Introduction

Good governance is increasingly becoming a core topic for sport organisations at all levels. A number of recent events in the world of sport have demonstrated that a proper implementation of good governance standards and principles is needed to ensure that sport and sport governing bodies are not vulnerable and can cope with certain risks that they might face.

Sport organisations have a lot to gain from implementing good governance principles. Besides the fact that public authorities and sponsors are increasingly considering good governance as a pre-condition for providing financial support, it is clear that investing in good governance leads to a more efficiently governed organisation with the right ethical behaviour, which is more efficient in spending resources and more effective in reaching its objectives. 

Good governance can also ensure sustainability for the organisation and its activities, through a more robust structure, resistant to the various risks facing sport and with a clear long-term strategy. And good governance will ultimately lead to more sporting success in terms of participation, revenues and sporting results. Investing in good governance is investing in future sporting success.

Good governance is fundamental. It is an ongoing and continuous process, requiring a long-term vision and commitment. In this regard, it is a core responsibility of sport organisations towards its athletes, members and stakeholders.

The EU and European sport organisations are fully engaged to promote good governance in sport. At EU level, the promotion of good governance principles has been a priority in the last years. In 2013, the EU Expert Group on Good Governance established a broad list of Principles of good governance in sport. The principles were addressed to governments and to the sport movement at 3 different levels: grassroots sport organisations, national sports governing bodies, and European/international federations. 

There are a number of initiatives on good governance which exist. It is important now that good governance is implemented.

The European Commission and sport federations/organisations in the EU

  • believe in the need for good governance principles to be firmly embedded within sport federations and organisations
  • share the common goal that sport federations and organisations are equipped to handle the challenges of the 21st century
  • agree to promote and ensure a culture of good governance within all sport federations and organisations, at European and national level
  • strive to improve governance standards in sport federations and organisations
  • acknowledge that autonomy and good governance are inextricably linked
  • reject any form of discrimination
  • recognise that sports governance must promote gender equality and reflect the diverse nature of society
  • endeavour to uphold the basic principles of good governance, as outlined in the declaration below

Declaration for sport federations and organisations in the EU

"To preserve the reputation of sport, whilst maintaining its autonomy, sport governing bodies must ensure good governance is firmly embedded within the culture of the organisation.

The governance of the structures and operations of sport must be aligned to deal with the current and future threats and challenges, as well as able to exploit the possibilities arising from the continued growth of the sport sector.

We voluntarily commit to implement the basic principles of Good Governance in Sport - Integrity, Accountability, Transparency, Democracy, Participation and Inclusivity - into our sport organisation.

We recognise that improving governance is an on-going and necessary process to undertake in order to be better protected from risks such as corruption and able to maintain, protect and promote the integrity of sport."

The following federations and organisations pledge to promote and, where appropriate, to implement and follow-up the principles of good governance in sport in accordance with the above declaration:

Good Governance Workshops - European Week of Sport 2016: Flagship Event

Good governance in sport was the focus theme of the 2016 European Week of Sport Flagship Event, which took place on 15 September in Brussels. The conference, hosting high-level representatives from the world of sport and politics, was also the occasion for Commissioner Navracsics to launch the pledge to implement good governance in European sport. The conference was preceded by two workshops on good governance in sport, articulated in two morning sessions of 90 minutes each. The first workshop on ''Current Challenges'' gathered multiple stakeholder perspectives on the why, what and how of good governance in sport, while the second workshop focused on ''Future Scenarios'' for trust, growth and performance in good governance in sport. Each workshop was limited to 50-60 high-level participants and offered a platform for highly interactive peer-to-peer engagements and sharing of key findings among all workshop participants.