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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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ICSS, a key player in safeguarding sport

The Doha-headquartered organisation, spearheading an initiative to keep sports clean, has made a telling impact.
Mohammed Hanzab Pic 1
Mohammed Hanzab, Chairman and CEO of International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS). IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

The International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS), with its headquarters in Doha and offices in Geneva, London and Brussels, was set up with the objective of protecting sports from harmful forces which were launching high-intensity attacks on its integrity at an alarming frequency. These forces have been threatening the future of a wonderful social and cultural expression. The ICSS had on its radar threats emanating from match-fixing, illegal betting, money-laundering, financial mismanagement and poor governance.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) inter-regional summit in Doha, ICSS Group Chairman and CEO Mohammed Hanzab spoke about the orgnisation’s initiatives to help various stakeholders counter the enemies of sport.

ICSS was established in 2010. Since then how effectively would you say you have achieved your objective of safeguarding sport?

I can sincerely say, so far so good. We had set a goal when we started, that we’ll lead the international community and will advocate to establish a multi-stakeholder international organisation fighting corruption in sports. The reality now is the creation of SIGA, the multi-stakeholder organisation, which is self-funded by the members and headquartered in Geneva. That was the goal which was delivered and we’re proud of the achievement.

Can you give examples of how ICSS has made an impact in the world of sport?

We’ve helped many countries in fighting corruption in sport. We received a letter of appreciation from the police in Australia where we helped them investigate and put six men in jail for match-fixing in the Victorian Premier League. We’ve also worked with the Canadian police to pass on information on match-fixing in the Canadian Soccer League.

Qatar’s Prime Minister And Minister Of Interior He Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani Met With Franco Frattini, Chairman, Sports Integrity Global Alliance
Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani met with Franco Frattini, Chairman, Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) in Doha on Tuesday. Photo: Nasser Al Tamimi/Emiri Diwan

You are collaborating with various world organisations to influence policy decisions and legislation as well as to provide thought leadership. What is the outcome of your efforts?

The United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute signed an agreement with the ICSS during the SIGA inter-regional summit in Doha to strengthen co-operation between the two organisations for protecting the integrity and security of major sports events. This is a recognition of ICSS’s role regarding framing policies and setting standards.

We recently signed a milestone agreement in New York to fight terrorism and protect sport from it. It was signed at the highest level of the UN – the Secretary General’s office. This indicates that we’re raising the standard globally. The UN has chosen an organisation in Qatar to show the way, we’re very proud of that.

We also developed the safety and security standard for FIFA. It was developed here in Doha.

How important a role will ICSS play in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022? What initiatives have been taken or are in the pipeline to ensure a safe event?

We’re working very closely with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for the FIFA World Cup 2022. We’ve an agreement in place and we’re carrying out training and policy formation. We’re certain it will be a safe, secure and clean tournament.