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Governance in Sport and the Corruption of the Iaaf

In: Social Issues

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Governance in Sport and the corruption of the IAAF
(International Association of Athletics Federation)
Introduction
This report is going to analyse the corruption of the international association of athletics Federation, and will evaluate the practice that this sporting organisation carries out. The best practice in other organisations will be compared to the IAAF and will make recommendations for the future from other organisations in order for this company to improve. The IAAF have faced challenging, governing and integrity issues since the end of 2014, throughout 2015, and now even into 2016. Decades of doping scandals and conspiracy charges have been made public and the IAAF have a lot to answer to in order for operations to return back to normal. The article in which I will be evaluating is titled; Athletics Doping Scandal: Blood experts criticise IAAF Claims. It was published on the 28th November 2015, and gives an insight into the corruption of the IAAF and if misconduct is taking place over the world; it can be accessed via http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/34953362
Governance in a sporting Organisation
Governance plays a key role in all sporting organisations, it promotes ethical principles of conduct and helps to allow companies to work in regulations of the correct code of practice. International sporting organisations and leaders see governance as somewhat a critical challenge, this is because of the increasing repetition of corruption, match fixing, and doping. A Sporting organisation depends on good governance, this is to make the sporting activity more enjoyable for participants and to also prevent cheating and modified results by players and individuals which are not abiding by the rules and of the sport, by drug taking or blood doping for example.
Sporting leaders and guardians must act responsibly, in their area with great integrity, which is very important in good governance as this shows that the leaders will have a good, honest opinion and strong moral principles which will be carried out through their leadership role in and with their duties. Another principle of good governance is accountability and transparency; this comes into practice when leaders accept responsibility for their actions and their organisations actions, this is also linked to transparency in this respect because they will disclose their results in a manner which has no hidden agendas and complies with disclosure requirements.
Corruption and the IAAF
There are three key points that were released from the official independent report on doping within athletics, from the WADA; the World Ani-Doping Agency. The first point is there is evidence that some members of the IAAF council were aware of the extent of doping in athletics. Richard McLaren, an independent commission member at WADA states that “the disruption of the federation emanated from the very top. The former president, Lamine Diack” in a recent interview. (McLaren, R. 2016) This states that the problem with doping allegations and operations that are happening in the IAAF are much more in-depth than anyone had ever imagined. The second key point in the doping scandal is that the IAAF were not robust whilst dealing with other countries; and that the institute’s knowledge of the Russia’s blood doping allegations was far wider than had been acknowledged. The IAAF were also accused of “Showing no genuine appetite to deal with the problems” (McLaren, R. 2016) Russia is not the only country to be affected by performance enhancing drugs and blood doping scandals, it has become a wide spread problem in numerous countries, and also in different sports. In 2001, The Sunday Times released a report and uncovered that in the 208 countries with more than 5,000 athletes blood test results, an astonishing 800 athletes from 94 different countries produced results that were very likely to show the use of blood doping, or have a very abnormal result. (Calvert, Arbuthnott and Collins, 2015)
Comparison of the IAAF and the Standards of the Best Practice
Numerous instances of poor governance in the IAAF have been reoccurring and it has been demonstrated at all levels from national to international competitions. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) released a press report which left a historic milestone; that being that the United Nations recognises autonomy for sport. In this report, it stated:
“The important role played by the International Convention against Doping in Sport, in harmonizing the actions taken by governments in the fight against doping in sport, are complementary to those undertaken by the sporting movement under the World Anti-Doping Code of the World anti-Doping Agency.” (United Nations, 2014)
The International Olympic Committee have acknowledged this issue several times, but the right for autonomy has to be earned. They have also stated that when governance in a sporting organisation is perceived to be poor, then intervention will take place by law enforcement agencies and governments.
The Sports Governance observer is a project set up which enables viewers to see the indications of good governance in sporting organisations, it is available via the website www.playthegame.org, which also expresses sporting issues and successes on a daily basis of all levels. An organisation which is said to have the standards of the best practice would have a lot of factors to structure a well-run company with good governance. They have four factors that they define as what determines good sports governance; Transparency, Democratic Processes, Checks and balance and Solidarity. Each factor is given a ranking in the annual report for sports governance, and then the strengths and weaknesses of each sporting body is analysed. As shown below, this is the 2015 report, and comparing to the best practice for sports bodies, it is not providing the best service for athletes, trainers and others who are using the service. (Geeraert, 2015)

