The chairman of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, has lauded Qatar for hosting the ‘Doha 2019 Inter-regional Sports Integrity Summit’, saying the two-day event signifies that the country is resolute in combatting corruption and illegality in sports.

“The staging of the summit in Doha is also of symbolic importance because supporting this gathering sends a clear message that the state of Qatar wants to fight any kind of illegality.

“And this is absolutely important because of the deep crisis within international sport organisation. The contribution of the powerful state of Qatar in the field of sport is very important: If they back us up and support SIGA, we are much stronger,” Frattini told Gulf Times in an interview.

Frattini also stressed that the summit, a first in the Middle East, is one of Qatar’s contributions in the campaign against corruption in sport and an expression of political support, citing the cooperation agreement SIGA signed with Qatar Stars League (QSL).

“Aside from the agreement with QSL, government officials such as Qatar’s Minister of Culture and Sport are here, as well as the main personalities in the field of sport events. These are all messages that this country is supporting SIGA’s idea to one day have international binding rules applicable everywhere – to sport events and bodies involved in sport organisation, where the private and public sectors could work together with civil society and NGOs,” he said.

For this reason, Frattini said SIGA is cooperating with its stakeholders – governments, sports federations, public institutions, and the private sector – to finalise the ‘SIGA White Paper’ aimed at setting standards and binding rules to promote sport integrity at the international level. The white paper will be presented in a summit to be held in Rome in January 2020, he continued.

“This is absolutely necessary against the cancer of corruption and the penetration of organised crime because there is a huge flow of money around sport and this is becoming very attractive for organised crime,” Frattini explained.

He also emphasised that Qatar’s support for SIGA’s objectives provides optimism as the alliance seeks transparency and integrity in sport.

“Qatar’s backing of SIGA’s advocacy for integrity and clean sport events is another element of confidence. It makes me confident about the real success, unique experience in the Middle East, and of course, the idea of subscribing a document for the integrity of all the competitions. This is the first time that it happened,” Frattini noted.

He also stressed that “fighting corruption comes from within society,” and noted that children should be educated “on the culture of legality and not through the culture of prevailing at the expense of others.”

Frattini added: “I understand that the leadership of this country is composed of open minded leaders. They are open to the implementation of all things necessary for the good of the younger generation, so I think there is a ‘virtuous circle’ – the more families grow, the more the national unity strengthens, and the more the leadership is encouraged to go ahead.

“The Italian Government and the Embassy of Italy in Doha are extremely committed to promote sport integrity and sport values within civil society. This approach – shared by Italy and Qatar – could lead our countries to work together to develop projects of common interest.”

Related Story