On 4 and 5 December 2018, the third cluster meeting under the current EU Work Plan for Sport, put the focus on ‘The Integrity of Sport.’ Organised in Brussels by the Sport Unit of the European Commission together with The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), the meeting gathered representatives of the EU institutions, Member States, NOCs and European sports federations, as well as academics. The objective was to learn more about the outcome of previously funded project in the field of integrity and to discuss how Erasmus+ can support future activities in the area of Sport Integrity.
The first afternoon started with general discussions on the integrity of sport in Europe with two panel discussions. Following a presentation of Harri Syväsalmi from the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS), the first panel discussed the cooperation between the sport movement and public authorities. All panellists insisted that Member States should implement the already adapted regulations to support sport organisations in the field of integrity. Clare Barrell from UK Sport underlined the necessity to agree on common criteria to be fulfilled by sport organisations while Massimiliano Michenzi, Integrity Investigator of UEFA encouraged public authorities to involve sport organisations in networks, notably in the field of manipulation of competitions.
The second panel on good governance was introduced by a keynote speech of Mathieu Fonteneau, Erasmus+ Sport expert, who drew a picture on the type of projects supported by the Erasmus+ in the field of integrity. He insisted on the need to improve the sustainability aspect of projects and the utilisation of the produced outcomes (e.g. tools, guidelines).
Folker Hellmund, Director of the EOC EU Office, was one of the speakers in the second panel on the contribution of Erasmus+ to the governance of sport. He underlined that sport organisations are perfectly aware that they have to follow the laws and that the prerequisite for the autonomy of sport organisations is to reach a certain level of governance. In this regard, Folker Hellmund stressed the multiple initiatives already taken by the sport movement including the two projects conducted by the EOC EU Office and co-financed by the Erasmus+, SIGGS and POINTS projects. Then, a concrete example of changes implemented by sport organisations was given by Thomas Capdevielle from IAAF. He introduced the work done in the last two years by the Athletics Integrity Unit and underlined the importance of the independence of the Unit to do an efficient work. The Athletics Integrity Unit covers different integrity issues such as doping, manipulation of competition, good governance and harassment.
During the second day, participants received an update on the study “Mapping of corruption in sport in the EU” which is currently underway, conducted by Ecorys and Dr. Argyro Elisavet Manoli. The study will try to map different types of corruption in sport in the EU, to collect some good practices from governments to fight against corruption, and to propose potential actions to address these issues. Following answers from 23 Member States to a questionnaire, Dr Manoli focused her research on 11 countries (France, Finland, Malta, Spain, Sweden, UK, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Cyprus). With the collected data, she will produce some analysis and recommendations in the final version of the study during the first half of 2019.
The rest of the day was dedicated to parallel group workshops on three topics: Doping, Manipulation of Competitions and Good Governance. Each of the workshops discussed good practices within the projects already financed by Erasmus+, as well as ways to continue and to improve the support provided by the EU in these different fields.