By Prudence Arobani
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has called for measures to weed out corruption in sports.
UNODC said sports scandals, including allegations of endemic corruption and the involvement of organised crime, threatened to undermine the sector’s potential to contribute to peace and global development.
Mr Yury Fedetov, Executive Director of UNODC – the UN crime-fighting agency – said in Vienna on Tuesday at a workshop on ‘Safeguarding Sport from Corruption’ that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledged the importance of sports for social progress.
“There is a growing understanding and appreciation that actions taken to safeguard sport from corruption in fact represent an investment, with clear economic and social benefits.
“Together we can promote integrity, stop criminals from exploiting sports for illicit gain and harness the power of sport as a force for development and peace,” Fedetov said.
The UNODC chief recalled that the international community and sports bodies had initiated several measures to address corruption.
More than 250 participants from 60 countries are attending, including representatives from national law enforcement agencies, the private sector and sports organisations such as the International Olympic Committee, the International Cricket Council, the International Weightlifting Federation and the global football body, FIFA.
The agenda covered topics such as overcoming corruption in public procurement, addressing match-fixing and countering crimes on an international level such as money laundering, human trafficking, migrant smuggling and cybercrime.
It would be recalled that the 183 countries party to the UN Convention against Corruption, in 2017, adopted a resolution on the subject.
The resolution outlined a range of issues to be addressed, including sports-related procurement, organisation of events, match-fixing, illegal betting, as well as good governance.
It also mandated UNODC to support governments and sports organisations to develop international standards, and to provide technical assistance to promote integrity in sports and prevent the involvement of organised crime.