London, 28 June 2018Leaders in sport, governance, integrity, media and sponsorship gathered for the kick off meeting of SIGA’s Standing Committee on Sponsorship, Media and Sport Integrity.

The Standing Committee advises and supports the SIGA Council and CEO on matters concerning the relationship between sport integrity and the sports business sector, with focus on sponsors, broadcasters and other key commercial stakeholders.

Co-Chaired by Mastercard’s Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorships, Michael Robichaud, and Panasonic’s Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant General Counsel, Ling-Ling Nie, the meeting focused on the main problems and challenges facing sport integrity, as well as the development of key strategic priorities.

Also present were Chief Operating Officer of World Rugby, Alan Gilpin, Hans-Erik Tuijt, Director Global Sponsorships of Heineken, as well as Philip Patterson, Vice President, Regional Business Lead at Octagon and the President of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Gianni Merlo. SIGA’s Vice Chairman Mohammed Hanzab (Chairman and Group CEO, ICSS) and SIGA’s CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, also participated.

The Committee’s discussion focused around areas of impact aligned to SIGA’s four core areas of good governance, financial integrity, sports betting integrity, and youth development and protection of minors – the core principles around SIGA’s Universal Standards. By means of immediate steps, the Committee will develop a two (2) year strategic action plan to propel reforms in the sports industry. This will be shared with the wider SIGA community at the upcoming SIGA General Assembly, taking place on 27th July 2018 in Geneva, hosted by the United Nations.

A Lunch-Debate followed the meeting, with participation of representatives from several other organisations. The topic of tax evasion in sport took central stage, as well as criminal infiltration of sports club ownership, match-fixing, the importance of board diversity in sports organisations, as well as a greater need for transparency and accountability across the sports industry as a whole.

The next meeting of the SIGA standing Committee on Sponsorship, Media and Sport Integrity will take place in New York City the week commencing 8 October 2018.

Reflecting on the outcome of SIGA’s Standing Committee meeting, Ling-Ling Nie, Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant General Counsel at Panasonic, said:

It was a great pleasure to participate in the inaugural meeting of the SIGA Standing Committee on Sponsorship, Media & Sport Integrity.  I congratulate SIGA on leading the effort to engage the companies and stakeholders who provide sponsorship to the sport industry on the importance of accountability and integrity.  I look forward to further dialogue on shaping the strategy that will help protect this industry and the organizations who support it.”

Alan Gilpin, Chief Operating Officer the World Rugby and Head of Rugby World, Cup said:

World Rugby is pleased to support SIGA and the continued drive to protect and enhance the integrity of sport. Integrity is a core value of World Rugby and is central to our sport on the field, and the governance of our sport off the field. Working with SIGA and valued partners such as Mastercard and Heineken in this area allows us to ensure that fairness, transparency and integrity are at the heart of growing the global rugby family.”

Philip Patterson, Vice President, Regional Business Lead at Octagon said:

Octagon were delighted to be part of the SIGA debate on the challenges facing media, sponsorship and sport integrity. Accountability and transparency are of vital importance to us as an agency – it reflects our values and the way we do business but it also allows us to be at the forefront of facilitating change in the industry as well as provide the best counsel to our clients who also have am increased interest in this area.”

Toby Hester, Director of the European Sponsorship Association (ESA) stated:

The European Sponsorship Association is committed to supporting the eradication of Bribery, corruption, match fixing, drug taking related cheating and defending the rights of young people in sport. As such ESA has pledged its support to SIGA and will work in support of delivering its goals through our membership and across our industry in Europe.

Gianni Merlo, President of the International Sports Journalists’ Association (AIPS), stated:

I think that it is an important initiative and this group of experts in the different fields can give a tangible contribute to the clean-up. the work that this group can carry out can be really useful. The problem of transparency is common to society as a whole, not just to sport, but sport is an important stage for real change. Sport can be, or rather it must be educational. The task of removing all the shadows from sport is not easy, but it is not impossible either. It’s just a question of will.