Appendix – Guidelines on good governance and ethics in
1. These guidelines are addressed to
the member States of the Council of Europe and to all governing bodies
of the sports movement, all of which have their own responsibilities
but need to work in a co-ordinated manner and co-operate effectively
in the search for common solutions.
They are intended to promote a number of activities designed
2.1 prevent certain financial
abuses which affect sports clubs’ financial balance and, at the
same time, give rise to inequalities between those clubs, thus distorting
2.2 provide effective protection to young athletes;
2.3 improve governance mechanisms within sports institutions.
3. They do not therefore directly relate to some other extremely
serious issues which undermine sport and jeopardise its future,
such as doping, match-fixing and other problems which have been
the subject of other Assembly reports.
4. Intervention by States in the fields covered must allow for
the need to preserve the autonomy of the sports movement, but also
for the need to ensure that this autonomy does not become an excuse
for failure to react to the abuses eroding sports ethics and to
acts covered, or which should be covered, by criminal law.
5. National legal systems should include legislation regulating
sports activity as a whole and including specific provisions to
deal with the problems which cannot effectively be resolved through
sport’s own regulations.
6. The sports movement’s governing bodies must strive for effective
co-operation among themselves and for synergies with public authorities’
efforts to combat the abuses threatening sports ethics. They must
remain exemplary in their internal functioning and, in the context
of their own autonomy, take action without ever losing sight of
the fact that sport must remain a vehicle of positive values which
contribute to personal development, social cohesion and the bringing
together of peoples.
7. In order to foster co-ordinated action, government authorities
and the sports movement’s governing bodies must promote the setting
up of national platforms regularly bringing together the organisations
in charge of sport and professional athletes’ trade unions.
Club finances and “financial
8. “Financial fair play” must be strengthened by adopting
standards requiring financial transparency, limiting debt and fostering
the self-financing of clubs. Budgetary constraints of this kind,
and the requisite monitoring mechanisms to ensure effective compliance
with them, should be imposed by the sports federations or organisations
concerned, in the context of self-regulation. The financial fair
play rules adopted by the Union of European Football Associations
(UEFA) could serve as a model.
9. The generalisation of financial fair play also implies the
laying down of standards and monitoring mechanisms by national federations
which are necessary to ensure that the conditions for fair competition between
clubs exist, to contribute to their financial stability and to guarantee
the fairness of sport. French football’s Direction nationale de
contrôle de gestion (DNCG) offers an example which other States
and other sports could follow.
10. European States could back up these reforms by the sports
movement through better harmonisation of national standards regarding
sports companies’ accounts, with a view to improving financial transparency.
11. Moreover, States should ensure that the prohibition of public
aid to professional sports companies is strictly applied according
to European Union law.
Protection of young athletes
12. In order to combat the most serious problems relating
to the exploitation of young athletes and their being treated as
commodities, the Council of Europe member States, including those
that have not yet ratified the texts mentioned below, should guarantee,
also by means of efficient controls, rigorous application of the relevant
provisions of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the revised Council of Europe European Social Charter (ETS
No. 163) and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against
Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197).
National legislation on sport should contain provisions to
protect young national and migrant athletes, including to:
13.1 prohibit commercial transfers
of athletes under the age of 16, in order to prevent minors from becoming
mere objects of financial transactions;
13.2 prohibit remuneration of intermediaries for athletes aged
under 16 (a prohibition which would also apply to non-commercial
13.3 give binding force (for all sports) to measures derived
from the 10 recommendations issued by France’s Union of Professional
Football Clubs (UCPF) on looking after foreign players who are minors;
13.4 make compulsory the combining of sport with schooling/vocational
training, failing which a change of club should be null and void,
whatever legal form it may take (transfer, loan, etc.);
13.5 prohibit the issue to athletes of “student” or “tourist”
visas and consider introducing a special visa allowing for the specificity
of sport and enabling migratory movements of athletes to be monitored.
14. In the absence of national legislation on sport and pending
the adoption of such specific legislation, States should at least
secure protection for athletes who are minors through appropriate
provisions in the legislation regulating the rights of employed
15. Work should start, in co-operation with the European Union,
on harmonising national legislation concerning sports agents, in
order to regulate in a consistent manner, as has been done for other
professional categories, the activities of these agents and of intermediaries
not registered as sports agents but acting as such.
16. National sports associations should promote the adoption of
charters which aim to prevent any moral or physical ill-treatment
of athletes who are minors and should establish the requisite monitoring
mechanisms to ensure compliance with these charters.
17. UEFA, in order to increase its supervisory capacity, could
introduce a compulsory contribution to be used to fund a system
for monitoring the conditions in which athletes who are minors are
transferred and looked after, with a view to detecting and punishing
Governance, transparency and
the combating of corruption and self-interest in sports bodies
18. Federations, associations, professional leagues and
other sports organisations should include in their codes of sports
ethics the provisions needed to prevent criminal associations from
infiltrating the management bodies of sports companies or authorities.
The purchase of sports clubs using capital of unknown origin should be
prevented by making it compulsory for clubs to seek information
about potential owners.
19. The Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic
and Sports Movement, drawn up by the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) in 2008, should be complied with by all sports organisations.
20. Within sports federations, it is necessary to introduce supervisory
mechanisms achieving a new balance in the powers of their presidents
and ensuring that presidents are accountable to members’ assemblies.
21. In this context, the term of office for which presidents of
federations are elected should be limited (for example a four-year
term, renewable only once). In addition, within sports federations,
multiple candidates should be encouraged to stand for election as
president, as should female candidates at every level.
22. The statutes of sports federations should prevent any form
of conflict of interest by prohibiting individuals from holding
senior offices within those federations if, at the same time, they
hold senior posts in a club.
23. The governance mechanisms of sports federations should be
such as to involve athletes in the major decisions relating to the
regulation of their sport. In this respect, encouragement could
be given to the representation of players’ and athletes’ trade unions
and to the presence of former athletes of acknowledged integrity
on federation committees.
24. It would be necessary to improve, within all sports federations,
the provisions concerning the committees responsible for examining
candidatures for the hosting of major international sports events.
Strict rules on eligibility and on these committees’ election and
operating arrangements should be drawn up in order to prevent and
punish any conflicts of interest or acts of self-interest among
members, and strict checks should be provided for in order to avoid
any attempted bribery or the exercise of improper influence on voting members’
final decision. The possibility of including outside observers on
such committees without the right to vote should be considered.
25. Sports associations and federations at every level (regional,
national, continental and international) should publish annually
(on their websites and in their activity reports) details of their
income and expenditure and the remuneration of their senior executives
and elected managers.