
pdf/Betting%20integrity%20decision%20making%20framework.pdf.
10 After all, empirical deterrence research persistently finds that the perceived likelihood of
detection and punishment has the most powerful influence on compliance behaviour. For
references, see Ben Van Rompuy, ‘Effective sanctioning of match-fixing: the need for a
two-track approach’, ICSS Journal, vol. 1 (2013), http://icss-journal.newsdeskmedia.com/
images/Upload/Vol_1_no_3/ICSS_Journal_Vol1.3.pdf.
11 Seven EU member states have introduced legislative provisions prohibiting people who may
influence the outcome or course of sports events: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
France, Germany, Hungary and Spain.
12 TMC Asser Instituut (2014, Study on Risk Assessment).
13 TMC Asser Instituut, Study on Sports Organisers’ Rights in the EU (The Hague: TMC Asser
Instituut, 2014), pp.130–135.
14 Loi no. 2010-476 du 12 mai 2010 relative à l’ouverture à la concurrence et à la régulation du
secteur des jeux d’argent et de hasard en ligne, articles 31 and 38; Décret no. 2010-509 du
18 mai 2010 relatif aux obligations imposées aux opérateurs agréés de jeux ou de paris en
ligne en vue du contrôle des données par l’autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne.
15 French Sports Code (Code du Sport), articles L131-161, R131-37 to R131-45.
The role of the betting industry 241
16 Gambling Commission, Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice: February 2015
(Birmingham: Gambling Commission, 2015), www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/
Latest-LCCP-and-Extracts/Licence-conditions-and-codes-of-practice.pdf, condition 15.1.2.
17 Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, 18 September
2014, article 10, http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/215.htm.
18 TMC Asser Instituut (2014, Study on Risk Assessment), pp. 34–35.
19 Ibid., pp. 32–33.
20 See, for example, European Sports Security Association, ‘Code of conduct’, www.eu-ssa.
org/code-of-conduct; and European Lotteries, ‘Code of conduct’, www.european-lotteries.
org/el-code-conduct.
4.3
Cricket in Bangladesh
Challenges of governance and
match-fixing
Iftekhar Zaman, Rumana Sharmin and
Mohammad Nure Alam1
The context
Cricket, the proverbial gentlemen’s game,2 has only recently become the most popular
sport in Bangladesh. Although cricket was introduced in Bengal by the British East India
Company in the eighteenth century, Bangladesh did not become an associate member of
the International Cricket Council (ICC) until 1977, or a regular member until 1997, finally
achieving the status of test-playing nation in June 2000. Bangladesh has increasingly
become an important actor in global cricket,3 and has captured the imagination of millions of
Bangladeshis at home and abroad, men and women, and especially youth and children.
Cricket is not simply a game in the country; it is a symbol of national unity.4 Corresponding
to this growth in domestic interest, however, and in keeping with global and regional
trends, Bangladeshi cricket has also become a huge money-making mechanism,5 making
the game vulnerable to corruption and in need of strengthened, robust and effective
governance structures.
As with other cricket-playing nations, competitive matches in Bangladesh were played
until recently in the form of test matches and one-day tournaments between national teams.
When the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) was introduced in 2012 as a competition of
franchises – clubs formed specifically for the league and essentially as business enterprises
– profit-making became a key factor in cricket. The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB,
described further below) demonstrated an enthusiasm for this short-term profitability, even at
the possible expense of the longer-term development of the sport. This was evident when
the BPL was given a better time slot in the 2013/2014 domestic cricket calendar at the
expense of the Bangladesh Cricket League, a first-class (that is, higher-quality, and thus more
important for national development) competition.6 Profit-making became clubs’ preoccupation,
leading to irregularities in the form of match-fixing and spot-fixing,7 linked with betting, in
which players and officials became easy recruits. The governance deficit in the game has
compounded the problem further.
The main theme of this study is that the two parallel sets of challenges – of the governance
of the BCB, on the one hand, and of the wider problem of match-fixing, on the other – need
to be addressed effectively, in the interests of cricket in Bangladesh and for it to realise its full
Cricket in Bangladesh 243
potential. Much-needed improvements in the governance of the BCB will also enhance the
capacity to prevent and control match-fixing.
Cricket governance
The Bangladesh Cricket Board, affiliated with the National Sports Council of Bangladesh
(NSCB)8 within the Ministry of Youth and Sports, is responsible for the operation and development of cricket in the country.9 The Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of
Youth and Sports, as the oversight body for the ministry, is also tasked with overseeing the
work of the BCB.
The BCB generates income from TV rights, sponsorship,10 donations, income-sharing with
the ICC from global cricket, and tournament fees as an organiser of ICC events, among
other sources.11 It also receives government allocations (through the NSCB), and generates
revenue from investments. The BCB is governed by its own constitution12 and is composed
of 27 board directors, a board president and 20 operational committees.13
The legal classification of the BCB’s corporate structure is uncertain. It is neither a corporate body, such as the ICC, nor a statutory body, as is its counterpart in Pakistan, nor a
‘registered society’ (typical of charities), as is the case with India.14 There is no formal mechanism within Bangladesh to hold the BCB accountable. It operates as an autonomous body,
and is regarded as a subsidiary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In practice, however,
the BCB operates on its own with hardly any relationship of accountability with the Ministry
and the NSCB, while the Parliamentary Standing Committee rarely exercises or enforces its
oversight functions.15
This is consistent with ICC guidelines for national cricket boards, so that government
interference in cricket governance is minimal and the autonomy of the national cricket
associations is maintained.16 Former BCB officials have nevertheless claimed that the BCB
is subject to government and political influence, especially in terms of its leadership and
management, and in the election of its board president and members.17 The BCB directors
amended the BCB’s constitution on 1 March 2012, following which an election was held
for the first time within the BCB to choose board directors. The current president was
also chosen, unanimously, in this election. Despite the introduction of elections, partisan and
political interests still prevailed in the nomination process for the president’s and directors’
posts.18
Although the BCB constitution calls for representation from all over the country, most
board members represent Dhaka-based clubs and have links to the ruling party. There are
also allegations of board directors arbitrarily amending the constitution to suit the interests
of the current leadership.19 The president nominates five councillors of the General
Council20 and chooses the operational committee members, thus paving the way for BCB
operations to be controlled by the president or his chosen few. The selection of certain match
venues is also alleged to take place according to political interests.21 In addition, there are
allegations of conflicts of interest, including, for instance, a BCB director who worked as a
coach for a franchise team in the BPL.22 The BCB is also criticised for having no long-term
plan for the development of cricket, and no specific programmes for behavioural change and
ethics education.23
There is no specific law addressing corruption in sports in Bangladesh.24 The Bangladesh
Penal Code of 1860 and the Anti-Corruption Commission Act of 2004 include provisions
against dishonest conduct and corruption in general, but there is no particular set of rules,
regulations or protocols for the investigation of allegations of corruption in cricket. The ICC
has its Anti-Corruption Code for Participants, to try to prevent corruption in global cricket, and
244
Match-fixing
has set up an Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU), both of which have responsibility for
ensuring discipline and integrity in international cricket. The BCB adopted its own such code
on 1 October 2012, and revised it on 1 January 2013 to ensure consistency with the ICC
Code. The BCB’s Anti-Corruption Code allows a two-stage appeal process.25 If there is a
complaint against a player or player support personnel, under article 5.1.1 of the Code, the
BCB will formulate a ‘provisional’ disciplinary panel (DP), headed by a chairman, who will
establish an Anti-Corruption Tribunal of three individuals who are independent of the parties
and have had no prior involvement with the case.26 The tribunal will hear the case and make
a judgement, and parties can lodge an appeal with the DP. Should the complaint still not be
resolved, the second stage allows an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), based
in Switzerland.27
Establishment of the Bangladesh Premier League
Against this governance backdrop came the tumultuous establishment of the BPL, which
was done in an ad hoc manner without proper policies and rules for the tournament.
The franchises determined the rates and payments of players’ fees without following any
well-defined criteria. The BCB and the franchises failed to secure permission for incomegenerating activities or foreign currency payments from the National Board of Revenue
and Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, making franchises unable to pay some players’
signing fees.28 This oversight and the common use of cash payments to players create
circumstances conducive to tax evasion.29 There are also allegations of a lack of transparency
in procurement activities.30
Match-fixing: money the spoiler
Sport has enormous influence in shaping social values and attitudes, because it provides role
models, particularly for young people.31 The popularity and influence of cricket, particularly
among the youth, have been huge in Bangladesh, where 63 per cent of the population is
under the age of 25.32
The increased flow of money has exposed cricket to higher risks of bribery and other illegal
practices, including match-fixing and spot-fixing, and has raised concerns about an erosion
of integrity in the game. The shorter version of cricket, especially the Twenty20 format of the
BPL, is considered a quick profit-making venture for cricketers, teams, organisers and other
stakeholders.33 Fixers allegedly infiltrate in the guise of being involved in one or other aspects
of the business venture, all the while building relationships with teams, players, umpires and
sponsors. Some of these relationships transform into collusion and even coercion, especially
in the case of young players, many of whom come from modest backgrounds and are more
vulnerable to corruption.34
With regard to players, in a high-profile case of corruption, former national captain
Mohammad Ashraful – who made history in 2001 by being the youngest cricketer to score a
test century, at the age of 17 – accepted a substantial sum of money for spot-fixing in various
matches and tournaments. Ashraful ultimately admitted to accepting an advance from a
bookie of BDT 0.7 million (some US$10,000) for his complicity in spot-fixing in a test match
in January 2010, though in the end he had failed to deliver as a result of being out early.35
He admitted this was later transferred to another match in the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup
in Sri Lanka36 and also admitted to accepting US$10,000 in another deal for spot-fixing
during the 2012 Sri Lanka Premier League.37 In addition, he was reported to have taken part
in spot-fixing during a match in the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup in exchange for BDT 2.5 million
Cricket in Bangladesh 245
(around US$30,000).38 The BCB Anti-Corruption Tribunal found Ashraful guilty of spot-fixing
in the second edition of the BPL, fined him BDT 1 million (some US$13,000) and banned
him from cricket for eight years; this was later reduced to five years upon appeal, with a
possibility of a further reduction by two years contingent upon a certificate of ‘good conduct’
from the ICC.39
Umpires have also been involved in match-fixing. Take the case of Nadir Shah, for example,
who was banned by the BCB in March 2013 for ten years for allegedly agreeing to give
decisions favouring players in exchange for a fee in an undercover sting broadcast by India
TV.40 Bookies have also been found to be actively encouraging corrupt practices in the game.
In February 2012 Sajid Khan, a Pakistani citizen, was apprehended while trying to enter the
players’ zone illegally, and was handed over to police, suspected of match-fixing in a BPL
match between the Chittagong Kings and the Barisal Burners.41 In the 2014 Twenty20 World
Cup in Dhaka, Indian national Atanu Dutta42 was reportedly arrested three times in April for
alleged involvement in illegal betting related to the tournament.43 Both were arrested and
released on bail with no further action to date.44
The BPL itself has not proved immune to these threats of corruption. The ACSU brought
charges against the Dhaka Gladiators after reportedly receiving a complaint from their head
coach, Ian Pont.45 Pont stated that he had been asked by team owner Shihab Chowdhury to
lose a match in November 2013 against the Chittagong Kings by fixing certain elements.46
The ACSU did not inform the BCB or the law enforcement authorities about the disclosure,
despite the BCB having earlier entered into an agreement with the ACSU under which the
latter was to assist the BCB in overseeing, managing, implementing and enforcing all aspects
of the BCB Anti-Corruption Code.47 The ACSU did not exercise its authority to call off the
match, and allowed it to go ahead despite the credible risk of match-fixing.
On receiving notice from the ACSU, the BCB formed a tribunal, which charged nine
cricketers and officials, including three foreign nationals.48 It found Shihab Chowdhury guilty,
barred him from cricket for ten years and fined him BDT 2 million (about US$25,000).49 The
fine was later withdrawn upon appeal. The tribunal acquitted six others accused for lack of
evidence of involvement, while two confessed.50 The BCB and ACSU later filed a joint appeal
against the acquittal of Salim Chowdhury, another owner of the Dhaka Gladiators and father
of Shihab Chowdhury; ultimately he also received a ten-year ban.
Looking ahead
The BCB has recently made efforts to strengthen its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), by taking
actions such as sending an officer to South Africa for anti-corruption training. With the help
of the ACSU, the BCB now also conducts anti-corruption orientation sessions before
every international match or series.51 While this is useful, more fundamental reforms are
needed, especially in terms of a long-term anti-corruption strategy. The independence,
professionalism and effectiveness of the ACU must be ensured by the provision of the
necessary human and technical skills, giving it the capacity to prevent corruption as well as
to control it, by means of prompt and efficient investigation and prosecution. The ACU should
be endowed in particular with capacities to strictly monitor compliance with the BCB’s AntiCorruption Code. Legal provisions must be created to criminalise match-fixing, spot-fixing
and other forms of cheating.
An independent, permanent Office of Ombudsman for Cricket should be set up by law,
and endowed with the power to investigate and prosecute allegations of corruption and
irregularities in the game. While administrative sanctions in the event of violation of the
Code should continue to remain within the jurisdiction of the BCB, the ombudsman should
246
Match-fixing
be empowered to ensure the accountability of all stakeholders, including players, coaches,
umpires, clubs, franchises and the BCB board and top management. The Office of
Ombudsman should also receive and act upon complaints of irregularities, corruption and
conflicts of interest in financial arrangements and related business aspects, including the
allocation of media rights and sponsorships and other risk areas involving the integrity and
reputation of the game. Given the full independence of the Office, the ombudsman ought to
be able to ensure the desired autonomy of the sport.
In order to improve the governance of the BCB, it should be accountable to and subject
to oversight from the Sports Ministry and the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Consistent
with the government’s National Integrity Strategy for fighting corruption,52 the mandate of
the BCB’s ACU should be expanded to become an Integrity and Anti-Corruption Unit,
with the objective of strengthening the preventive work, including greater integrity and ethics
awareness and education.
It is imperative that all stakeholders involved in cricket matches and tournaments,
especially the franchises, managers, coaches, captains, players and media houses, whether
national or international, formally sign a commitment to uphold the ICC’s Anti-Corruption
Code, and thereby deter illicit conduct. All such individuals, including those involved with the
BCB and their immediate families, agents and gate-keepers, should be subjected to the
proactive disclosure of their income and wealth and to disciplinary action in cases when
income and wealth are disproportionate to legitimate earnings. Specific programmes of
information, education and communication need to be undertaken to change behaviour in
young cricketers, strengthening both the demand and the supply sides of the governance
and anti-corruption infrastructure of cricket.53
Notes
1 Iftekhar Zaman is executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh. The author
was assisted by Rumana Sharmin and Mohammad Nure Alam. Data and information for
this case study have been collected through primary and secondary sources. Interviews
with former and current players, Bangladesh Cricket Board officials, sports journalists and
experts have been conducted to collect primary data, and websites, media reports and
relevant documents have been reviewed for secondary data.
2 Reference to the game of cricket can be traced to the thirteenth century. It gained popularity
among English aristocrats in the seventeenth century; they insisted cricket would be played
in ‘a gentlemanly manner’. For example, if a batsman knew he should be out, he should
walk, even if the umpire judged otherwise. See Times of India, ‘Why is cricket called a
gentleman’s game?’, 17 April 2011, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/Why-iscricket-called-a-gentlemans-game/articleshow/8003522.cms; and Quora.com, ‘Why
is cricket called a gentleman’s game?’, 18 November 2012, www.quora.com/Why-iscricket-called-a-%E2%80%98gentleman%E2%80%99s-game%E2%80%99.
3 A former president of the BCB became president of the ICC in June 2014: Cricbuzz.com,
‘Mustafa Kamal becomes 11th ICC president’, 26 June 2014, www.cricbuzz.com/cricketnews/64129/mustafa-kamal-becomes-11th-icc-president. A Bangladeshi also serves as
chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council.
4 Saber Hossain Chowdhury, former BCB president, quoted by the BBC on 9 March 2011:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/other_international/bangladesh/9420128.stm.
5 The influence of money has become so pervasive that the ‘gentlemanship’ of the game is
considered to have been compromised. As the legendary Indian cricketer Erapalli Prasanna
said, ‘Money is ruling the sport now and it is no more a gentleman’s game’: http://sports.
ndtv.com/cricket/news/208732-cricket-no-more-a-gentlemans-game-erapalli-prasanna.
6 ESPN Cricinfo, ‘Preference to BPL leads to clash in BCB’, 6 August 2013, www.espncricinfo.
com/bangladesh/content/story/659477.html.
Cricket in Bangladesh 247
7 ‘Match-fixing’ takes place when the entire result of a match is determined in advance.
‘Spot-fixing’ takes place when specific incidents within the game are prearranged. Matchfixing is considered more difficult than spot-fixing because, as a minimum, it requires more
players, including the captain, to build a nexus.
8 The NSCB is an autonomous government organisation under the Ministry of Youth and
Sports, established by the National Sports Council Act 1974, which was later amended in
1991, 2003 and 2011. It is an apex organisation, mandated to develop and control sports.
See www.nsc.gov/bd. As is the case with other federations, there is BCB representation
on the NSCB (article 4(e), National Sports Council Act 1974, amended 19 February 1991):
www.nsc.gov.bd/rules/nscact.pdf.
9 See the BCB’s website, www.tigercricket.com.bd/bcb/aboutbcb.
10 The BCB controls cricket sponsorship business. India’s business giant Sahara Group
became the sponsor of the Bangladesh cricket team after offering US$9.4 million over four
years in a tender process. Previously Grameenphone had paid the BCB US$1.22 million for
a two-year deal, which expired in December 2011. See http://uk.mobile.reuters.com/article/
idUKL4E8GU6Y820120530?irpc=932.
11 Data obtained from key informant interviews with BCB officials on 19 October 2014
(anonymity requested) and other secondary sources, including the BCB constitution.
12 See Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘Constitution: amended in 2012’ (Dhaka: BCB, 2012),
www.tigercricket.com.bd/assets/pdf/BCB-Constitution-2012.pdf.
13 The committees are: Cricket Operations, Media and Communications, Disciplinary, Game
Development, Tournament, Age-Group Tournament, Grounds, Facilities Management,
Umpires, Marketing and Commercial, Medical, Tender and Purchase, Finance, Audit,
Women’s Wing, Logistic and Protocol, Security, Cricket Committee of Dhaka Metropolis,
High Performance (newly formed) and Technical (newly formed).
14 Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘Before the chairman, the disciplinary panel’ (Dhaka: BCB,
2014), p. 41, www.tigercricket.com.bd/assets/pdf/apeal/decision.pdf.
15 Key informant interviews with BCB officials on 19 October and 22 November 2014, and
former directors on 30 September and 19 October 2014 (anonymity requested).
16 Article 2.9, ‘Independence of member boards’, of the amended and restated memorandum
and articles of association of the International Cricket Council.
17 Key informant interviews, former BCB directors, 30 September and 19 October 2014.
18 The current president is also a Member of Parliament from the ruling party. The same is
true for previous presidents. See Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘List of presidents’, www.
tigercricket.com.bd/bcb/former-president.
19 Key informant interviews, former BCB directors, 30 September and 19 October 2014, and
other secondary sources.
20 BCB (2012), ‘Constitution’, article 9.3 (9.3.8), p. 7.
21 For instance, Bogra was not selected under one administration for an event despite
having a world-class venue (Bogra-Shahid Chandu Stadium), and similarly Sylhet was not
selected under another despite its international-standard stadium, in both cases under the
consideration that the respective venues were built during the time when political opponents
were in power. Source: Key informant interviews, former BCB directors, 30 September and
19 October 2014.
22 The franchise system (leasing the rights of a team and its brand) was originally introduced in
Bangladesh for a period of three years, and because of its success it has now become a
permanent part of domestic cricket.
23 Key informant interviews with current national cricket team player on 23 October 2014, and
former national cricket team captain and current BCB Operations Committee member on
28 October 2014 (anonymity requested).
24 Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘Before the Anti-Corruption Tribunal: Case no. 1/2013’ (Dhaka:
BCB, 2014), p. 16, www.tigercricket.com.bd/assets/pdf/anticorr/detfinal.pdf.
25ESPN Cricinfo, ‘ICC, BCB to appeal BPL anti-corruption tribunal’s verdict’, 18 July 2014,
www.espncricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/story/761553.html.
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Match-fixing
26 According to clause 5.1.2 of the BCB’s Anti-Corruption Code, ‘One member of the anticorruption tribunal, who shall be a retired justice of Supreme Court of Bangladesh/retired
District Judge, shall sit as the convener of the tribunal. One member shall be drawn from
the persons having expertise in cricket. The other one shall be appointed from socially
well-recognised civilians.’
27 The CAS is an international quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to
sport. Its headquarters are in Lausanne, and its courts are located in New York, Sydney
and Lausanne.
28 For instance, because written permission was not received from the revenue board or
central bank, contracting fees have still not been paid to a number of foreign players. As a
guarantor, the ultimate responsibility for paying these fees goes to the BCB, which has been
gradually paying them. The BCB never acquired any formal document from the franchises
or players detailing these payments, however. The BCB board has continued to extend
deadlines for the franchises to provide this information, which is still pending at present.
Key informant interviews, BCB officials, 19 October and 22 November 2014; Daily Star
(Bangladesh), ‘BCB chasing its own tail’, 2 November 2012, http://archive.thedailystar.net/
newDesign/print_news.php?nid=255855.
29 Key informant interviews, BCB officials, 19 October and 22 November 2014.
30 Key informant interviews, BCB officials, 19 October and 22 November 2014; journalists
on 28 September and 3 November 2014; former BCB Directors, 30 September and
19 October 2014.
31 Transparency International, ICC Governance Review: Submission on behalf of Transparency
International (London: TI, 2011).
32 US Department of Commerce, ‘Population trends: Bangladesh’, PPT92-4 (Washington,
DC: Department of Commerce, 1993), www.census.gov/population/international/files/ppt/
Bangladesh93.pdf.
33 Key informant interviews with journalists on 28 September and 3 November 2014
(anonymity requested).
34 Key informant interviews, BCB officials, 19 October and 22 November 2014; former
national cricket team captain and current BCB Operations Committee member,
28 October 2014; and current national cricket team player on 23 October 2014
(anonymity requested).
