Qatar’s Mohamed al-Hanzab has been elected as vice chairman of Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) in Rome on Wednesday.
Al-Hanzab’s victory culminates five years of efforts backed by the Qatari government to build a global alliance that resulted in the establishment of the first international organisation on sport integrity.
Following a secret ballot, SIGA chairman Franco Frattini announced the names of five vice chairs led by Al-Hanzab who also chairs the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS).
SIGA was founded in 2017 as a Qatari initiative backed by ICSS efforts, which lasted for nearly five years to build a global alliance to protect the future of international sport.
In his first remarks following his election, Al-Hanzab reaffirmed the support of the wise leadership for enhancing integrity in sport has been receiving wide acclaim from the major international institutions and dignitaries, highlighting the wise leadership’s backing for ICSS, which launched the initiative to establish SIGA and led the international efforts in this regard, placing Qatar as one of the world countries that combat corruption and support integrity in world sport.
Al-Hanzab said his success was a success for Qatar, noting that the Qatari people always prove through their actions that Qatar is a global leader in the different fields and in combating corruption and enhancing integrity in sport.
Al-Hanzab is one of the major international personalities in the field of integrity and transparency and was the first Arab to appear on the 2016 list of 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, which is compiled by US-based foundation Ethisphere.
He led the international efforts to build an international alliance for sports integrity and was behind the first international initiative directly concerned with safety, security and integrity in sports, with the establishment of ICSS in 2010. 
He also became the first Arab and Muslim figure to initiate and contribute to the establishment of an international self-financing organisation that is adopted by the entire world before being elected today as the vice chairman of SIGA.
Al-Hanzab was elected vice-chairman along with four others, namely: La Liga chairman Javier Tebas, MasterCard vice president of global sponsorships Michael Robichaud, Turkic Council’s Ramil Hasanov and Cleanthis Georgiades of Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA). 
Under SIGA chairman Frattini’s proposal, the general assembly also approved co-opted members for the council, namely: Qatar Airways’ Salam al-Shawa, UNESCO’s Angela Melo, Cindy McCain of McCain Institute and Shellie Pfohl from the US Center for SafeSport.
Addressing the general assembly, Al-Shawa highlighted Qatar Airways’ keenness as a pioneering global institution on social responsibility issues, which is not only related to the business sectors but also in other areas such as sport.
Qatar Airways is ready to transfer its social responsibility expertise to SIGA, Al-Shawa said, adding that as a member of the new SIGA council, she urges the chairman and council members to allow a bigger role for women in international sport.
Speaking following the Sport Integrity Forum, SIGA Chairman Frattini said that sport is capable of bringing people closer together, reducing tension and can also “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 peoples trust,” Frattini added. 
He praised the efforts of Al-Hanzab, noting that he will carry out his role in an ideal manner and in the same spirit that everyone shares in order to protect international sport through SIGA.
For his part, SIGA Co-ordinator Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros highlighted the substantial challenges ahead, expressing confidence in the ability to overcome them. “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,” De Medeiros added.
Pope Francis delivered a message to the delegates via a representative in which he “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.”            (QNA)