Skip to main content

Extending integrity to third parties: in search of a new model for anti-corruption in sports


The founding of the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport in 2017 is evidence of a growing consensus among stakeholders that sports governing bodies (SGBs) have failed to re-organize in the wake of the recent corruption scandals. Therefore, the autonomy of sports must no longer be seen as an excuse for not interfering with the internal governance of SGBs. Against this background, the paper examines the various good governance standards that have been proposed by stakeholders, experts and scholars. It argues that in line with a standard of overall integrity, private-sector models of extending good governance to third parties should be more widely considered. And overall integrity should be based on law and not merely rely on ethics. To illustrate these challenges, this paper will offer a case study of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) new commitment to anti-corruption. It reveals that although the IOC is pronouncing sweeping reforms in its Agenda2020 and has upgraded the Host City Contract to create leverage over the Game’s host institutions, it remains vague on the issue of third party due diligence. It appears that the current search for good governance standards needs to become much more serious and less publicity-driven.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    See “Justice Department escalates inquiry on global sports corruption”, The New York Times of 31 January 2018, available at <>.

  2. 2.

    For an overview of the latest scandals, see Pielke (2016, p. 30).

  3. 3.

    Capturing third-party risks has originally been an important feature of anti-corruption legislation in the USA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UK (Anti-Bribery Act), but has now arrived in the mainstream of advice on anti-bribery management systems. See ISO 37001: 2016 “Anti-Bribery Management Systems. Requirements with Guidance for Use” and World Economic Forum/Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) “Good Practice Guidelines on Conducting Third-Party Due Diligence” (2013), available at < > .

  4. 4.

    For details, see below 3.

  5. 5.

    Available at <>. Interestingly, later on the official mission statement was significantly watered down: “To bring together international sports organizations, governments, inter-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen and support efforts to eliminate corruption and promote a culture of good governance in and around sport”. See the Report of the First Meeting of the Informal Working Group on the “International Sports Integrity Partnership” (EPAS (2017) INF15), available at <>.

  6. 6.

    See para 24 of the UK Summit Communiqué of 12 May 2016), available at <>.

  7. 7.

    For some more background, see Tom Serby (2017, p. 1) as well as Chappelet (2016b).

  8. 8.

    Beyond the issue of good governance in SGBs, the idea of lex sportiva as a set of self-governed rules on sports emanating from these structures is being increasingly questioned. See the analysis of legitimization strategies around the issue of introducing a supplementary anti-doping regulation in Germany, provided by Wolf (2017).

  9. 9.

    See <>.

  10. 10.

    Federal Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of 25 September 2015, in force since 1 July 2016 (AS 2016 1287; BBl 2014 3591).

  11. 11.

    Available at <>.

  12. 12.

    It should not be denied, however, that focusing on specific kinds of wrongdoing offered a point of entry for NGO’s like Transparency International (TI). TI Germany, for example, started its pioneering work on corruption in sports only in 2006. For more details, see Schenk (2016, p. 360).

  13. 13.

    On this point, see also the conclusion of Geeraert et al. that recent high-profile corruption scandals have been “institutionally induced” (2014, p. 301).

  14. 14.

    Arnout Geeraert, Michaël Mrkonjic and Jean-Loup Chappelet speak of “proactive partnerships” (2015, p. 482).

  15. 15.

    See <>.

  16. 16.

    See <>.

  17. 17.

    Summary of discussions and next steps of the IPACS 2nd Working Group Meeting, available at <>.

  18. 18.


  19. 19.


  20. 20.


  21. 21.


  22. 22.


  23. 23.


  24. 24.


  25. 25.


  26. 26.


  27. 27.


  28. 28.


  29. 29.

    See also Geeraert (2016).

  30. 30.


  31. 31.


  32. 32.

    See footnote 18.

  33. 33.

    See, for instance, the 14th Session of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport in Resolution No. 2 “Towards better governance in sport through enhanced co-operation between governmental bodies and stakeholders in sport” in which the Ministers call for “common benchmarks” of good governance. Available at <>.

  34. 34.

    Italics not in the original.

  35. 35.

    The same focus on “core” criteria can also be found in Geeraert (2016, pp. 57–58) as well as in Geeraert et al. (2014, p. 284).

  36. 36.

    See also Horne (2016, pp. 163, 167).

  37. 37.

    Chappelet and Mrkonjic (2013).

  38. 38.

    Mrkonjic (2016).

  39. 39.

    Available at <>.

  40. 40.

    Pieth et al. (2011).

  41. 41.

    ISO 19600:2014 at para 5.3.4. calls for the compliance function, working together with management, to identify compliance-related risks and manage resulting compliance obligations relating to third parties such as suppliers, agents, distributors, consultants and contractors. Para 8.3. (2) adds: “Outsourcing of an organization’s operations does not relieve the organization of its legal responsibilities or compliance obligations. If there is any outsourcing of the organization’s activities, the organization needs to undertake effective due diligence to ensure that its standards and commitment to compliance will not be lowered. Controls over contractors should also be in place to ensure that the contract is complied with effectively”. And para 8.3. (3): “The organization should consider compliance risks related to other third-party-related processes, such as supply of goods and services and distribution of products, and put controls in place as necessary”. The same understanding is reflected in Principle 10 of the UN Global Compact < > and in Section 5.2. of the World Economic Forum “Partnering Against Corruption Initiative” (PACI) Good Practice Guidelines on Conducting Third-Party Due Diligence, available at <>.

  42. 42.

    Olympic Charter, Fundamental Principles of Olympism, para 1, available at <>.

