IOC paper warns corruption a greater threat if payments to athletes cut
A report backed by the International Olympic Committee has raised the prospect of increased corruption in sport if payments to professional athletes are reduced or delayed in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The paper published jointly by the IOC, Interpol and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime details the possible consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, especially in the area of manipulation of competitions, with various recommendations to avoid an increase in match-fixing and other corruption.
It stated: “As salaries of sports professionals may be impacted, through reductions or delays in payments, and the economic situation places pressure on sport, criminal groups and corruptors may seek to exploit this situation to gain influence.
“It is recommended to the extent possible, to consider avoiding decreasing salaries of those most vulnerable and severely affected and if required to make these temporary whenever possible.”
The report added that if salary cuts have to be implemented for top athletes then the savings be used to support the most vulnerable and affected athletes, sports organisations and related employees.
The IOC, Interpol and UNODC also stressed that the temporary absence of sports events did not necessarily eliminate sports integrity issues and that the re-starting of competitions will require dedicated vigilance.
In particular, there is a recommendation for effective national cooperation frameworks between law enforcement, criminal justice authorities and sports organisations, and financial support for all industries linked to sport.
The paper said: “Placing integrity at the core of sport’s response to the global Covid-19 pandemic is crucial to ensure that sport emerges from this challenge as strong as possible and is ready to play its fundamental role in society,” the paper said.
“Many sports organisations and associated businesses and associations have been profoundly affected by the global crisis and require rapid, direct assistance, without which some may find it difficult, if not impossible, to recover during the post-pandemic phase.”