35 Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘Before the Anti-Corruption Tribunal: Case no. 1/2013:
Determination’ (Dhaka: BCB, 2014), www.tigercricket.com.bd/assets/pdf/anticorr/
detreason.pdf; Prothom Alo (Bangladesh), 31 May 2013.
36 Prothom Alo (Bangladesh), 31 May 2013.
37Ibid.
38Ibid.
39 The tribunal took into consideration his confession of guilt, on the basis of articles 6.4, 6.3.3,
6.1.2.1, 6.1.2.2, 6.1.2.3, 6.1.2.7 and 6.1.2.8 of the Anti-Corruption Code: BCB (2014),
‘Determination’; Daily Star (Bangladesh), ‘Ashraful’s ban now for 5 yrs’, 30 September 2014,
www.thedailystar.net/ashrafuls-ban-now-for-5-yrs-43961; BCB (2014), ‘Before the
chairman’.
40 ESPN Cricinfo, ‘BCB allows Nadir Shah to officiate in match’, 28 September 2014,
www.espncricinfo.com/bangladesh/content/story/785529.html.
41 ESPN Cricinfo, ‘Cloud over BPL after fixing arrest’, 27 February 2012, www.espncricinfo.
com/bangladesh-premier-league-2012/content/story/555380.html.
42 The 40-year-old had previously been arrested at Benapole Land Port, Bangladesh, on
3 April 2014, with the World Twenty20 under way. Three days later he was again arrested,
in Dhaka, by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
43 Bdnews24.com (Bangladesh), ‘Indian bookie arrested for third time’, 13 April 2014, http://
bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2014/04/13/indian-bookie-arrested-for-third-time.
44 New Age, ‘Arrested Indian “bookie” released on bail’, 11 April 2014, http://newagebd.
net/1831/arrested-indian-bookie-released-on-bail/#sthash.i4bskmIr.LMM7KrPK.dpbs.
Cricket in Bangladesh 249
45 Ian Leslie Pont is a former English cricketer, who mainly played for Essex. He served as
head coach of the Dhaka Gladiators franchise during the second BPL edition and was the
first individual to inform ACSU officials about the match-fixing conspiracy: Daily Star
(Bangladesh), ‘Reason judgement on BPL corruption’, 11 June 2014, www.thedailystar.net/
sports/reason-judgement-on-bpl-corruption-28052.
46 Details of the match-fixing and spot-fixing were discussed during the night of 1 February
2013 and disclosure was made by Pont the following day to Peter O’Shea, the ACSU
anti-corruption manager. It was also clear from the witnesses that, well before the match
was played, details of how the Dhaka Gladiators would lose the match, who would be
involved and how the acts of spot-fixing would take place were known to the ACSU. BCB
(2014), ‘Case no. 1/2013’.
47 Bangladesh Cricket Board, ‘Before the Anti-Corruption Tribunal: Case no. 1/2013:
Determination: Conclusions and Orders’ (Dhaka: BCB, 2014), www.tigercricket.com.bd/
assets/pdf/anticorr/detconclusion.pdf; key informant interviews, journalists, 28 September
and 3 November 2014.
48 Shihab Jishan Chowdury (owner of the Dhaka Gladiators), Salim Chowdury (owner of the
Dhaka Gladiators), Gaurav Rawat (Dhaka Gladiators official), Mohammad Rafique (player),
Mosharaff Hossain (Rubel) (player), Mahbubul Alam (Robin) (player), Darren Stevens (player),
Kaushal Lokurachchi (player) and Mohammad Ashraful (player): BCB (2014), ‘Case no.
1/2013’.
49 BCB (2014), ‘Determination’.
50 Daily Star (11 June 2014).
51 Key informant interviews, BCB officials, 19 October 2014; other secondary sources.
52 The National Integrity Strategy is a comprehensive set of goals, strategies and action plans
aimed at increasing the level of independence to perform, accountability, efficiency,
transparency and effectiveness of state and non-state institutions in a sustained manner
over a period of time: Chancery Law Chronicles (Bangladesh), ‘Framework of National
Integrity Strategy: an inclusive approach to fight corruption’ (Dhaka: Government of
Bangladesh, 2008), www.clcbd.org/document/download/143.html.
53 In a unique example of such an initiative, as a result of advocacy by TI Bangladesh, the
country’s national cricket team took a pledge to ‘Say No to Corruption’ on the eve of the
International Anti-Corruption Day 2013, demonstrating their public commitment to abstain
from corruption: Transparency International Bangladesh, ‘Bangladesh national cricket team
says no to corruption’, 8 December 2013, www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/index.php/en/
activities/4460-bangladesh-national-cricket-team-says-no-to-corruption. The need to
sustain and scale up such efforts and engage more stakeholders, including the BCB,
cannot be underestimated.
4.4
The gap between
sports institutions
and the public will
Responses to match-fixing in Lithuania
Rugile Trumpyte1
Until recently it seemed as if there was no match-fixing in Lithuania, with no information on the
subject available and no publicly known investigations. Suddenly in 2011, however, players
from the Lithuanian Basketball League (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga – LKL) club Naglis were alleged
to have bet on themselves to lose a game by 30 points.2 Not only was this was the first ever
known case of match-fixing in the country, but it occurred in Lithuania’s most beloved sport,
its ‘second religion’. Despite this, no public debates about integrity in sport or the possible
scale of the problem followed. The LKL and the Lithuanian Basketball Federation (Lietuvos
krepšinio federacija – LKF) imposed monetary and disciplinary sanctions3 – and that was
pretty much the end of the story.
Lithuanians next heard about corruption in sport at the end of 2012, when the Swissbased monitoring organisation Sportradar claimed that Lithuania was among the top ten
European countries with the highest number of likely fixed football matches.4 It were another
red flag raised to the sport community, but, again, neither the LKF nor the Lithuanian Football
Federation (Lietuvos futbolo federacija – LFF) seemed ready to publicly admit the existence of
the problem, and the issue remained largely behind closed doors.
The sporting authorities might have been making little effort to advocate for honest sport,
but the Lithuanian people clearly stated that both the LFF and the LKF had a responsibility for
integrity in sports and should be the ones to address the issue. According to the research by
Transparency International Lithuania in 2014, integrity and honesty in sports were important
to 68 per cent of Lithuanian people, and most of them would be prepared to punish their
beloved sports clubs in the event of match-fixing;5 57 per cent of those betting said they
would stop doing so; 44 per cent of those watching games on television said they would not
do that anymore; and half of all those buying tickets to watch sport matches live said they
would abandon the habit.
How did Lithuanian sportsmen respond to this demand by sports fans for fair play? To find
out, TI Lithuania conducted the first ever representative research into match-fixing in
the professional basketball and football leagues, surveying 100 football players and 259
Lithuania responses to match-fixing 251
Figure 4.1 Match-fixing: football versus basketball
basketball players6 about their experience and perceptions. The results suggested that
basketball may be as vulnerable to match-fixing as football – a fact that is hardly raised when
reporting match-fixing worldwide.
The findings clearly showed that Lithuanian sport faces big challenges, including that
every fifth football player and every seventh basketball player is likely to have taken part in a
fixed match, whether knowingly or otherwise.7 According to the data collected, team-mates,
former colleagues and club owners are the ones suggesting that players participate in matchfixing. Some 15 per cent of football players and 21 per cent of basketball players admitted to
having been personally approached to agree to fix matches.
252
Match-fixing
The research received a considerable amount of media attention, and provided a good
catalyst for public debate. Even after all this, however, more than half the players interviewed
said they still did not perceive the practice of match-fixing to be a problem.8
Root causes
Why do players get involved in such agreements? The results of the research showed that
football and basketball players alike face a number of issues in their daily lives that, in the end,
greatly influence their decision to engage in match-fixing. Primarily, players highlighted
financial reasons: they were either looking for extra money (52 per cent) or found themselves
in a poor personal financial situation (16 per cent), sometimes because of delays in the
payment of their salaries (13 per cent).
Not all the players were aware of the rights and basic entitlements that they could demand
from their clubs.9 According to the research, 18 per cent of players have not even signed a
contract with their clubs; 62 per cent stated that their wages were not paid on time at least
once during the last year, most often with a delay of three to five months.10 Those who did
have contracts did not always understand the legal guarantees a contract brings, or what
clauses the contracts should contain to protect them fully in the event of injury, for example.
Injuries are one of the most pressing problems, as not all players receive their salaries when
they are injured.
The results of the research inspired TI Lithuania to organise integrity seminars for
professional players across the country. This provided a unique opportunity to talk face to
face and develop a better understanding of the context they operate in. After discussing the
risks of match-fixing, what it can mean for their professional career and how to avoid it,
players consistently highlighted the fact that there are currently no effective measures to solve
match-fixing and help athletes.
First and foremost, there is no legal protection for whistleblowers, and there are no safe
reporting channels. Even if a player decides to report anything related to match-fixing, he or
she is never sure what exactly will be done with the information and what the personal
consequences could be. More broadly, TI analysis shows that Lithuania is among the weakest
EU states in terms of protection for whistleblowers.11 At the same time, there is no special
provision for fraud in sport in Lithuania’s criminal code, so law enforcement institutions have
never been able to bring any investigation to a successful conclusion.
Findings
It is now known that match-fixing exists in Lithuania’s sports. The necessary first step is to
make a public admission of its existence and state clearly that it will not be tolerated. This
would be a tremendously important move, as local sports fans already appear to be prepared
to begin sanctioning their favourite sports teams and athletes if they are found out to have
engaged in match-fixing.
Notes
1 Rugile Trumpyte is a project manager at Transparency International Lithuania.
2 Players from the club Naglis were alleged to have bet on their loss against the club Zalgiris
.
.
by 30 points on 5 April 2011; see BasketNews.lt, ‘Skandalas LKL: “Naglio” žaidejai state
prieš savo komanda˛ (papildyta – komentarai)’, 6 April 2011, www.basketnews.lt/news38465-skandalas-lkl-naglio-zaidejai-state-pries-savo-komanda-papildyta-komentarai.
html#.VOx3vizEpKo.
Lithuania responses to match-fixing 253
.
3 Each player who participated in match-fixing was fined €869: BasketZone.lt, ‘LKL skyre
.
baudas lažybose dalyvavusiems “Naglio” žaidejams’, www.basketzone.lt/naujienos/7651-lklskyr-baudas-laybose-dalyvavusiems-qnaglioq-aidjams-.html.
4 Albania Screen, ‘“Sportradar”: Albanian football, the most corrupted in Europe’,
30 November 2012, http://news.albanianscreen.tv/pages/news_detail/51996/ENG.
5 See Transparency International Lithuania, ‘Lietuvos gyventojai apie nesa˛žiningus susitarimus
sporte’ (Vilnius: TI Lithuania, 2014), http://transparency.lt/media/filer_public/2014/01/21/
gyventojai_futbolas_krepsinis_2014.pdf.
6 The survey of players was carried out in December 2013. The representative survey of
Lithuanian citizens was also commissioned by TI Lithuania, and carried out in October/
November 2013 by VISEO.
7 Transparency International Lithuania, ‘Nesa˛žiningi susitarimai sporte’ (Vilnius: TI Lithuania,
2014), http://transparency.lt/media/filer_public/2014/01/22/sportininku_apklausos_
rezultatai_2014_1.pdf.
8 45.1 per cent of players said that match-fixing is a minor problem; 16.4 per cent said it is
not a problem at all.
9 This became even more obvious when integrity seminars were organised for professional
football and basketball players.
10Ibid.
11 Transparency International, Whistleblowing in Europe: Legal Protections for Whistleblowers
in the EU (Berlin: TI, 2013), http://transparency.lt/media/filer_public/2013/11/05/praneseju__
apsaugos__ataskaita_es.pdf.
4.5
Australia’s ‘National Policy
on Match-Fixing in Sport’
Jane Ellis1
Prior to 2011 Australia had been lulled into a false sense of security that it was immune from
the more rapacious forms of corruption so prevalent in sport elsewhere. With online betting
and organised crime ignoring borders, however, times have changed. Subsequent national
inquiries made it increasingly clear that Australia needed to change as well.2
Actions taken
Australia is a federation, and the national government does not have the power to introduce
national laws to address match-fixing in sport. Through its Council of Australian Governments
framework, however, relevant ministers in the Commonwealth of Australia and all the state
and territory governments negotiated, and reached an agreement to introduce reforms in
each state and territory to expressly address sport, match-fixing and gambling.
The outcome of the negotiations was the ‘National Policy on Match-Fixing in Sport’,
agreed in June 2011 and published in a report with the same title.3 The National Policy is
underpinned by the following principles:
• a nationally consistent approach to deterring and dealing with match-fixing in Australia;
• information sharing and highly efficient networks between governments, major sports,
betting operators and law enforcers;
• a consistent national code of conduct principles for sport; and
• active participation in international efforts to combat corruption in sport, including an
international code of conduct and an international body.
Relevant to match-fixing, the National Policy specifies the conduct that all governments
agreed must be prohibited, the contravention of which attracts a maximum penalty of ten
years’ imprisonment:
• engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome;
• facilitating conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome;
• concealing such conduct, agreements or arrangements; and
• using corrupt information for betting purposes.
Australia’s policy on match-fixing 255
The governments also agreed to implement nationally consistent legislative arrangements,
pursuant to which:
• a Sport Controlling Body for each sport or competition is identified, recognised in each
jurisdiction and registered by an appropriate regulator;
• the Sport Controlling Body is to deal with those betting agencies that are licensed on
behalf of their sport; and
• the Sport Controlling Body is to register all events subject to betting with the relevant
regulator.
The governments also agreed that it was necessary to adopt a national approach to governing
the implementation of the National Policy, to ensure cooperation and collaboration across all
relevant agencies and governments, their gaming commissions, sporting organisations and
betting agencies. The National Integrity of Sport Unit provides this oversight, monitoring
and coordinating role.4
Laws prohibiting match-fixing include the following:
• Crimes Amendment (Cheating at Gambling) Act 2012 (New South Wales);
• Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act 2013 (Victoria);
• Criminal Law Consolidation (Cheating at Gambling) Amendment Act 2013 (South
Australia);
• Criminal Code (Cheating at Gambling) Amendment Act 2013 (Australian Capital Territory);
• Criminal Code (Cheating at Gambling) Amendment Act 2013 (Queensland); and
• Criminal Code Amendment (Cheating at Gambling) Act 2013 (Northern Territory).
The sporting sector is also implementing its own procedures to ensure that integrity in sport
is not compromised. The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS)
shares information on sports gaming integrity education, sports gaming disciplinary and code
of conduct processes, and integrity processes.5
More to be done
Most states and both territories have now introduced laws prohibiting match-fixing and
other objectives of the National Policy. Some states, Victoria in particular, are vigorously
enforcing this law. For example, in 2013 Victoria police arrested nine European soccer players
and one coach who had allegedly been recruited by a match-fixing syndicate and were
playing professionally in Australia.6 In July 2014 Victoria police arrested six men for allegedly
participating in a tennis match-fixing syndicate, involving players and linked to national and
international matches.7
The action agreed and adopted by governments is commendable. Rigorous enforcement by all authorities is essential, however. Victoria is unlikely to be the only state in which
match-fixing occurs. Concerns continue to be raised about the increasing risks of matchfixing across Australia,8 particularly in football and cricket.9 Enforcement alone is insufficient
to address the problem of match-fixing, though. Many sporting codes continue to have
poor governance structures that lack transparency and accountability. This means that
there is a greater likelihood of any potential abuses not being identified and quickly and
robustly addressed, or even potentially being suppressed by players, coaches and/or sports
administrators.
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Match-fixing
Notes
1 Jane Ellis is a director of Transparency International Australia and principal of Assertia
Pty Ltd.
2 The 2011 Australian Government Joint Select Committee conducted an inquiry into
interactive and online gambling and gambling advertising, highlighting the dangers of
Australian sport being corrupted; see www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/
Committees/Joint/Former_Committees/gamblingreform/completedinquires/2010-13/
interactiveonlinegamblingadvertising/index#. An August 2011 report by the New South
Wales Law Reform Commission, entitled Cheating at Gambling, made similar observations;
see www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/agdbasev7wr/lrc/documents/pdf/r130.pdf. The
Australian Crime Commission’s report Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport, from February
2013, detailed how organised crime has become involved in sport, that clubs rarely
questioned the source of money offered to them and that athletes who took illicit drugs were
exposed to co-option into corrupt conduct by organised crime; see www.crimecommission.
gov.au/sites/default/files/organised-crime-and-drugs-in-sports-feb2013.pdf.
3 See www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/F6DB8637F05C9643CA257C
310021CCE9/$File/National%20Policy%20on%20Match-Fixing%20in%20Sport%20%28
FINAL%29.pdf.
4 The National Integrity of Sport Unit, located in the Commonwealth Department of Health,
provides national oversight, monitoring and coordination of governments’ efforts to protect
the integrity of sport in Australia from the threats of doping, match-fixing and other forms
of corruption. It provides integrity tools for sporting organisations (including an anti-matchfixing policy template), conducts anti-match-fixing education programmes and provides
guidance to sports betting agencies. Its profile continues to be developed. See www.health.
gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/national-integrity-of-sport-unit.
5 COMPPS includes the Australian Football League, Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia,
Football Federation Australia, National Rugby League, Netball Australia and Tennis Australia;
see www.compps.com.au/index.html.
6 Football Federation Australia, ‘Victoria police make arrests into alleged match-fixing’,
15 September 2013, www.footballaustralia.com.au/article/victoria-police-make-arrestsinto-alleged-match-fixing/168hht90cmc0r137n9p4vcb5el.
7 The Age (Australia), ‘Gangland police arrest six men on tennis match fixing allegations’,
18 July 2014, www.theage.com.au/victoria/gangland-police-arrest-six-men-on-tennismatch-fixing-allegations-20140718-zucky.html.
8 See, for example, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), ‘Match-fixing fears as Malaysian
team joins Queensland football league’, 16 February 2014, www.smh.com.au/sport/soccer/
matchfixing-fears-as-malaysian-team-joins-queensland-football-league-20140215-32sdz.
html.
9 Australia and New Zealand were joint hosts of the International Cricket Council cricket World
Cup in 2015.
4.6
Match-fixing
The role of prevention
Ulrike Spitz1
The need for prevention measures
The causes of and influences on match-fixing are complex.2 Sporting events can be fixed to
gain financial advantage or they can be fixed for sporting reasons – that is, to get the desired
result. A pervasive culture of cash payments – from referees’ travel expenses to players’ goal
bonuses to agents’ transfer fees – reduces misgivings about illegal activity and increases the
risk of individuals becoming involved. High wages, abundant free time and exposure to
gambling also heighten the vulnerability of professional athletes, while the huge rise of online
gambling, in real time and across borders, has led to a sharp increase in activity by organised
crime, which sees match-fixing as a low-risk venture with high returns.
When sports organisations started to recognise the problem of match-fixing around
15 years ago, reactions varied. Some sports such as tennis or cricket put prevention programmes in place as early as 2000, but football did not start to tackle match-fixing seriously
until 2009, when the big European football betting scandals were uncovered.3 Previously the
initial reaction to any allegations had been to call in the police, as the problem was seen to
belong exclusively to criminal elements from outside the game. However, no match-fixing can
take place without the involvement of individual players, referees or officials, and it therefore
requires interrelated responses, from adequate legal frameworks and law enforcement procedures to public awareness and the engagement of sport supporters. It is also clear that sport
organisations carry the primary responsibility for developing prevention programmes in order
to protect their competitions and athletes.
For a long time, however, sport organisations refused to accept this responsibility. Although
awareness of the problem has slowly but steadily grown in recent years, even now many
organisations require a great deal of persuasion before they put effective prevention measures
in place.
Establishing the proper environment for prevention
Many athletes and referees do not appreciate the step-by-step risks of becoming sucked
into criminal behaviour, and as a result are easy prey. Raising awareness, education and
training for all target groups, including athletes, coaches, referees and officials, are therefore
key elements of prevention.
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Match-fixing
Knowing the problem and recognising the risks
First and foremost, awareness-raising in sport is needed. All people involved – athletes,
coaches, referees, officials, parents – should know the danger, where it starts and how to
detect it before any manipulation takes place. They should know the specific risks of a
particular sport, and which behaviour fosters manipulation; they need to know that there is
a link between some habits in sport and match-fixing – such as cash payments, gambling or
the manipulation of competitions for sporting reasons. Only through being aware of these
challenges is there any chance of successful prevention.
Rules
For prevention programmes to succeed, it is important to have fixed rules and regulations
against match-fixing already in place inside the sport organisations, so that administrative
sanctions can be applied separately from criminal prosecutions. It should be mandatory for
violations to be punished internally, not only as violations of public laws, and this should be
known within the sport. Penalties serve as a preventative deterrent, and athletes and other
concerned individuals must be fully informed about these rules and regulations, as well as the
consequences for violations.
There is at present no global model of comparable rules for all athletes and others in
connection with match-fixing, as there is, for example, in the fight against doping.4 In some
countries and certain sports, participants are prohibited from betting on the results of the
competitions they take part in, and their club’s matches. In the case of the German Football
League, the Bundesliga, this also extends to friends and relatives of the players.5 A global
Figure 4.2 All bets are off
Match-fixing prevention 259
standard could include just such an outright prohibition of athletes and other involved people
betting not only on their own competition/league but on their own sport on the whole. Such
a rule would be very clear, and it could help to diminish the danger of gambling addiction as
well as reducing match-fixing risks.
Ombudsmen and whistleblowing
Whistleblowing is a well-known means for fighting corruption in politics and business, and
increasingly in sport, and is important to the success of prevention programmes. Some
countries and/or sports already have established whistleblowing systems to report hints of
matches being fixed. For example, the Bundesliga established an ombudsman in 2011, to
receive information (anonymously, if required), on the one hand, and to consult and assist
every involved person, on the other hand.6 Such an ombudsman must be independent and
obliged to uphold secrecy. It is absolutely necessary that the main focus of attention must be
on the protection of whistleblowers, and that any and all regulations to be introduced are
working towards this end.
Tone from the top
One of the most important principles in the fight against all kinds of wrongdoing is that the
need to behave well applies at all times; in the case of corruption and match-fixing, this
means that fair play on the pitch is possible only in connection with fair play off the pitch. How,
for example, would a young athlete realise the danger of gambling when the president of his
club talks about gambling in an easy and casual way in public, as if there is no problem of
addiction?7 How would club officials be able to protect their athletes if they were incapable
of paying them? The risks are high when professional athletes are badly paid, or sometimes
not paid at all, potentially driving them to match-fixing just to be able to feed their family.
