- Nelson Mandela
I was not surprised by the reaction of the readership to my last blog on sustainable, addiction-free, fair, and ethical sport for all. I expected that the World Bank Group’s international community would react to the topic, knowing how important sport is for many of us —and I decided to expand the discussion. Here, I’d like to elaborate further on corruption in an international industry that captures the attention of billions of people, employs millions, and according to a recent A.T. Kearney study, generates $700 billion yearly, or one percent of global GDP. "With seven percent per year growth between 2009 and 2013, the sport market has grown faster than the GDP in most countries in the world, especially in major markets including the United States, Brazil, the UK, and France." It’s imperative we clean up sport now.
Due to its size and global reach, two types of corruption plague contemporary sport:
- On-the-field corruption by athletes, team officials, referees, and the entourage, for example through hooliganism, doping, and match fixing; and
- Off-the-field corruption by sport managers, sponsoring organization officials, and operators through, for example, bribed decisions, rigged contracts, misuse of authority, influence peddling and insider information.
Both types of corruption are detrimental to the integrity of sport and create unacceptable situations for states and society at large, including money laundering, kickbacks, illegal betting, public health issues, and human trafficking.