Call for united effort to battle corruption in sport
Qatar plays vital role in SIGA’s initiative to promote sports integrity at inter-regional summit.
The alarm went off on the imminent danger. But there was also an assurance that protection was on hand provided there was a united effort to fight off the menace of corruption quickly engulfing the world of sport.
This was the message sent out on the first day of the Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) inter-regional summit titled “The Power of Collective Action In the Middle East, Asia and Africa’ in Doha on Monday.
“Sport should be autonomous and free from corruption. It’s scary to think that youngsters could be living in a crime-dominated world of sport. Ridding sport of corruption is within our reach if we all believe in it and wholeheartedly offer our support,” said SIGA Chairman Franco Frattini.
Mohamed Hanzab, the Vice-Chairman of SIGA and CEO of International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS), the summit hosts, urged the people of the region to unite in their fight against corruption.
“I invite all Arab countries to join SIGA and participate in the fight against corruption in sport,” he said.
It was a message echoed by Akbar Al Bakr, CEO, Qatar Airways and Secretary General of Qatar National Tourism Council.
“We believe in sport and its power to bring people together. Corruption can erode this power. Regional cooperation is integral to combat corruption in sport,” he said in a video message.
Emmanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA, pointed out to the global community that complacency in taking on the negative forces affecting sport could prove detrimental.
“We can’t remain neutral. We need to pick sides. We need to make choices because harmful forces could soon ensure that sport will lose its social function and its cultural role. If we don’t fight there will be no legacy left,” said De Madeiros.
Hanzab said Qatar was an example of the positive influence of sport.
“Sport helps in the development of a nation. An example of a legacy gained from sport is what was left behind after the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. The Games Village is now a state-of-the-art Medical City. We’re concerned that organised crime in sports could damage its legacy factor, integrity and thereby prove detrimental to the world’s future,” said Hanzab.
Bilal Erdogan, President of the World Ethnosport Federation, pitched for a strong alternative paradigm to solve issues facing sports.
“The issues that we face in modern sports can be solved through an alternate paradigm, something that preserves sports, environment and also respects the people of the world,” said Erdogan.
He opined that traditional sports offered that option. “Western culture dominates the world in terms of economics, political power and cultural force. People are forgetting about their own unique culture. It makes them look the same and the world a boring place. By popularising traditional sports we can contribute to the colourful richness of the world that makes it a fascinating place,” he observed.
On the sidelines of the summit, a cooperation agreement was signed between SIGA and the Qatar Stars League (QSL) to support the latter’s efforts to enhance its integrity factor.