Alternatively, how would young athletes get a sense of wrongdoing in daily situations if the
officials they report to are making headlines for alleged corruption or other irregularities?
The success or failure of prevention programmes therefore depends on the behaviour of
front-line management. To gain credibility, managers have to stick to the rules, to set a good
example, to avoid ambiguity, to stand for ethical behaviour and to promote an awareness of
the risks involved in sport. This means that the first line of management in federations,
associations and clubs has to apply principles of transparency and integrity through systems
of good governance if managers really are interested in combating match-fixing.
Content and methods of prevention
Background information
First it is necessary for all potentially involved people to receive background information on
the most important issues concerning match-fixing. Basic knowledge for coaches or officials
allows them, in turn, to provide advice or train athletes. It is also necessary for athletes themselves to have background information about betting in order to understand the dangers of
match-fixing or gambling addiction, or to know how inside information can have a value for
individuals seeking to profit from the betting markets. Often there is little awareness about this
issue among sportspeople. Inside information can include:
• injury – new injuries to athletes or athletes failing fitness tests;
• team selection – line-ups before the match;
260
Match-fixing
• transfers – players transferred in/out of the club;
• managerial changes – news of who the new manager may be;
• financial problems – clubs not paying players’ wages or other bills;
• motivational issues – such as a club not worried about being knocked out of a cup
because promotion is more important to it; and
• any personal situations – such as a fight between players in training.8
Athletes should also understand the dangers and consequences of gambling addiction.
Coaches, athletes’ parents and teachers at special sport boarding schools should know how
to recognise any gambling problem at an early stage.
Box 4.1 Gambling risks within professional football
Current studies9 together with some individual cases reveal the high risk of gambling addiction on
the part of football players because of their particular environment. Players are young, often have a
lot of slack time, as on bus trips to away games, and have little to do on these trips, leading to
boredom. In combination with the competitive mentality of athletes, and the fact that they are used
to taking risks, this time is often used for games, whether it is poker or card games or internet
gambling on sport results. Rush betting can provide an obvious temptation. Additionally, an often
large salary at a young age, in comparison to athletes’ peers, can increase recklessness. Athletes
who have lost high sums or suffer from gambling addiction then become easy prey for match-fixers,
such as German footballer René Schnitzler, who developed a gambling addiction that led him to get
involved in match-fixing – as told in the book about his story.10
Target groups
As athletes very often start their careers at a young age, prevention and education must
also begin when they are young. Most of the current prevention programmes start with
athletes from 15 or 16 years of age. Programmes should reach athletes taking part in minor
competitions, because they are at a high risk. As they are often not well paid by their clubs,
or not paid on time, and there is less public attention, they are easier prey for fixers. Education
must not be limited to athletes, though: all people involved – coaches, officials, referees and
parents – should be integrated into the prevention programmes, and they should know all the
important issues and dangers.
Methods
The focus must be on awareness-raising, education and training. A number of countries and
sports, such as Germany (football), Austria (football) and Lithuania (basketball), have already
produced information brochures and flyers, while in Germany, Greece, Croatia and Austria
e-learning programmes are being implemented for different target groups, as well as
workshops and face-to-face training sessions (Germany, Austria, Italy). Working with case
studies and situations encountered on a daily basis should hold out the greatest promise of
success. Everyone involved should be made aware of how easily a harmless situation can
turn into a critical one. Those taking part in the training sessions should be able to react in a
proper way and know where to get help when confronted with critical situations in real life.
Match-fixing prevention 261
The methods should be communicative and participative, with all attendees actively taking
part; only participation guarantees learning.
These meetings or workshops should take place regularly, at least once per year, not just
a single time in a player’s career. In the professional German football leagues, for example,
prevention programmes are mandatory for youth centres. It is also important for coaches to
be aware of the problem in everyday life, in training and on trips to away games. In the case
of special boarding schools for athletes, the responsible persons should also be trained on
the need for ongoing monitoring and oversight.
Conclusion
Prevention is the most important weapon in the fight against match-fixing. Together with the
required rules and a disciplinary system, it is what the sport organisation can do to minimise
the risk of result manipulation. When athletes, referees and officials resist, no sporting
competition can be manipulated, not even by organised crime. It is not sufficient just to
educate athletes, coaches and referees, however. It is also essential to establish a culture
of transparency, honesty and integrity in all sectors of sport. Sport organisations have a
responsibility to promote good governance, so it has to be introduced and implemented –
and seen to be implemented. The principles of fair play and setting a positive example have
to be applied in daily life, not just written down in a declaration.
Notes
1 Ulrike Spitz is a member of the Working Group on Sport of Transparency International
Germany.
2 ‘Match-fixing’ is a catch-all term covering both the manipulation of the results of sporting
events and one-off incidents during a sporting event (or in direct connection with a sporting
event) by one or more persons deliberately losing or acting in a specific way contrary to
the laws of the game. The Council of Europe’s Convention on the Manipulation of Sports
Competitions defines ‘manipulation of sports competitions’ as ‘an intentional arrangement,
act or omission aimed at an improper alteration of the result or the course of a sports
competition in order to remove all or part of the unpredictable nature of the aforementioned
sports competition with a view to obtaining an undue advantage for oneself or for others’:
chapter 1, article 3, definition no. 4.
3 Guardian (UK), ‘Europe hit by “biggest-ever” match-fixing scandal’, 20 November 2009,
www.theguardian.com/sport/2009/nov/20/uefa-match-fixing-germany.
4 World Anti-Doping Agency (Canada), ‘The code’, www.wada-ama.org/en/what-we-do/
the-code.
5 See www.dfb.de/fileadmin/_dfbdam/50986-08_Rechts-Verfahrensordnung.pdf (§1, no. 2).
6 Gemeinsam-gegen-Spielmanipulation.de (Germany), ‘Spiel Kein falsches Spiel’,
http://gemeinsam-gegen-spielmanipulation.de/pdf/Broschuere_Spielmanipulation.pdf.
7 Sport.de (Germany), ‘Hoeneß feiert Gewinn durch Zockerei’, 10 November 2013, www.
sport.de/medien/fussball/bundesliga-1/33883-19de9b-52f1-13/hoeness-feiert-gewinndurch-zockerei.html.
8 Transparency International, ‘Tackling match fixing needs good governance’ (Berlin: TI, 2012),
http://blog.transparency.org/2012/09/24/tackling-match-fixing-needs-good-governance.
9 See, for example, Heather Wardle and Andrew Gibbons, ‘Gambling among sports people’,
www.thepca.co.uk/assets/files/pdfs/Embargoed%20gambling%20research%5B4%5D.pdf;
ESPN (UK), ‘Sport’s gambling problems revealed in new research’, 3 December 2014, www.
espn.co.uk/football/sport/story/375657.html.
10 See Wigbert Löer and Rainer Schäfer, René Schnitzler: Zockerliga: Ein Fußballprofi packt aus
(Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2011).
4.7
New media approaches
to tackling match-fixing
in Finnish football
Annukka Timonen1
While the magnitude of the problem is not yet known, it is clear that Finland is very vulnerable
to match-fixing. The fact that most matches are played in the summer, when other countries’
leagues are off-season, draws the attention of match-fixers, while financial difficulties then
allow them to influence football clubs and players more easily.2
There are also few deterrents to international fixers. The gathering of sufficient evidence to
start investigations is a slow and difficult process, and there are no existing laws or institutions
that address match-fixing specifically.3 Instead, cases are either heard under the law of bribery
in business (football cases to date) or treated as fraud (for which 20 people were convicted in
a high-profile baseball match-fixing case).4 To date only five football cases from the men’s
premier division (Veikkausliiga) and from the lower divisions have ended up before the Finnish
courts5 and none have progressed to the High Court of Finland.6 The absence of a law
against match-fixing means that such cases usually result in probation.7
This means that international fixers face few risks but can reap high rewards. The most
high-profile example was Wilson Raj Perumal, who was sentenced to the maximum two
years’ imprisonment for match-fixing between 2008 and 2011, then expelled and denied
re-entry into Finland on his release. This did not stop him from entering Finland four more
times, however. In May 2014 he was finally arrested and sentenced to three months’
conditional imprisonment on the grounds of illegal entry and forgery.8
Preventative technology
Finland has now woken up to the problem. In 2010 the Finnish professional football players’
association (the Jalkapallon Pelaajayhdydtis – JPY) established a five-member working
group to design a mobile application against match-fixing called the ‘Players Red Button’.
The final app became part of the ‘Don’t Fix It’ campaign of the Fédération Internationale
des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels (FIFPro), which also features the Union of
European Football Associations (UEFA), Birkbeck – University of London and the Finnish
Ministry of Culture and Education as partners in the project.9
The app was launched in Finland in 2013 and was downloaded by 1,200 Finnish
professional football players.10 Its main purpose is to allow the players to report information
New media approaches 263
about match-fixing cases anonymously and securely. The app is usually downloaded by
players in their dressing rooms following JPY presentations against match-fixing. The players
are given individual codes to access the app for security reasons.
The app then allows players to report contact from a match-fixer or their colleagues
or even rumours of potential match-fixing. The information is sent directly to the security
company chosen by the JPY.11 The security company processes messages around the clock
and, if necessary, forwards the data to the police.12
The JPY recognises that the software is just one more tool in the arsenal against matchfixing, and that it does not by itself solve the problem. It also reports that the app has been
received in different ways. Younger players tend not to see the need for it, as they have not
been exposed to match-fixing, and the idea seems strange; according to the JPY, they have
often claimed that they would never need to use the app. Older players, on the other hand,
with their greater experience, understand the significance of the app, and they have been
encouraging the JPY to take the idea forward.
If the app is shown to be secure, the plan is to test in eight other EU countries: Italy,
Romania, Hungary, Norway, England, Scotland, Greece and Slovenia.13
Notes
1 Annukka Timonen is chairperson of Transparency International Finland.
2 Johanna Peurala, ‘Match-manipulation in football: the challenges faced in Finland’,
International Sports Law Journal, vol. 13 (2013).
3 Police University of Applied Science. ‘Rikoslaki puree heikosti jalkapallotulosten’ vääristelyyn’
[The Penal Code and football’s poor representation’], 13 March 2014, www.polamk.fi/
polamk_tiedottaa/1/0/rikoslaki_puree_heikosti_jalkapallotulosten_vaaristelyyn_17088.
4 Peurala (2013).
5 JPY (Finland), ‘Alhaisilla palkoilla ja ottelumanipulaatioilla selvä yhteys’ [‘Low salary and
match-fixing have clear link to each other’], 28 March 2014, www.jpy.fi/?pageid=136&
newsitemid=450; Peurala (2013).
6 Police University of Applied Science, ‘Rikoslaki puree heikosti jalkapallotulosten vääristelyyn’,
press release, www.poliisi.fi/poliisi/bulletin.nsf/vwSearchView/919C6FE29379B977C2257C91
003C0E3E.
7 Police University of Applied Science (2014).
8 Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), ‘Pahamaineinen Perumal kävi Suomessa kahdesti viime
syyskuussa’ [‘Perumal visited Finland twice last September’], 3 June 2014, www.hs.fi/
urheilu/a1401769592143.
9 Helsingin Sanomat. ‘Suomen jalkapallo sai ilmiantopalvelun’ [‘Finland has match-fixing
denunciation application’], 23 July 2013, www.hs.fi/urheilu/a1374465967454.
10 FIFPro (Netherlands), ‘Finnish match-fixing app shows its value’, 25 April 2014, www.fifpro.
org/en/news/finnish-match-fixing-app-shows-its-value.
11 The name of the security company is confidential, for security reasons.
12 Helsingin Sanomat (2013).
13 FIFPRo (Netherlands), ‘FIFPro and Finnish players union test match-fixing app’, 16 July
2013, www.fifpro.org/en/news/fifpro-and-finnish-players-union-test-match-fixing-app.
4.8
Prevention and education
in match-fixing
The European experience
Deborah Unger1
The sheer number of match-fixing scandals2 in the past decade has shown that football
matches can be, and are, fixed anywhere in the world, even top-flight fixtures and international friendlies. A trillion-dollar global betting market,3 much of it unregulated, makes
fixing games a lucrative target for criminals and organised crime. In Europe a series of scandals, most notably the well-publicised story of how a German referee was co-opted by a
Singaporean match-fixer in 20054 and a sensational trial in 2010 (also in Germany),5 of
four defendants in a case in which it was alleged more than 250 matches were fixed worldwide, focused the attention of football’s administrators and politicians. The very integrity of
sport was at stake.
The common reaction to match-fixing scandals in the past had always been to consider
them one-off events, an aberration that could be stopped simply by sorting out a few
‘bad apples’. Clubs and leagues focused on singling out the players or participants involved.6
With evidence of systemic corruption and international criminal networks targeting Europe,
however, it was clear that a different approach would be required.
In 2011 the European Commission allocated resources7 to combat match-fixing as part
of its sports initiative and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA),
world football’s governing body, signed a ten-year €20 million deal8 with Interpol to raise
awareness of the risks. In 2012 the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs
Professionnels (FIFPro), the players’ union, published shocking research into the causes of
match-fixing in eastern Europe; the Black Book9 showed how vulnerable players and match
officials are in leagues in which clubs fail to pay wages and players are bullied. Two years later
the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), European football’s governing body,
FIFPro, the European Club Association and the European Professional Football Leagues
(EPFL) announced10 a new code of conduct, specifying that their members take anti-matchfixing measures. By the end of 2014 the Council of Europe had adopted the Convention on
the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, open to ratification by all states even beyond the
Council of Europe,11 which established a framework for tackling match-fixing that included
education as well as better law enforcement.12
Match-fixing prevention: European experience 265
Prevention and education
It is important that criminal investigations into match-fixing and prosecutions of those involved
are actively pursued to deter criminals from further infiltrating European football, but prevention is also key because it is here that those inside football can make a difference: if you can
stop the most vulnerable targets for match-fixers – players and match officials – from participating, matches cannot be fixed. How this is to be done was the target of five education
projects, three aimed at football, funded by the European Commission under its ‘European
Partnerships in Sport’ programme,13 which ran from January 2013 to June 2014.
One of these projects, ‘Staying on Side’, brought together Transparency International
chapters and football leagues in Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and the United
Kingdom (plus basketball in Lithuania). The project partners were the EPFL and its German
member, the German Football League (DFL). The development and outcomes of the project
provided a useful lens with which to assess the overall challenges of implementing effective
prevention and education programmes in a world struggling to come to grips with the issue
of match-fixing, despite the fact the various sport governing bodies were in the process of
making such training mandatory. Football leagues in Germany and Poland have already
amended their statutes to mandate education programmes to prevent match-fixing and
UEFA has introduced an Integrity Resolution that was adopted by its 54 member associations
in March 2014, stipulating the need for preventative programmes.14
Building trust
Match-fixing in football is a sensitive subject. Clubs and football administrators do not like to
talk about it because they fear the media will immediately cast doubt on the integrity of the
games. This in turn can have disastrous financial cost, as was shown in Italy after the Calciopoli
match-fixing scandal in 2006 that saw gate receipts go down.15 One important aim of the
project was therefore to find how the leagues can show leadership in managing the risk of
match-fixing both internally and in their communication to the public.16
It was in 2010 that TI Germany started supporting the German Football League in its
work to develop prevention programmes to educate players and clubs about the risks of
match-fixing.17 This formed the basis of the ‘Staying on Side’ project, and helped build
the trust that allowed anti-corruption organisations to work with football leagues. It also
provided the pedagogical underpinnings for the training approach. It looked at all the risk
factors facing those vulnerable to match-fixing (psychological, financial and gambling issues),
as well as the infrastructure needed to support them (a safe and secure whistleblower system,
plus accessible education) in difficult situations, the goal being to show them how to resist
match-fixing approaches.18
Everyone acknowledged the importance of communicating this message, but there was
reluctance among the participants from the leagues to speak out about the specific actions
the clubs and leagues were taking. When there were match-fixing incidents reported in
participating leagues during the life of the programme, for example, there was little mention
of the prevention and education programmes already in place. Even today this information is
not forthcoming when club officials talk about match-fixing, and it is hard to find reference on
the leagues’ websites to what they are doing to combat match-fixing, with the possible
exception of leagues in Austria and Germany.19
266
Match-fixing
Scope
The project ‘Staying on Side’ had three main components: to gather information and evidence
about match-fixing, to develop and test training and education programmes and materials,
and to seek a more pro-active approach to addressing the problem within the football leagues.
Of the six countries where the Transparency International chapter paired with a football
league, three collaborations – those in Greece, Italy and Lithuania (in addition to Germany,
where the project was already established and then further developed)20 – led to trials of the
educational materials with players and coaches.
In Greece, the project took place at a very challenging time as a high-profile corruption
case was ongoing involving officials and players from the Super League – the partner of TI
Greece for this project.21 According to Nagia Mentzi, who supervised the project for TI Greece,
it was a challenging but fruitful relationship that took significant effort on both sides and
produced some impressive results: TI Greece developed educational materials and arranged
workshops with more than 665 players from the Under 17 and Under 20 age groups to
discuss honesty and integrity with young players and coaches in all 18 academies of the
Super League clubs. It also gave a presentation at the Super League’s 2014 annual
conference, at which 30 athletes, coaches, referees and sports officials attended a session
describing the project and the materials.
In Italy, TI educators visited clubs in Palermo and Brescia in addition to hosting media
events in Milan and Rome, where the Serie B league representatives spoke about their
commitment to long-term educational efforts to raise awareness of match-fixing. The
sessions were attended by more than 100 people.22 TI Italy also carried out research in collaboration with Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan and the AIC Italian Professional
Footballers Association. The research aimed to identify the main behavioural dynamics
in Italian football that contributed to the phenomenon of match-fixing. More than 430 questionnaires were completed by players, coaches, and technical and management staff.
One striking result was that 42 per cent said there was a medium risk they would be involved
in match-fixing and 10 per cent of players thought there was even a high likelihood of
involvement.23
In Portugal, the TI chapter was able to undertake research in collaboration with the
referees’ association. It surveyed 1,185 referees of amateur, professional and international
competitions about the perception of the problem of match-fixing in Portugal. The respondents
believed that as many as eight out of 100 referees participated in match-fixing, primarily
because they suffer from economic problems. A second survey, of sports management
students, found that more than half believed there was match-fixing in Portugal; a further
survey of supporters found that two-thirds believed that match-fixing in Portugal was a result
of clubs seeking to get results for sporting reasons, rather than organised crime getting
involved for betting reasons (the belief of 18 per cent).24
In the United Kingdom, the chapter produced research on the various existing codes
of conduct and education materials and subsequently developed a prevention resource
manual entitled Safeguarding the Beautiful Game: A Guide to Preventing Match-Fixing
in Football at Club Level. This guide was developed with input from a number of key stakeholders in the United Kingdom, including the Football Association, the Premier League,
the Scottish Professional Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association. The
guide is primarily aimed at club officials and coaches with professional football club youth
academies having shown the most interest to date. The number of pre-existing initiatives
relating to preventing match-fixing within football in the United Kingdom made it impossible
to gain buy-in for the project to engage directly with players at football clubs.25
Match-fixing prevention: European experience 267
The experience in Lithuania, where the first task was to raise awareness of the issue and
explain when and how match-fixing happens, is described in a separate chapter.26
Longer-term impact
Today no one questions the need for European football to be vigilant about the threat of
match-fixing or that it is the responsibility of clubs and leagues to be proactive in preventing
it by ensuring those involved in the sport are aware of the dangers and alert to approaches
by match-fixers. The single most important longer-term impact of the project was the
acknowledgement that football leagues need to adopt good whistleblower protection
systems that are safe and secure. This is all the more important now that players and club
officials are encouraged or even required to report any match-fixing approaches.27 The first
workshop that brought together all the participants for the ‘Staying on Side’ project focused
on how the German Football League is doing this, via an independent and external ombudsman, a lawyer and a former referee. These discussions were instrumental in the Scottish
Football Association deciding to set up a secure hotline for players and club staff using
Crimestoppers, a well-known and respected organisation, to run its reporting hotline.28
Leagues in Greece and Italy are also discussing what model to use. The EPFL and Transparency
International are working to produce guidelines for safe and secure whistleblower systems.
The project also produced a reference guide to the actions and materials produced over
the 18-month period.29 These materials have contributed to a growing library of education
resources that clubs and leagues can adopt and use30 as they mainstream education and
prevention into training programmes for all players and officials.
The ‘Staying on Side’ collaborations underlined the difficulties that organisations face
when they have to deal with corruption; they also showed, however, how much can be done
in a short time frame. European football and other sports now have a legal framework to fight
match-fixing, in the form of the Council of Europe convention cited above and a resolution
from the sport’s governing body, UEFA, to enforce prevention and education programmes
across the continent. There is now a volume of materials and experiences produced in the
context of pilot projects such as ‘Staying on Side’ to help institutionalise and optimise
the prevention programmes that will reinforce the integrity of the game.
Notes
1 Deborah Unger is manager of the Rapid Response Unit at Transparency International and
was part of the management group for the project ‘Staying on Side’.
2 Guardian (UK), ‘Europol’s match-fixing bombshell leaves football authorities in the dark’,
4 February 2013, www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2013/feb/04/europol-match-fixingfootball.
3 Jason Foley-Train, European Gaming and Betting Association, Sports Betting: Commercial
and Integrity Issues (Brussels: EGBA, 2014), www.egba.eu/facts-and-figures/studies/6sports-betting-report.
4 Guardian (UK), ‘Two years in jail for match-fixing German referee’, 18 November 2005,
www.theguardian.com/football/2005/nov/18/newsstory.sport4.
5 CNN (US), ‘Soccer match-fixing trial begins in Germany’, 6 October 2010, http://edition.cnn.
com/2010/WORLD/europe/10/06/germany.match.fixing.trial.
6 Daily Express (UK), ‘Cameroon FA brands seven bad apples amid match-fixing probe’,
2 July 2014, www.express.co.uk/sport/worldcup2014/486088/Cameroon-FA-brandsseven-bad-apples-amid-match-fixing-probe.
268
Match-fixing
7 See European Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/sport/policy/organisation_of_sport/
match_fixing_en.htm.
8 Interpol, ‘FIFA makes historic contribution to INTERPOL in long-term fight against matchfixing’, press release, 9 May 2011, www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2011/PR035.
