The Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements (Review) was requested as part of the work being done by the Australian government to develop a National Sport Plan.
The increasing commercialisation of sport, the rapid growth in sports wagering, and revelations of ongoing manipulation of sports competitions and doping scandals, has made this review timely.
The plan is intended to have four pillars: performance, participation, prevention through physical activity, and integrity. The reference to the Review Panel concerned the integrity pillar. Integrity, however, plays a fundamental role in ensuring public confidence in, and the ongoing viability of, all elements of the plan.
Sport has been and continues to be a very important part of life in Australia. At an international level, our athletes have acquired an enviable reputation for their successes and, just as importantly, for their positive competitive spirit and fairness. Similarly, sports organisations and bodies such as the National Integrity of Sport Unit (NISU), the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) have been proactive in deterring, detecting and responding to corrupt behaviour in sport and have similarly been accepted as leaders in their field. This supports the very high level of participation in sport of so many Australians at national, subelite and grassroots levels.
Australia’s sports integrity environment compares favourably with many other countries. However, judging from current international experience, the potential for serious integrity breaches in this country and for the intervention of organised crime by reason of available opportunities remains real, and is growing. Without the presence of a comprehensive, effective and nationally coordinated response capability, the hard-earned reputation of sport in this country risks being tarnished, along with a potential reduction in participation rates and a diminution in the social, cultural and economic value of Australia’s significant investment in sport.
The focus of this review, accordingly, has been on developing an understanding of the nature and level of the threats to sports integrity in Australia, to identify and assess our current sports integrity capability and any current weaknesses, and to propose a nationally coordinated response. Elements for that response include the establishment of a National Sports Integrity Commission (NSIC) and a National Sports Tribunal (NST).