Thursday, December 20, 2012

Testimony of Jens Sejer Andersen before the EU Parliament

Above is the testimony given earlier this week by Jens Sejer Andersen, International Director, Play the Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies before the European Parliament. It is worth watching (or reading, PDF here) in full, as it provides an eloquent statement of the challenges and opportunities for improved sports governance.

Here is the advice Andersen gave to the EU policy makers:
It is high time for you to as politicians to react to what is happening in sport. Let me point to some actions you can take without compromising the autonomy of sport:

1) It is your right and duty to protect tax-payers' money. Sport is receiving massive public subsidies at all levels, from support to grass-root activities and local sports facilities, to investment in bidding campaigns for big events, grants to Olympic athletes, elite sport structures etc. Governments and other public authorities are entitled to set the necessary conditions to ensure not only that these grants are used exclusively for their purpose, but also that the beneficiaries live up to certain standards for democracy and transparency.

2) At the European level, you can uphold a permanent pressure on the European and international sports organisations, demanding that the ISL affair, the World Cup bribery allegations, the volleyball scandal and other major affairs are fully investigated, errors corrected and cases of possible criminal conduct taken to the courts.
3) You can define standards of governance for those sports organisations which seek formal cooperation with the European Union. Such work has already begun in the framework of the Expert Group of Good Governance in Sport established by the Council of Ministers, as well as in a number the Preparatory Actions financed by the Commission. One of these actions is run by Play the Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies and entitled Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations, in cooperation with six European universities and the European Journalism Centre. We will present an open tool to measure standards of governance in sport in April, and we invite you to join the launch event.

4) Another way of taking the debate forward could be to arrange a European or – even better – an international conference on all forms of corruption in sport. This call was sent to the IOC from 300 sports experts at the Play the Game conference in 2011 in Cologne, but so far the IOC has not listened.

5) You can insist on the issue of better governance in sport on at least two events in 2013, UNESCO’s fifth conference for sports ministers, Mineps V, in Berlin in May and our own Play the Game 2013 conference in the autumn.

6) Last, but not least, I suggest Europe should take the lead in creating an international clearing house on governance in sport, an institution that will permanently monitor and provide information exchange on how to prevent all kinds of corruption in sport.
Andersen's full testimony can be found here in PDF and here at Play the Game.


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