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Russia may be banned from athletics amid latest corruption in sport accusations

December 18th, 2015 - Posted by Doireann Clabby in Anti-Bribery And Corruption

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is considering imposing sanctions against the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) amid accusations of "state-sponsored doping".  If implemented, sanctions could include full suspension and the removal of future IAAF events.

IAAF President, Sebastian Coe commented: "… I have urged the Council to start the process of considering sanctions against ARAF. This step has not been taken lightly. Our athletes, partners and fans have my total assurance that where there are failures in our governance or our anti-doping programmes we will fix them. We will do whatever it takes to protect the clean athletes and rebuild trust in our sport. The IAAF will continue to offer the police authorities our full co-operation into their ongoing investigation."

A year of corruption scandal in sport

This investigation comes hot on the heels of the FIFA scandal and, once again highlights corruption at the highest level of a sporting governing body. Where corruption may once have been perceived as an issue confined to large corporations and financial institutions, allegations of substantial bribery and corruption are now linked to widespread schemes within sporting bodies.  which has resulted in the long awaited downfall of FIFA President Joseph Blatter and the then International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Lamine Diack.

These two major crises, within two of the most important international sporting federations, raise the obvious question of how to tackle corruption and cheating in sport? Who will regulate the sports regulators?

Who will regulate the sports regulators?

One possibility would be to apply the advice from 'The Business Principles for Countering Bribery' from Transparency International (TI). This provides a framework for companies to develop comprehensive anti-bribery programmes. Although many large companies – and sports bodies – have anti-bribery policies in place, they are not implementing these policies effectively. The TI report encourages companies to consider using the business principles as a starting point for developing their own anti-bribery programmes or to benchmark existing ones.

2015 has been a year of revelations for the sporting industry, revelations that have highlighted endemic corruption at the highest ranks. Both FIFA and the IAAF will be under the microscope for years to come. It remains to be seen whether either of their reputations can be restored, if there is to be redemption, it must come from strict anti-corruption regimes that are understood and followed at every level.

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