  43. 43.

    Para 3 (ibd).

  44. 44.

    Chappelet (2016a, p. 750).

  45. 45.

    Art. 1 of the IOC Code of Ethics 2016, available at <>.

  46. 46.

    Preamble, IOC Code of Ethics 2016.

  47. 47.


  48. 48.

    Art. 2 IOC Code of Ethics 2016.

  49. 49.

    On the history of governance reforms at the IOC, see Jean-Luc Chappelet and Brenda Kübler-Mabott, The International Olympic Committee and the Olympic System. The Governance of World Sport, Routledge 2008 as well as Ryan Gauthier (2017, p. 46).

  50. 50.

    Available at


  51. 51.

    Recommendation 27 (ibid.).

  52. 52.

    The HCC in its current form consists of four separate documents: (1) the HCC—Principles; (2) the HCC—Operational Requirements which provides a detailed description of the main deliverables and other obligations to be performed by the host city, the host NOC and the OCOG, including, inter alia, obligations relating to finances, media or the Olympic Torch Relay; (3) the Games Delivery Plan which outlines the main planning framework, timelines and milestones to be respected by the host city, the host NOC and the OCOG; and (4) the Candidature Commitments which concern all guarantees and other commitments contained in the host city's candidature documentation.

  53. 53.

    For a historical review, see Gauthier (2017) p. 58.

  54. 54.


  55. 55.


  56. 56.

    See, for example, the press release by Amnesty International on the Agenda2020 at <>.

  57. 57.

    <>. Specifically on human rights, see Grell (2017).

  58. 58.


  59. 59.


  60. 60.

    2024 HCC Principles, p. 16.

  61. 61.


  62. 62.

    § 4.1 2024 HCC Principles, p. 12.

  63. 63.

    § 51.1 2024 HCC Principles, p. 38.

  64. 64.

    § 13.3 2024 HCC Principles, p. 16.

  65. 65.

    § 36 2024 HCC Principles, p. 33.

  66. 66.

    See also Zimbalist (2016, p. 154).

  67. 67.

    § 38.2 lit. d) 2024 HCC Principles.

  68. 68.

    McEntee (ibd.). Emphasis is in the original.

  69. 69.

    Available at <>.

  70. 70.

    § 35 lit. b) 2024 HCC Principles.


  1. Chappelet J-L (2016a) From olympic administration to olympic governance. Sport Soc 19(6):739–751

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Chappelet J-L (2016b) Autonomy and governance: necessary bedfellows in the fight against corruption in sport. In: International Transparency (ed) Global corruption report: sport 2016. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 16–28

    Google Scholar 

  3. Chappelet J-L, Kübler-Mabbott B (2008) The international olympic committee and the olympic system. The Governance of World Sport, Routledge, Abingdon

    Book  Google Scholar 

  4. Chappelet J-L, Mrkonjic M (2013) Existing governance principles in sport: a review of published literature. In: J Alm (ed) Action for good governance in international sports organizations, pp 222–239

  5. Gauthier R (2017) The international olympic committee, law, and accountability. Routledge, Abingdon

    Google Scholar 

  6. Geeraert A (2016) Indicators and benchmarking tools for sports governance. In: International Transparency (ed) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 56–61

    Google Scholar 

  7. Geeraert A, Alm J, Groll M (2014) Good governance in international sport organizations: an analysis of the 35 olympic sport governing bodies. Int J Sport Policy Polit 6(3):281–306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Geeraert A, Mrkonic M, Chappelet J-L (2015) A rationalist perspective on the autonomy of international sport governing bodies: towards a pragmatic autonomy in the steering of sports. Int J Sport Policy Polit 7(4):473–488

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Grell T (2017) Human rights as selection criteria in bidding regulations for mega-sporting events, asser international sports law blog of 20 December 2017. Accessed 8 Oct 2018

  10. Horne J (2016) The planning and hosting of sports mega-events. Sources, forms, and the prevention of corruption. In: Transparency international (ed) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 163–168

    Google Scholar 

  11. Mrkonjic M (2016) A review of good governance principles and indicators in sport. Published on 22 Sept 2016. EPAS (2016) INF20. Accessed 8 Oct 2018

  12. Pielke R (2016) Obstacles to accountability in international sports governance. In: International Transparency (ed) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 29–35

    Google Scholar 

  13. Pieth M (2014) Reforming FIFA, Dike 2014.

  14. Pieth M, Heller D, Handschin L (2011) Governing FIFA. Concept paper and report, 19 September 2011. University of Basel

  15. Schenk S (2016) What the anti-corruption movement can bring to sport. The experience of transparency international Germany. In: International Transparency (ed) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 359–363

    Google Scholar 

  16. Serby T (2017) Sports corruption: sporting autonomy Lex Sportiva and the rule of law. Entertain Sports Law J 15(2):1–9

    Google Scholar 

  17. Transparency International (ed) (2016) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon

  18. Wolf KD (2017) Patterns of legitimation in hybrid transnational regimes: the controversy surrounding the Lex Sportiva. Polit Gov 5(1):63–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Zimbalist A (2016) Corruption and the bidding process for the olympics and world cup. In: International Transparency (ed) Global corruption report: sport. Routledge, Abingdon, pp 152–156

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas Kruessmann.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kruessmann, T. Extending integrity to third parties: in search of a new model for anti-corruption in sports. Int Sports Law J 18, 136–149 (2019).

Download citation


  • Sports governing bodies
  • Good governance
  • Anti-corruption and integrity
  • Compliance
  • Risk management
  • Third party due diligence