9 FIFPro, Black Book Eastern Europe: The Problems Professional Football Players Encounter
(Hoofddorp, Netherlands: FIFPro, 2012).
10 UEFA, ‘European football adopts code of conduct on integrity’, media release, 18 September
2014, www.uefa.org/stakeholders/professional-football-strategy-council/news/newsid=
2149775.html.
11 Council of Europe, ‘Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports
Competitions’, http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/215.htm.
12 See Stanislas Frossard, Chapter 6.2 ‘Combatting the risk of corruption in sport: an
integovernmental perspective’, in this report.
13 European Commission, ‘Preparatory actions: 2012’, http://ec.europa.eu/sport/policy/
preparatory-actions/preparatory-actions-2012_en.htm.
14 UEFA’s ‘European football united for the integrity of the game’, 28 March 2013, point 5 (e),
says: ‘Establish and run comprehensive education programmes, especially for young
players, to increase awareness of the risks of match-fixing and to ensure that all those
involved in football are aware of, and respect, the relevant rules.’
15 Babatunde Buraimo, Giuseppe Migali and Rob Simmons, An Analysis of Consumer
Response to Italy’s Calciopoli Scandal, Economics Working Paper no. 2014/006
(Lancaster: Lancaster University Management School, 2014).
16Ibid.
17 See Sylvia Schenk, Chapter 6.12 ‘What the anti-corruption movement can bring to sport:
the experience of Transparency International Germany’, in this report.
18 See Ulrike Spitz, Chapter 4.6 ‘Match-fixing: the role of prevention’, in this report.
19 When Transparency International was founded in 1993, no one in business or politics
wanted to use the word ‘corruption’. It took ten years of hard lobbying to create the United
Nations Convention against Corruption (2003).
20 See Ulrike Spitz, Chapter 4.6 ‘Match-fixing: the role of prevention’, in this volume.
21 Financial Times (UK), ‘Football fixing scandal rocks Greek elite’, 24 June 2011, www.ft.com/
cms/s/0/70d92868-9e8b-11e0-9469-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3QsY28of8.
22 Technical Implementation Report submitted by Transparency International to the European
Commission in August 2014, p. 17.
23 Sport Economy (Italy), ‘La Lega serie B con Transparency International per combattere il
match fixing’, www.sporteconomy.it/La+Lega+serie+B+con+Transparency+International+pe
r+combattere+il+match+fixing_49496_8_1.html.
24 Technical Implementation Report, p. 5.
25 Football in the United Kingdom is administered by four bodies in England and Scotland at
the higher level: the Football Association, the Premier League, the Football League and the
Scottish Football Association. The Premier League is part of the European Professional
Football Leagues and was the main partner in TI’s ‘Staying on Side’ project. All these bodies
have training programmes and materials for players, which left little room for Transparency
International UK to contribute. The coaching manual was the agreed output after several
months of talks.
26 See Rugile Trumpyte, Chapter 4.4 ‘The gap between sports institutions and the public will:
responses to match-fixing in Lithuania’, in this report.
27 UEFA (2013), point 5 (c), (d).
28 Crimestoppers and Scottish Football Association set up a hotline in January 2014:
https://crimestoppers-uk.org/in-your-area/scotland/crimestoppers-unites-with-scottishfootball-to-keep-it-clean.
29 Transparency International, Staying on Side: How to Stop Match-Fixing (Berlin: TI, 2014),
www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/staying_on_side_how_to_stop_match_fixing.
30 Many organisations have produced match-fixing guides, including FIFA and SportAccord.
4.9
The Austrian approach
How to combat match-fixing and promote
integrity in sport
Severin Moritzer1
Prior to 2012 the complex set of questions relating to how to deal with the controversial
issues of match-fixing and betting fraud had never been tackled in a comprehensive
manner in Austria. This changed substantially when the Austrian Ministry of Sport, the Austrian
Football Association (AFA) and the Austrian Football League collectively founded the
Association for Protecting the Integrity in Sport. Using the brand name ‘Play Fair Code’2 in its
day-to-day activities, the association has subsequently been joined by a series of other major
sports stakeholders, including the Austrian Federal Sports Organisation, the Austrian Olympic
Committee, the Austrian Ski Federation, the Bookmakers’ Federation, the Austrian Lotteries
and the Austrian Ice Hockey League (Erste Bank Eishockey Liga), together with a range of
Austrian betting providers.
The Play Fair Code is primarily funded by the Austrian Ministry of Sport, as well as through
annual membership fees and sponsor contributions. The operating team consists of two fulltime employees, headquartered in Vienna; the president is former international footballer
Günter Kaltenbrunner. There is also ongoing close cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of
the Interior, in particular the ministry’s Integrity in Sports Unit.
The operating strategy of the Play Fair Code, which was laid down as soon as the
organisation was founded and remains clearly defined, lies in prevention and monitoring, and
has included the creation of an ombudsman facility to receive communications related to
match-fixing in Austrian sport.
Prevention
From the very beginning the Play Fair Code applied a top-down education strategy, with
professional athletes (including future professional athletes) constituting the first target group,
followed by the interface between professional, semi-professional and amateur athletes,
referees and sport representatives. As an estimated 80 per cent of match-fixing cases
worldwide take place in football, the Play Fair Code initially focused its efforts on preventative
activities in this sport.
Since 2012 all the players in Austria’s top two professional leagues, the Austrian Football
Association’s national youth teams (both men’s and women’s football), players at its youth
academies and the country’s top match officials have been trained using a tool developed
270
Match-fixing
especially for professional footballers, professional youth team players, referees and linesmen.3 All nine of the AFA’s regional divisions have also received their own information and
training, focusing specifically on match-fixing.
Since the beginning of 2013, by combining direct lectures, seminars and workshops
focusing on integrity in sport and match-fixing at around 150 training courses, the Play Fair
Code has been able to reach approximately 5,000 people within its core target audiences of
players, association officials, sports organisation employees and media representatives,
amounting to close to 100 per cent of the Austrian professional footballers and referees.
A 12–18-month rotating refreshment of the training courses and seminars is also in place to
ensure sustainability.
In line with the Code’s top-down strategy, 2015’s priority is the expansion of training
activities into amateur sport, specifically the 48 football clubs of the third-highest Austrian
division (regional league). The Erste Bank Eishockey Liga achieved full membership of the
Play Fair Code in September 2014, resulting in a new training module being rolled out from
spring 2015 for players at the top of the league.4
Experience to date has confirmed that the one-to-one athlete education approach is a
sustainable and verifiable model of raising awareness and understanding.5 It also provides
a means to speak directly about the penalties for involvement in match-fixing, such as criminal
law prosecution, consequences from the point of view of the AFA’s regulations, labour law
implications and, last but not least, the loss of social reputation.
Monitoring
A system of observation and analysis of matches and match results is now being employed
in professional football at almost all levels, providing effective protection against matchfixing. The approximately 30,000 matches played in the top two divisions in each of UEFA’s
54 member countries, all European club competitions, and matches between national teams
are already subject to professional monitoring.
As a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Austrian
Football Association is part of the UEFA monitoring system operated by Sportradar. This
protective tool provides sports stakeholders with an effective means of monitoring matches
and match results. The Play Fair Code uses the monitoring tool with a didactic approach in
order to raise awareness from the athlete’s perspective that behaviour on the pitch has a
strong impact in terms of transparency and credibility, as athletes understand that their
individual behaviour may be analysed from the perspective of potential match-fixing efforts.
The legal situation in Austria and the ombudsman
From a criminal law perspective, match-fixing is currently dealt with as the criminal offence of
fraud. This was the basis for criminal convictions in the major football match-fixing scandal
that took place in Austria’s first division in 2013.6
As in the rest of Europe, there are ongoing discussions in Austria about whether the
introduction of a specific sports integrity and anti-match-fixing section into the existing
criminal law code might facilitate the fight against match fixing. For the moment, however, it
would appear that no such addition is on the political and legislative agenda.
Besides the criminal law, there is a strong focus in Austria on the consequences of matchfixing in terms of the AFA’s own regulations. As in other countries, there is a specific stipulation
in the association’s rules requiring players, referees and officials to report suspicions of matchfixing.7 The report has to be filed with the competent Austrian regional football association.
The Austrian approach 271
This obligation to report is particularly emphasised within every training session of the Play
Fair Code.
With the idea of creating incentives for informants, the Play Fair Code, in collaboration with
the Ministry of Sport,8 has set up an ombudsman’s office through the law firm Niederhuber &
Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH (NHP) since 1 February 2014 as a confidential first point of
contact for athletes and participants in sport in the event of issues related to match-fixing.
The contacts have been extensively promoted in the Austrian world of sport, and they can be
reached by e-mail or telephone around the clock. They are available to help and offer advice
free of charge, to receive information and tips about match-fixing that is either being planned
or has already taken place, and to investigate the concern.
The ombudsman’s office is required to treat any information it receives from informants in
total confidence, and it can be contacted anonymously. Working in close collaboration and
harmony with the informant/person seeking advice – and, most importantly of all, only ever
with their explicit agreement – the ombudsman will then contact the Play Fair Code, in order
to find a tailored solution, together with the sports association involved. The ombudsman’s
activities are evaluated twice per year in order to strengthen the fields of operation and to
improve the services offered.
National and international projects on sport integrity
As a national focal point on sports integrity, the work of the Play Fair Code extends beyond
match-fixing, and even beyond Austria, to encompass wider activities related to strengthening integrity in sport in the country. As a result of an inter-ministerial working group initiated
by the sports minister, Gerald Klug, that proposed texts for provisions relating to its superstructure (‘General Commitment to Integrity in Sport’) and substructure (‘Inadmissible
Influence’), the Play Fair Code was entrusted in March 2014 to develop unified conditions
governing integrity in sport for all the Austrian professional sports associations. These texts
are currently in the process of being integrated with the official statutes and regulations of
the professional sports associations. In January 2015 the American Football Federation
Austria became the first such association to incorporate these new conditions, and other
professional sports associations are expected to follow on a step-by-step basis.
The Play Fair Code is also engaged in efforts to strengthen European cooperation in sport.
The European Union’s ‘Workplan of the European Union for Sport 2014–2017’, approved in
May 2014, set out a series of concrete measures to be implemented by the Commission
and the EU member states, including ‘developing a European dimension to the integrity of
sport, taking the combating of match-fixing into account in particular’.9 The Play Fair Code is
a member of the ‘match-fixing’ Expert Group established to exchange best-practice methods
in combating match-fixing.
In addition, on 9 July 2014, the Council of Europe approved the Council of Europe
Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions within the framework of the Enlarged
Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS). Article 13 of the convention provides for the setting up of
a national platform. In this context, the Play Fair Code is a designated part of the network
of national regulatory authorities of the sports betting market.
Conclusion
Combating match-fixing demands far-reaching and ongoing efforts from sports associations,
law enforcement agencies, betting operators, governmental institutions and other stakeholders. The Play Fair Code has dealt with these demands now for more than three years,
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Match-fixing
gaining experience and developing know-how and good practices by acquiring and involving
the relevant stakeholders and exchanging best-practice approaches on a national and international level. This centralised model is the Austrian approach for one of the biggest threats
in sport today.
With the prospect of a national platform being established in the future in the context of the
EPAS convention against match-fixing, it is satisfying that some milestones have already been
achieved in Austria with the Play Fair Code.10
Notes
1 Severin Moritzer is chief executive officer for the Play Fair Code, based in Vienna, dealing with
prevention, information, training, knowledge transfer and awareness-raising programmes.
2 See the Play Fair Code website: www.playfaircode.at/startseite.
3 An overview of the training tool and a full version of a videotaped training session are
available on the Play Fair Code website: www.playfaircode.at/downloads.
4 The Austrian Ice Hockey League has also received funding from the European Union for a
project named ‘EU Rookie Cup’ as part of the Erasmus+ promotional programme. In this
project, the Play Fair Code is an expert partner of the Austrian Ice Hockey League on the
issue of integrity in sport and match-fixing.
5 As an accompanying measure, the Play Fair Code offers various e-learning tools, such as
those from UEFA, FIFA and the Deutsche Fußball Bund/Deutsche Fußball Liga, on its
website based on a link service.
6 For the case of Dominique Taboga, see Reuters (UK), ‘Former Austria forward Kuljic jailed
over match-fixing’, 3 October 2014, http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/03/uk-socceraustria-matchfixing-idUKKCN0HS1S120141003.
7 Article 115a of the Austrian Football Association’s rules explicitly states that a failure in
reporting perceptions with regard to match-fixing from players, referees or officials may
result in sanctions, such as a warning, financial fines or bans.
8 The details can be found on the Play Fair Code website: www.playfaircode.at/1/ombudsstelle.
9 Council of the European Union, ‘Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of
the governments of the member states, meeting within the Council, of 21 May 2014 on the
European Union Work Plan for Sport (2014–2017)’, 2014/C 183/03 (Brussels: Council of
the European Union, 2014), http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:420
14Y0614%2803%29.
10 The Play Fair Code was awarded with the European Play Fair Diploma 2014 by the
European Fair Play Movement; see the European Fair Play Movement website:
www.fairplayeur.com.
PART 5
The US model
Collegiate sports and corruption
5.1
The roots of corruption
in US collegiate sport
Donna Lopiano1
The United States has one of the few educational systems in the world that integrates highlevel sport into secondary and post-secondary education as a financially well-supported
extra-curricular programme in which teams from educational institutions compete against
each other on a regular basis, including state championship competition at the secondary
level and national championship competition at the post-secondary level. At the college and
university level, there are over 2,000 higher education institutions in the United States with
such sport programmes, called ‘intercollegiate athletic programs’. While ‘athletics’ is a term
used worldwide to describe track and field programmes, in the United States ‘athletics’ is
synonymous with ‘sport’.
Each of these institutional athletic programmes belongs to some type of regional or national
governance association that offers a common set of athletic programme and academic
eligibility rules and publishes or recognises sport-playing rules to guide competition between
members. Each member institution also belongs to a smaller subset of members, called a
‘league’ or ‘conference’, that governs the majority of its regular season competitions against
other conference members, usually within a limited geographic area. These conferences
are also members of the national governance association and may conduct conference
championships as qualifying events for national championships sponsored by the national
governance organisation. The governance organisation may establish multiple competitive
divisions, requiring member institutions to meet certain minimum and/or maximum limits with
regard to the number of sports offered by the athletics programme, the number of contests
in a playing season, the beginning and end dates for practice and competition seasons, the
number of athletic scholarships that may be awarded in each sport, the number of coaches,
and recruiting rules and calendars; these are among the most common forms of control. The
association may also establish conditions under which member institutions may participate in
pre- or post-season events sponsored by third parties.
Typically, these governance associations limit or prohibit the offering of financial aid to
athletes, which are usually termed ‘athletic grants-in-aid’ or ‘athletic scholarships’, setting
maximum limits to the value of an individual athletic scholarship and limiting the number
of scholarships that can be granted in each sport and the number of years students are
permitted to receive such grants. Academic eligibility rules usually include requirements for
full-time enrolment, minimum grade point averages for initial and continuing eligibility and the
requirements related to normal progress towards graduation.2
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US collegiate sports and corruption
The excessive cost of Division I football and
basketball programmes
The largest such association is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which
consists of 1,281 institutions. Of these 1,281 institutions, 351 conduct highly commercialised
men’s football (American tackle football) and/or men’s basketball programmes as members
of the NCAA’s most elite competitive division, Division I.3 This chapter focuses on the financial
and other excesses of this group of institutions in these two sports. It should be noted,
however, that the practices described herein can occur at any level of competition and within
any educational institution that chooses to place an emphasis on winning at all costs in any
sport. Such ‘costs’ include the loss of academic integrity, sex discrimination and the academic and health exploitation of student-athletes, and these themes are addressed later in
this chapter.
NCAA Division I consists of three subdivisions: the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS;
128 members), the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; 124 members) and non-footballplaying institutions (99 members).4 FBS members have the richest and most commercial
athletic programmes, with annual athletics budgets ranging from US$10.7 million to US$138.2
million in 2012.5 Notably, only 23 NCAA programmes, all FBS members, representing 2 per
cent of all NCAA active members, actually generated more revenues than they spent.6 The
operating losses of the remaining FBS institutions ranged from a high of US$44 million to a low
of US$476,000.7 In 2012 20 per cent of these athletic programmes were supported by
institutional allocations from general funds and/or student fees.8
The Football Championship Subdivision athletic programme annual budgets range
from US$4.6 million to US$44.9 million.9 No institution generates more revenues than it
spends.10 They are heavily subsidised by institutional allocations (71 per cent of their total
operating budgets).11 The median operating losses in 2012 of US$10.2 million represent a
73 per cent increase since 2004,12 with losses ranging from a high of US$13.9 million to a low
of US$330,000.13
The third Division I subdivision consists of athletic programmes that do not sponsor
football. Their total operating budgets range from US$3.5 million to US$33.8 million. No institution generates more revenues than it spends. These athletic programmes are also heavily
subsidised by institutional allocations (77 per cent of their total operating budgets).14 The
median operating losses in 2012 were US$9.8 million, ranging from a high of US$24.5 million
to a low of US$2.8 million.15
All these Division I programmes spend disproportionate amounts of their men’s sport
operating budgets on two sports: football and basketball. In the FBS, 78 per cent of the
men’s sport budgets is spent on football and basketball, 66 per cent in the FCS and
42 per cent at the basketball-only institutions.16 With regard to the basketball institutions, this
means that the 16 basketball players in these programmes are receiving an incredible
proportion of the men’s total sport operating expenditures.17 Athletic department budgets
also significantly favour men’s sports, with institutions spending two to three times more on
men’s than on women’s. Further, in the past two decades many institutions have dropped
sponsorship of many men’s Olympic sports in order to fuel the seemingly insatiable ‘arms
race’ among Division I football and men’s basketball programmes.18
Notably, while FBS institutions are less dependent on institutional allocations, all Division
I programmes are still dependent on institutional general-fund budgets or mandatory
student fees for large annual subsidies. In the FBS, the median is US$12.2 million, which
represents a 19 per cent increase over the previous year.19 This subsidy is fairly close to the
institutional subsidies, which cover median operating losses of US$10.2 million in the FCS
Corruption in US collegiate sport 277
and US$9.8 million in the basketball-only subdivision. Herein lies the first problem: athletics
as an extracurricular programme whose costs are excessive compared to all other nonacademic programmes at the institution. These subsidies have been relatively immune
from the recent economic downturn affecting educational institutions worldwide. To the
extent that the revenues generated are significant, they do not accrue to the larger institution.
Rather, athletic programmes are allowed to use whatever they earn to compete in an
‘arms race’ that is unrestricted except for benefits that accrue to college athletes. Even if
institutions believe that the branding and marketing benefits afforded by athletic programmes
are beneficial, the enormous size of the institutional subsidies and their drain on limited
resources that could be used for the primary academic purpose of the institution are difficult
to rationalise.20
The institutionalisation of Division I self-interest within
the NCAA
The second problem is the lack of a demonstrated ability to control the growth and excesses
of these commercialised programmes at the NCAA or institutional level. This loss of control
of Division I sport commercialism is primarily a result of changes in the NCAA governance
structure. In 1997 the full NCAA membership gave legislative and financial control to the
institutions with the most commercialised athletic programmes, thereby creating a plutocracy
that does not exist in amateur or professional sports governance association anywhere
else in the world.21 Even professional sport league owners do not give majority voting power
to a minority of the richest owners, enabling the rich to get richer and producing a downward
decline in the parity that makes for healthy sports competition. In the United States, the
blame for this increasingly unregulated and commercialised Division I sport is a direct result
of two factors. First, college presidents say they are unable to control these programmes
because of the political realities of alumni and trustee pressure to have winning teams and
escalate coaches’ salaries. 22 Further, unilateral ‘disarmament’ is virtually impossible, because
it would put the individual institution at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis its regular opponents. Second, the NCAA membership’s loss of control is directly attributable to threats by
the most powerful and successful athletic programmes to leave the organisation (thereby
removing the NCAA’s primary funding source) if they weren’t given legislative and financial
control.23 This control was not ceded just to Division I but specifically to the FBS, the
most powerful institutions in Division I.24 Moreover, in August 2014 the five largest and most
powerful conferences or leagues25 within the FBS, consisting of 65 institutions, were given
further autonomy.26
This institutionalisation of Division I FBS self-interest, and now particularly the 65 institutions of the ‘Big Five’ conferences, is all about keeping as much national championship and
other non-regular season and post-season championship revenues (the most valuable sport
properties) as possible for these institutions themselves. Thus, it is important to understand
the sources of this national championship revenue, how it is distributed and who determines
the distribution. The NCAA makes most of its money by owning and selling marketing rights
to its national championships, and most of the remainder from national championship
gate receipts. The bulk of current NCAA revenue is derived from one property: the 68-team
single-elimination Division I national basketball championship. This championship generates
approximately US$770 million annually in NCAA media rights fees, and in 2013 represented
84 per cent of the NCAA’s total revenues of US$913 million.27
A small percentage of this revenue is used to operate the NCAA’s national office, including
the operation of championship events. In the end, though, more than 90 cents of every dollar
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US collegiate sports and corruption
the NCAA generates are returned to member institutions, for specified purposes in support of
student-athletes or based on Division I basketball championship participation, and, within this
amount, approximately 90 per cent is returned to Division I institutions.28 Thus, the NCAA has
established a revenue distribution system that is dominated by the philosophy of returning the
most money to the members responsible for earning that money rather than using it in a way
that benefits the greatest number of student-athletes.
The threats by Division I schools in 1997 to leave the NCAA and the subsequent NCAA
restructuring to give controlling power to the FBS were all about the FBS stopping the
NCAA from establishing a national FBS football championship so it could own and keep these
championship proceeds for itself. Notably, the NCAA does not sponsor an FBS football
championship.29 The College Football Playoff, a four-team play-off accepted by the public as
the FBS national championship, begins in the autumn of 2014 and is the sequel to the Bowl
Championship Series and its two-team play-off, which existed from 1998 to 2013. The value
of the new four-team College Football Playoff is approximately US$470 million per year, and
it is owned jointly by all FBS conferences plus Notre Dame, rather than the NCAA.30 These
College Football Playoff national championship proceeds are not shared equally among all
FBS members. The 65 ‘Big Five’ conference members take home 75 per cent of the proceeds,
and the remaining 25 per cent is distributed to the 60 remaining institutions via other FBS
conferences.31 It is only a matter of time before the College Football Playoff is expanded to
eight teams, or more, which would most likely increase its value to the US$1 billion per year
level. The goal of the 65 ‘Big Five’ conference institutions is clear: they want to win, and are
prepared to spend whatever it takes to win, while maintaining a resource advantage over the
other 94 per cent of NCAA member institutions.
