United Nations Office at Geneva hosts SIGA Sport Integrity Forum and General Assembly. The world’s largest independent and multi-stakeholder coalition on sport integrity mobilises the international community and calls for greater collaboration and immediate reforms

Geneva, 31 July 2018 – Nearly 150 leaders and experts from the world of sport, government, international organisations and global business issued a powerful call for closer cooperation and effective reforms across the sporting industry.

Hosted by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, His Excellency Mr. Michael Møller, the fourth edition of SIGA’s Sport Integrity Forum confirmed SIGA´s convening power and widespread support to its reform agenda.

Speaking ahead of the event, Michael Møller, Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva said;

The efforts of the SIGA Sport Integrity Forum to highlight the unparalleled ability of sport to support peace, foster innovation and drive development are to be welcomed. By exploring the importance of integrity, the Forum will promote insights that are relevant beyond sport: respect for integrity – a universal commitment to “play by the rules of the game” – is indispensable to establish trust in the multilateral order and support the success of the United Nations. It is a vital precondition for achieving a better and more peaceful world.”

Leading a strong presence of US-based organisations, which included Mastercard, Panasonic, Nevada Gaming Control Board, amongst others, Holli Richmond, Executive Director of the United States President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, delivered a keynote speech. Referring to the US President’s Council key policy objectives and, in particular, to SIGA, she stated:

The United States President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition is committed to breaking down barriers that prevent our youth from experiencing and enjoying the full benefits of sport participation. We stand with SIGA and support their international efforts to level the playing field and protect the integrity and safety of sport.”

The Forum included a number of thought-provoking and action orientated panel sessions on the following topics:

  • Walking The Talk: Working Together for Real Integrity in Sport
  • Good Money, Bad Money: Financial Integrity On and Off the Sporting Arena
  • Pushing for Long-Overdue Reform: The Role of Global Business in Restoring Integrity in Sport
  • Diversity in Sport: From Soundbite to Reality. Now!
  • Sports Betting Integrity USA: The Post PASPA Era
  • The Power of Sport Beyond The Field of Play: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Office at Geneva also staged the signature of number of new Cooperation Agreements between SIGA and some of the world’s leading universities and non-governmental organisations, including the George Washington University, Sporting Equals, the High Institute of Law and Economy of Spain (ISDE), the Institute of Legal and Political Sciences and the High Institute of Economic, Finance and Fiscal Law of the Law School of the Lisbon University.

As part of its commitment to promote the highest standards on good governance and diversity in sports, SIGA announced its second group of SIGA Global Female Mentors during the panel discussion focused on diversity in sport. They are: Claire Furlong (General Manager, International Cricket Council); Emily Neenan (Vice-President, Global Sponsorships, Mastercard); Emma McClarkin, (Member of the European Parliament); Helen Grant, (Member of the UK Parliament and former Minister of Sport, UK); Lisa Delpy Neirotti (Director, M.S. in Sport Management and Associate Professor of Sport Management, George Washington University); Maggie Murphy (Former Senior Global Advocacy Manager, Transparency International / Co-Organiser of Equal Playing Field); Michelle Moore (Director, Moore Development Ltd, former Athlete and performance consultant); Sonia Sioud (football agent, Essentially Group, CSM Sport and Entertainment); Stacey Copeland (Professional Boxer and first ever female Commonwealth Champion); Tina Bille (independent global PR  and communications expert, TB Communications, former Head of PR and Goodwill Ambassador Programme at United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS); and Katharina Weghmann, (Executive Director, EY).

Voicing the views of the millennials’ generation, Karim El Husseini, a 14-year old mix martial arts athlete from Geneva’s MMA Academy, presented the SIGA Youth Manifesto. He said:

The sport sector is facing a serious reputational crisis. As millennials, we have grown up in a world where transparency is the norm. A world where we can express our views and expect them to be counted. We acknowledge our responsibility towards society and are keen to play our part. We call upon all sports organisations to implement the SIGA Declaration of Core Principles on Sport Integrity and its Universal Standards. It is time for sports organisations to hear the voice of young people.”

Olympic Gold Medalist Michelle Ford-Eriksson, said:

The athlete has the connection with the people. Integrity, youth, sport and its future can be progressed through harnessing athletes as mentors who speak the same language.”

Daniel Haddad, Group Director of Octagon, responsible for Strategy & Commercial Consulting, stated:

“For developed brands like Mastercard and Panasonic it is essential that partnerships reflect the brand ethos and values. The rights-holders that make the biggest revenues compromise their values more. If you look at some of the partners & biggest brands, they paradoxically undermine the brand by not aligning the right sponsor with the brand and not doing their due diligence”.

SIGA Walks the Talk as New Supporters Join the Coalition

SIGA’s continuing strength was evident also at its General Assembly, held on Friday 27 July, at the United Nations’ Office at Geneva, where new organisations joined the coalition as committed supporters. This included the George Washington University, Hellenic Federation of Modern Pentathlon, Inside World Football, Sport Integrity Mexico, Sporting Equals and Supporters Direct – that officially signed up to SIGA’s core principles and universal standards on good governance, financial integrity, sports betting integrity and youth development and child protection.

SIGA’s supreme body also discussed, and approved by unanimity and acclamation, the independent audit report on the organisation’s 2017 accounts – which will now be published on SIGA’s website.

The General Assembly also took note of a set of governance, integrity and transparency guidelines proposed by the SIGA Ethics Committee for members and staff, as well as the latest developments regarding the SIGA Independent Rating and Verification System (SIRVS). The coalition’s key strategic priorities and future thought leadership initiatives were also approved by unanimity and acclamation.