|LAUSANNE, December 30, 2015 – There’s been a lot of talk about sports ethics recently, and it’s not surprising since the topic has been ignored for far too long. Sport has grown culturally, economically and socially but the first thing to suffer is ethics.
The European Code of Sports Ethics was introduced in 1992 but it’s virtually ineffective. The document meant that no-one could say the issue hadn’t been discussed at top level but it was only a smokescreen for the fault of everyone, including governments, for having done little or nothing to safeguard ethics, the main pillar of sport.
Not only sport is facing a crisis – government, business and society are affected. The concept of ethics is often unknown in the media these days as there is no longer a true internal school of correct journalism. It’s easy to blame the times and the Internet. So-called middle and senior managers have forgotten that, above all, young colleagues must be taught professional values.
CORRUPTION Corruption is trying to take over sport. The scandals which have shaken FIFA and the IAAF have brought to light terrible situations which we’d never imagined. We have lived alongside characters who, in order to carry out their dirty business, have exploited our good faith and our enthusiasm. Now the stench is emerging and the mud sticking. Don’t be too complacent. More scandals will arise. There are no Wonderlands.
Corruption in the federations has opened the way to an even more serious evil – match fixing, the manipulation of the results. Criminal organisations know that their intervention in sport is almost without risk and highly remunerative. There are few states with laws to fight this phenomenon and consequently match-fixing is spreading like wildfire. The federations that are infiltrated by corruption are weak, thus making manipulation of results easier.
THE FUTURE To emerge from the current darkness we must reinvest in culture, and re-instil the values of ethics. It won’t be easy, but not impossible. Most protagonists still believe in the value of sports ethics. That’s why we in the media must bring about a cultural revolution – also in ourselves. For too long we thought that everything was under control. We trusted senior managers in the various federations and couldn’t imagine that they’d fallen so low, and that they’d created true criminal organisations. The media was their unconscious smokescreen. Our response must be firm and determined. It’s our right to defend and restore ethics because a sports world that moves towards self-destruction could have very serious social consequences – there are millions of jobs on the line. We have to analyse further the negative phenomena to beat the cheaters. And we have to act quickly.
On behalf of the AIPS Executive Committee and myself, I wish the AIPS family, their families and colleagues a happy, healthy, safe and successful 2016.