Compliance in sports

Doping and compliance in sports are current issues. There is an incentive to use drugs in order to improve performance.

To some degree, doping in sports is comparable to corruption in the business world. In competitive sports, compliance regulations can be better enforced because entire associations are threatened with the prospect of being barred. However, only individuals are punished when corruption occurs in companies. Companies go unpunished (for now).

Falling confidence in sports

Trust in athletes and in competitive sporting events has fallen. The scandals surrounding FIFA, UEFA, professional cycling, track and field events and doping are responsible for the failure of Germany’s application to host the Olympics. Many factors have piled up: sensational arrests of soccer officials, the European games in Baku taking place against a backdrop of human rights violations against dissenters and entry restrictions for critical journalists, and the exposure of illegal cover-ups of doping cases at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Football Leaks recently revealed even more dirty business, such as the tax evasion tricks of star soccer players. The list goes on and on. The competitive sporting world has never seen so many crises! The deficits of national and international sports management overshadow the achievements of the athletes. This also applies to the services performed by thousands of volunteers in sports clubs.

Be better at any cost

Bigger, stronger, faster: An athlete is driven by the will to win; a manager, by economic success. However, fame and fortune can also serve as a breeding ground for corruption. Thus referees and athletes are bribed, or officials and politicians are paid in order to gain favor. Both new values and a return to old values are needed – especially in sports.

Only German soccer does not seem to be affected (at least not yet). The 2006 World Cup in Germany – that paid-for summer fairy tale – is still brushed aside with the view that, frankly, others were even worse than us Germans. Meanwhile, however, the American FBI has started to investigate this and has placed the procedures for the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany at third place on its corruption ranking list. If the allegations prove to be true, sooner or later soccer will suffer due to corruption, tax evasion, doping, and bribery.

Can we tell right from wrong anymore?

In addition to the scandals surrounded the 2006 World Cup, Uli Hoeneß has just recently been named chairman of the supervisory board of FC Bayern Munich – even though there are ongoing criminal proceedings against him. Another example: the connecting of perimeter advertising for the VFL Wolfsburg with possible orders in the area of telecommunications, not to mention non-transparent player transfers with “bribe money” whereby people on all sides earn a little something. This has more to do with human trafficking than compliance.

Reforms are urgently needed to save soccer and restore confidence in other large organizations such as the IOC. These reforms must be serious and cannot enter the sports world as a paper tiger.

Re-thinking is necessary

This is a challenge because international sports organizations, with their federation-style structure, their close relationship with politicians, businesses and the media, gift and invitation cultures par excellence, and their attitude that they are committed to doing good and are therefore unassailable, cannot be fundamentally changed from one day to the next. Added to this is the fact that many journalists have always viewed the sport in an uncritical fashion and are now disappointed, which is difficult for them to deal with. They do not recognize that politics, economics, and the media are only gradually beginning to consistently work against conflicts of interest and corruption within their own ranks. Sports are not evil per se, but in terms of transparency, they lag behind at best. It is necessary to denounce these processes and demand immediate improvements. However, those efforts that have already been made must not be overlooked.

A new way of thinking or reorientation of the sport is everyone’s business. Even a small sports club is part of a large structure (or is oriented towards or distances itself from it).

Sluggish organizational structures

Criticism of overgrown, and sometimes corrupt, large organizations and support for new structures are not mutually exclusive. Existing organizational structures which consider themselves unassailable and have sincerely committed themselves to sports in general and fair play should also question their own structures in the light of this emerging discussion.

In short, compliance means complying with rules and laws. This includes not only playing by the rules (such as fair play, which is the principle ethic in sports) but also compliance with self-imposed guidelines, which should apply where possible risks, such as corruption, bribery, betting, etc., could be present.

Maximize values – minimize risks

Wherever risks exist, they can be minimized through guidelines. These describe how to behave so that the risks do not occur.

People want to know how things are going – especially in sports. Scandals about doping and game manipulation, as well as global doubts concerning whether or not major events are even worthwhile, are all present. Through citizens’ referendums, ordinary people have refused to participate in the Olympics or have organized mass demonstrations, such as during the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil in the summer of 2013.

The European Commission reported in the “Development of the European Dimension in Sport” of January 18, 2011: “Good governance in sport is a prerequisite for the autonomy and self-regulation of sports associations.”

Compliance is the key for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Governance.
The term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) is used primarily in economics and refers to the responsibility of a company not only for its own success, but also to society; it therefore concerns a sustainable economy as well. Added to this is the perception of both corporate responsibility and the responsibility of a sports association through a corresponding management culture and the associated principles and procedures.

Responsibility means fighting corruption and doping

Many associations have already become aware of these principles – including the IOC, FIFA, DFB, etc. – but they are failing to monitor or implement them. And now these problems have to be eliminated.
This also applies to national and regional associations and clubs. A clear commitment to compliance and leading by example actively removes risk.

Recommended action

Compliance in the field of sports associations and large sporting events is increasingly being taken up by the authorities. In the future, the associations and institutions will therefore be confronted with stricter regulations and a more stringent regulatory environment, similar to that of the banking, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries.

Companies are using new compliance methods to redefine or rediscover values. The idea of “we” is at the forefront here. In addition to the exemplary role of the company manager, which remains essential, all employees, including all other third parties such as shareholders, suppliers, etc., are bound to these notions. It is important to protect the company and the brand – for their own sake and for everyone else. Compliance is a social duty.

This idea is to be transferred to sports organizations. The club should therefore be able to ask:

  • Are there clear and concise fair-play rules (compliance) in the club?
  • Do the managers of the club promote fair play and do they set an example?
  • Do the employees of the club promote fair play and do they set an example?
  • Do the athletes of the club promote fair play and do they set an example?
  • Who loves and lives the club? Only the fans or even the managers and athletes?
  • Where is the clear commitment?

A compliance management system has proven to be an advantage not only for companies, but also for associations in terms of sustainability, exemplary functions, and competitive advantages.

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Tags: #CMS, #Compliance, #Compliance-Management-System, #corruption, #CSR, #Doping, #football-leaks, #Fußball-Leaks, #Steuerhinterziehung, #tax evasion

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