LawAccord: What Is Good Governance in Sport and Why Does It Matter?
Hilton Hotel, Québec City, Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Sport has a strong tradition of self-regulation and has shown a willingness and determination to reform in order to protect the integrity and independence of its structures. Courts and regulators need to be cautious not to impose decisions and structures on the sports movement that have been designed for other business models. Correspondingly, to justify public confidence, the sports movement must set and enforce high standards of governance. This is important given the level of funds that some sports generate. This is certain to attract interest from criminal activities be they match-fixing or money laundering. Sport must also be aware of the boundaries that public policy may set on its’ competence good governance can meet expectations on public confidence.
The structure of LawAccord is to offer experts the opportunity to debate current topics. The audience (both those that attend and the digital community) will be encouraged to participate.
The session format is a short presentation by the Chair followed by for and against arguments by the panel and finally a vote.
0830 – 0900: Meet and greet (refreshments)
0900 – 0905: Welcome by LawAccord Chair, Stephen Townley
0905 – 1010: Debate 1: Given the monolithic and plenary authority of international and national sports governing bodies, what does good governance require?
Deep regulatory reviews of governance have followed scandals after the collapse of Enron and Worldcom. A common criticism was that management of these corporations had acted in an autonomous way without accountability. Public accounting reform and investor protection followed rapidly in the US with the Sarbanes – Oxley Act and its equivalent in other jurisdictions. Increased government regulation has, however, failed to stop the most serious financial crisis the world has seen for a generation with banks over lending and numerous recent corporate scandals. Is increased regulation therefore the answer rather than improved governance? The IOC Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement has been developed to address some of these matters in a sport specific way.
Good corporate governance in corporations includes accountability, transparency and good communication. Board size and structure, separation of the role of chairman/president and CEO, independent directors, independent auditors, disclosure of remuneration, board diversity, code of ethics and management systems are all recognised as features of good governance. Can and should these principles be applied by sport?
Mark Pieth, Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology at the University of Basel, Switzerland and advisor to FIFA has now made extensive recommendations for the reform of FIFA. This is a very contemporary issue for sport.
André-Noël Chaker, lawyer, Olympic medalist, director of business development and international affairs at Veikkaus Oy, the Finnish state lottery and Special Adviser to the World Lotteries Association President, author of the book, "Good Governance in Sport: A European Survey" published by the Council of Europe.
David Howman, Director General, WADA
Jeffrey G. Benz, Attorney, Arbitrator, Mediator, Benz Law Group/Benz ADR
Alexander McLin, previously CEO/Secretary General of the International Equestrian Federation, and its General Counsel and now Founder & CEO, The Leading Standard
1. Should adoption of and substantial compliance with the IOC’s Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance be a condition of government and/or private funding?
2. Do the benefits of voluntarily adopting uniform sports governance codes (e.g., the WADA Code) outweigh the associated costs?
3. The betting industry should be made to contribute by Governments to the increased cost of integrity services that sport will need to implement to prevent match-fixing and monitor money laundering as well as pay a fair price for the use of sports content just as media companies do?
4. Sports bodies should be required to include independent non-executive business directors on their executive boards who have experience in areas outside sports administration?
5. If the European Union (EU) felt it was a good idea to separate the governance or rule-making function of a governing body such as Fédération Internationale d’Automobile (FIA) from that of its event promotional functions in F1, does good internal governance require separation of a sports organisation’s governance/rule-making and promotional/commercial functions?
1010 – 1015: Voting on Debate 1.
1015 – 1025: Break (refreshments).
1025 – 1030: Address by Hein Verbruggen, Chair, SportAccord.
1030 – 1140: Debate 2: Do good governance principles keep sport out of court?
What can CAS cases and case law teach the sports movement about staying out of the court room through applying principles of good governance? If sport can demonstrate principles of good governance in terms of fairness, separation of powers and transparency, then the national legal systems should continue to allow sports bodies the special treatment they have enjoyed to date regarding decisions in connection with sporting matters. But where sports bodies fall below this threshold or the issues are of commercial not sporting providence, then what is the argument that sport should be maintain its special jurisdiction?
Article 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Lisbon Treaty) gives the EU a supporting, coordinating and supplementing competence for sport which calls for action to develop the European dimension in sport. The European Commission’s White Paper for example seeks to extend the role of the EU on regulatory issues and create a specific jurisdiction on sport. This jurisdiction is premised on the recognition within the judgment of the Walgrave and Koch Case in 1976 that there could be “questions of purely sporting interest”.
Michael Lenard, Vice – President, Court of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS)
Richard McLaren, practicing corporate and commercial lawyer, counsel to McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP; Law Professor, University of Western Ontario and published author
Hayden Opie, Director of Studies, Sports Law Program, Melbourne Law School
Matthew Mitten, Professor of Law, Director, US National Sports Law Institute and LL.M. in Sports Law Programme for Foreign Lawyers, Marquette University Law School, USA
1. All appointments to panels within sports organisations that decide non-financial penalties such as a ban should be handled by an external nominating committee?
2. Private international sports agreements should never displace otherwise applicable evidential standards set by national legislation in match-fixing cases?
3. Sports bodies are best able to investigate match-fixing allegations against those involved in its sport rather than the police?
4. In Europe, Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees a fair trial particularly where serious allegations of a criminal nature are alleged. Should this be applied as the standard for the internal rules of all sports bodies?
1140 – 1145: Voting on Debate 2.
1145 – 1155: Break (refreshments) (and counting of votes and reverting to Chair).
1155 – 1220: Short session from Matt Mitten and Hayden Opie updating on progress and contribution on white paper issues.
1220 –1230: Session close.