Switzerland’s new stringent anti corruption sports law

Described as the most favored country for international sports organizations, Switzerland, which already the home of the IOC or International Olympic Committee is now changing turf on sports laws. The proposal to enact stricter laws for combating the rise in sports corruption comes from pressure over recent FIFA corruption controversy that have come to light.

The country is currently debating whether to make significant and effective changes in its Unfair Competition Act and the Swiss Criminal Code to make international sports corruption chargeable as criminal offences. It would be seen as a major step towards the fight against impunity and corruption. It is acknowledged by the Swiss authorities that much more needs to be done to combat corruption in sports.

With these changes, private corruption would be perceived as a criminal offence even if the injured party does not make any complaint. The pressure to amend these laws is not solely related to sports, but is  extended to corporate and business corruption.

Notably sports organizations that have faced action for not abiding to stricter laws have threatened to transfer their offices to other countries. One such instance was of the IOC, when they attempted to exempt themselves from the new VAT law which was rejected by the Federal Administration of Finance. In response to which the IOC had threatened to relocate to a less stringent location.

Since sports organisations are trying to convey a positive and clean image for themselves through reforms, for example the FIFA governance reforms, the Swiss reforms appear as acceptable steps that boost the image of the sports organisations.

It is widely acknowledged that deficiencies in international sports organization are demonstrated through lack of clear structures which enable them to hold officials accountable, having financial controls and basic transparency requirements. The Swiss government’s steps are regarded as much needed first-steps to combat sports corruption.

Our specialist business crime and fraud barrister offer practical advice and assistance to sports organisation and individuals on anti bribery and corruption measures and compliance.

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