Do sport athletes have a superior social responsibility? 2nd World Summit on Ethics & Leadership in Sports confers Ethics in Sports Award

16th September 2016

Solar Impulse, the FC Basel leadership team and UN’s Peace and Sports Ambassador Wilfried Lemke were the recipients of the award that was presented today at the Home of FIFA in Zurich

Zurich: At a time when the world of sports is facing increasingly large leadership challenges and has moved far away from its original objective, a focus on true sportsmanship and absolute adherence to the rules of the game on and off the pitch were at the forefront of the agenda.

Prof. McLaren, WADA Special Investigator, Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace for Sport, Ryszard Czarnecki, European Parliament’s Vice President and 53 other world-class speakers gathered to mutually discuss and assess the current situation in the world of sports and explore the way forward.

Participants and speakers agreed that the commercialization in sports threatens to overshadow the values that sports uphold. “Sport at the elite level is no longer amateur but professional. It’s a business first, and sports second. Win-at-all-cost attitude in sports is like the business model to maximize profits”, said Prof. McLaren, Special Investigator from the World Anti-Doping Agency. In this regards, solutions for protection of the purity and integrity of sports were identified and discussed in workshops and panel discussions.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino welcomed the 250 international delegates from 35 countries at the home of FIFA, which served as the venue for the Summit. He highlighted the necessity of FIFA to be an open organization whose mission is also “to foster and encourage these events, taking into consideration the social impact we create”.

By organizing the 2nd World Summit on Ethics & Leadership in Sports, the Brussels-based World Forum for Ethics in Business not only focused on bringing attention to the critical challenges related to sports governance such as match fixing, doping and human rights, but also recognized the good that sports stands for by celebrating positive role models.

The conference proceedings highlighted the conferment of the Ethics in Sports Award, a prize that recognized an outstanding individual, a team and an organization that have demonstrated the importance of human values and ethics in life and in the sports arena.

“In the face of corruption it is high time to wake up and take corrective measures. We should take life as sportive. Sports can play a major role in uniting the hearts and minds of people”, said Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, WFEB founder and global humanitarian who was presiding over the award ceremony.  With the World Forum for Ethics in Business he has institutionalized a body that aims to bring about transformation through a multi-stakeholder approach to ethics, good governance and transparency in the world of business and sports. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was visiting Switzerland on his way to the signing of the historic final peace treaty on 26th September 2016 between the Colombian Government and the FARC rebels, where he supported a major break-through in the peace negotiations.

In a moving ceremony, the audience applauded the winners in the category 'Outstanding Organization', Solar Impulse. Through their record-breaking solo flight of five days and five nights without fuel from Nagoya to Hawaii and the long-term persistence to achieve this goal, Solar Impulse has at all times put their message and motivation for the bigger organizational goal at the forefront and impressively role-modeled the diverse values of sportsmanship. Mr. Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace was the recipient of the Ethics in Sports Award in the category ‘Outstanding Individual' for his outstanding contributions in promoting the use of sports as a unifying tool for peace in the world and his initiatives to set-up projects in conflict zones that give hope and relief to the underprivileged and war-torn. The 2016 Ethics in Sports Award in the category 'Outstanding Teamwork' went to the leadership team of the Swiss football club FC Basel for its value-based leadership style of the Management and Board of Administration of the FC Basel and its impact on the sustainable success of the Club.

A day prior to the Summit, WFEB launched an Interdisciplinary Think Tank on Ethics and Leadership in Sports with participants from the European Council, European Parliament, FIFA, Transparency International, NOC Norway and more with the first focus lying on the organization of major sports events.