News: March 2018

Next generation sport leaders identify doping, sport event bidding and illegal betting as the most critical governance issues to international level sport organizations

On 19 March 2018, Michael Pedersen facilitated a half-day workshop on good governance in sport for students enrolled in the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Sport Administration and Technology. The MAS, organized by International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS), takes place at University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Its 2018 class, engaged in the degree program for 15 months on a full-time basis, brings together 41 students from 25 different countries from around the world with an average work experience of 5 years.

The workshop on good governance in sport was based on a highly innovative, engaging and participatory design. It offered students a fun and fast-paced space for learning about evolving good governance practices and for sharing and further developing their individual and collective thinking on what comprises comprehensive, adequate and effective solutions to address critical sport governance issues. Throughout the workshop, the students took different stakeholder perspectives while assessing sport governance issues and developing specific solutions to address them. The following topics were covered:

  • Governance risk management
  • Board integrity and conflicts of interest
  • Democratic structures and processes
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Transparency and accountability

Among other outputs generated in the workshop, the students ranked the following governance issues as the ten most critical ones to a typical international level sport organization (listed in order of consolidated perceived level of criticalness):

  • Doping
  • Bidding processes and selection of sport event hosts as a source of corruption
  • Illegal betting
  • Vote-buying in elections
  • No clear separation of roles and responsibilities between political and operational management
  • Match-fixing
  • Lack of transparency and accountability (for instance in not making audited financial statements publicly available)
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Athlete safety
  • Selection of sponsors and granting of media broadcasting rights as a source of corruption

Generally, the students evaluated the workshop very positively. As they were tasked to reflect on their one individual key takeaway at the end, summarized takeaways from the workshop were as follows (random order):

  • There is a really fun way to teach about sport governance
  • Proper governance can transform the future of sport
  • Stakeholders are vital to the success and growth of a sport organization and must therefore be included in governance accordingly
  • There are different types of conflicts of interest
  • Sport is a reflection of society with 20% principled, 20% unprincipled and 60% followers
  • There is no finish line for improving sport governance. It is important to constantly challenge what you are doing and why
  • What comprises good governance depends a lot on your perspective
  • Bad things are happening. If you do not know about it, your systems are not effective

For further information, see the following websites: