PtG Article 27.03.2017

UCI President and new experts added to speakers list for public hearing

The President of the UCI, an experienced French prosecutor and the COO of UK Sport are the latest additions to the list of speakers when PACE and Play the Game next Monday invite the public to a hearing into politicians’ role in reforming sports governance.

Updated 3 April

Who should take the lead in the reform of sports governance that has manifested itself as pivotal if sport wants to regain trust after a series of scandals over the past decade? This is the main theme for a public hearing held under the title: “Hands on, hands off? The role of politicians in reforming sports governance” in Aarhus City Hall on 3 April from 14.00-18.00.

Three new speakers, who have made their own personal experiences in the exploration of better structures in the world of sports, have recently joined the speakers list and will be sharing their views on how sport can ensure internal debate and transparency of decision-making, checks and balances.

When, in 2013, President of the international Cycling Union (UCI), Brian Cookson, took over the leadership of UCI, it was a federation challenged with restoring an image severely tarnished after corruption allegations and doping revelations. Cookson is among the latest names confirmed to speak at the hearing where he will hand out his opinions on carrying out reform from the inside and on how sports governance can be improved.

To encounter some of the structural challenges that sport is facing, UK Sports has developed a governance code for national sports organisations in the UK. In presenting this take on how governments can help secure good governance in sport, Simon Morton, Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport, will talk about the work in preparing a code laying out a national standard for what good practice is.

Another new name on the speakers list, who has had his hands on one of the biggest recent scandals in international sport, is Jean-Yves Lourguilloux, Deputy Financial Prosecutor at the National Finances Prosecution Office in France. This office has been tasked with the investigating and prosecution of the former leadership of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for corruption issues including the self-enrichment at the expense of sport and athletes. Lourguilloux can add to the debate from a legal point of view and pinpoint some of the loopholes that exist in the current set-up of sports associations.

The hearing will further bring forward a variety of viewpoints and stakeholders, including journalists who have struggled to expose wrongdoing, experts who bring data and facts into the debate – and politicians who must now decide if laws should be tightened and sport come under increased public control.

Among the speakers are also Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of ASOIF and the SportAccord Convention, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, Chief Ethics and Compliance Office, IOC, journalist Hajo Seppelt, Dr. Arnout Geeraert, author of the Sports Governance Observer report 2015, Harri Syväsalmi, Director at the Finnish Centre for Sports Integrity along with a number of prominent sports officials and politicians.

Read more about the hearing and download a detailed draft programme for the day.

Draft programme:

Panel 1: International sports governance: dreams and realities

  • Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, International Olympic Committee (IOC), Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Arnout Geeraert, PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; author of the Sports Governance Observer 2015 report and scientific coordinator

Panel 2: Breaking the silence, opening doors

  • Jean-Yves Lourguilloux, Deputy Financial Public Prosecutor, French Natonal Finances Prosecution Office
  • Michael J. Hershman, ICSS Group CEO

Panel 3: Sports autonomy: where are the limits?

  • Niels Nygaard, President of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark (DIF) and Board Member of European Olympic Committees
  • Simon Morton, Chief Operating Officer, UK Sport, England
  • Stanislas Frossard, Executive Secretary, Enlarged Partial Agreement of Sport, Council of Europe

Panel 4: Common ground on burning platforms

  • Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) and President of SportAccord Convention, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Harri Syväsalmi, Director, Finnish Centre for Integrity in Sports
  • Brian Cookson, President, UCI

The hearing is open to the public and free to attend, but if you are interested in taking part, please send an indication of your interest in a mail to our Conference Manager Maria Suurballe

More information


Public hearing:

“Hands on, hands off? The role of politicians in reforming sports governance"

14.00-18.00, 3 April 2017 Aarhus City Hall, Denmark

See speakers' biographies