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Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was recently welcomed to New Zealand with a powhiri. He likened the ceremony to the Olympic movement - something that signifies peace, friendship and equality - and noted that New Zealand embraces the same values through sport.
The IOC is a not for profit independent international organisation, made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. Since taking up the presidency, Bach has been a constant advocate for autonomy and good governance in sport and, in particular, has focused on the implementation of transparency, responsibility and accountability by all Olympic movement constituents.
Article by Josephine Serrallach TINZ Director
At a press conference while in New Zealand, Bach invited New Zealanders to think about the possibility of hosting the Olympic Games. This is part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, which encourages constituent countries to consider how the Olympic Games could fit into their social, economic, environmental and sporting needs.
Notwithstanding that sport is a global symbol of fair play, corruption remains a constant risk. Corruption is a global problem because of the large and growing stakes involved in international sport.
SportNZ has a leadership role to promote fundamental ethical principles consistent with the Olympics Charter, investing both in sport in education and education in sport. It provides education programmes, anti-match-fixing on-line training courses and has introduced a number of sport integrity measures through the launching of a national match-fixing policy. A cross-government group has been formed, which is responsible for intelligence on integrity threats, match fixing and doping and where information is gathered, analysed and acted upon.
SportNZ is also carrying out research partnering with NZ Recreation Association and Skills Active.
As a consequence of the background work done by the cross-government agencies, the Crimes Match-Fixing Amendment Act 2014 was passed in New Zealand late last year, making match-fixing a criminal offence.
New Zealand is one of only three countries in the world that have established and implemented national action plans for the prevention of match-fixing and of corruption in sport, the other two countries being Norway and Australia.
New Zealand may or may not meet the major requirements for hosting Olympic Games in terms of its infrastructure. It would certainly fit the criteria of highly placed in the world for integrity in sport.