On the 31st of March, EU Athletes attended the 3rd International Sport4Impact Conference in Milan, Italy. The event gathered over 60 people to discuss the role of finance and private sectors to design and scale up policies and programs for driving social change through sport. The day before, on the 30th of March, EU Athletes also participated in a smaller pre-event to exchange ideas on creating regulations for prevention and countering crimes in sport in strict coordination with the law enforcement agencies.
During the conference, representatives from sport organisations, public bodies, and practitioners explored opportunities to better connect and cooperate with financial and private operators. The event was organised by IIISSS in cooperation with other partners and with the support of UNESCO. Sport4Impact Conference offered a setting for showcasing current cases and tools as well as potential solutions developed by financial and private sectors. Thanks to the organisers Paolo Bertaccini and Sabrina Vettorato for inviting EU Athletes to the conference.
On behalf of its members, EU Athletes advocated for recognition of the role and importance that athlete and player associations have in the prevention of competition manipulation, corruption and other types of wrongdoings in sport.
Player associations support athletes when it comes to their personal development, education, mental health and wellbeing. Education is an essential element in the prevention of crimes in sport, and player associations are the pioneers and leaders in developing and delivering education to athletes. Education is delivered to athletes by people who they know and trust, therefore, it has a greater impact on the athletes.
Player associations also work to engage in collective bargaining, ensure better working conditions and for athletes to practise sport and the respect of their rights, which all together positively influences the overall welfare of athletes and, hence, makes them less vulnerable to take part in competition manipulation. The work of player associations may further help to improve sport governance and the accountability of sport organisations towards the athletes.
At the same time, other sport stakeholders should understand, respect and support the essential role of player associations. Crimes in sport continue to expand to new locations and take new forms. To fight these wrongdoings effectively, national, European, and international stakeholders should come together, exchange their knowledge and practices.
In line with that EU Athletes is currently coordinating an Erasmus+ project PROtect Integrity Online co-funded by the European Union. The project brings together 8 player associations representing 5 major sports and the University of Rennes 2 as the research institution. PROtect Integrity Online focuses on researching, developing, implementing and evaluating the best ways to deliver integrity education to players, particularly related to fighting match-fixing and corruption in sport.