Registration office will be exclusive
This is how Swiss Sport wants to take action against abuse in the future: antidoping Switzerland becomes Swiss Sport Integrity
Umbrella organization Swiss Olympic is planning a fully independent investigation and sanctioning body on 1 January 2022. It will play a leading role in tackling ethical violations in sports worldwide.
The scandal surrounding the abusive behavior of trainers at the Swiss Gymnastics Federation shocked the public last summer and forced politicians out of their reserves. The National Council and the Council of States unanimously called for the creation of a reporting center for abuses in sports.
Sports Minister Viola Amherd put additional pressure and demanded that the project be implemented by 1 January 2022. And installed.
The Swiss umbrella organization may not always look happy in relation to Swiss Olympic gymnastics events. On the one hand, there is an ethical charter that is valid for all sports organizations, on the other hand, there is no real handle if it is not followed.
New registration office must be in Antidoping Switzerland
In fact, however, the Swiss was aware of this situation long before the revelations in Olympic sports gymnastics and artistic gymnastics. However, the order given eight years ago to nearly 80 affiliated national sports associations to develop a code of conduct and reporting office for their own sport was not implemented satisfactorily everywhere. This was shown by three external analyzes commissioned by the Swiss Olympics in spring 2020. The way to the cross-sport solution was long before the game, regardless of current events.
Now the plan is on the table. While developing the Swiss model, some existing solutions were followed in other countries, on the one hand, and the integrity structures of exemplary world sports associations such as athletics and biathlon, which recently introduced similar solutions.
A consistently chosen approach to independence increases credibility and makes Swiss sport a world leader in this field, as experts in the field have confirmed. With comparable examples, the aim is to add the Office of Reporting for Ethical Issues to the existing structure of antidoping Switzerland. The strictly independent organization should be named Swiss Sport Integrity.
All reports of ethical violations should come together and processed and dispensed by professional experts. Criminally relevant offenses are handed over to the judiciary, an investigation is opened in case of mismanagement or violation of the integrity of the game and an application for an approval is made. Issues that were morally irrelevant to the processing were rejected or sent to the professional association. The reporting office can also take provisional measures against the people.
A disciplinary chamber composed of independent lawyers based on the tried and tested model of the disciplinary chamber for doping cases is responsible for examining these investigative reports from a sports law perspective.
Sanctions against individuals or organizations
It conducts a hearing process, may impose sanctions and make binding recommendations. Because often a complaint is not resolved with the removal of resolvable ones, structural changes are often necessary. The Disciplinary Chamber’s decisions can be challenged at the Cass International Sports Court in Lausanne.
The major advantage of this solution is the uniform clearance practice. Associations are relieved of the obligation to set up their own reporting offices, ethics committees and courts. Many associations are unhappy that they can relinquish this responsibility and save resources. Together with the Maglingen training structures, led by the Swiss Olympics, they are responsible for the field of prevention.
In terms of independence, the Swiss model goes further than models from Australia, Canada and Finland. Sport Integrity Australia, which was launched on July 1, 2020, is under state influence, with the Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport not yet having the power to approve and re-delegate to individual associations within the jurisdiction of Finland.
People from Austria, Holland or Norway look at Switzerland with great interest. In these countries, the establishment of codes of conduct and reporting offices in sports is also on the agenda.
Stephen Netzle drafted a code of conduct
First, the Board of Trustees of Antidoping Switzerland must approve the new structure. Independently, this new code of conduct will be presented to sports associations at the Swiss Olympic Forum on 5 and 6 May and the consultation process will begin. Swiss sports associations should adapt their rules to the extent that all athletes, coaches and officials are subject to new procedures and jurisdiction.
Olympian Stephen Netzell, a former world-class rover and an international sports lawyer and longtime judge at the Sports Court in Lausanne, drafted the rules based on the mandate. Netzal has been at the forefront of many associations in the development and introduction of ethical guidelines.
Waiting for legal experts until the final version is still a difficult and tedious task. The first uniform code of ethics for Swiss sports is to be adopted by the Sports Parliament on 26 November.
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