Sport Intergroup discusses ethics and governance related to international sporting events

Created on Friday, 09 Oct 2015 15:42:24

The second Sport Intergroup meeting took place at the European Parliament, on 29 September 2015. Gathering several MEPs, representatives of the Sport Movement, experts and stakeholders, this meeting dealt with questions of ethics and good governance in sport organisations with a specific focus on the awarding of major sports events.
Following an introduction by Santiago Fisas Ayxela and Marc Tarabella, both MEPs and Intergroup Co-Presidents, Jonathan Hill, Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Navracsics, highlighted the success of European sport policy and underlined the importance of sport movement’s autonomy in this regard. Referring to the strong public attention of major sport events he stressed: “Sport organisations play a public role, and if they do their job, they do it in a public interest”.    

Bogdan Wenta, a Polish MEP, chaired a first panel of experts, bringing together Julien Zylberstein, representative of the UEFA, and Pâquerette Girard-Zappelli, Chief of Ethics and Compliance Office in the IOC. Mrs. Girard-Zapelli introduced the IOC’s Code of Ethics. She stressed that good governance and ethical behaviour are major principles of the Olympic Movement. In this context she highlighted the speech of IOC President Thomas Bach at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. Recalling that reform often follows a crisis, she described the steps taken by the IOC since the Salt Lake City scandal. The shock of that discovery led to the expulsion of six IOC members and a series of significant reforms:
•    IOC Ethics Commission
•    WADA
•    a ban on IOC members visiting candidate cities
•    more financial transparency
•    term limits for IOC members and the IOC President
•    More diverse representation on the IOC, including athlete members

The recent reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 grew out of the recognition that the IOC needed to take action on issues under three main pillars — sustainability, credibility and youth.
These changes include e.g.:

•    Appointing a chief Ethics and Compliance Officer
•    Appointing a Chief Internal Audit Officer
•    Creating an Integrity and Compliance Hotline
•    Creating a mandatory Integrity E-learning tool for all athletes, officials, and IOC/NOC staff before or during the Olympic Games
•    Establishing an Audit Committee separate from the IOC Finance Commission
•    Releasing a new transparency report that provides a more clear and detailed explanation of IOC revenues and expenditures

The second panel, chaired by MEP Julie Girling, open the floor to different stakeholders: Jan Loorbach, Vice-Chair of the expert group on good governance, Marceau Silvieude from the International Federation of Human Rights, Tim Noonan, Director of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Alfredo Lorenzo, Head of Integrity and Security Directorate of the Spanish Liga. With a focus on the allocation of major sports events, the panellists emphasised the potential abuses linked to the organisation of international sport events. Focusing on different aspects of human rights and labour law they all reminded the importance of transparent bidding and awarding processes, and provided recommendations and good practices examples.

The next meeting of the European Parliament’s Sport Intergroup will be on 9 December 2015 and will focus on sport and education.

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