Can sports make the world a better place?

On the one hand, many organizations and individuals around the world join with the members of ISCPES in seeing sport as an important element in the education of young people. UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Nada Al-Nashif, has been quoted recently as claiming that “The symbolic power of sport and its universally respected codes are one of the most if not the most effective vehicle for fighting inequality and promoting diversity and tolerance in society.” This view is consistent with the high value placed by UNESCO on the practice of physical education, physical activity and sport as a fundamental right for all, detailed in its 2015 revision of the International Charter of physical education

On the other hand, the international media has been full in recent times of stories of bad behaviour and even deliberate corruption within the world of international sport. Transparency International have been even more specific. Corruption in sport has many forms. Referees and players can take bribes to fix matches. Club owners can demand kickbacks for player transfers. Companies and governments can rig bids for construction contracts. Organized crime is behind many of the betting scandals that have dented sport�s reputation. And money laundering is widespread. This can take place through sponsorship and advertising arrangements. Or it may be through the purchase of clubs, players and image rights.

Complex techniques are used to launder money through football and other sports. These include cross-border transfers, tax havens and front companies. How do sport professionals and academics deal with this enormous contradiction? What sort of contribution can they make in their day to day interactions, to weight the odds more favorably in the direction of maintaining the integrity of sport? This and other key current issues of significance to the world of physical education and sport around the world will be addressed at the20th International Biennial Conference of ISCPES to be held in beautiful Bulgaria in June this year Will you be there to make your contribution or to hear how colleagues in other nations are grappling with this issue? Be part of the conversation. Be sure to register before 30th April!

Prof. John Saunders,
Australian Catholic University
ISCPES, Interim President, 2017