Richard Caborn, ex-sports minister and Sheffield MP, called for sport to operate under the same regulations as business at a high-profile debate chaired by Sir David Richards – a former chairman of the Premier League and an FA board member.
The influence of organised crime syndicates, institutional doping and alleged FIFA corruption were among the topics covered by the session, sparked by sporting controversy including Olympics doping allegations, football club owners coming under scrutiny and, most recently, Sam Allardyce’s dramatic departure as England manager.
‘Is Sport Becoming Too Contentious?’ was organised by Sheffield law firm hlw Keeble Hawson and staged at The Workstation in Sheffield. It was attended by more than 50 representatives from sport and business.
Emanuel Medeiros, CEO of the International Centre for Sport Security, Europe, highlighted the increasingly contentious nature of sport – citing football as an example of a game where controversy, greed and litigation have escalated as a result of vast sums of money being poured into it, largely from the sale of broadcasting rights.
On the issue of governance in sport – and for sport to operate under the same regulations as business, Richard Caborn aired concerns that politicians have allowed sport to operate under its own rules – and that the challenge is for it to be run as an independently governed and funded system.
He said: “To have confidence in and respect for sport’s autonomy we need a regulatory system that is run and delivered by all sport and supported by its constituent stakeholder parties. But it needs to be free from cronyism and anachronistic structures.”