Exactly three years ago, the Interpol-International Olympic Committee (IOC) multi-stakeholder workshop to enhance national sports integrity was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Those who attended included ranking officials from Interpol, Malaysian police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, IOC, Olympic Council of Malaysia, Badminton World Federation, and several sports associations.
One would expect there to be some form of continuity, that conversations regarding sports integrity would continue beyond the four walls of the hall where the workshop was held.
Yet, it has been a forgotten affair.
Several individuals who attended the two-day workshop admitted there was zero engagement with the stakeholders beyond the workshop. In short, the event is best described as a wasted opportunity.
Sports integrity goes beyond match-fixing and betting. It is about respect, good governance and upholding the ideals and principles of sports.
There are hardly any conversations about this in this country, let alone the region. As a result, the consequences of the lack of sport integrity are all too apparent – from footballers not receiving their wages, to allegations of abuse of power and siphoning of money.
Where do we go from here?
It’s not too late for the stakeholders to revisit the 2018 workshop and ensure the conversations raised then trickled down to the rest in the sports eco-system, especially at the grassroots.
This was something agreed upon by Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Nazifuddin Najib, who also attended the 2018 event.
“Just look at doping. There have been numerous conversations about it, and yet it is still happening. The education process must continue,” Nazifuddin said.
“And it’s the same with sports integrity. The conversations must continue.”