The planning and hosting of sports mega-events: sources, forms and the prevention of corruption

Horne, John David orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4389-8204 (2016) The planning and hosting of sports mega-events: sources, forms and the prevention of corruption. In: Global Corruption Report: Sport. Taylor and Francis, pp. 163-168. ISBN 978-1138905924

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Writing as the revelations about alleged corruption at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the dramatic resignation speech of the organisation’s president, Sepp Blatter, are still being digested,2 it is all too easy to consider corruption as yet another form of bread and circuses entertainment provided by sport. Individuals – the ‘bad guys’ and the ‘good guys’ – are being identified, and in some cases mocked and vilified for alleged abuses of entrusted power for their own private gain (such as Blatter, Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer of, or once of, FIFA),3 or praised and celebrated for doggedly tracking them down (such as English investigative reporter Andrew Jennings).4 Individuals are easier to identify than complex systems, however. This can allow the structure that enables corruption to remain intact. The structure of the system is the ‘elephant in the room’; just as the ‘criminogenic environment of the financial system’5 was responsible for the economic crash of 2007–8, it is necessary to consider the crisis of international sport as part of a systemic crisis. This article sketches some of the ways in which corruption risks enter into the planning and hosting of sports megaevents. It recognises that the sources, forms and consequences of corruption are ‘embedded within political and economic systems. Its precise role and effects will depend on the configurations and dynamics of such systems’.6

The concept of regional corruption binaries create the potential for accusations of overstepping territorial jurisdiction,7 as has happened with respect to the role of the FBI and the US Attorney General in the 2015 crisis at FIFA, which served as the basis for concerns that the action taken was politically motivated against Russia (host of the 2018 World Cup) and Qatar (host of the 2022 World Cup).8 This also raises an important question, though: how else are international sports organisations
(ISOs) such as FIFA or the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to be regulated?

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