Call for a major overhaul of sports governance structures and practices

The crisis of confidence in major sports governing bodies "seems nowhere near the end”, according to the Committee on Culture of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), meeting in Budapest today. The committee called for those responsible to be “brought to justice”.

Adopting unanimously a draft resolution based on the report “Working towards a framework for modern sports governance” prepared by Mogens Jensen (Denmark, SOC), the parliamentarians said that, above all, the sport movement itself “needs to demonstrate that it is able and willing to take proactive measures in rooting out the culture of corruption and lawlessness within its ranks and to indict those who commit crimes”. It underlined that it is also the responsibility of governments to create “a robust legislative framework that would enable the prosecution of sports leadership”.

In order to allow proper monitoring and assessment of compliance with good governance standards across the sports sector, the committee called for the creation of an ISO certification standard on governance of sports organisations and, at the European level, a Council of Europe Convention on Good Governance in Sport. This new Convention could complement the existing conventional basis covering doping, match-fixing and spectator violence, bind its member States by the observance of the same harmonised standards, and enable monitoring of their implementation.

The adopted text urges the sports world to set up an independent sports ethics rating system, which should be created and operated by third-party professional agencies of impeccable international reputation, similar to existing environmental, social and governance rating agencies. The lead in setting up such a rating system should be taken by an inclusive international multi-stakeholder platform or alliance, which could be responsible for monitoring, assisting and consulting.

Finally, noting that there is little co-ordinated parliamentary action or international parliamentary partnership in the current debate, the committee proposed to consider setting up a Parliamentary Alliance for Good Governance and Integrity in Sport with the aim of bringing together national parliaments and international parliamentary bodies around a meaningful discussion on sports governance and integrity issues.

The Parliamentary Assembly will debate the draft resolution at its next plenary Session (Strasbourg, 22-26 January 2018).