Suggestions for Better Governance for the IAAF
All sports played across the globe play a large part in the development of young people on a day to day basis, the commonwealth have been pushing for better governance in the administration of sports and has taken a more proactive role by doing this. Governments help to directly fund specific sports, tournament and also the sporting facilities, international sports governing bodies must observe and carry out the same principles of correct and good governance in the conduct of their affairs which are required of national governments. “Good governance includes; transparency, accountability and representative participation.” (Hrpp.org.ws, 2016)
In order for the IAAF to increase their reputation and decrease the amount of athletes who are being charged for blood doping and not abiding by the rules of the sport, the leaders in the IAAF need to make drastic changes. The world Anti-Doping code is a document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sporting organisations and among public authorities worldwide. (World Anti-Doping Agency, 2013) The IAAF should be required to take steps in order to comply with the Anti-Doping code, and should fully enforce the laws of the code within their sport. The IAAF should also accept that the code is implemented for a reason and obey the rules and guidelines which are set in place. The IAAF have then accepted to abide by the regulations of the code, so every member of the organisation agrees to the principles stated; once an organisation accepts this code, they must implement it, which is what the IAAF have failed to do so in some aspects of their sporting organisation.
Another suggestion for the IAAF to improve their governance in sport, according to the European Unions ‘Principles of good governance in sport’ document, is that they need to improve their management. The requirements stated in this article explain that the members of the organisation’s members should act independently in the best interests of the sports body as a whole. This is very important for the IAAF to take into consideration because some of their committee members have been accused of trying to cover up blood-doping scandals. Overall, I believe that if the IAAF reflects on their media coverage for the past 5 years and realises that the scandals are no longer being covered up, then the company needs to recognise that changes must take places for Athletics to be the sport not associated with breaking the rules. With Lord Coe now president of the IAAF and admitting that the organisation was failing in different aspects, but he is there to tackle each issue risen, even after being titled the ‘Most corrupt organisation in the history of sport’ (Foster, 2016).

Reference List:
BBC., McLaren, R. (2016). IAAF doping scandal: Three key points. [Online Video]. 14 January 2016. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/35318764 [Accessed: 19 February 2016].
BBC Sport. (2015). Athletics doping scandal: Blood experts criticise IAAF claims. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/athletics/34953362 [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].
Calvert, J., Arbuthnott, G. and Collins, D. (2015). The Sunday Times » The Doping Scandal. [online] Features.thesundaytimes.co.uk. Available at: http://features.thesundaytimes.co.uk/web/public/2015/the-doping-scandal/index.html#/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].
Foster, B. (2016). The only way is up for athletics after the day it hit rock bottom. [online] Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-3399933/The-way-athletics-day-hit-rock-bottom-clean-sport-thanks-press.html [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].
Geeraert, A. (2015). Sports governance observer 2015. The legitimacy crisis in international sports governance. 1st ed. [ebook] Copenhagen: Play the Game, pp. 38,75,91,78. Available at: http://www.playthegame.org/media/4303278/SGO_report_final_2.pdf [Accessed 26 Feb. 2016].
Hrpp.org.ws. (2016). Good governance in sports. [online] Available at: http://hrpp.org.ws/news/115-good-governance-in-sports-# [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].
United Nations, (16 October 2014). Sport for Development and Peace. [online] Available at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/l.5&referer=http://www.fai.org/news/38916-un-recognises-the-autonomy-of-ioc-and-sport&Lang=E [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

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