Emmanuel Macedo Medreiros, of the International Council for Sports Security (ICSS) for Europe and Latin America, says governments, including Trinidad and Tobago, must set up the legislative framework to combat the corruption of sports, including through money-laundering, betting and tax evasion.

The ICSS is a global, independent and not for profit organisation, whose mandate is to enhance sport governance, financial integrity and transparency by protecting the highest standards of governance in sports organisations. Medreiros was in Trinidad and Tobago recently to have the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA).

SIGA is a global coalition of like-minded organisations, ranging from leaders in sport to Governments, international organisations including the UN and the European Commission, the International Task Force and world banking entities who are giving a platform and a voice to those who invest in sport. SIGA includes brands like Mastercard, Deloitte and PWC, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines, NGOs, academia and regulators.

Macedo said sport needs governmental support to battle the deviant entities that could damage sports image and reputation. ‘Sport is venurable’ “Sport is used because it is vulnerable. There is a lack, a deficit of robust regulatory framework from the part of Governments and international organisations and it is shameful and unacceptable that the financial markets can be used for such illegitimate gains as it is unacceptable the amount of governments that allow the proliferation of shell companies whose ownership structures are completely opaque and obscure and serve nothing but the purpose related to money laundering and tax evasion and allow criminal infiltration in sport,” Medreiros said. He continued: “These are not just suggestions these are realities and if there were any doubts I believe that the recent developments — the Panama Papers will show that there is more to come.

If this latest scandal has not yet led Governments to take firm decisive actions then I ask, ‘My God what will it take for them to wake up and do what we have been asking for almost a decade’,” said Medreiros. Medreiros said sport doesn’t have the means nor the jurisdiction to battle money laundering and tax evasion. But Medreiros, a current Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) member, said it was still a priority for sport organisations to promote and practice good governance and integrity in sport.

“Sport cannot be confronted wit this escalation of conflicts which are dragging sports reputation through the mud. That is why we have decided that enough is enough, recognising that sport has an invaluable social economic growth, recognising that sports bodies are the custodians of the games values but they do not own the game nor can they alone tackle the complex, sophisticated and global challenges and threats that sport is confronted with,” Medreiros asserted. He said the scandals that have rocked FIFA and the IAAF are a consequence of continued negligence, lack of leadership, lack of oversight, lax attitudes from governments and sports organisations.

“This must stop!”, said Medreiros, “Neutrality is nor an option, denial is not an option. This is a moment where each one of us has to take a responsibility starting with the Government who is the legitimate representative of the people of T&T and was elected to serve the public interest, and public interest equals sport because sports is a vessel for social and economic development, and to give the self-esteem and pride the people in this country they deserve.”

Compelling reasons Lewis said one of the compelling reasons for the TTOC aligning itself with ICSS and SIGA is the TTOC’s acknowledgement that “we have to be solutions oriented.” “It makes absolutely no sense pointing fingers and pointing blame. “Huge money has come into sport and we see even to this point the financial world has still not come up with the necessary fool-proof systems. But what it has highlighted is the fact that once you have this influx of money the huge industry even here in T&T we are pushing for the development of a billion dollar industry by the year 2020 that is sustainable.

“It requires that we create the systemic infrastructure to mitigate against the abuse of power the misuse of funds and financial transparency,” Lewis said.