Governance in Sport

Bringing Accountability Back to Sport: The Role of Government and Governing Bodies

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In the context of a panel, titled “Bringing Accountability Back to Sport: The Role of Government and Governing Bodies” at Securing Sport 2015 held recently in New York, Michael Pedersen offered his perspectives on some key aspects to be considered in modernizing sport governance standards. 

During the panel discussion, Pedersen emphasized that national and international sport governing bodies as well as athletes are first in line to safeguard the integrity of sport. He added that governments too ought to take an active role in ensuring high levels of trust in sport, given all the positive societal benefits of a physically active population and the pressure to showcase that public funding of sport is spent effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, Pedersen highlighted that sponsors, media broadcasters and sport betting operators also ought to actively engage in safeguarding sport integrity and appreciating that eventually their significant investments in sport and their overall business reputation are at stake.

As for specific governance challenges to be addressed, Pedersen stressed the importance of taking conflicts of interest out of the boardrooms in sport, for instance by creating independent structures for detecting and sanctioning proven wrongdoings. In light of the most recent integrity issues in sport, he also advocated for basic oversight and basic rules and limitations for self-regulation in sport. Increasing transparency and accountability through external audits and external publication of annual reports with detailed figures for revenues and expenditures could for instance do this. Last but not least, Pedersen underlined the value of learning and getting inspiration from evolving good governance practices across sports and countries.

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