Towards cleaner sports

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 10 Dec 2019

Egypt recently hosted an international conference on combating sports corruption in Africa, reports Inas Mazhar

A three-day event on sports corruption in Africa, held in Cairo under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, saw five major sessions taking place which discussed several topics in the field of combating sports corruption in sports organisations on the African continent.

Many issues involving sports corruption came to the table as hundreds of top sports officials of African states gathered, deliberated, debated, pondered and considered topics, including the role of society in combating sports corruption, the influence of the media and negative public opinions in supporting the phenomenon of sports corruption, and consolidating principles and ways of control, in addition to women fighting corruption in sports.

The sessions saw a high turn-out of delegates who shared their experiences in sports corruption, which many agreed has prevailed too long throughout the continent and which, as a result, has affected the entire world of sports in terms of performance, results, training and management. Speaking loudly and debating what is considered an urgent issue brought up many ideas, recommendations, suggestions and some solutions that will be up for consideration.

The closing session saw 15 recommendations taken. They include maintaining the continuous and mutual cooperation among the three major partners of African sports: The African Union (AU), African National Olympic Committees Associations (ANOCA) and the Union Confederation of Sports Associations (UCSA) to combat sports corruption in the continent.

The recommendations targeted ensuring the rule of law which is above all; spreading the principles of transparency and integrity as a means of precaution; training and educating youth from elementary schools; establishing an African body to combat and fight sports corruption; using artificial intelligence as a major component for the future of governance in the continent; assigning the African Sports Culture Confederation to hold training courses and sessions to all calibers working in the field of sports tackling the issues of principles of integrity to fight sports corruption; and setting a code of conduct as guidelines to all African sports associations and confederations.

Other goals included fighting favourism and blackmailing in the sports sector; assigning the right person to the right place and working on fighting corruptors; managing a continuous dialogue among sports leaders within the continent to stress on the meanings of integrity; investing in the golden chances in the African continent through the values of reforms and transparency; allowing media the chance of monitoring and following up on updates and providing them with data; approaching sports media for setting a code of conduct to be followed by media institutions, for a positive role of the media in combating corruption; and empowering women by allocating more seats in sports leadership, at least one seat in every African sports association.

Equality between both genders in playing sports to create societies that embrace variety, transparency and integrity was also highlighted.

According to Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi, the outcomes and recommendations of the conference will be followed up closely by the ministry, assuring that the ministry is keen on taking serious steps against sports corruption and will ensure that the recommendations be submitted to African governments, sports federations and organisations in all African countries.

Sobhi added that new standards, mechanisms and procedures will be issued to all participants in order to combat sports corruption and that the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports will follow up the implementation of those recommendations that contribute to eliminating sports corruption and providing visions and perceptions to officials in order to combat sports corruption and mechanisms to confront it.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 12 December, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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