Corruption in Sports Lurking Off the Field
By Neal Harris, VP Worldwide Sales −
The most visible sporting officials run around on the field with the athletes — blowing their whistles and causing the fans to cheer or boo based on their rulings. While high-profile cases of corrupt officiating occasionally occur, I believe the majority of referees and on-field officials do their best to ensure fair play.
But what about sports officials off the fields of play?
Swiss Corruption Laws
The Swiss government recently modified their corruption laws, citing the reason that, “many international sports federations [that] are based in Switzerland have been discredited repeatedly by corruption scandals.” Switzerland is home to world soccer’s FIFA, European soccer’s UEFA, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Cycling Federation — all of which have been tainted by accusations of outright corruption.
When it comes to bidding for large-scale events like the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, or international cycling competitions, backroom deals, bribes and payoffs are all too common. Who didn’t watch the Socchi Olympics in February and wonder, “How did a resort area with warm weather, palm trees, and no infrastructure win a bid for the Winter Olympics?”
(For information on efforts by athletes to stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes, click here.)
The next step to improve the integrity of sports is to test the people that surround the athletes. If Mohamed Bin Hammam (the Qatari football official that bribed the FIFA), Russian Olympic committee officials, and UEFA executives were submitted to deception detection before their falls from grace, the damage they caused could have been prevented.
Converus’ EyeDetect™ technology will debut this fall at global sporting events to assist with this important screening effort. Referees, doctors, trainers, managers, coaches, league executives and bid committee officials could all be tested with the non-intrusive, highly-reliable EyeDetect station before events or meetings that have historically suffered from corruption.
As a sports fan, I call upon FIFA, UEFA, the IOC and the ICF to investigate and begin using new technologies like EyeDetect to improve the integrity of these cherished sporting events.