On 17 February, the third national workshop of the POINTS (Single Points of Contact for Sports Integrity) project took place in Portugal, in the headquarters of the Portuguese Olympic Committee (COP). The meeting brought together international experts from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the office of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in the European Union (EU), INTERPOL and Portuguese Judiciary Police (PJ) as well as SPOCs from national federations for a day of work around the manipulation of sports competitions. Another aim of the meeting was to introduce the work done by COP in the field of integrity and in the frame of the POINTS project.
The morning session was dedicated to European and international actions while the afternoon was focusing on the Portuguese situation. José Manuel Araújo, Secretary General of the COP, opened the session by highlighting the importance of the issue and to ensure that “athletes are aware of the risks and consequences” before stressing that “making an effort to ensure good governance and maintaining fair competition is absolutely essential“. General Director of the COP, João Paulo Almeida, praised the work done in the POINTS project and called for the application of “zero tolerance” in cases of manipulation.
As associated partner, the International Olympic Committee is deeply involved in the POINTS project and Evangelos Alexandrakis, NOCs Contact Manager in the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions presented the IOC strategy and stressed the importance of such a project for National Olympic Committees. He added that the IOC considers the work done by the COP in the area of integrity in sport as “an inspirational model”, as it is “a good practice in terms of activating the National Olympic Committees, with support for the federations and an extended programme, with many actions“. Valentin Capelli, project manager, presented the work achieved within the POINTS project stressing that the project “works on the development of good governance and integrity projects and not only on the manipulation of sports competitions“. He added that it is essential “for sport organisations to move into practice” in the way they view this issue. On his side, Claudio Marinelli, from INTERPOL, addressed the Research Network created by INTERPOL and the IOC and argued that “criminal and disciplinary investigations can work in parallel”. Success depends on mutual recognition and respect. Understanding the differences will help define the parameters of cooperation.
Following a presentation of good practices by Rute Soares, from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) a round table on the “Implementation of an Integrity Programme” took place between the different speakers. The cooperation between sport organisations and public authorities as well as the role of Single Points of Contact can play in establishing integrity strategies were discussed.
The second part of the day was dedicated to the work engaged at Portuguese level with a presentation made by Joana Gonçalves, project manager in COP, of the new Integrity strategy developed by the Olympic Committee. To conclude the day, two case studies related to Competition Manipulation were discussed, creating inspiring exchanges within participants on the way to react to different cases. The POINTS national workshops will continue in March with meetings in Croatia and the Netherlands