by Michael Pedersen

This Week’s Sports Leadership Article

Good Governance in Sport

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Michael Pedersen gave a keynote speech on good governance in sport at the 21st Fair Play Congress, which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan earlier this month, which was organised by European Fair Play Movement, International Fair Play Committee, National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan and Fair Play Committee of Azerbaijan, the Fair Play Congress brought together about 80 participants from 30 different countries. Many of the participants represented national Olympic committees from across Europe. In the context of the Congress, there was a special gala dinner ceremony, at which the World Fair Play Awards were given to a select group of athletes to recognize their outstanding fair play behaviour.

The overall theme of the Congress was “Fair Play in Competitive Sport – ‘Making it Real’ or ‘Just an Ideal?’” Addressing one of four sub-themes, “Strategies and Policy Development in Good Governance In Sport”, Pedersen offered an international perspective on good governance in sport. His keynote speech focused on the strategic imperative for good governance in sport, a framework for developing consensus on the scope of sport governance as well as cases of evolving good governance practice across sport and countries. At the subsequent general assembly of the European Fair Play Movement, participants committed to promoting and engaging in the modernization of governance standards of sport governing bodies across Europe.

Pedersen also spoke at the international expert meeting on match fixing, convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Center for Sport Security (ICSS). The meeting, which took place in Doha, Qatar in September 2015, was part of the follow-up related to the 5th International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS V). It brought together 60 international experts from across different sectors and regions to discuss and develop concrete actions to be considered by sport ministers at MINEPS VI, expected to take place in June 2017.

The presentation given by Michael Pedersen was titled "Handling the Prevention of Match-Fixing as a Sport Governance Issue". In his presentation, Michael appreciated that it takes two to tango and that athletes reflect society with all its beauty and all its flaws. Most importantly, he offered his perspectives on specific systems and procedures, which national and international sport governing bodies can put in place to prevent athletes from accepting offers for match fixing. The preventive measures highlighted were as follows:

-           Specific policy on match fixing

-           Communication of policy, systems and procedures to relevant internal and external stakeholders

-           Regular motivational training for athletes and other relevant persons, i.e. coaches and -referees

-           Independently run platform for answering questions

While emphasizing that the effectiveness of prevention measures largely depends on effective detection and sanction measures too, Michael Pedersen also suggested that it would be useful to find common answers to the following three key questions:

What can we learn from the experience so far in designing systems and procedures to handle doping in sport, including the division of roles and responsibilities at various levels of sport and government as well as the creation of independent systems?

Who are the ones at high risk of receiving offers for match fixing, i.e. athletes in specific sports or countries and/or professional, semi-professional and amateur level athletes?

How do you best motivate the right behaviour among athletes, for instance in the design of training and carrots and sticks based systems? For further information visit

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