31 January 2018; Rome, Italy: SIGA received messages of support from a number of high-profile and prominent leaders including His Holiness Pope Francis and UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin at the third edition of the Sport Integrity Forum.
The Forum built on the success of the previous editions and brought together an even greater array of high profile and prominent speakers from sport, government, international and regional organisations, civil society and the commercial and professional service sectors. The purpose of the Forum was to identify solutions and determine the most effective reforms required to address the grave problems facing the international sports movement. Throughout the Forum it was acknowledged that while serious problems exist, progress is being made and by working together solutions can be found.
This message was echoed by His Holiness Pope Francis who delivered a message to the delegates via Monsignor Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and “wished that such an important event could be an occasion for deep thought about sport and its high values as a means of fair competition to build a fairer society.” UEFA President Čeferin, who delivered a keynote address by video, also outlined the positive reforms UEFA has made to protect the integrity of European football and concluded that “collectively we must seek to find solutions instead of castigating inaction that perpetuates the problem. We count on all you.” Fellow keynote speaker, José Manuel Barroso, the former Prime Minister of Portugal and President of the European Commission and current non-executive Chairman of Goldman Sachs reinforced the need for collaboration as he stated “I urge you all to hold yourselves to the highest standards of integrity. I urge you all to be part of SIGA’s effort to change the sports industry for the better.”
Speaking following the Sport Integrity Forum, SIGA Chairman Franco Frattini said:
“Sport has the power to bring people closer together, reduce tension and can help diplomacy take the place of war and conflict. This is the message we launched in Rome. We intend to fight for the independence and neutrality of sport. We want to ensure that only the spirt and purity of sports positive values prevail. Our SIGA coalition is only as strong as our members and supporters and as we saw at the Sport Integrity Forum we have the support of governments, sports institutions, individuals, companies and free citizens. All those who recognise in themselves the message we sent out from Rome, that by working together and setting aside differences sport can repair its reputation and regain people’s trust.”
SIGA Coordinator Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros added:
“We understand the enormity of the challenges ahead but we feel very confident about the future. We are encouraged by the strong words of support we have heard today. We believe the tide is changing; that a new era is being ushered in. We are coming together with one voice and working towards one vision. But in today’s society what matters are not words but actions. All of us will be judged by how we respond to the current challenges which is why it was important to determine conclusions which will help us usher in a new era for sport.”
During the Forum, SIGA Champion and Special Olympic Athlete Gilmour Borg and regular contributor to SIGA’s Millennials Matter initiative, Jade Beason, presented the SIGA Youth Manifesto. The two millennials expressed their generation’s desire to contribute to protecting the integrity of sport but also called on sports organisation to uphold the highest standards of integrity through SIGA’s Universal Standards.
The Forum, hosted in the National Olympic Committee of Italy (CONI) headquarters in Rome, was opened by CONI President Giovanni Malagó; President of Anti-Corruption National Authority of Italy, Raffaele Cantone; SIGA Chairman Franco Frattini; and Minister of Sport of Italy, Luca Lotti.
The Forum included lively, interactive and highly-informed panel discussions featuring a variety of industry experts. The panels were:
- Inter-Governmental Round-Table
- Kicking Corruption out of Sport
- Athletes: Champions and Role Models
- Sponsorship, Brand Value and Reputation
- Club Ownership, Players’ Transfers, Financial Flows and Tax Havens
- Sports Betting Integrity
- Protecting Minors in Sport
The Forum was closed by SIGA Nominations Committee Lord John Stevens and SIGA Chairman Frattini.