Sports leaders need to “get serious” about tackling corruption, or risk undermining social cohesion and health, education and gender equality targets. That was the warning from Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland today.
The Secretary-General was speaking before the start of the inaugural Commonwealth Sport Summit, which is held on 6 October alongside the Commonwealth Games Federation’s general assembly, in Edmonton, Canada.
“We need to be alive to the peril as well as to promise of sport,” Secretary-General Scotland said, as she urged sports bodies and professionals to be more proactive in responding to public concerns, such as on good governance, doping, match-fixing and child protection, and to get behind a new Commonwealth Sports Integrity Champions Initiative.
“The impact of sport is most often positive, but can be grievously undermined when issues of governance and integrity are not addressed. Leaders of sport in the Commonwealth have a duty to enhance the positive contribution sport can make towards sustainable development, and must also work proactively to protect the integrity of sport,” she said.
The Commonwealth Sports Integrity Champions Initiative, endorsed at the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting in Rio De Janeiro in August 2016, will mobilise athletes and eminent individuals to advocate for action to protect the integrity of sport, and support Commonwealth leadership in using sport to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Secretary-General Scotland, who is giving a keynote speech to the Sport Summit, congratulated the Commonwealth Games Federation for “positioning sport as a catalyst for sustainable development” and urged sporting organisations to fully embrace its ‘Transformation 2022’ agenda through which the federation will develop into a global sporting movement. She also highlighted work by the Commonwealth Secretariat on supporting governments to use sport as tool to achieve the SDGs, and developing principles for ensuring the integrity of sport.
The Commonwealth Sport Summit follows the launch in June 2016 of the new Commonwealth Hub which brings the Games Federation into a closer partnership and shared headquarters with the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, United Kingdom.
Other speakers at the summit include HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister for Sport and Persons with a Disability, and Peter Beattie, Chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation.
During the summit, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Sport for Development and Peace, Ollie Dudfield, spoke on a panel debate on Sport for Development: Best Practices from across the Commonwealth. He emphasised the importance of developing national strategies and action plans to enhance the role of sport and ensure ‘sport for development’ initiatives address local need and are based on a well-tested methodological approach.
Notes to Editors
At the Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting in August 2016, Commonwealth governments endorsed policy proposals put forward by the Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS), a group of independent experts, to protect against threats such as doping, match fixing and other forms of corruption, while introducing safeguards to protect children, promote equality and end discrimination.
The Commonwealth Secretariat advocates for sport to be used as a vehicle for peace and development. We assist member countries to develop policies and frameworks that link sport to outcomes in areas such as health, education, gender equality and social cohesion. Our policy guidance and analysis demonstrates how sport can be utilised to contribute to development outcomes. Recent guidance includes a report on the potential for sport in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.