Monday, October 3, 2011

Dick Pound @ PTG: It's Later Than You Think

[UPDATE: Here is the text of Pound's speech in PDF and here is the PTG news release focused on FIFA and one more general.]

 I am attending the 2011 Play the Game conference in Cologne this week, and will be occasionally posting on the meeting.

I just saw Richard Pound, a member of the IOC, give a remarkable speech -- both for its insights but also for its sheer bluntness, all delivered in a wonderfully diplomatic manner. Pound is a rare individual. He sits at the center of international sport governance and yet, is no apologist and recommends some tough love for the community.

Some highlights from his talk taken from my notes (recognizing that I came straight from Frankfurt airport to the meeting, but the coffee is good;-):
  • There is a corruption crisis in sport
  •  IOC and WADA are leaders in addressing corruption, but weak and insufficient
  • WADA has a monitoring and reporting role but no sanctioning power
  • Sport is sport because we (a) have a consensus on rules and (b) there is uncertainty in outcomes, corruption threatens both
  • Sports organizations have a history of resistance, even denial, in the face of corruption, he cited doping in biking and steroids as two examples
  • Match fixing is the monetization of corruption
  • Sport cannot deal with corruption alone, government's must be involved
  • But governments won't lead (they have other important concerns)
  • The media is important -- during the IOC scandal in the late 1990s the media intensity almost killed the organization
  • Scathing comments about lack of media coverage of FIFA
  • Followed by scathing comments about FIFA itself -- Wow
  • Sponsors are important too, and should require anti-corruption clauses in contracts
  • Bottom line?  Sport is at risk of becoming like the WWE, which cannot even keep up the pretense of the WWF.  [Note: for these acronyms explained, see the image below]
  • He concluded by saying, with respect to the WWE analogy, it's later that we think


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