IACA-SIGA to hold special session to tackle graft in sport

Up to US$1.7 trillion is estimated to be wagered on illicit betting annually, according to a report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2021.

The International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) is expanding its work against graft in sports by providing anti-corruption education, capacity building, and technical assistance to sports organisations.

Jaroslaw Pietrusiewicz, IACA officer-in-charge, added that his organisation welcomes inroads in the global effort to stamp out corruption in sports.

“Earlier this year, IACA extended a hand of partnership to Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) with the aim of engaging in various forms of collaboration, including joint projects, the exchange of relevant information, capacity-building initiatives, and the promotion of best practices in anti-corruption measures,” Pietrusiewicz said.

IACA and SIGA will jointly organise a special session during the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption. Titled ‘Integrity and Anti-Corruption in Sport’, the session will take place on Dec 14 at 13:00 EST (19:00 CET), at the Georgia World Congress Centre, Philadelphia A312, in Atlanta, the United States of America.

It will focus on the primary corruption risks in sport and present effective solutions.

The biennial conference serves as the principal policymaking body of the UN Convention, dedicated to supporting states parties and signatories in their commitment to implement the Convention and providing policy guidance to UNODC for the development and execution of anti-corruption initiatives.

The promotion of integrity, anti-corruption, and compliance in sport has become one of the priorities in the international anti-corruption agenda. COSP adopted two resolutions dealing with sport in 2017 (‘Corruption in Sport’), and 2019 (‘Safeguarding Sport From Corruption’).

In the Political Declaration of the special session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGASS 2021), the States declared that safeguarding sport from corruption was one of their important goals.

The panel will feature the likes of SIGA chair Giovanni Tartaglia Polcini, who is also an Italian Magistrate and co-chair of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, SIGA Global chief executive officer Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, SIGA Global chief operating officer Katie Simmonds, and IACA faculty member Andrew Spalding, who is also a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. Pietrusiewicz will moderate the session.

Emphasising the need for effective measures to tackle corruption in sport, de Medeiros said: “There’s no point in denying the reality … sport is more vulnerable and exposed than ever to corruption, money laundering, and criminal infiltration”.

“These threats are global, complex, increasingly sophisticated, and often involve transnational organised crime. Threats like these can’t be tackled by sport alone. To win this fight, we need to move away from old mentalities, old rhetoric, and old territorial feelings, and adopt a complete paradigm shift.

“We need to move from obsolete legislation and fragmented approaches, to an up-to-date, robust, efficient, global regulatory framework, and action-oriented, result-driven, inclusive cooperation, at both the national and international levels.”

He added that there was a need to effectively prioritise anti-corruption in sport, as the G20 had agreed to do when adopting SIGA’s recommendation to include anti-corruption in sport as one of the top three priorities, in 2021.

“This session underscores the active contribution that SIGA and IACA are committed to, further rendering our support to the UN’s efforts to eradicate corruption from the face of our society, global economy, and, of course, sport.”

He added the event will coincide with the Annual Anti-Corruption Week, scheduled between Dec 9 and 15. The week will also feature the inaugural meeting of SIGA’s permanent committee on anti-corruption in sport, an edition of the Sport Integrity Journal, and the announcement of details regarding the creation of an award in honour of SIGA’s former chair, Franco Frattini, who passed away on Dec 24, 2022.

Twentytwo13 is SIGA’s sole media partner from Southeast Asia.