Overt exploitation of higher education and college athletes
US institutions of higher education (and the athletic programmes they sponsor) are considered under US law to be not-for-profit educational programmes. As such, they receive
significant tax concessions. They do not pay the taxes that businesses or professional sports
franchises do. In addition, donors to athletic programmes are permitted to claim individual
and business tax deductions for such donations to non-profit organisations. Division I athletic
programmes further exploit these tax preferences when they tell their alumni that they can get
a better season ticket seat location at football or basketball games on the basis of their total
tax-deductible contributions to the athletics programme. This non-profit status also permits
athletic programmes to classify athletes as students rather than employees. Further, this
preferential tax status allows these institutions to provide football and basketball players with
athletic scholarships covering tuition, required fees, room and board and other educationrelated expenses, and these athletes do not pay taxes on this income. The NCAA restricts the
total amount the athlete can receive, however, and this amount is far lower than a professional
athlete’s salary, and lower than the actual cost of attending college. These NCAA scholarship
rules permit the financial exploitation of college athlete talent.
Billion-dollar collegiate national championship sport properties, multi-million-dollar institutional athletic programmes, the full control of athlete talent expenses, a small minority of the
most commercialised athletic programmes controlling NCAA rules and financial distributions,
and weak presidential control at the institutional level constitute the sources of the myriad
corrupt practices that taint the conduct of US intercollegiate athletics, a number of which are
addressed in more detail in this chapter. The most prominent of these issues are briefly
described here.
Corruption in US collegiate sport 279
Academic exploitation
• Institutions waive normal admissions requirements for academically underprepared but
highly talented athletes, thereby placing them in an academic environment in which they
cannot reasonably be expected to compete.
• Athletic departments directly or indirectly control academic advising processes, placing
athletes in the easiest academic majors and courses, creating a subset of students
majoring in athletic eligibility rather than academic degrees with future career value.
• Athletic departments find friendly faculty and engage them as co-conspirators to offer
one-on-one ‘independent project’ courses, for which athletes get academic credit and
high grades for doing little or no work, or regular academic courses, in which athletes get
grades they do not earn.
• Athletic departments administer their own academic support programmes and hire tutors
for college athletes, looking the other way when tutors rather than athletes complete
academic assignments.
• Those who report academic fraud have no ‘whistleblower’ protection. These individuals
are most at risk of being chastised and retaliated against.
Restriction of college athletes’ academic freedom
• Coaches require their athletes only to take courses that don’t conflict with practice times,
thereby limiting college athletes’ academic choices.32
athletes who transfer to other institutions with the loss of a year of
• NCAA rules penalise
athletic eligibility.33
• Requirements to maintain a full-time student schedule of courses and to maintain
academic progress over a five-year eligibility period severely limit students with lesser
academic ability from trying new courses or majors for fear they may not meet academic
eligibility standards for athletic competition and the retention of their athletic scholarships.
Race and gender inequities
• Students of colour are over-represented in the sports of football and basketball and
under-represented in most other NCAA sports.34
• Female coaches and administrators and male and female coaches and administrators of
colour are severely under-represented at all competitive levels of college sport, and even
more so in the jobs with the most prestige and highest salaries.35
• Despite the United States having one of the strongest laws on gender equity in education
in the world, female athletes are still under-represented as participants in intercollegiate
sport, and schools spend less money recruiting them than they do for their male
counterparts, and do not provide them with the same treatment.36
Financial improprieties
• There are over 100 head coaches in Division I institutions making US$1 million or more
annually, and in 40 of the 50 states in the United States the highest-paid public employee
is the head coach of a collegiate athletic team.37 The only reason these salaries are
possible is that there is no paid athletic talent.
The
• athletic department builds facilities and restricts access to these facilities38to college
athletes only, frequently using tax-free public bonds to finance such projects.
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US collegiate sports and corruption
Figure 5.1 Highest-paid public employee = collegiate sports head coach
Source: Based on Deadspin (US), ‘Is your state’s highest-paid employee a coach? (Probably)’, 9 May 2013, http://deadspin.com/infographic-is-your-states-highest-paid-employeea-co-489635228.
• Many athletics facilities are extravagant. Here are some examples.
o The University of Oregon Ducks’ Football Performance Center, a 145,000-square-foot
building that cost a reported US$68 million, contains amenities that include a lobby
with 64 55-inch televisions that can combine to show one image, a weight-room floor
made of Brazilian hardwood, custom ‘foosball’ tables on which one team is Oregon
and the other team has 11 players each representing the rest of the Pac-12 (league
opponents), a barber shop and a coaches’ locker room with TVs embedded in the
mirror.39 Athletics already has an indoor practice field, an athletic medical centre
and a brand new basketball arena and academic study centre for athletes. The new
University of Oregon football programme complex contains, among other things,
movie theatres, an Oregon football museum, a players’ lounge and deck, a dining hall
and private classrooms for top players.40
o Athletics-only practice facilities at West Virginia University are utilised solely by the
men’s and women’s athletic teams.41 In addition to top-tier practice areas, strength
and conditioning space, sports medicine needs, team meeting rooms and video
and facility equipment, there are first-class locker-room facilities, players’ lounges and
study areas.42
Corruption in US collegiate sport 281
o The Texas A&M University football programme has a 5,000-square-foot players’
lounge and academic centre conveniently located one floor above the football locker
room, training room and meeting rooms, and across the hall from the new, state-ofthe-art, athletics-only academic centre. The players’ lounge has oversized leather
lounge chairs that recline to a fully prone position so that players can watch the huge
widescreen high-definition television – which is equipped with a DVD player. The
lounge also contains table tennis, foosball, pool and gaming tables, and several
arcade-style gaming stations feature the latest PlayStation 2, XBox and other video
games. Mounted in corners of the room are several flat-screen TVs. Immediately
to the left of the lounge’s entrance is a marble-top bar that contains soft drink and
confectionery machines for the players’ use.43
• Academic support facilities for athletes are often of higher quality than those available to
the student body. Weight-training facilities are often larger and include higher-quality
equipment than those available to the student body. Gymnasia or fields that are used
only for basketball or athletics team practices are left unused for the majority of the day.
• Many FBS teams travel by chartered aeroplane – a financial extravagance.
Academic eligibility and related academic issues
• The NCAA invented its own graduation rate definition, which is less rigorous and not
comparable to the federal definition of graduation rate.44 Thus, the performance of college
athletes cannot be easily compared to other students not participating in athletics.
The
• initial eligibility requirements for incoming freshman athletes are low and excessively
dependent on high-school grade point averages, which are commonly viewed as
inflated.
• The continuing academic eligibility requirements are minimal, enabling some athletes to
spend only two or three semesters in college doing little academic work before leaving
to play professional sports.
• Many sports permit a large number of regular season contests, resulting in an excessive
number of classes being missed.
• FBS national conferences have been formed to ensure large television audience reach.
As a result, cross-country or long-distance team travel is commonplace, again meaning
that too many classes are missed.
Athletes treated as employees
• Most institutions award athletics scholarships for one year at a time, allowing coaches to
pressure athletes to leave if they find better-talented alternatives (the equivalent of
termination of employment).
• In season, coaches require athletes in football and basketball to put in 40–50 hours per
week in athletics-related activities, leaving little time for academic responsibilities.
• Coaches establish team rules that allow them to control almost everything an athlete
does, with penalties for violations of team rules including loss of athletic scholarship
support (again, the equivalent of termination of employment).
• Due-process protection of athletes is extremely limited. Athletic department employees
are often involved in institutional appeals processes when athletics financial aid is
terminated and then challenged by students.45
• Because athletes are not employees, they46are not permitted under US law to unionise
and work together to address grievances.
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US collegiate sports and corruption
• The NCAA does not have a code of ethics for coaches that protects athletes from verbal,
mental or physical abuse or defines improper behaviour with regard to coach–athlete
relationships.
• Even though US education law prohibits sexual abuse and harassment in educational
settings, 20 per cent of higher education institutions allow athletic departments to
investigate and adjudicate athlete or coach transgressions.47
Absence of athlete health protection
• The NCAA provides catastrophic insurance, but neither the NCAA nor its member
institutions provide athletes with basic injury insurance. Although NCAA rules prohibit
students from participating in athletics without athletic injury insurance, most institutions
require athletes and their parents to purchase these policies. Most institutions carry
secondary coverage policies.
• The NCAA is facing a series of lawsuits related to concussions in contact sports
such as football. Plaintiffs allege that the institutions allowed athletes to return too
soon and without physician clearance or that the NCAA had knowledge of the effect of
concussions but failed to adopt policies to protect athletes, with those athlete now
suffering early-onset dementia or similar disabilities.48 In the United States, professional
football players are limited to no more than two contact practices each week during the
season (the result of players’ union agreements). There are no similar restrictions for
collegiate football, however. It was only recently that the NCAA adopted a concussion
treatment policy.
Is reform possible?
Given the current structure of the NCAA – one of control by the Division I FBS – it appears
highly unlikely that commercialised athletic programmes will act to restrain themselves from
continuing to act against the best interests of college athletes and their host higher education
institutions. It has been suggested by many that only action by the United States Congress
will produce the necessary reforms. Several proposals have been advanced: (1) the
establishment of a federally chartered non-profit organisation that would replace the NCAA
with an independent board of expert directors and strict reform instructions; (2) a federal
regulatory commission; or (3) establishing US Higher Education Act reform conditions that, if
not met, would result in ineligibility for federal funding or a loss of tax privileges.49 It appears
to be time for the US Congress to act.
Notes
1 Donna Lopiano is president and founder of Sports Management Resources, based in
Shelton, Connecticut, which brings the knowledge of educational sports experts to help
athletics directors solve the integrity, equity, growth and development challenges of their
respective athletics programmes.
2 For further information on the general structure and function of interscholastic and
intercollegiate sport in the United States, see Mary Hums and Joanne MacLean,
Governance and Policy in Sport Organizations (Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, 2004).
For further information on the most commercialised and problematic US college sport
programmes, see Ronald Smith, Pay for Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform
(Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2011); Wilford Bailey and Taylor Littleton, Athletics
and Academe: An Anatomy of Abuses and a Prescription for Reform (New York: American
Corruption in US collegiate sport 283
Council on Education, 1991); and James Duderstadt, Intercollegiate Athletics and the
American University: A University President’s Perspective (Ann Arbor, MI: University of
Michigan Press, 2003).
3 National Collegiate Athletic Association, ‘NCAA members by division’ (report run 10 April
2015), http://web1.ncaa.org/onlineDir/exec2/divisionListing.
4 Ibid.
5 National Collegiate Athletic Association, Revenues and Expenses 2013: NCAA Division
I Intercollegiate Athletics Program Report (Indianapolis: NCAA, 2013), p. 44, www.
ncaapublications.com/p-4306-revenues-and-expenses-2004-2012-ncaa-division-iintercollegiate-athletics-programs-report.aspx (based on 121 members reporting). It should
be noted that, while NCAA data are based on audited financial statements provided by
institutions, they cover operating expenses only, thereby excluding millions of dollars of
capital costs per school each year. A study commissioned by the NCAA has estimated that
the average FBS athletic programme had annual capital costs of over US$20 million: see
Robert Litan, Jonathan Orszag and Peter Orszag, The Empirical Effects of Intercollegiate
Athletics: An Interim Report (Indianapolis: NCAA, 2003), www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/
empirical_effects_of_collegiate_athletics_interim_report.pdf. These losses must be financed
by university or state funds, further diminishing already thin educational and fiscal resources.
6 Ibid., p. 8.
7 Ibid., p. 46.
8 Ibid., p. 8.
9 Ibid., p. 72.
10 Ibid., p. 14.
11 Ibid., p. 8.
12 Ibid., p. 19.
13 Ibid., p. 70.
14 Ibid., p. 8.
15 Ibid., p. 96.
16 Ibid., pp. 32, 36 (FBS), pp. 58, 62 (FCS), pp. 84, 88 (non-football). This is not to suggest
that the players are receiving the funds. In fact, player benefits are strictly limited by the
NCAA to the value of an athletic scholarship, while no such restrictions apply to coaches’
salaries, which may be in the multiple millions of dollars.
17 National Collegiate Athletic Association, Student-Athlete Participation: 1981/82–2013/14
(Indianapolis: NCAA, 2014), p. 76. The average number of athletes on a Division I men’s
basketball team is 15.7.
18 Ibid. Institutions usually do not try to eliminate female sports programmes, because of a
fear of lawsuits. Females are significantly under-represented at most institutions, in violation
of US education law.
19 Ibid., p. 12.
20 Drake Group, ‘Student fee and institutional subsidy allocations to fund intercollegiate
athletics’, position statement, 2 March 2015, https://drakegroupblog.files.wordpress.com/
2015/04/position-statement-student-fees-final-3-2-15.pdf.
21 Donna Lopiano, ‘Fixing enforcement and due process will not fix what is wrong with the
NCAA’, Roger Williams University Law Review, vol. 20 (2015).
22 Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, Quantitative and Qualitative Research with
Football Bowl Subdivision University Presidents on the Costs and Financing of Intercollegiate
Athletics: Report of Findings and Implications (Baltimore, MD: Art & Science Group, 2009),
www.knightcommissionmedia.org/images/President_Survey_FINAL.pdf; Amy Perko and
Rick Hesel, ‘A sustainable model? University presidents assess the costs and financing of
intercollegiate athletics’, Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, vol. 3 (2010).
23 Lopiano (2015).
24Ibid.
25 These conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Big 12, the Big Ten, the
Southeastern Conference (SEC) and Pac-12.
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US collegiate sports and corruption
26 ESPN (US), ‘NCAA board votes to allow autonomy’, 8 August 2014, http://espn.go.com/
college-sports/story/_/id/11321551/ncaa-board-votes-allow-autonomy-five-powerconferences.
27 Indianapolis Star (US), ‘NCAA approaching $1 billion per year amid challenges by players’,
27 March 2014, www.indystar.com/story/news/2014/03/27/ncaa-approaching-billionper-year-amid-challenges-players/6973767. Note that the data are based on NCAA tax
forms, NCAA bond prospectuses, NCAA financial statements and interviews, and are
consistent with 2013 NCAA financial statements: see www.ncaa.org/sites/default/files/
NCAA_FS_2012-13_V1%20DOC1006715.pdf; see also US News, ‘The case for paying
college athletes’, 6 January 2014, www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2014/01/06/
ncaa-college-athletes-should-be-paid.
28 National Collegiate Athletic Association, ‘2014 finances’, www.ncaa.org/about/resources/
finances.
29 Lopiano (2015).
30 USA Today, ‘Power Five’s college football playoff revenues will double what BCS paid’,
16 July 2014, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2014/07/16/college-football-playofffinancial-revenues-money-distribution-bill-hancock/12734897.
31 Chronicle of Higher Education (US), ‘The “Big Five” power grab: the real threat to college
sports’, 19 June 2014, http://chronicle.com/article/The-Big-Five-Power-Grab-/147265.
32 Robert A. McCormick and Amy Christian McCormick, ‘The myth of the student-athlete: the
college athlete as employee’, Washington Law Review, vol. 81 (2006), p. 71.
33 National Collegiate Athletic Association, 2014–15 NCAA Division I Manual (Indianapolis:
NCAA, 2014), www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/D115.pdf; see article 14.5.1,
p. 168.
34 National Collegiate Athletic Association, ‘Race and gender demographic search’,
http://web1.ncaa.org/rgdSearch/exec/main.
35Ibid.
36 Amy Wilson, The Status of Women in Intercollegiate Athletics as Title IX Turns 40
(Indianapolis: NCAA, 2012), www.ncaapublications.com/p-4289-the-status-of-women-inintercollegiate-athletics-as-title-ix-turns-40-june-2012.aspx. Even if one argues that
schools are spending most money in the sports that generate the most revenues, with
male and female athletes in non-revenue sports suffering equally, there can be no economic
justification for violating federal laws prohibiting discrimination. If economic justifications were
permitted, wealthy individuals and institutions would be allowed to violate discrimination
laws.
37 Deadspin (US), ‘Infographic: is your state’s highest paid employee a coach? (Probably)’, 9
May 2013, http://deadspin.com/infographic-is-your-states-highest-paid-employee-a-co489635228.
38 Drake Group, ‘Establishment of a presidential commission on intercollegiate athletics
reform’, position statement, 31 March 2015, https://drakegroupblog.files.wordpress.
com/2015/03/final-presidential-commission-position-paper.pdf.
39 Business Insider (US), ‘Oregon’s new $68-million football facility is like nothing we’ve ever
seen in college sports’, 31 July 2013, www.businessinsider.com/new-oregon-footballbuilding-photos-2013-7#; Register-Guard (US), www.registerguard.com/rg/news/
local/30050174-75/football-autzen-oregon-center-building.html.csp.
40 Inside Higher Ed (US), ‘Money still talks’, 23 July 2012, www.insidehighered.com/
news/2012/07/23/criticism-athletics-spending-wake-penn-state-unlikely-slow-growth.
41 Mountaineer Athletic Club (US), ‘Current projects’, www.mountaineerathleticclub.com/page.
cfm?storyid=103.
42Ibid.
43 Texas A&M University, ‘Athletics’, www.aggieathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=
27300&ATCLID=205237707.
44 The Federal Graduation Rate (FGR) for all students includes all entering full-time students
but excludes transfers in or out. The NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) adjusts
45
46
47
48
49
Corruption in US collegiate sport 285
institutional rates for transfers, however, even though there is currently no method of
verifying that athletes who transfer out actually graduate. The FGR is also inflated compared
to the GSR because it includes entering full-time students who drop down to part-time
status and take longer to graduate, whereas athletes are required to be full-time students
making normal progress towards a degree. The GSR also includes 11,000 Ivy League and
military academy students who (1) do not receive athletic-related aid, (2) are not admitted as
athletes and (3) are considered properly as regular students in the FGR. In other words, the
GSR is ‘spin’ and ‘padded’.
Drake Group, ‘Fixing the dysfunctional NCAA enforcement system’, position statement,
7 April 2015, https://drakegroupblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/tdg-position-fair-ncaaenforcement.pdf.
Currently under appeal is a Region 13 National Labor Relations Board decision that ruled
that Northwestern University football players were employees and would be permitted to
unionise: see www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-story/nlrb-director-region-13-issuesdecision-northwestern-university-athletes for the full text of the decision.
US Senate Subcommittee on Financial Contracting and Oversight, ‘Survey of campus
sexual violence policies and procedures’, www.mccaskill.senate.gov/pdf/McCaskill
SurveyCampusSexualAssaults.pdf.
In July 2014 the NCAA negotiated a US$75 million settlement to resolve the initial group
of these lawsuits, which is currently being challenged. The settlement proposes a 50-year
medical monitoring programme, estimated to cost US$55 million, and US$5 million for
concussion research, with up to US$15 million designated for attorney’s fees. The
settlement proposes that plaintiffs as a class give up their rights to seek personal injury
damages. In August 2014 formal objection to the settlement was filed, and the objection is
still under consideration at the time of this writing. See USA Today, ‘Opposition to NCAA
concussion settlement filed in federal court’, 23 August 2014, www.usatoday.com/story/
sports/college/2014/08/23/objection-to-ncaa-concussion-settlement-filed-anthonynichols/14490501.
Drake Group (31 March 2015).
5.2
Academic fraud and
commercialised
collegiate athletics
Lessons from the North Carolina case
Jay M. Smith1
The recent revelation of the scale of the academic/athletic fraud scandal at the University of
North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) has exposed a systemic weakness in the US higher
education structure: the financial lure of sporting success can easily lead to the widespread
and systematic compromising of academic standards.
UNC is a highly regarded institution ranked among the so-called ‘public ivies’ that provide
affordable educations comparable in quality to those offered at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
It has top-flight graduate programmes and a diverse undergraduate population of approximately 18,000. It boasts illustrious alumni – including one US president and multiple
Pulitzer Prize winners – from many fields. Since 1987, UNC students have won more Rhodes
scholarships than students at any other public research university.2
UNC also enjoys a sporting identity known the world over. The alma mater of Michael
Jordan and soccer superstar Mia Hamm, the winner of 40 national championships in six
different sports, one of the world’s leading merchandisers of sports apparel, and a partner
(with Duke University) in what many regard as the best rivalry in all of US sports, UNC is a
colossus of collegiate athletics. By the importance it confers on sports, and through its
cultivation of an institutional ‘brand’ partly defined by its sporting success, UNC exemplifies
the peculiarly American melding of higher education and commercialised sports. Unlike
university systems in any other country, American institutions of higher learning sponsor
sports programmes in which recruited ‘student-athletes’ participate (UNC has approximately
800 athletes in 28 sports) and which fans and alumni of the institution support through cash
donations, the purchase of game tickets, and consistently high television ratings. American
universities have created an enormously profitable entertainment enterprise – college sports
programmes, especially in basketball and football, take in approximately $11 billion annually
– and they have become psychologically and even financially dependent on the goodwill
created by their teams’ successes on the field.3
The institution’s recent experience therefore stands as a cautionary tale. Between the early
1990s and 2011, UNC was host to the largest and longest-running academic scandal in the
Academic fraud and commercialised athletics 287
history of intercollegiate athletics, the full dimensions of which university leaders assiduously
tried to cover up for years.4 The course fraud scheme, which Drake Group5 president Gerald
Gurney has called ‘the largest and most egregious case of academic fraud by far’ in the
history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), sends one unmistakable
message about college athletics in the United States: university structures will inevitably be
pressured to accommodate the needs of their respective athletic departments.6 Too often,
the will to accommodate those needs opens the road to corruption.
