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NOCs worldwide step up efforts to combat competition manipulation


28 Apr 2023 – During a webinar organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from all continents were further alerted to the threat of competition manipulation and trained on how to best educate their athletes and officials on this important topic.

With several major multi-sports events, the Olympic qualifiers and the Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 and Olympic Games Paris 2024 on the horizon, the meeting provided a timely opportunity to share smart tools and informative material, and to allow some 70 NOCs to exchange best practices, and learn from each other.

A number of NOCs from different continents and of all sizes presented their activities and explained how they have worked with national stakeholders to raise awareness among their athletes and entourage members of the risks associated with competition manipulation, notably in the context of Continental Games and the Olympic Games. Several NOCs indicated that working with their Believe in Sport Ambassadors for this purpose has proven to be highly effective.

The Believe in Sport Ambassadors are active or retired athletes, coaches or referees who work directly with their respective NOC and/or International Sports Federation (IF) in their efforts to prevent competition manipulation.

Sharing best practice

The NOC of Slovenia, for instance, involved its Believe in Sport Ambassador, Andrej Miklavc (a retired Alpine skier), in all awareness-raising activities for its delegation ahead of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. This included a dedicated webinar, during which the NOC and Andrej presented the relevant rules and the Code of Conduct, distributed awareness-raising material and explained the reporting mechanism.

Andrey, together with several other Believe in Sport Ambassadors, took part in the IOC webinar this week to share know-how with the 150 NOC representatives in attendance.

Optimising national collaboration

Other NOCs presented how they work with national stakeholders, including public authorities and national platforms, to increase the reach and impact of their educational activities to prevent competition manipulation. For example, some have developed concepts to include specific education in the school curriculum.

The NOC of Australia works closely with its national sports integrity body, Sports Integrity Australia, which presented innovative approaches that have proven fruitful at national level, including a VR game for younger athletes, providing them with different scenarios in which they are approached to engage in competition manipulation. The Australian NOC also has a dedicated mandatory elearning course ahead of specific events.

Meanwhile, the NOCs of Portugal, Sri Lanka and a few other countries have systematically built capacities and skills across their National Federations (NFs) over the past few years.

The participants also learnt about communications tactics and intelligence processes. The webinar was highly interactive, and many participants were particularly interested in how to reach out systematically to the sports community in their countries. The IOC experts explained how to use existing channels and opportunities efficiently before and during major events, e.g. social media, team preparation meetings, uniform distribution days and educational booths. NOCs were advised to blend digital with in-person education.

Evangelos Alexandrakis, NOC Contact Manager at the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of Competition Manipulation (OM Unit PMC), said: “Our aim is to empower all NOCs to pass on the right messages to their athletes and other delegation members ahead of major events and on an ongoing basis. In fact, the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions, which is part of the Olympic Charter, obliges sport organisations to implement awareness-raising activities. Our webinar aimed to support the NOCs in this important task.It was great to see how they were eager to learn from each other and to progress.”

Background information

The NOC webinar formed part of the IOC’s efforts to engage all key Olympic Movement stakeholders in protecting the integrity of sporting competitions. The initiatives to prevent competition manipulation are led by the dedicated OM Unit PMC, set up in 2017. Last month, the IOC decided to allocate a fund of USD 10 million per Olympiad to continue to support the successful work of this Unit.

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