Mainly linked to financial or political issues in the past, the question of the role of whistleblower and the way to provide them with an effective protection recently became a major topic in the field of sport, notably regarding integrity issues and the fight against doping. On its side, the European Union is currently working on several initiatives to improve the situation of whistleblowers in Europe. According to the definition of the European Commission, a whistleblower is “an individual which may, in course of its work, come across information about acts or omissions which represent a threat or harm to the public interest. By reporting or disclosing such acts or omissions ("whistle blowing") they can help to prevent harm to the public interest”.
One of these initiatives is the public consultation on whistleblower protection launched by the European Commission, on 3 March. This consultation is part of the assessment by the European Commission to define the most appropriate scope for future actions to strengthen whistleblower protection. The Commission aims to collect views from a broad range of stakeholders, as well as the general public, in order to prepare future policy and legislation.
Whistleblower protection is a priority for EU institutions as underlined by Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice and Consumers, stating that “Whistleblowers can play a crucial role when it comes to fighting money laundering, fraud or corruption. We have to weigh carefully what is the best way forward and on which level we should act to better protect them. This public consultation will be valuable for the Commission to make well-informed choices.” The European Commission will use the results of this consultation to consider whether horizontal and/or sectoral approaches are most appropriate to ensure whistleblower protection.
In the frame of this consultation, the Commission is gathering input from stakeholders including international organisations, public authorities and NGOs. In this regard, Sport governing bodies and sport organisations should use this opportunity offered to express their views and to contribute to shape the European Commission's initiative before it goes to the Council and European Parliament for discussion and adoption.
The consultation will be opened until 29 May 2017.