Experts discussed challenges and ways to bring in integrity in sports at a panel discussion on the first day of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) Inter-Regional Summit being held at Marsa Malaz Kempinski.
The session on ‘Global challenges, regional approaches and international co-operation,’ was moderated by Dale Sheehan, director, capacity building and education, Sport Integrity Unit, International Centre for Sport Security.
“Main problems in sport are corruption, match fixing and drug taking. This goes to the heart of integrity issues,” said John Stevens, chairman, Quest, and chairman, SIGA Ethics Committee.
“SIGA should form a liaison committee that delivers on some of these issues to bring governments, police and sport together,” he urged.
Stevens highlighted the case of investigation into irregularities in FIFA in 2015 which led to the conviction of several people. He also maintained that production of evidence is the main thing to deal with mafia and if the evidence is credible, it will stand the test in courts of law.
“We see major sporting events as opportunities for development and intelligence co-operation towards crime prevention, global security and social cohesion. There is no time to waste in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Events such as the SIGA summit contribute to achieving the agenda of Sustainable Development 2030,” noted Bettina Tucci Bartsiotas, director, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute.
“We enhance international and regional co-operation for the sharing of the lessons learned and the best practices; the integration of safety and security services for a more effective use of resources; and the development of public and private partnerships,” she explained.
“ILO opened an office in Qatar as a result of international co-operation. Within one and half years of opening our office in Qatar, we have helped Qatar to introduce several labour reforms. Qatar leadership has made a decision to become an example not only for the region but to the entire world in labour reforms,” pointed out Houtan Homayounpour, head of project office, Qatar, International Labour Organisation.
He also noted that sports and sporting events can be “agents of change to ensure the legacy we leave behind is positive.”
Ismayil Ismayilov, first vice minister of youth and sport, Azerbaijan, noted that the summit was a great move to ensure integrity in sports. “It is important to join forces to tackle the issues of integrity in sport. International co-operation to tackle global challenges in sport is fundamental. This is what SIGA brings to the table,” he added.