ICSS Announces Groundbreaking Initiative on Financial Integrity and Transparency in Sport

London, UK; 8th June 2015: As the full glare of the international media spotlight is directed at sport governance and scandals involving tax evasion, money laundering and financial misconduct are uncovered across the globe, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) has announced a pioneering forum that will strengthen Financial Integrity and Transparency in Sport (FITS) and explore how sport, governments and the wider stakeholder community can move forward.

The FITS FORUM, to be held in Geneva on 3-4 September, is a call to action for the world’s leaders from sport, government and the financial and commercial sectors to address the most crucial threats facing the financial integrity and transparency of sport and implement long overdue reforms.

It will look at the critical next steps for sport and is part of the ICSS’s ongoing drive to develop a robust, coordinated, international approach to protecting sport in the face of the huge economic and commercial growth of the industry in recent years.

The FITS FORUM is part of the ICSS global project on Financial Integrity and Transparency in Sport (FITS), an innovative project into sport’s financial processes developed to establish a rigorous and independent diagnosis of the current realities and threats facing financial integrity in sport and foster the implementation of the much needed solutions.

Underlining the ICSS’s vision and firm commitment to safeguarding sport, the FITS Project will, for the first time, provide a holistic, fact-based analysis of the existing issues, as well as developing globally recognised standards for implementation by sport, governments and other key stakeholders.

Since work started in November 2014, Professor Matt Andrews (Associate Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School) has led the FITS academic network in extensive preliminary research exploring the significant economic and commercial strength of the global sports industry.

Topics currently being researched and explored within the FITS Project include:

• Third party ownership of players’ economic rights
• Players’ transfers, agents activities and financial transactions
• Offshore investment funds
• Club ownership and governance structures
• Bidding processes for sports events and media rights
• Money laundering, tax evasion and other financial malpractice in sport

Speaking about the FITS Forum and Project, Mohammed Hanzab, President of the ICSS, said:

“Over the last decade, sport has experienced huge commercial and financial growth and now has a significant economic, cultural and social impact on people and societies around the world. However, governments, law enforcement agencies and sport governing bodies have been slow to put in place proper structures to independently regulate and supervise their finances, resulting in various scandals across the sporting world.

“As part of our work at the ICSS, we believe there must be a strong, credible and coordinated international approach to safeguarding sport. The FITS Project and FORUM is a significant step forward as we look to drive global action to protect sport.”

Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of ICSS EUROPE and leader of the FITS global project, said:

“We urge the world’s leaders in sport to join us at the forefront of the fight for effective financial integrity and transparency in sport. We invite them all to come to the FITS FORUM in September so, together, we can develop a blueprint for coordinated, global action against the growing threats facing the financial integrity and transparency of sport. As recent events have shown, more than ever, change is vital. The FITS Project strives to act as a catalyst for that change.

“The ICSS has been proactively working on this project since November last year, with the vision of tackling the most critical threats affecting the financial integrity of sport and leading the way towards good governance and financial integrity in sport. Through a powerful combination of independent and rigorous research, coordinated action and strong leadership, the FITS Project will be a defining initiative for the whole of sport. We hope it will usher in a new era of financial integrity and ensure sport’s credibility and future development.”

Preliminary research results of the FITS Project will be unveiled at the FITS FORUM, with final results and key findings announced in early 2016. —- By Will Shand

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