The fundamentals of the long-running UNC course fraud scheme are well known. In the
former Department of African and Afro-American Studies (AFRI/AFAM), the chair and his
administrative assistant arranged for the creation of ‘Potemkin courses’7 that enrolled athletes
in disproportionate numbers, required no attendance and little real work (the worst of the
courses were called ‘paper classes’) and invariably awarded students marks that boosted
their grade point average (GPA)8 – and provided other academic benefits – as needed.9 The
scheme unfolded over two decades; there were more than 3,000 student enrolments in the
sham courses, almost half of which involved athletes, even though athletes account for no
more than about 4 per cent of undergraduate enrolments at UNC. The department chair,
Julius Nyang’oro, and his administrative assistant, Debby Crowder, were the central figures in
facilitating the fraud.10
Figure 5.2 ‘Potemkin’ courses for athletes
Adapted from: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, ‘Investigation of irregular classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill’, 16 October 2014, http://tinyurl.com/p7eqxrb.
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US collegiate sports and corruption
The pretext that college athletes in the highly commercialised sports of American football
and basketball are actually ‘students first’ forces the NCAA and its member institutions to
develop elaborate disguises for the priorities they pursue. Keeping athletes academically
eligible to play, constantly available to their teams and to their coaches, is in fact the chief
function of academic support centres in athletic departments. Because the athletes’ ‘amateur’
(meaning unpaid) status depends legally and morally on their presumed identities as ‘students
first’, however, the eligibility manoeuvres that determine course schedules, choice of major
field and academic workloads must be dressed up so that casual observers will assume that
athletes are following authentic and typical educational pursuits.11 This is a massive operation
that requires the complicity and active planning of many. UNC provides an ideal case study in
the forms of hypocrisy that big-time athletic programmes require of the universities that host
them. Its example should be studied intently by institutions of higher learning the world over,
to help them avoid succumbing to similar pressures.
For three years and more, UNC’s leaders tried to foist on an inquisitive public a tightly
focused narrative of corruption. They insisted that the problems with phoney courses (revealed
by a local newspaper in 2011) were all the fault of two ‘rogue’ individuals centred in a single
academic department.12 Thanks to the recent investigation headed by Kenneth Wainstein,13
the world has now seen that academic fraud was in fact pervasive in Chapel Hill.14 Evidence
from the Wainstein report, together with an insiders’ account of the UNC scandal recently
published by Mary Willingham and me, shows that the UNC experience was symptomatic of
a dysfunctional academic culture in the commercialised athletic programmes of American
universities.15
Evidence now made public establishes beyond doubt that the academic corner-cutting
and administrative chicanery that were part and parcel of UNC’s athletic eligibility system
required the willing participation of a great number of people on the athletic and academic
sides of campus. Those willing to facilitate fraud, or to turn a blind eye to its unfolding, included many members of the faculty in addition to Nyang’oro. Whether through
apathy and indifference, their own enthusiasm for sports or fear of administrative reprisal on
a campus where most faculty do not enjoy the protections of tenure, faculty members and
other staff in departments across campus proved ‘useful’ to the academic counsellors for
athletes during the scandal years. In the Wainstein documents, regular academic advisers
are shown facilitating the ‘adding’ of sham independent study courses for irregular credit
hours. The athletics compliance director – the person whose job it was to ensure that the
UNC athletic department violated no NCAA standards – is shown joking about the ‘notorious’
paper classes and the uses to which they were being put by academic counsellors. Tutors are
caught revising athletes’ ‘paper class’ papers for them. A head coach asks the academic
counsellor for his team to place one of his players in an ‘ace in the hole’ independent study
course. A powerful dean is revealed to have had suspicions about AFRI/AFAM independent
study courses – which were offered by the hundreds each year – while doing nothing to
investigate the department’s curriculum or its course scheduling practices. A professor in
the geography department is shown acquiescing in a request to offer an ‘independent study’
to five women’s basketball players during a summer session – the request coming not from
the students but from their academic counsellor in athletics.16
This particular academic counsellor was one of the most prominent and notorious
participants in the UNC course fraud scheme because in the years between 2011 and 2014
she also happened to serve as the elected chair of the university’s faculty. Jan Boxill joined the
philosophy department as a lecturer in 1988, when she also began her service as academic
counsellor for the women’s basketball team. A former player and coach, and an announcer
for the Lady Tar Heels basketball broadcasts, Boxill was fiercely dedicated to the athletic
Academic fraud and commercialised athletics 289
programme and to the athletes she advised. Just how far she took her dedication to athletics
became clear with the release of the Wainstein report, which included damning e-mail
exchanges between Boxill and Crowder. In one particularly egregious case, from 2008, Boxill
is shown haggling over the grade that one of her own women’s basketball advisees was set
to receive. The e-mail exchange indicates clearly that Boxill understood that Crowder – and
not a faculty member – would be assigning the grade, and that the grade would be given in
exchange for a ‘recycled’ paper that had been written (or plagiarised) in an earlier school
year.17 On learning that the paper’s deficiencies had even caught the attention of Crowder,
and that the administrative assistant was not especially inclined to be generous in this case,
Boxill responded that ‘a “D” will be fine, that’s all she needs’. And that’s what she got. Both
Boxill and Crowder were willing to overlook the faked writing assignment in order to push this
student over the graduation finish line with an independent study that had involved little or
no actual ‘study’.
Boxill, whose term as chair of the faculty coincided with a period when faculty and nonfaculty critics of the university were pushing hard for a real investigation of the athletic
programme, worked to stave off any probing of the academic support centre for athletes. In
a prime position to cover up her own complicity in a corrupt system, she did what she could
to direct critical attention elsewhere.18 She even endorsed an external report that erroneously
laid much of the blame for years of unchecked curricular fraud on a faculty committee.19 As
faculty leader, Boxill played a confidence game that required real chutzpah – a game that
might well have worked, had it not been for the commissioning of the Wainstein report.
Anger over the revelations of Boxill’s complicity in the athletic scandal helps to explain why
she has been removed from her teaching position.20 Meanwhile, Nyang’oro and Crowder
have gone into retirement and the ‘paper classes’ have been terminated. UNC would have
the world believe that the removal of a few scapegoats and the ending of the most offensive
curricular abuses from the scandal era have thwarted threats to academic integrity and
have placed the university back on a healthy path. In fact, however, the evidence shows that
the tentacles of corruption spread far, and that the corruption came in many flavours – some
more subtle than others. Only when the disease is treated, and the symptoms recognised as
the tell-tale signs of illness that they are – an illness created and driven by the imperative to
maintain athletes’ eligibility to play – will UNC and other participants in commercialised college
athletics be able to restore themselves to health.
The financial pressures intrinsic to the commercial enterprise of collegiate sport inevitably
create breaches in the wall defending academic integrity. At UNC, the scheduling of bogus
AFRI/AFAM paper classes was the most egregious tactic used to propel the athletic eligibility
system, but there were many other long-standing tricks, and many compromised individuals
in addition to the two shamed AFRI/AFAM staff. For many years athletes were funnelled to
notorious slide courses in geography, French, philosophy, drama, Portuguese, exercise and
sport science, education and library science – places that hosted either ‘friendly faculty’
known for their athlete favouritism, or courses whose real purpose was to boost enrolments
by keeping all students happy. Academic counsellors in the athletic programme found
all these courses and directed all their needy students into each one.21 The admission to
universities of athletes unprepared or unwilling to tackle genuine college-grade work, a
problem exacerbated by the NCAA’s lowering of admission standards in 2003,22 only
reinforced athletic department reliance on such courses and such faculty. At UNC, the
broad temptation to sympathise with and ‘help out’ athletes with weak GPAs and impossible
practice schedules led to the hardening of suspect curricular patterns.23
The Wainstein report shows that, at UNC, academic counsellors knew exactly where to
look and whom to approach when athletes had special needs: GPA boosts, grade changes,
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US collegiate sports and corruption
late course additions or schedules that imposed little to no burden. Moreover, AFRI/AFAM
was only one of several units on campus where athletes could get the special treatment they
‘needed’.24 UNC’s failure to acknowledge this widespread and deeply ingrained tendency to
cut corners – the institution’s failure to acknowledge its flourishing culture of ‘look the other
way’ compromise – may prevent it from ever contemplating the sorts of reforms needed to
avoid repeat embarrassments in the future.
American universities have been indelibly compromised by their willingness to subordinate
academic integrity and educational outcomes to the eligibility imperatives of commercialised
sport. Sports, it goes without saying, are worthwhile endeavours in themselves. Extracurricular activities are nourishing and can enrich the educational experiences of college
students everywhere. Participation in activities whose primary purpose is entertainment,
such as musical or dramatic performance, is not inherently problematic; but the drive to
compete for national championships – a drive fuelled by the massive and continuing infusion
of money into athletic departments and the unchecked popular craving for televised sport
entertainment – means that coaches and the many people who enable them will almost
inevitably facilitate corruption within the academy in the absence of effective anti-corruption
systems. Eligibility will always mean more to the stewards of the athletic machine than the
educational experiences of the students in their charge. Consequently, faculty will be placed
time and again in the uncomfortable position of having to sacrifice their integrity or inflict
academic hardship on athletes who have previously been led to believe they would be ‘taken
care of’. Too often, faculty will choose the path of least resistance, and educational integrity
will go by the wayside.
Only a bracing ‘coming to consciousness’ among faculty and college administrators
across the United States, and a vigorous new commitment to transparency in all matters
athletic, can offer any hope of ending the hypocritical charade that US universities are currently
enacting. American universities might wish to learn from the examples set by other academic
communities the world over. Only in the Unites States do for-profit sporting enterprises
operate alongside and mingle with the academic infrastructure of universities, and there are
many good reasons why this practice is unique. In Europe, Asia and elsewhere, universities
remain faithful to their missions and are reflexively regarded as places of learning, research
and discovery. Their refusal to become entangled in commercialised sports and the corruption
that comes in their wake helps to explain why their reputations as centres of learning remain
fully intact – and it points to the tragic bargain with commercialism that has led American
institutions of higher education to actively subvert their own values and standards in the name
of wins, championships and revenue. To avoid the temptation to make such compromises in
their own missions and values, universities across the globe should heed the cautionary tale
of UNC and definitively reject the American model for integrating academics and athletics.
Notes
1 Jay M. Smith is a professor in the department of history, University of North Carolina
– Chapel Hill.
2 See ‘Carolina’s Rhodes Scholars’, https://alumni.unc.edu/news/rhodes-scholars-from-unc/.
3 On revenues, see Al Jazeera America, ‘Experts weigh in: should college athletes get paid?’,
27 March 2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/inside-story/articles/2014/3/27/
should-college-athletesgetpaidtoplay.html.
4 News & Observer (US), ‘UNC scandal ranks among the worst, experts say,’ www.news
observer.com/news/local/education/unc-scandal/article10107554.html.
5 The Drake Group, established in 1999, is a network of academics in the United States
with the shared belief that college athletics has become too dominant a presence on US
university campuses.
Academic fraud and commercialised athletics 291
6 CBS Sports (US), ‘UNC’s unprecedented academic fraud case will test the NCAA’,
24 October 2014, www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/24765822/
uncs-unprecedented-academic-fraud-case-will-test-ncaa.
7 The term ‘Potemkin courses’ is an allusion to ‘Potemkin villages’, the fake settlements built
by Grigory Potemkin along the banks of the river Dnieper in eighteenth-century Russia
purely to impress Empress Catherine II. ‘Potemkin’ is now used as an adjective to describe
anything built solely to deceive people that a situation is better than it really is.
8 In the United States, grades from all current classes are averaged to generate a grade point
average, which is an important factor for university applicants in the country.
9 UNC’s former Department of African and Afro-American Studies now carries the name
African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies.
10 For an overview of the UNC course fraud scandal, see News & Observer (US), ‘Fake-class
scheme aided UNC players’ eligibility, Wainstein report says,’ 22 October 2014, www.
newsobserver.com/news/local/education/unc-scandal/article10104428.html.
11 For an incisive discussion of the eligibility pressures that bear down on academic counsellors
in athletic departments, see Inside Higher Ed (US), ‘Academic fraud in collegiate athletics’,
2 October 2007, www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/10/02/fraud#sthash.K81KvTEj.
dpbs.
12 See, for example, the UNC-sponsored report by Governor Jim Martin in December, 2012
(James G. Martin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Academic Anomalies Review:
Report of Findings, 19 December 2012, http://3qh929iorux3fdpl532k03kg.wpengine.
netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/UNC-Governor-Martin-Final-Report-andAddendum.pdf) as described by the UNC alumni magazine at https://alumni.unc.edu/news/
martin-says-fraud-isolated-to-african-studies-department.
13 Kenneth Wainstein, a highly regarded lawyer who served as homeland security advisor
to President George W. Bush, was appointed to lead the independent inquiry into the
academic irregularities at UNC – Chapel Hill in early 2014.
14 University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, ‘Investigation of irregular classes in the
Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill’, 16 October 2014, http://carolinacommitment.unc.edu/reports-resources/
investigation-of-irregular-classes-in-the-department-of-african-and-afro-american-studiesat-the-university-of-north-carolina-at-chapel-hill-2; see also both the ‘Wainstein final report:
exhibits’ at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9a7FfkXuvZUOGR6ZU5WX3d5TkE/edit
and the 900-page ‘Final report supplements’ that were issued on the day of the report:
http://3qh929iorux3fdpl532k03kg.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/
2014/10/UNC-FINAL-REPORT-SUPPLEMENTS.pdf.
15 For discussion of the problems afflicting other universities, see Jay M. Smith and Mary
Willingham, Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of
Big-Time College Sports (Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books, 2015), pp. 207–234.
16 On the adviser, see ‘Final report supplements’, p. 610; on the compliance officer, see ibid.,
p. 248; on the coach, see ibid., p. 24; on the dean, see ‘Investigation of irregular classes’,
p. 25; on the tutors, see, for example, ‘Wainstein final report: exhibits’, p. 16; on the
geography professor, see ‘Final report supplements’, p. 271.
17 ‘Investigation of irregular classes’, p. 44.
18 On Boxill’s role in the UNC cover-up, see Smith and Willingham (2015), pp. 96–105.
19 For the reception of the infamous ‘Martin report’ in UNC’s Faculty Council, and Boxill’s
management of that reception, see Smith and Willingham (2015), pp. 141–143.
20 News & Observer (US), ‘Jan Boxill, implicated in UNC scandal, resigns’, 5 March 2015,
www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/unc-scandal/article12601562.html.
21 See Smith and Willingham (2015), pp. 171–174, 186–190.
22 Inside Higher Ed (US), ‘NCAA reform gone wrong’, 14 February 2013, www.insidehighered.
com/views/2013/02/14/ncaa-academic-reform-has-hurt-higher-eds-integrity-essay.
23 Alabama law professor Gene Marsh, who once chaired the NCAA’s Division I Committee
on Infractions, has noted that the presence in the student body of people ‘who really don’t
292
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belong’ because of their academic deficiencies has the inevitable effect of inducing
corruption. The imperative to keep players eligible ‘means you’re going to get more people
getting cute, more professors who lose their will and their ethics’. See Inside Higher Ed (US),
‘Bad apples or more?’, 7 February 2011. On the changed admissions standards introduced
in 2003, and their unintended consequences, see Inside Higher Ed (14 February 2013).
24 See the Wainstein ‘Final report supplements’, http://3qh929iorux3fdpl532k03kg.wpengine.
netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/UNC-FINAL-REPORT-SUPPLEMENTS.pdf.
5.3
The evolution of
professional college sport
in the United States
Allen Sack1
The United States is the only country in the world in which colleges and universities stage
mass athletic spectacles for commercial gain. In 2013 athletic programmes in higher education accounted for an estimated US$6.1 billion in revenue from activities such as ticket sales,
television and radio receipts, alumni contributions, guarantees, royalties and association distributions.2 Given that the athletes in this industry receive only room, board, tuition and fees
as compensation, it is not surprising that the issue of providing college athletes with a greater
share of the revenues has generated heated debate. This chapter examines the evolution of
professional college sport in the United States, and makes recommendations for how
to defend academic integrity in higher education from the corrosive aspects of the college
sport industry.
Historical context
At its first business meeting, in 1906, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
took a position on amateurism that was unequivocal and perfectly consistent with the
model inherited from elite British universities and public schools.3 According to article VI of
the bylaws, each institution was required to enforce amateur principles. The ‘offering of
inducements to players to enter colleges or universities because of their athletic abilities,
or maintaining players while students on account of their athletic abilities’ were treated as
blatant violations of amateurism. Need-based aid not related to sports did not violate
amateurism. Athletic scholarships did.4
As the twentieth century progressed, rampant commercialism in college sports and the
NCAA’s lack of enforcement power made violations of amateur rules a national scandal.5 As
the financial stakes increased, so too did the pressure to recruit and subsidise the best
players. In an effort to regulate behaviour it could not totally prevent, the NCAA compromised
its amateur code in 1956 by allowing subsidies in the form of athletic scholarships. An official
interpretation in the 1957 NCAA constitution limited these subsidies to room, board, tuition,
fees, books and US$15 a month for laundry.6
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US collegiate sports and corruption
According to Walter Byers, the NCAA executive director during this period, the new
scholarships, which were awarded for up to four years, could not be withdrawn if the
recipient chose not to play. He did not want players to be mistaken for employees. When a
college player was killed in an aeroplane crash while on an American football trip in the early
1960s, however, his family was awarded workers’ compensation benefits, on the grounds
that the payments he received each school quarter and his rent money during the
playing season were conditioned on his playing football. This ruling was taken very seriously
by the NCAA.7
Byers was concerned that some colleges were offering one-year grants that could be
cancelled if athletes voluntarily withdrew from sports, arguing that these grants ‘came
perilously close to employment contracts’.8 Everett Barnes, the NCAA secretary/treasurer,
contacted Warren Ashmead, an attorney, to get his opinion, which he shared with Byers.
Ashmead’s opinion was that, ‘if scholarships are not contingent on athletic activity, the athlete
would not come under workman’s compensation as there would be no penalty to students
when and if they cease athletic endeavors’.9
The issue seemed settled, until coaches, athletic directors and others began to complain
in the late 1960s that athletes were accepting scholarships but deciding not to play. In other
words, by granting ‘no cut’ four-year scholarships, the NCAA was protecting itself from
workers’ compensation lawsuits, but leaving the membership vulnerable to athletes who
correctly concluded that they were not employees under contract and could therefore
walk away from sporting activities if they so desired. To address this problem, the NCAA
passed rules in 1967 to allow the immediate cancellation of the scholarship of an athlete who
voluntarily withdrew from sport or who violated team rules.10
The 1967 decision allowed universities to cancel the scholarship of players who decided
to quit or who violated team rules, but it did not allow coaches to get rid of ‘dead wood’
whose lack of skills put their teams at a competitive disadvantage. The NCAA dealt with
this problem in 1973 by introducing one-year-renewable scholarships – a strategy that Byers
had rejected earlier. This rule, which went unchanged until 2012, allowed the cancellation
of an athlete’s scholarship at the end of one year for virtually any reason, including injury,
contribution to team success, the need to make room for a more talented recruit or failure to
fit into a coach’s style of play. The contractual nature of this relationship is unmistakable.11
Athletic performance in one year now became a condition for retaining the grant in a
subsequent year.
Not long after the 1973 decision a number of players claimed that they were employees at
the time they sustained serious injuries while playing college football. In one case, an athlete
relied on what is often called an ‘economic realities test’ to support his claim to be an
employee.12 According to this test, as used in the state of Michigan, four factors must be
present in a contract for hire: the proposed employer’s right to control the activities of
the proposed employee; the proposed employer’s right to discipline or fire the proposed
employee; the payment of wages or other benefits for daily living expenses; and whether the
task performed was an integral part of the employer’s business. The athlete lost his case in
this instance, because the judge ruled that college football is not a university business.
Over the next four decades one-year-renewable scholarships provided the burgeoning
multi-billion-dollar college sports business with a reliable and disciplined source of cheap
labour. Athletes who have not met a coach’s performance expectations can be encouraged
to transfer, or simply stripped of financial aid. Although several workers’ compensation cases
have been taken to court over the past couple of decades, NCAA attorneys and NCAA
member institutions have been able to persuade judges that college athletes are merely
students engaged in an amateur extracurricular activity.13
The evolution of professional college sport 295
The twenty-first century: the NCAA under attack
Although the NCAA’s amateur rhetoric dominated legal thinking throughout the twentieth
century, the unbridled commercialisation of big-time college sport in the United States during
the opening years of the new century has left the NCAA more exposed to legal attacks than
ever.14 Among the plaintiffs who have sued the NCAA during this period is Ed O’Bannon, a
former NCAA basketball player, who challenged the NCAA rule that bars college athletes from
receiving a share of the revenue the NCAA and its member institutions earn from the sale of
licences to use players’ names, images and likenesses. The players contend that these rules
are an unreasonable restraint of trade and thus violate the Sherman Antitrust Act, which aims
to prohibit anti-competitive practices.
In 2014 the federal judge in the O’Bannon case ruled that the NCAA’s limits on what major
college football and men’s basketball players can receive for playing sports unreasonably
restrain trade, in violation of the antitrust laws.15 The ruling enables football players in the top
Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and male basketball players in Division I to receive
a stipend of US$5,000 a year, taken from the revenue the NCAA generates from the licensing
of players’ names, images and likenesses. These stipends will remain in trust while athletes
are at school. The players will also receive the full cost of attendance, which generally exceeds
the current scholarship of room, board, tuition and fees by several thousand dollars, depending
on the location of the college or university attended.16
According to the judge in the O’Bannon case, the historical record reveals that the
NCAA has revised its rules governing athlete compensation numerous times over the years:
‘Rather than evincing the association’s adherence to a set of core principles, this history
documents how malleable the NCAA’s definition of amateurism has been since its founding.’17
This characterisation of the current use and misuse of the term ‘amateur’ by the NCAA adds
considerable support to the central thesis of this chapter, namely that the definition of
amateurism used by the founding fathers of the NCAA has been transformed on a number
of occasions to suit the NCAA’s political agenda. A counterfeit version has replaced the
real thing.
The NCAA appealed this case,18 and other antitrust cases against the NCAA are still in the
pipeline. But the most significant challenge to the NCAA’s argument that big-time college
athletes are amateurs and not professional employees is currently taking place in the state
of Illinois, where the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has recently ruled that the
Northwestern University football team has the right to unionise.19 Under the common law
definition of employment, an employee is a person who performs services for another under
a contract for hire, subject to the other’s control or right of control and in return for payment.20
College athletes would appear to fit the common law definition, and the NLRB in Illinois
recently used this common law definition to argue its case.
