New York, 15 October 2018 – A unique SIGA Special Session, held in association with Mastercard and Octagon, brought together representatives from US sport, global sponsors, media outlets, leading universities and sports participants to discuss the intersection between integrity and the sports business.
The SIGA Special Session addressed pertinent topics affecting the US sporting industry and beyond. Opened by Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA, and Michael Robichaud, Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorships of Mastercard and Vice Chair of SIGA, both set clear messages on where the US would go in the fight to protect sport.
The first panel on “Setting the Standards in Sports Betting in the US” addressed the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), paving the way for regulated sports betting in all fifty states. Moderated by journalist Brian Costa, from the Wall Street Journal, the panel included representatives from the United States Tennis Association, Professional Golf Association Tour, Octagon and SIGA. The experts held a lively discussion on the most pressing issues, including: the opportunities and the challenges that the new landscape offers; the best practices individual sports such as tennis and golf already have in place to combat match-fixing; the need for greater cooperation and information sharing between all stakeholders; and the SIGA Universal Standards on Sports Betting Integrity to ensure a robust regulatory framework.
The second panel “Youth Protection in Sport” included senior representatives from Major League Baseball, Sports Innovation Lab, four-time Olympic Champion, Angela Ruggiero and Octagon. Following a video message from Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the US Centre for Safe Sport, the panelists dug into the details of how to protect young people in sport on the back of a number of recent scandals in the US, the pressures that both parents and professional sport put on children and how sport, with good governance and integrity, plays an invaluable educational, cultural and social role. There was consensus that more needs to be done to ensure children and young people are protected from all forms of abuse, harm and discrimination and that SIGA provides a vital independent voice to ensure that this is delivered and implemented in this area.
In the final panel, “Defining Good Governance & Compliance in Sports,” senior representatives from global business, Mastercard and AIG, together with the Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport discussed how sport could continue to merit the trust of the global business community and consumers around the world. Whilst sport drives excitement around brands, products and services, maximizing their visibility, exposure and brand value, over the last few years, sport’s reputation was tarnished by a series of incidents decreasing the trust of the global business community and consumers. There was a strong call to action for other sponsors and broadcasters to join SIGA’s movement given the important role that the business community can play to usher Sport Integrity to the top.
This SIGA Special Session demonstrated the interest within the US to safeguard the integrity of sport, with high-level attendance from a wide range of actors from a number of sports bodies including but not limited to: the PGA Tour, Major League Baseball, United States Tennis Association, National Women’s Hockey League, Twitch and Riot Games from the e-sports community and the US Fitness Foundation. Universities such as Columbia and New York, as well as the Harvard Business School and New York Law School; other entities such as the Sports Innovation Lab and the Equality League; and marketing companies and agencies, such as the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).”
For more information regarding SIGA’s Special Session including the agenda, please click here: https://bit.ly/2RCCfOx
Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO, SIGA stated: “New York is the birthplace of SIGA. It is where 20 leading organisations met in November 2015 to bring about long overdue reforms in the sporting industry, creating the embryo of what SIGA is today: the world’s largest independent multi-stakeholder coalition for governance and integrity in sport. We have a unique opportunity and I am encouraged by the high-level turnout at today’s SIGA Special Session from both the US sports industry as well as the global business community. We need the industry’s support to move our reforms forward. The US can show leadership to usher sport into a new era.”
Michael Robichaud, Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorships, Mastercard said: “Global business is a significant stakeholder in the sporting industry. Brands invest not only their money but also their reputation. SIGA creates a safe and positive environment for brands to unite and bring about the much-needed reforms in the industry. The SIGA Universal Standards are a helpful resource to both big and small sports organisations.”
Derek Aframe, Executive Vice President, Octagon said: “Octagon is excited to be part of the SIGA family and its worldwide mission to further integrity across the sports landscape on behalf of fans, athletes, and brands. Now, more than ever, all stakeholders in sport are looking for solutions to protect the integrity of the games we love and their power and potential to make a positive impact on society around the globe. We look forward to helping the organisation affect constructive change in the world of sports and hope others will continue to join the cause.”
David Miller, Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, PGA Tour stated: “As sports betting spreads in the US, the PGA TOUR’s priority remains ensuring the integrity of its competitions. We believe that PGA TOUR players should, and actually do, set the standard for integrity in sports. Golf is, after all, a sport in which players call penalties on themselves. At the same time, no sport is immune to betting-related corruption – merely one fixed match can devastate a sport’s reputation – and individual sports like golf are particularly susceptible. We support the creation of a framework for the pooling of information – ideally at the federal level to provide for consistency nationwide – and we look forward to working with all interested parties to make this happen.”
Gordon Smith, CEO and Executive Director, United States Tennis Association stated: “World tennis continues its independent review of corruption issues to ensure it is a leader in integrity and stays ahead of the game.”
Angela Ruggiero, Olympic Champion, CEO & Co-Founder, Sports Innovation Lab said: “Protecting kids who play sports is imperative to the future of sport. Be it physical, mental, emotional, or gender-focused – the industry needs to do more to protect future generations of young athletes. It is not just the right thing to do; it is the only way to ensure that children get benefits from playing and that parents continue to sign their children up.”
Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Global Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball (MLB) said: “MLB and our partners USA Baseball & USA Softball are committed to growing our game in a responsible way. Providing youth with safe, enjoyable experiences continues to be an important focus for our sport.”
Mike Liut, Managing Director of Octagon Hockey, stated: “Youth development and child protection are mutually exclusive to winning. The proliferation of college scholarships, the import of attending certain schools and the potential compensation in professional sports have stripped the essence of sport participation and replaced with a distorted need to “win.”
Dr. Bri Newland, Academic Director & Clinical Associate Professor, Preston Robert Tisch Institute for Global Sport said: “We must become the change we want to see. Money talks.”
SIGA is the world´s largest coalition in the field of sport´s governance and integrity. Supported by more than 100 international multi-industry members and key stakeholders, SIGA is an independent and neutral global organisation whose mission is to bring about meaningful reforms and enhance the governance and integrity of all sports through a set of core principles and universal standards operated by an independent and neutral body. Pursuing an holistic and reformist approach to the challenges facing sport, SIGA is the only organisation to bring together sport, governments, academia, international organisations, sponsors, business, rights holders, NGOs and professional services companies, from every region in the world, around a common cause of fostering greater integrity throughout sport.
For the list of SIGA Members & Committed Supporters, please visit http://siga-sport.net/siga-members/. For more information on SIGA, including its vision, mission and reform agenda, please refer to the website: www.siga-sport.com. Find SIGA on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SIGAlliance.