News: October 2018

Exemplifying good governance in Mongolian sport includes addressing challenges such as conflicts of interest, doping and some sports being overseen by more than one national sport federation

Michael Pedersen gave a key note speech at the Mongolian national sport conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on 18 October 2018. The conference was organized by the Mongolian Ministry for Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports. It brought together approx. 500 participants from the Mongolian sport community; including Mongolian sport organizations, provincial sport authorities and other stakeholders in and around sport.

In his speech, Michael offered an international perspective on good governance in Mongolian sport. He first outlined how a sound platform of good governance is the foundation for building trust, growth and performance. He also shared a framework to identify and risk assess governance issues related to three dimensions; internal governance, athletic governance and event governance. In this framework, internal governance issues relate to ensuring high levels of integrity in the political and operational management of a sport organization. Athletic governance issues relate to ensuring a levelled playing field for athletes. Event governance issues relate to ensuring high levels of integrity in and around sport events.

Michael Pedersen then went on to explain how sport is a reflection of society with all its beauty and all its flaws – and accordingly how:

  • any sport organization should expect to find 20% principled, 20% unprincipled and 60% followers among its political and operational leaders, staff and volunteers; and
  • an effective governance system implies occasionally having to deal with cases of wrongdoing.

For the remainder of his speech, Michael focused on specific governance related challenges in Mongolian sport; including conflicts of interest, doping, some sports being overseen by more than one national sport federation and there being more of a focus on elite sport development than on recreational sport development.

As for comprehensive, adequate and effective solutions, Michael Pedersen suggested to address conflicts of interest in sport federations through measures such as:
  • independent integrity checks prior to elections of board members and appointment of staff and volunteers;
  • publicly available register of interests declared and actions taken;
  • independent audits; and
  • the top walking the talk – constantly, consistently and transparently.

Among other solutions, Michael also suggested a focus on cultural change in the fight against doping, i.e. for athletes to no longer silently accept others cheating, but seeing it as part of fair play and sportsmanship to report suspicions of doping.

On the topic of recreational sport, Michael Pedersen suggested to create a sport for all vision in Mongolia, rooted in all the individual and collective benefits of a physically active population, including:

  • an outline of roles and responsibilities between government and sport federations and within government at province and municipality levels;
  • ensuring adequate financial resources and incentives as well as staffing at all levels; and
  • a national framework for good governance in Mongolian sport, the implementation of which could eventually be tied to the future eligibility of sport federations for receiving public funding.

Other key note speakers at the conference included the following persons:

  • Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh, Prime Minister, Mongolia
  • Tsedenbal Tsogzolmaa, Minister for Education, Culture, Sciences and Sports, Mongolia
  • Ganbold Ganbayar, Vice Minister for Sports, Mongolia

A special session of the conference featured all current Mongolian Olympic medallists in recognition of their sport excellence and contribution to Mongolian sport.

In the context of his visit to Mongolia, Michael Pedersen also spoke at a governance workshop for Mongolian provincial sport directors as well as at a breakfast panel discussion on governance with Mongolian sport federation leaders. Among the panellists was Shijir Ulziikhuu, Secretary General of Mongolian Football Federation.

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