It is significant to note that the NCAA, under pressure from the US Department of Justice,
has recently changed its rules to give colleges and universities the option to return to the
multi-year scholarships that were in effect before 1973, and that Northwestern is one of
the schools that has done so.21 The NLRB argues, however, that a football player’s scholarship can be cancelled immediately if the athlete voluntarily withdraws from sport or abuses
team rules. Training for football at Northwestern University continues on a year-round basis.
According to the NLRB decision, Northwestern players must devote 40–50 hours per
week during the football season to their football duties. Athletes have to schedule classes to
meet the demands of sport, and sometimes switch to easier majors to have more time
for football. Failure to follow these rules puts an athlete’s scholarship at risk.22 Northwestern
has appealed the NLRB decision to the full NLRB. Just as in the O’Bannon case, this is still
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a work in progress. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that the very thought that plaintiffs might
ultimately win these cases has created the greatest crisis in the history of college sport in the
United States.
Discussion and recommendations for reform
Throughout the early twentieth century the NCAA was unwavering in its commitment to the
core amateur principle that college athletes should receive no financial inducements for
participating in collegiate sports. During this same period college sport in many colleges and
universities became a very popular form of mass commercial entertainment. As the decades
passed, and college sport became a multi-billion-dollar industry, it made no business sense
to trust the industry’s fortunes to amateur college athletes pursuing sports in their spare
time. The NCAA solution was to create a scholarship system that had all the trappings of
employment but capped compensation at room, board, tuition and fees.
It was only a matter of time before the fundamental contradiction in this model would
lead players to challenge the NCAA in court. If coaches can make millions of dollars a
year from these mass athletic spectacles, how is it legal or fair to exclude athletes from
this market? Perhaps anticipating a loss in the O’Bannon case, the NCAA’s five richest
and most powerful conferences have already formed an autonomous unit within the
NCAA that can share some of the US$1.5 billion it generates every year with football and
men’s basketball players. The problem with this strategy is that schools that are already
struggling to compete in football with the ‘Big Five’ conferences will find it impossible to do
so without budget cuts that could lead to the elimination of non-revenue-producing sports
on many campuses.23
While the strategy of the ‘Big Five’ may lead to reforms that produce financial benefits for
a limited number of big-time college athletes, it does nothing whatsoever to address the
complex problems facing sport in higher education in the United States today. To quote
Congressman Jim Moran, who recently sponsored a bill to establish a Presidential Commission
on Intercollegiate Athletics Reform: ‘We need to give our colleges and universities the tools
they need to sustain healthy intercollegiate athletic programs that benefit the schools and
protect our student-athletes.’24 Moran was not referring only to the athletes in the sports that
produce the most revenue, but to all NCAA athletes.
The near-total emphasis on college sport as commercial entertainment creates excessive
institutional expenditures on certain sports and has resulted in burdensome mandatory
student fees as a funding source for athletic programmes. Money that should support academic programmes and educational opportunities for students is often siphoned into palatial
stadiums, training facilities and coaches’ salaries.25 Elite athletes are often relegated to the
periphery of student life. Again to quote Congressman Moran, ‘Recent scandals involving . . .
a number of the nation’s most prestigious institutions reveal the absence of policy and practice that would ensure a level of academic integrity, athletic welfare and financial soundness
appropriate for non-profit institutions of higher education.’26
What may be needed is for Congress to consider replacing the NCAA with a federally
chartered corporation that would have a laser focus on education. Professionalism and
commercialism cannot be eliminated, but athletes should not be university employees like
players in the National Football League. This federally chartered organisation would funnel
benefits back to the athletes, but they would be educational and healthcare benefits, not cash
payments. This new organisation, which could be called the Collegiate Athletic Association of
the United States (CAAUS), would promulgate and enforce rules and regulations in order to
achieve reforms such as the following.
The evolution of professional college sport 297
• Ownership of the national Bowl Championship Series (BCS) should be given to CAAUS,
with the proceeds being used to subsidise member institution programmes that
contribute directly to the health, educational success and welfare of college athletes.
• Ensure that athletes are treated as students rather than employees or just athletes by
mandating scholarship awards that extend through graduation and prohibiting
cancellation for reasons of athletic performance or injury. Cancellation should be
permitted only for voluntary withdrawal or serious violations of team rules.
• Require that all full scholarships awarded to Division I athletes cover the full cost of
attendance as defined by the federal government, not merely the cost of education –
the present NCAA limit.
• A committee composed of members of each faculty senate should closely review the
disciplinary rules and regulations created by coaches and athletic directors to ensure
they are consistent with academic best practices.
• Require CAAUS and its members each to retain 5 per cent of their gross annual media
rights fees in an academic trust fund, to be utilised to disburse education grants to
college athletes who have not completed their undergraduate degrees or wish to
continue their education.
• Provide strong CAAUS due-process protection for college athletes, institutions and
employees in danger of losing participation privileges or incurring financial penalties for
alleged rule violations.
• Give CAAUS a limited antitrust exemption to control the cost of athletic programmes by
capping sport programme operating expenditures and salary and wage budgets and
preventing excessive expenditures.
• Allow freshman eligibility for only those athletes whose high-school grade point average
or standardised test scores are within one standard deviation of the mean academic
profile of their entering class, thus giving ‘special admit’ students time to adjust to a more
competitive academic environment than they may be used to.
• Provide extensive academic remediation for athletes who are ineligible to play as
freshmen and limit their practice time to ten hours a week. Remediation should begin in
the summer, before these athletes enter college.
• Require that all academic and counselling support services for college athletes be under
the direct supervision and budgetary control of the institution’s academic authority,
administered externally to the athletic department, and be consistent with counselling
and support services for all students.
• Require institutions to provide ‘whistleblower protections’ for those who disclose
unethical conduct or institutional rules violations related to the conduct of athletics
programmes.
• Limit athletic playing and practice seasons so as to minimise interference with athletes’
opportunities for acquiring a high-quality education in a manner consistent with that
afforded to the general student body.
• Institutions should work with faculty senates to ensure that athletic contests are
scheduled such that they minimise conflict with class attendance, and no athlete should
be prohibited from taking a class that may occasionally conflict with a practice, or team,
meeting.
These are just a few suggestions, to demonstrate the priorities of this new organisation.
The CAAUS would allow universities to continue to provide a point of emotional attachment
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for fans, alumni and students. In fact, it could increase fan interest in athletic programmes
that are not part of the major conferences. This model contains some of the best aspects
of college sports in the United States, where competitive sport has always been a part of
campus life.
Notes
1 Allen Sack is professor in the College of Business at the University of New Haven,
Connecticut, and was a member of the University of Notre Dame’s 1966 National
Championship football team. He is immediate past president of the Drake Group, an
organisation committed to defending academic integrity in college sports.
2 See the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s revenue page: www.ncaa.org/about/
resources/finances/revenue.
3 Howard Savage, Games and Sports in British Schools and Universities (New York: Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1927), p. 78.
4 NCAA, formerly the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS),
Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting (New York: IAAUS, 1906), p. 33.
5 Jack Falla, NCAA: The Voice of College Sports (Mission, KS: NCAA, 1981), pp. 9–17.
6 ‘Constitution of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, including official interpretations:
article III’, in NCAA 1956–57 Yearbook (Kansas City, MO: NCAA, 1956), p. 4.
7 In a letter from Robert F. Ray, NCAA president, and Everett D. Barnes, secretary/treasurer, to
faculty representative and athletic directors of member institutions, a request was made for
institutions to protect themselves from further workmen’s compensation claims by student
athletes by changing the wording of grants-in-aids to ensure that there did not appear
to be an employment relationship: see Unorganized Walter Byers Papers, Workman
Compensation Folder, 21 December 1964, NCAA headquarters, Overland Park, Kansas.
See also Allen Sack and Ellen Staurowsky, College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and
Legacy of the NCAA’s Amateur Myth (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), pp. 81–82
8 Walter Byers, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes (Ann Arbor, MI:
University of Michigan Press, 1995), p. 75.
9 Everett D. Barnes, letter to Walter Byers, 6 July 1964, Walter Byers Papers, Long Planning
Folder, NCAA headquarters, Overland Park, Kansas.
10 M.R. Clausen, the person who proposed this amendment, argued that it would allow an
athlete who had voluntarily left sport to be referred for disciplinary action, which could lead
to the withdrawal of financial aid; see NCAA, Proceedings of the 61st Annual Convention
(Kansas City, MO: NCAA, 1967), p. 122.
11 Robert A. McCormick and Amy Christian McCormick, ‘The myth of the student athlete: the
college athlete as employee’, Washington Law Review, vol. 8 (2006).
12 Coleman v. Western Michigan University, 336 N. W. 2n 224 (1983).
13See Rensing v. Indiana State University, 444 N.E. 2d. 1173 (1983). Kent Waldrep was
rendered a quadriplegic in a Southeast Conference football game in 1974. Waldrep lost his
final appeal in his legal quest for workman’s compensation benefits in 2000. It may be
prophetic that the judges concluded their opinion by noting that ‘college athletics has
changed dramatically over the years’, and they could not say what their ruling would be
‘if an analogous case were to arise today’. See Waldrep v. Texas Employers Insurance
Association, 21 S.W.3d 692 (Tex. App. 2000).
14 Mary Grace Miller, ‘NCAA and the student-athlete: reform is on the horizon’, University of
Richmond Law Review, vol. 46 (2012).
15 New York Times (US), ‘N.C.A.A. must allow colleges to pay athletes, judge rules’, 8 August
2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/sports/federal-judge-rules-against-ncaa-in-obannoncase.html.
16 New York Times (US), ‘What the O’Bannon ruling means for colleges and players’, 8 August
2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/08/09/sports/what-the-obannon-ruling-means-for-collegesand-players.html.
The evolution of professional college sport 299
17 Edward O’Bannon et al., Plaintiffs v. National Collegiate Athletic Association; Electronic Arts
Inc.; and Collegiate Licensing Company, Defendants, no. C 09-3329 CW (N. D. Cal. 2014),
www.nacua.org/documents/Wilken-NCAA-Order_8-11-14.pdf, p. 80.
18 New York Times (US), ‘After ruling in O’Bannon case, determining the future of amateur
athletics’, 21 October 2014, www.nytimes.com/2014/10/22/sports/after-obannon-rulingfiguring-out-whats-next.html.
19 ESPN (US), ‘Northwestern players get union vote’, 27 March 2014, http://espn.go.com/
college-football/story/_/id/10677763/northwestern-wildcats-football-players-win-bidunionize.
20 Charles Muhl, ‘What is an employee? The answer depends on the federal law’, Monthly
Labor Review (January 2002), p. 3.
21 Thomas Bright, ‘NCAA institutes multi-year scholarships’, DePaul Journal of Sports Law
and Contemporary Problems, vol. 8 (2011).
22 NLRB, Illinois, ‘United States Government before the Labor Relations Board, Region 13’,
Northwestern, Employee, and College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), Petitioner,
case 13-RC-121359, www.cnn.com/2014/images/03/26/Decision_and_Direction_of_
Election.pdf.
23 Chronicle of Higher Education (US), ‘The “Big Five” power grab: the real threat to college
sports’, 19 June 2014, http://chronicle.com/article/The-Big-Five-Power-Grab-/147265.
24 Fairfax News (US), ‘Rep. Moran introduces bill to reform NCAA’, 1 December 2014.
For a discussion of the bill, see News & Observer (US), ‘US legislation would create
presidential commission for college sports’, 4 December 2014, www.newsobserver.
com/2014/12/04/4376880_federal-legislation-would-create.html?rh=1.
25 David Ridpath, Brian Porto, Gerald Gurney, Donna Lopiano, Allen Sack, Mary Willingham
and Andrew Zimbalist, ‘The Drake Group position statement: student fee allocations to fund
intercollegiate athletics’, 2 March 2015.
26See www.arlnow.com/2014/12/02/moran-introduces-bill-to-reform-broken-college-sportssystem.
5.4
Inequality, discrimination
and sexual violence
in US collegiate sports
Erin Buzuvis and Kristine Newhall1
College athletics is a popular cultural institution, attracting thousands of participants and
millions of fans each year. Yet, examining US college athletics reveals a pattern of inequality,
discrimination and abuse, which operates to foreclose women’s access and suppress
women’s interest in athletic participation and leadership. This chapter examines three genderrelated issues of integrity in college athletics: gender discrimination in athletic participation
and opportunity; barriers to leadership for women coaches and administrators; and the
relationship between athletics and sexual violence at college and universities.
Discrimination in athletic participation and opportunity
Colleges and universities provide the majority of athletic opportunities to men,2 even though
women make up a majority of college students.3 This imbalance exists despite the fact that
Title IX, a federal statute passed in 1972, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in
educational programmes that receive federal financial assistance.4 Title IX is credited with
increasing the number and quality of opportunities for female athletes, yet many schools still
struggle with compliance. Under the law, colleges and universities must provide equitable
athletic opportunities to men and women using one of three possible compliance tests.5
Some institutions seek to avoid the expense of compliance with any of these tests – which
generally require6 adding new opportunities for women – by manipulating their rosters to give
the appearance of providing a proportionate distribution of athletic opportunities. For example,
litigation exposed one university’s practice of ‘triple-counting’ female runners as members of
cross-country, winter track and spring track teams, even though, for many of the runners, the
track teams operated as an ‘adjunct’ to the cross-country team: merely a source of offseason training rather than as a source of athletic opportunity in their own right.7 Colleges and
universities have over-counted women’s athletic opportunities, as well as under-counting
those for men,8 to create the appearance of proportionality and thus avoid the legal obligation
to create new athletic opportunities for women that would exist under either of the two
alternative measures of compliance.
Title IX also requires that athletics departments provide equal treatment to men’s and
women’s programmes in the aggregate, as measured by factors such as the quality of
Sexual violence in US collegiate sports 301
facilities, equipment and uniforms; the schedule of games and practices; the quality of coaching and of the academic and medical services received; and publicity and promotion.9
Relatedly, the law requires athletics departments to distribute scholarship dollars proportionately to the percentage of athletes of each sex.10 The fact that men’s athletic programmes
generally receive more resources than women’s,11 as well as the fact that female college
athletes receive a smaller share of scholarship dollars,12 suggests that there is likely widespread non-compliance with these requirements as well.13 Although the revenue-generating
potential of men’s football and basketball may explain why schools are willing to provide
greater support to men’s programmes, Title IX does not permit athletics departments
to provide inferior treatment to women’s teams on the basis of consumer preferences for
men’s sports.14
Barriers to leadership for women coaches and administrators
Women constitute a minority (23 per cent) of head coaches at the college level, and are
similarly under-represented at the highest levels of administration. Notably, women are even
minorities among coaches of women’s teams (43 per cent), and are hardly represented at
all (3 per cent) among coaches of men’s teams.15 Additionally, while African-American
female athletes and coaches are not under-represented relative to the population data, their
participation is overwhelmingly confined to basketball and running sports, suggesting that
race and gender combine to erect barriers to entry into other sports.16
Several cases have revealed how retaliation, hostile environments and double standards
operate to exclude women from the ranks of coaches and administrators.17 For example,
litigation exposed several instances in which athletics administrators at California State
University, Fresno, retaliated against female coaches and administrators for advocating
for gender equity on behalf of themselves and their players.18 The lawsuits also revealed the
athletics department’s homophobic atmosphere, tolerance for sexual harassment and
tendency to single out female coaches for discipline. The plaintiffs in these cases prevailed in
multi-million-dollar settlements and jury awards.19 While these cases and others show that
it is possible to use Title IX and other anti-discrimination laws to successfully challenge
these practices, the high social and financial costs of challenging inequality, as well as the
difficulty proving discriminatory motivation, deter many potential plaintiffs from pursuing legal
recourse. The fact that coaches of women’s teams earn less than those of men’s teams has
also proved impervious to legal recourse, even though it suggests the possibility of pay
discrimination against female coaches, who are virtually excluded from the opportunities in
higher-paying jobs coaching men.20
Student-athletes and sexual violence
Sexual assault and violence is an epidemic across American college campuses.21 Although
there is no definitive data22 that athletes – at any level – are more prone to violence than their
non-athlete peers, the culture of college athletics has created a unique environment in which
there has been significant mishandling of sexual violence accusations against student
athletes. This is the result of both a culture of entitlement for student athletes and a win-at-allcosts mentality within athletics departments and schools.23
Historically, student athletes have received various privileges and perks, often in violation
of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules and Title IX, including preferential
housing, gifts and money from alumni, and unique academic considerations including special
classes, scheduling and assignments.24 Although some of these have been eliminated, the
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sentiment remains that athletes, and by extension athletics departments, occupy a high
position in the campus hierarchy. One result of this has been that student-athletes who are
accused of sexual assault and violence are often shielded from formal investigations, or even
basic questioning, after an incident. In 2010, at the University of Notre Dame, the campus
police were not allowed access to a football player who had been accused of rape because
he was in athletics department facilities.25
One explanation for the practices that privilege student-athletes is the increasing pressure
on athletics departments to be successful on the playing field in order to increase athletics
department revenue via sponsorships, television rights, alumni donations and, potentially,
increased student enrolment. The win-at-all-costs mentality that results has shielded
accused student-athletes whom coaches, administrators and even fans believe are essential
for achieving or maintaining winning traditions and providing entertainment. Thus they
are willing to bend, stretch or ignore the rules governing the handling of reported sexual
assaults when the accused are student-athletes. Evidence of this can be seen at the abovementioned University of Notre Dame, as well as at Florida State University and the University
of Missouri.26
The visibility of big-time college athletics programmes and their star athletes has played
a significant role in the recent awareness about campus sexual assault in the United
States, however, as seen in the public attention to several high-profile legal cases.27
In 2011 the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a sub-agency of the US Department of Education,
responsible for the oversight of Title IX, issued a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter that explicitly states
the responsibilities of schools under Title IX to investigate claims of sexual violence. This letter
of clarification was motivated in part by cases involving student-athletes, including a 2001
university-sanctioned party at the University of Colorado for football players and recruits at
which two female students reported being raped.28 The ‘Dear Colleague’ letter states that
all schools must institute proper procedures for investigating accusations, and notes that
they ‘must apply to all students, including athletes’. Schools are required to do their own
independent investigations, and ‘complaints must not be addressed solely by athletics
department procedures’.29 The Colorado case ended with a large settlement for the
victims and changes to the university’s policies and procedures regarding the investigation
of incidents.
Nonetheless, athletics departments continue to protect athletes accused of sexual violence,
often in violation of the OCR’s mandate that schools ‘take immediate and effective steps to
end sexual harassment and sexual violence’.30 These illegal practices include dismissing
student-athletes from the team but allowing them to remain on campus, facilitating transfers to
new schools by exempting them from their athletic commitment, handling accusations solely
within athletic departments, not reporting incidents to the proper university officials and
delaying investigation until an athlete’s season is over. These are all ongoing practices, as
evidenced in cases in the past ten years including at Florida State University, the University of
Oregon, the University of Missouri, the University of Tulsa and the University of Notre Dame.31
Conclusion
There are a number of remedies that can mitigate the problems within college athletics related
to discrimination, inequality and sexual violence. Some of these remedies require government
intervention. For example, the Department of Education could engage in more aggressive
Title IX enforcement to ensure that institutions are held accountable for non-compliance even
when victims of discrimination are deterred from filing lawsuits by the associated financial,
emotional, social and professional costs. Congress could put pressure on the NCAA, via an
Sexual violence in US collegiate sports 303
exemption from antitrust law, for example, to reform itself in such a way that reduces the
commercialised nature of college athletics, thus reducing economic pressure on athletics
departments to engage in the corrupt practices discussed above.
Colleges and universities could do a better job of policing themselves, such as by agreeing
to condition NCAA membership status on Title IX compliance. As a step in this direction,
the NCAA could restore the self-study process it once required of its Division I members,
which conditioned membership on the institution’s ability to evaluate and demonstrate its
commitment to gender equity across a variety of measures. The NCAA could also implement
policies that promote transparency in the handling of cases of athletes accused of assault,
including penalising institutions that are found to have sheltered athletes from discipline or
that have accepted the transfer of student-athletes found responsible for sexual violence.32
Colleges and universities could also improve the education and training they provide to
staff on how to attain and sustain equitable participation opportunities, combat the implicit
bias that serves as a barrier to women’s athletic leadership, and effectively carry out their
duties to report and address accusations of sexual violence.
Finally, the public in general, including fans, alumni, students and parents, have a role to
play. By choosing carefully which college athletics programmes to attend and support, they
can increase the pressure on universities to denounce and desist the inequitable allocation
of resources, biased hiring practices and tolerance of sexual violence. Withholding support
from athletics programmes that engage in these practices will ensure that they lack the
resources to continue to engage in them.
Notes
1 Erin Buzuvis is a professor of law at Western New England University, Springfield,
Massachusetts, and Kristine Newhall is a lecturer in sport management at the University
of Massachusetts, Amherst. Together they founded and contribute to the Title IX Blog.
2 See National Collegiate Athletic Association, Student-Athlete Participation 1981/82–
2013/14: NCAA Sports Sponsorship and Participation Rates Report (Indianapolis: NCAA,
2015), pp. 75–76 (reporting a total of 207,814 opportunities in women’s sports and 271,055
in men’s).
3 National Center for Education Statistics, ‘Digest of education statistics’, table 303.10,
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_303.10.asp.
4 Code of Laws (US), Title 20, chapter 38, § 1681: ‘Sex’, www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/
20/1681.
5 First, they may comply by showing that the distribution of athletic opportunities is
proportionate to the percentage of each sex in the student body. Alternatively, they may
comply by showing a ‘history and continuing practice’ of expanding athletic opportunities
for women as ‘the underrepresented sex’. Another possibility is that they may demonstrate
that they offer enough athletic opportunities to fully satisfy the interests and abilities of the
under-represented sex. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, ‘Policy interpretation:
Title IX and intercollegiate athletics’, Federal Register, vol. 44 (11 December 1979),
pp. 71413, 71418.
6 As an alternative to adding opportunities for women, it is possible for institutions to comply
with the proportionality prong by contracting opportunities for men, as this practice is not
prohibited by Title IX or any law. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the fact that the Department
of Education calls cutting men’s teams a ‘disfavored’ compliance, institutions regularly
blame Title IX for such decisions rather than acknowledge the fact that the law preserves
institutions’ own autonomy to decide whether to comply by adding teams for women
instead of cutting teams for men.
7 Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, 728 F. Supp. 2d62, 101–108 (D. Conn. 2010).
