Over the past 40 years, I have held a number of high-level positions in diplomacy, government, integrity and sport, including working as a judge tackling the Mafia and organized crime in Italy. Throughout my career, I have learned the importance of drawing on individual expertise as part of a collective effort to achieve a common goal. Since joining the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) in July as the organization’s first independent Chair, I have had the chance to review the current state of affairs in the sports industry and envisage a strategy for the months and years ahead. I have also been able to meet with a number of stakeholders committed to conquering the toxic influence of those who give sports governing bodies a bad name, and share ideas of best practice for the path ahead.
It is clear that there has never been a stronger need for reform. Each day, the public’s confidence in the governance of sport is eroded further by the seemingly endless list of corruption stories that dominate news headlines around the world. This negativity taints the otherwise excellent day-to-day work of so many national international sports organizations and the vast majority of people who work in sport.
IOC President Thomas Bach was right in many ways to say that organizations cannot be held accountable for the greed-fueled actions of individuals. However, I believe that, with a more strategic and cohesive effort, SIGA can help the world’s top sporting organizations create a new era in sport, where individuals are not given the opportunity to tarnish its collective reputation.
Therefore, one of my primary aims is to reach out to the IOC, FIFA and other sports governing bodies, to see how, together, we can drive real change. We all share the same objective: we all want clean and fair sport that the public can have complete faith in. Like in sport, if we unite together behind a shared goal, rather than act in isolation from one another, we will have the greatest chance of success.
In 2011, I was fortunate enough to be honored with the Olympic Order by the IOC. The IOC is an organization I respect and I have full confidence in that, under the leadership of President Bach, it will help lead the Olympic Movement in the fight against corruption. But I also believe that the IOC partnering with SIGA will be mutually beneficial and will ultimately benefit the sports industry. I recognize that there are hurdles we need to overcome, and realize the need for careful and considered diplomacy. I am convinced though that SIGA’s expertise can provide real value.
It is SIGA’s mission to work with all stakeholders in the sports industry to re-instill trust and build a better future for the next generations. To this end, I hope to meet with President Bach and other leaders soon, and discuss ways in which we can work together and impose the change we all urgently want to see. SIGA is ready and willing to work with the IOC and all sports organizations to provide a better future for sport.
Meanwhile, great progress is being made at SIGA as we continue to grow our membership and build the strong foundations needed to help the fight against corruption. We now have over 100 supporters committed to preserving the integrity of sport, safeguarding its positive values, and reducing and eliminating the harmful impact that corruption poses to sport and all sporting communities. SIGA continues to hold regular meetings with sport’s most influential administrators, and learn more and more about how we can help influence change.
The time for change is now. SIGA is ready to help the top international sporting organizations stop the corrupt few from ruining sport for the overwhelming majority of people around the world who take part in sport for all the right reasons.
Honesty, integrity and transparency should always inspire and guide our commitment. Our ambition here is to represent these values not just through good practice but as a leader by good example.
By Sport Integrity Global Alliance Chairman Franco Frattini
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.