In her address to the “Play the Game Conference” held in Aarhus on 25 October, the PACE President called on the support from the sport sector for the “No Hate Parliamentary Alliance” launched by the Assembly last January which brings together parliamentarians in member states who pledge to adopt firm and proactive public positions against racism, hatred and intolerance. “Sport is potentially a powerful vehicle to transmit the values of fairness, respect for others and inclusion, and would therefore be a most valuable supporter to extend our No Hate Campaign,” she stressed.
With regard to FIFA, the President recalled that at the time of the adoption of resolutions on good governance in 2013 and early 2015, PACE faced scepticism and protests from FIFA. “Today, I am sorry to note that the reality is worse than what we pointed out in our reports.”
Stressing her attachment to the autonomy of the sports movement, she said she refused the idea that some leaders of major sport organisations could “act as monarchs who rule outside the rule of law and abuse of powers and resources which are entrusted to them. Transparency and accountability shall be there. And if self-regulation cannot ensure it, this is a problem that public authorities will have to solve: this is an issue of public interest and not just a highly lucrative private business. FIFA has been stacking up the yellow cards for too long – now it is time for red. Simply replacing individuals will not solve the problem. It is time to blow the final whistle on it,” she said.
Anne Brasseur also warned against match-fixing as possibly being the greatest threat to the integrity of professional sport at this moment. “Our new convention on match-fixing, opened for signature in September 2014, is a response to this threat,” she said calling on all countries, including non-European ones, who had not yet done so, to take steps towards the ratification of this unique instrument.
In Copenhagen, PACE President also met a number of parliamentarians and had very fruitful discussions mainly on the refugee crisis.