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US collegiate sports and corruption
8 New York Times (US), ‘College teams, relying on deception, undermine gender equity’, 25
April 2011, www.nytimes.com/2011/04/26/sports/26titleix.html?_r=0.
9 US Code of Federal Regulations, 34 C.F.R. 106.41(c).
10 US Code of Federal Regulations, 34 C.F.R. 106.37(c).
11 National Collegiate Athletic Association, Gender-Equity 2004–2010: NCAA Gender-Equity
Report (Indianapolis: NCAA, 2012).
12Ibid.
13 Erin Buzuvis and Kristine Newhall, ‘Equality beyond the three-part test: exploring and
explaining the invisibility of Title IX’s equal treatment requirement’, Marquette Sports Law
Review, vol. 22 (2012).
14 Erin Buzuvis, ‘Athlete compensation for women too? Title IX implications of Northwestern
and O’Bannon’, Journal of College and University Law, vol. 41 (2015).
15 Vivian Acosta and Linda Carpenter, ‘Women in college sport: a longitudinal, national study
– thirty-seven year update, 1977–2014’, http://acostacarpenter.org//2014%20Status%20
of%20Women%20in%20Intercollegiate%20Sport%20-37%20Year%20Update%20-%20
1977-2014%20.pdf.
16 Richard Lapchick, ‘The 2012 racial and gender report card: college sport’, www.tidesport.
org/RGRC/2012/2012_College_RGRC.pdf.
17 Erin Buzuvis, ‘Sidelined: examining barriers to women’s leadership in college athletics
through the lens of Title IX retaliation cases’, Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy,
vol. 17 (2010).
18Ibid.
19Ibid.
20 NCAA (2012).
21 Mother Jones (US), ‘This new study shows sexual assault on college campuses has
reached “epidemic” levels’, 20 May 2015, www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/05/
campus-sexual-assault-study; Kate Carey, Sarah Durney, Robyn Shepardson and Michael
Carey, ‘Incapacitated and forcible rape of college women: prevalence across the first year’,
Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 56 (2015), pp. 678–680.
22 Findings from several studies suggest that college athletes may commit sexual assault at
rates higher than their non-athlete undergraduate peers and/or that male athletes in certain
sports (that is, football and wrestling) may demonstrate higher levels of sexual aggression.
These findings have not been replicated, however, as researchers face significant constraints
in the collection of data (such as privacy rights and under-reporting).
23 New York Times (US), ‘Errors in inquiry on rape allegations against FSU’s Jameis Winston’,
16 April 2014, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/16/sports/errors-in-inquiry-on-rapeallegations-against-fsu-jameis-winston.html; Huffington Post (US), ‘University of Missouri
mishandled sexual assault case, review finds’, 11 April 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/
2014/04/11/missouri-sexual-assault-review-university_n_5134699.html; The Big Lead (US),
‘Missouri failed to conduct Title IX investigation on sexual assault allegation against football
player’, 21 August 2014, http://thebiglead.com/2014/08/21/missouri-failed-to-conducttitle-ix-investigation-on-sexual-assault-allegation-against-football-player.
24 Huffington Post (US), ‘These college athletes say they deserve special treatment’,
2 September 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/02/college-athletes-deservespecial-treatment_n_5749758.html.
25 Kirby Dick, The Hunting Ground (California: RADiUS-TWC, 2015).
26 Ibid., note 23.
27 ESPNW (US), ‘Athletic departments handing sexual assault cases: never a good idea’,
21 August 2014, http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/11386174/whyathletic-departments-clueless-handling-sexual-assaults; ESPN (US), ‘Outside the lines:
Missouri, Tulsa, southern Idaho face allegations they did not investigate Title IX cases’,
25 August 2014, http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/11381416.
28 ESPN (US), ‘Timeline: Colorado recruiting scandal’, 27 May 2004, http://sports.espn.
go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1803891.
Sexual violence in US collegiate sports 305
29 US Department of Education, ‘Dear Colleague letter: Office of the Assistant Secretary’,
4 April 2011, www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.html.
30Ibid.
31 Huffington Post (11 April 2014); The Big Lead (2014); New York Times (2014); Huffington
Post (US), ‘Notre Dame, stung by “The Hunting Ground,” is under US investigation for
sexual harassment cases’, 17 April 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/17/notredame-sexual-harassment-hunting-ground_n_7082702.html; USA Today, ‘Ex-NFL player’s
son, Patrick Swilling Jr., implicated in sexual assault lawsuit’, 18 August 2014, www.
usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2014/08/18/patrick-swilling-tulsa-sexual-assault-lawsuittitle-ix/14104075; The Oregonian (US), ‘University of Oregon and Dana Altman sued over
alleged sexual assault’, 8 January 2015, www.oregonlive.com/ducks/index.ssf/2015/01/
university_of_oregon_and_dana.html.
32 The Southeastern Conference, one of the most powerful intercollegiate athletics conferences
in the United States, recently instituted a policy preventing the acceptance of transfer
student-athletes who had been found guilty of ‘serious misconduct’, including sexual
assault and domestic violence, at their previous institutions. It remains unknown whether
other conferences or the NCAA will adopt similar policies. Sports Illustrated (US), ‘SEC bars
transfer athletes dismissed for “serious misconduct”’, 29 May 2014, www.si.com/collegefootball/2015/05/29/sec-transfer-rule-serious-misconduct-domestic-violence.
PART 6
The role of participants
Within and beyond the sports family
6.1
The International Olympic
Committee’s actions to
protect the integrity of sport
Pâquerette Girard Zappelli1
We need to change because sport today is too important in society to ignore the rest
of society. We are not living on an island, we are living in the middle of a modern,
diverse, digital society . . . This society will not wait for sport to change. If we want our
values of Olympism – the values of excellence, respect, friendship, dialogue, diversity,
non-discrimination, tolerance, fair play, solidarity, development and peace – to remain
relevant in society, the time for change is now.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach
As leader of the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) encourages
all other sports organisations to follow its lead in regard to strengthening integrity in sport.
Shaken by the corruption scandal related to the awarding of the Salt Lake City Winter
Olympic Games in 2002, the IOC reacted strongly by adopting a large number of regulations
and processes aimed at severely limiting the risk of recurrence. In addition to ensuring good
governance, the IOC also has a duty to safeguard clean athletes and competitions. Corrupt
competition makes sport a meaningless spectacle, and nobody is interested in watching or
taking part in a competition whose outcome is tainted or – worse – already determined before
it begins. Furthermore, failing to protect the integrity of sport means the IOC cannot promote
positive values through sport.
As a result, the IOC applies a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to manipulation at
the Olympic Games. The two biggest threats to the integrity of sport are doping and the
manipulation of competitions, also known as match-fixing. The IOC has put a number of
measures in place to protect the Olympic Games, many of which have been offered for wider
use among the Olympic movement stakeholders.
Following are some of the key actions taken by the IOC since 1999 to protect the integrity
of sport.
1999: actions taken in the aftermath of the Salt Lake City scandal
The Salt Lake City scandal – in which IOC members were accused of taking bribes from the
Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) during the bidding process – was one of the most
310
The role of participants
serious situations the IOC has ever been confronted with.2 The IOC’s reaction was swift and
strong. All of the following occurred within six months of the allegations coming to light:
• an Ad-Hoc Committee investigated the various events;
• six IOC members were expelled; seven others were sanctioned;
• the IOC set up a permanent and independent Ethics Commission involving a majority of
independent, high-ranking international personalities including a former UN secretarygeneral, judges from the supreme court and International Court of Justice, as well as a
former head of the Swiss Confederation;3 and
• the IOC Code of Ethics was developed and approved.
At the same time the IOC Session, which is the annual assembly of the full IOC membership,
approved a number of new reforms, including a limit to the IOC president’s term and a ban on
IOC members not serving on the Evaluation Commission from visiting candidate cities.4
In the following years the Ethics Commission created the position of permanent secretary
and approved a large number of implementing provisions, such as its independent status, rules
of procedure, directions for the election of the IOC president, regulations concerning conflict of
interest, and rules of conduct for the bidding process for hosting the Olympic Games.
These regulations have since been updated regularly and are explained to the IOC
membership at every IOC Session.
2003–2005: the bidding process for the Olympic Games in 2012
For the first time, a full set of Rules of Conduct was approved and implemented, thereby
providing bid cities with a clear framework for their international promotion and relations with
IOC members. While this process was ongoing it was revealed that an IOC member and
various consultants had breached the Code of Ethics in regard to bids.5 The respective IOC
member was expelled and the consultants were declared personae non gratae.
These decisions show the IOC’s firm stance in regard to any form of corruption. This
zero-tolerance policy underpinned a number of other decisions to sanction any IOC member
proved to have breached the IOC Code of Ethics.6
2009: the XIII Olympic Congress in Copenhagen
The 2009 Congress provided a rare opportunity for the entire Olympic family (i.e. IOC
members, representatives of national Olympic committees (NOCs), international federations
(IFs), the organising committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs), athletes, coaches, media,
sponsors and other stakeholders) to meet and discuss issues of importance to the Movement. In the field of ethics, this Congress allowed all the Olympic Movement stakeholders,
including all the NOCs, IFs and recognised sports organisations, to approve and take on
board the following:
• the Basic Principle of Good Governance for the Sports Organisations;
• recommendation 41, which states that the ‘legitimacy and autonomy of the Olympic
7
Movement depend on upholding the highest standards of ethical behaviour and good
governance’; and
• recommendation 42, which states that all members of the Olympic movement should
‘adopt and implement a code of ethics based on the principles and rules of the IOC
Code of Ethics’.8
The IOC’s actions to protect integrity 311
2014: Olympic Agenda 2020
Following his election in September 2013, IOC president Thomas Bach launched an open,
inclusive and wide-ranging debate called Olympic Agenda 2020. Discussions centred on
recommendations for a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic movement and
involved all Olympic Movement stakeholders, external stakeholders and the public. Following
this consultation, 40 recommendations were formulated and unanimously approved by the
IOC Session in December 2014.9 The protection of clean athletes forms an essential part of
Olympic Agenda 2020. The six recommendations relating to increased transparency and
strengthened ethics measures will have been implemented by the time of the IOC Session in
Kuala Lumpur in July–August 2015.
Introducing the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations to the IOC Session in December
ahead of the vote, President Bach summed up the new philosophy and reasoning behind
the reforms through the words of Nelson Mandela, that ‘sport has the power to change the
world’, and that ‘you can inspire others to change, only if you are ready to change yourself’.10
This begins with people getting the Olympic message of dialogue, of respect for rules, of
tolerance, solidarity and peace.
Olympic Agenda 2020 addresses the issue of credibility for competitions as well as for
organisations. It will encourage potential candidate cities to present a holistic concept of
respect for the environment, feasibility and of development, to leave a lasting legacy,
respecting that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the sustainability of the Olympic
Games, while ‘at the same time safeguarding the unity of the Olympic Movement by ensuring
the respect of the host for our values and the respect for the athletes who are at the heart of
the Olympic Games’.11
Olympic Agenda 2020 also commits the IOC to strengthen good governance, transparency
and ethics. This includes that members of the Ethics Commission will be elected by the IOC
Session rather than the IOC executive board. The Ethics Commission will draft new rules in line
with the Olympic Agenda 2020.The IOC will also create the position of a compliance officer.
Financial statements will be prepared and audited by the benchmark International Financial
Reporting Standards (IFRS), even if from the legal perspective much less transparent
standards would be sufficient. The IOC will provide an annual activity and financial report,
including the allowance policy for IOC members, which will give evidence for the fact that the
IOC members are genuine volunteers.
With regard to the credibility of sports competitions and of athletes, President Bach stated
that ‘we have first and foremost to protect the clean athletes . . . from doping, matchfixing, manipulation and corruption. We have to change our way of thinking. We have to
consider every single cent in the fight against these evils not as an expense but as an
investment in the future of Olympic Sport.’12 This will include supporting innovative antidoping research, which leads to a better and less onerous protection of the clean athlete, and
creating robust education, awareness and prevention programmes against match-fixing,
manipulation and corruption.
2006–2015: protection of clean athletes against competition
manipulation
The manipulation of sports competitions, in particular when linked to betting activities, has
become an area of great concern in recent years. Like doping, such corruption threatens the
very integrity of sport. Recommendation 16 of Olympic Agenda 2020 aims to protect Olympic
events from any kind of manipulation through robust education and awareness programmes.
312
The role of participants
This threat has been on the IOC’s radar for many years already. Since 2006 the IOC has
implemented wide-ranging measures to deal with the threat. These include rules prohibiting
Olympic Games participants from betting on Olympic events; the monitoring of betting
patterns related to Olympic events; educational programmes for athletes; cooperation with
Interpol to raise awareness at all levels; and a whistleblower system.13
A major step forward was taken in 2014 with the launch of the IOC’s Integrity Betting
Intelligence System (IBIS),14 a centralised mechanism for the exchange of information
and intelligence. IBIS enables the sport movement to allocate and analyse information and
intelligence about potential manipulation of competitions efficiently at one source and to
communicate with entities on the sports betting side and/or governmental agencies. It covers
all Olympic sports (except football, which is dealt with by the Union of European Football
Associations (UEFA) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)), and,
after the Olympic Games in Rio 2016, will come into force at other multi-sports events.
To maximise the impact of its actions, the IOC works in close partnership not only with
Olympic Movement stakeholders, but with key international players such as the United
Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, Interpol, the United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime and UNESCO, to name just a few.
Strengthening good governance and protecting clean athletes is a top priority for the IOC.
Through Olympic Agenda 2020 and other measures taken since 1999, the IOC remains fully
committed to protecting them from doping, match-fixing, manipulation and corruption.
Notes
1 Pâquerette Girard Zappelli is chief ethics and compliance officer of the International Olympic
Committee.
2 See Bill Mallon, ‘The Olympic bribery scandal’, Journal of Olympic History, vol. 8 (2000).
3 For a summary of the mandate of the Ethics Commission, see www.olympic.org/ethicscommission.
4 For further details, please refer to the full report by the IOC 2000 Commission to the
110th IOC Session: www.olympic.org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_588.pdf.
5 See ‘Decision no. 5/04 dated 25.10.04 Mr Ivan Slavkov – decision by the 117th IOC
Session, Singapore, 07.07.05, to expel Mr Ivan Slavkov from the IOC’, www.olympic.
org/Documents/Reports/EN/en_report_912.pdf.
6 For more information, please consult our website, where all the texts and decisions have
been published: www.olympic.org/ethics-commission.
7 For an overview of the Basic Principle of Good Governance for the Sports Organisations,
see www.olympic.org/ethics-commission?tab=good-governance.
8 Read the full set of the Olympic Congress 2009 recommendations: ‘The Olympic Movement
in society’, www.olympic.org/Documents/Congress_2009/Recommendations-eng.pdf.
9 Read the full document: International Olympic Committee, Olympic Agenda 2020: 20+20
Recommendations (Lausanne: IOC, 2014), www.olympic.org/documents/olympic_agenda_
2020/olympic_agenda_2020-20-20_recommendations-eng.pdf.
10 Thomas Bach, ‘Speech on the occasion of the opening ceremony, 127th IOC Session,
Monaco, 7 December 2014’, www.olympic.org/Documents/IOC_Executive_Boards_and_
Sessions/IOC_Sessions/127_Session_Monaco_2014/127th_IOC_Session_Speech_
Opening_Ceremony_President_Bach-English.pdf.
11Ibid.
12Ibid.
13See the Integrity and Compliance Hotline: www.olympic.org/integrityhotline.
14 For more information, see ‘IOC Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS)’, factsheet
(Lausanne: IOC, 2015), www.olympic.org/Documents/Reference_documents_Factsheets/
Integrity_Betting_Intelligence_System_IBIS.pdf.
6.2
Combating the risk
of corruption in sport
An intergovernmental perspective
Stanislas Frossard1
Introduction
Promotion of the Council of Europe’s values – human rights, democracy and the rule of law
– cannot be reserved for specialists, whether diplomats, officials or judges. These values
must be experienced on a daily basis. They are not just matters for the organs of state but
need to be adopted by civil society, promoted through education and fully integrated into our
culture. It is in this spirit that the European Cultural Convention has, since 1955, taken the
work of the Council of Europe into sectors such as education, culture, youth and sport.
The sport movement, in particular, is a part of civil society, which concerns a high proportion
of the population as either participants or spectators. It is also an economic sector that is
not negligible: economic activities related to sport represent 2 per cent of the European
Union’s total GDP, and sports activities generate the equivalent of 7.3 million jobs, equivalent
to 3.5 per cent of the working population.2 Sport can contribute to education by developing
knowledge, skills and attitudes such as commitment within an organised group, respect for
opponents and rules, team spirit, and so on. Sport can promote these values within society,
and also contributes to public health and social inclusion.
The fight against corruption in sport is central to the role of the Council of Europe, which
entails the promotion of the rule of law and democracy. Protecting sport from corruption not
only makes sport more efficient and its organisations more reliable partners, but also sends
out an important message about the fight against corruption in society. The governments that
allocate, directly or indirectly, large sums of money to sports organisations and events are
accountable to their taxpayers for the good use made of those funds. Preserving sport’s
autonomy and ensuring that the funds have been used for the purposes for which they were
allocated is a challenge to governments. Quite clearly, both autonomy and transparency are
important, and governments must verify that the public money allocated to sport is spent in
accordance with the applicable rules and with the commitments made, but without unduly or
arbitrarily interfering with the decisions of sports organisations.
Over the past ten years the fight against corruption in sport has forced its way onto the
political agenda. In view of the European involvement in the international sport movement,
European states’ role as hosts of events or as countries where sports organisations are
314
The role of participants
headquartered, and public authorities’ financial participation in sport, the Council of Europe
has played a part in this movement, promoting the good governance of sport, combating
the manipulation of sports competitions (e.g. match-fixing) and, more recently, combating
corruption in the governance of sports organisations or events. This subject, long a ‘hot
potato’ tackled only indirectly by public authorities, is now therefore on the political agenda of
intergovernmental cooperation. States, while reaffirming their attachment to the principle
of autonomy for the sport movement, wish to back sports organisations’ initiatives with a view
to better governance and to shoulder their share of the responsibility as partners of the sport
movement and as guarantors of the punishment of criminal offences.
Moving towards better governance in sport
The Council of Europe broached the issue of good governance in sport at its 10th Conference
of Ministers responsible for Sport (Budapest, 2004). In the wake of the conference the
Committee of Ministers adopted recommendation REC(2005)8 to member states on
the principles of good governance in sport. This recommendation specifies effective policies
and measures of good governance in sport, which comprise, as a minimum:
– democratic structures for non-governmental sports organisations based on clear
and regular electoral procedures open to the whole membership;
– organisation and management of a professional standard, with an appropriate code
of ethics and procedures for dealing with conflicts of interest;
– accountability and transparency in decision-making and financial operations,
including the open publication of yearly financial accounts duly audited; and
– fairness in dealing with membership, including gender equality and solidarity.
The issue has subsequently assumed growing importance in many sports organisations and
international organisations.
The promotion of good governance in sport is a long, drawn-out process, entailing cultural
and structural changes. Sometimes, however, ‘good governance’ is a concept used as a
positive alternative to the word ‘corruption’, a euphemism or a means of avoiding the term.
The 11th Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport (Athens, 2008) went further, however,
concluding its discussions on sports ethics by identifying ‘corruption in sport’ as one of the
new challenges to sports ethics, and asking the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS)
to deal with the subject.
Action against match-fixing: a promising step against
corruption in sport
Narrowing down the scope of its work, EPAS decided to concentrate on the manipulation
of sports competitions, postponing to a later date the more general issue of the fight
against corruption in the governance of sport. This process culminated in the adoption of a
recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the manipulation of
sports results, adopted in 2011, followed by the new Convention on the Manipulation
of Sports Competitions (CETS no. 215), which was opened for signature on 18 September
2014 in Magglingen/Macolin (Switzerland). The adoption of this new treaty has placed the
Council of Europe in a prominent position in the fight against the manipulation of sports
competitions. The Convention is the only rule of international law on the subject. As of May
2015 the Convention had been signed by 18 states and ratified by Norway, and it will come
into force after the fifth ratification.
The Council of Europe and sport 315
The manipulation of sports competitions has proved to be a complex issue. Not only is the
integrity of sport at stake, but the fight against organised crime and corruption as well. A
closer analysis of manipulation cases has shown that corruption is not the only method used
by those who falsify competitions. There have been cases of manipulation involving violence,
intimidation, threats, poisoning, and so on. Others may be based on a friendly agreement,
without any pecuniary arrangement or promise or without any coercion, while the manipulation
may nevertheless lead to a fraudulent gain. Combating manipulation requires the cooperation
and expertise of the authorities in fields including sport, gambling, anti-corruption measures,
criminal law, cybercrime, personal data protection and money-laundering. In this context, the
Council of Europe has obtained the support of numerous networks of governmental experts
and managed to unite the sporting movement and betting operators.
There are various reasons why European states have been able to take such an initiative.
The development of the betting market, which really took off in the early years of the new
millennium, has sometimes taken place in a legal vacuum, but the legal framework has been
speedily brought up to date: the states of Europe have equipped themselves with means
of regulating the market, granting licences to operators who offer bets on their territory or
defending their national lottery’s monopoly position. The attention given to regulating betting
services, for many reasons (combating of addiction, consumer protection, integrity of sport,
taxation, combating of money-laundering), has made clearer the risks associated with this
market. Europe also has the privilege of having at its disposal research and international
cooperation institutions that have been able to study the problem and put forward international solutions. The increased attention has led to a huge increase in the number of cases:
in 2009 EPAS examined 70 cases of manipulation reported by the press since 2000. There
have been revelations of new cases every week since 2012. According to Interpol, the criminal
justice systems in 80 countries are investigating or holding trials in cases of manipulation
of competitions.
This is not a specifically European problem, however, and the challenge today is to expand
intergovernmental action to other continents, inter alia, by welcoming all the states interested
in signing the Convention, whether they are European or not. Some promising signals have
been sent by various states that are not members of the Council of Europe (Australia, Belarus,
Canada, Israel, Japan, Morocco and New Zealand) but took part in the negotiations.
The Community institutions have also been active on the issue, for the manipulation of
sports competitions is on the agenda of the Commission, Council and Parliament, which are
looking at the combating of corruption, the fight against organised crime, the regulation of
the gambling market and sports ethics. The Commission took part in the negotiations on the
Council of Europe Convention alongsid