Anti-bribery and Corruption in International Sport Governing Bodies

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


There is limited literature focusing on anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) in national (SGB) and international (ISGB) sport governing bodies. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to enhance the body of literature by critically evaluating why ABC policies are not in line with professional service industries – and what forensic accountants and sport experts believe would help mitigate corruption.
This thesis first analyses and amalgamates relevant interdisciplinary literature to produce a unified theoretical anti-bribery framework. It then assesses the ABC environment through a critical review of the diverse ABC governance policies, undertaken through content analysis on governance documents publicly available on the sample ISGB websites. The findings show no area within the framework that ISGBs performed well at as a collective, and no single ISGB whose anti-bribery policies were strong in all areas, although there was an improvement between 2017 and 2020 in some ISGBs.
The thesis then explores expert perceptions on the current state of ABC policies in SGBs and ISGBs first in relation to the organisation of sport mega-events and then across governing bodies as seen through an ethical climate theory lens. Thus, the question of how and why anti-bribery and corruption in sport internal controls can mitigate financial corruption is addressed. 39 interviews were conducted with anti-corruption specialists, sport governance officials, and stakeholders working in sport. Thematic analysis was then conducted on the data. The results showed a consistency of opinion with regards to the policies required for a robust anti-bribery and corruption programme within sport governing bodies, such as documenting audit trails for expenses and limiting the use of cash in financial transactions.
The implications of the thesis are a need for sharing best practice in this area of governance, and providing global guidance on ABC policies to ensure integrity in the sector.
Date of Award18 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnthony Hines (Supervisor), Adam Cox (Supervisor) & Russell Craig (Supervisor)

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