The effects of ethics on governance in sports organisations

Ethics and culture

Here we shall look in detail at the different types of ethics that individuals and organisations can exhibit in sport and how these impact on governance.

Personal ethics

Personal ethics are concerned with an individual’s morality and their view of what is right and wrong. To some extent, the law can establish rules about what is ‘wrong’. However, standards of behaviour are much more determined by social attitudes of morality and good conduct, even though the attitudes of individuals often differ on whether a particular action is ‘wrong’ or unethical.

Ethical personal behaviour helps to build trust and is commonly associated with the , in particular integrity (honesty) and transparency.

In May 2015, a 47-count criminal indictment was presented to a court in New York charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offences, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international football.

Two generations of senior football officials were charged with abusing their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative media and marketing contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks. All told, the football officials were charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over US$150 million (£110 million) in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

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