Corruption in Sports: Is Sport losing its integrity ?
The Olympic motto reads: Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger) and the Olympic creed reads: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
The creed and motto are meant to inspire the athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to the best of their abilities.
But today, with corruption seeping into the culture of sport, is sport losing its integrity?
In the multi-million dollar world of sports, political and private parties have a big play. Deals are signed behind closed doors allowing room for corruption.
The IOC holds a monopoly in Olympics decisions and a lot of palm greasing and power broking go behind decisions to select the city to host the Olympics. This became public when, Salt Lake City won the rights to host the 2002 Winter games via a series of bribes to the IOC. Infighting and corruption are endemic to other sports as well.
The lucrative Indian Premier League and Commonwealth Games exposed corruption in cricket. A series of scandals has tarnished the image of the cash-rich IPL, which boasts a host of celebrity owners including India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, spirits and airline magnate Vijay Mallya and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan. Five uncapped Indian cricketers have been provisionally suspended following allegations of corruption.
Match fixing is now a well-known part of soccer. Players and middle-men take bribes to fix matches. Club owners demand high sums of money to transfer high profile players. Before the start of events like the Commonwealth games, companies try to rig bids for construction contracts.
Recently, Singapore soccer players were identified to be behind many of the betting scandals that have dented soccer’s reputation. Money laundering takes place through sponsorship and advertising arrangements or through television rights, purchase of clubs and players. Complex techniques are used to launder money through football and other sports.
Apart from this, use of performance-enhancing drugs, anabolic steroids and recreational drugs have severely dented the credibility of athletes. With the exposure of Lance Armstrong who has topped the cycling circuit for decades, sport is beginning to lose its essence.
What are your views?