Liam Morgan

You might have missed it, but last week was "Sport Integrity Week".

The event is run by the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), a Swiss-based non-profit which claims to "work towards a vision of sport played and governed under the highest integrity standards, free from any form of unethical, illicit and criminal activity, to safeguard sports values and ensure its positive impact and benefits to all citizens".

The programme for Sport Integrity Week contained the usual conference speakers - such as La Liga President Javier Tebas, who seemingly appears at more of these kind of things than anyone else, and the typical subjects - corruption being bad being one example - all for the bargain price of €50 (£43/$58).

One particular session which caught my eye was about gender, race, inclusion and equality.

Someone might want to point SIGA chairman Franco Frattini in the direction of the discussion during the seminar following his racist tweets about China back in 2019.

The social media comments from Italy’s former Foreign Minister led to the first Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision in the infamous Sun Yang doping sample-destroying case being thrown out.

Franco Frattini chaired the CAS panel which handed Sun Yang an eight-year ban ©Getty Images
Franco Frattini chaired the CAS panel which handed Sun Yang an eight-year ban ©Getty Images

To recap, Frattini used racist terms to describe Chinese people involved in the trade of dog and cat meat in a series of tweets - all of which were sent after he was appointed to chair the CAS panel which initially banned Sun for eight years.

The Swiss Federal Tribunal ruled Frattini's impartiality in the case had been brought into question due to the tweets and ordered it be reheard.

When the CAS heard the case for a second time, using a new panel, six-time Olympic medallist Sun was banned for four years and three months.

Frattini, who chaired the farcical public CAS hearing in the case in November 2019, was re-elected SIGA chairman in July.

Of course, people make mistakes. But is it right to have an integrity body led by an official who was found to have been openly racist against a country?

Frattini "vigorously contested" the allegations of bias and argued that his criticisms were not directed at China or the Chinese people.

His arguments fell on deaf ears for most, except the SIGA members who re-elected him two months ago.

insidethegames has contacted SIGA for comment. 


Speaking of integrity, it was certainly not on show among the host broadcasters at the Sport Climbing World Championships in Moscow at the weekend.

Broadcasters showed a close-up of chalk handprints on Austrian Johanna Färber’s backside during the women’s bouldering event, sparking widespread criticism and forcing the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) to issue an apology.

It is bad enough as an isolated incident, but the fact this happened to the same athlete earlier this season is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

"How many times will things have to be done wrong, before we learn how to do them right?" said IFSC President Marco Scolaris.

Färber opted not to issue an updated statement, instead referring to her comment after the first incident, which she described as being "disrespectful and upsetting".

The IFSC would have been equally, if not more, upset and angry as critics of the footage.

After all, the organisation is desperately trying to maintain the momentum generated by the sport’s successful Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and ensure its new fans are retained.

The broadcast of the World Championships - which should not technically be in Russia, but that is another story - can only have damaged this aim.

It is also a pretty poor look, at best, for the sport at a time where the sexualisation of women in sport is an important topic.


The recent announcement from Australia and New Zealand that they will not be competing at major hockey events for the foreseeable future got me thinking about England’s Ashes tour later this year.

In its statement, Hockey Australia said it was "untenable for international teams to travel to" the two countries, given their strict COVID-19 quarantine requirements - which do not look likely to be relaxed anytime soon.

This is exactly what England plan to do in a matter of weeks.

There has been much debate over whether the Ashes, considered the highest-profile cricket series in the world, will go ahead in December and January as planned.

The England Cricket Board (ECB) and Australian Cricket Board remain in talks but definitive decisions have so far been absent.

England cricketer Stuart Broad has called on the ECB to give the team the best possible chance of success in the Ashes ©Getty Images
England cricketer Stuart Broad has called on the ECB to give the team the best possible chance of success in the Ashes ©Getty Images

A host of England’s top players are thought to have concerns about travelling to Australia and being placed in a strict COVID-19 bubble without their families for months.

The issue of families joining them is among the points that need to be ironed out before England make the trip down under.

England fast bowler Stuart Broad said this week that he would go if selected, but admitted he would understand those who choose not to travel.

"There is obviously a lot going on at executive level to negotiate acceptable arrangements for the England team and my message to our bosses at the ECB is simple - give us the best possible chance to be mentally strong come January with the environment that is created," Broad wrote in his Mail on Sunday column.

"Let's try to make it as comfortable as possible for us because if you go somewhere like Australia and have to bunker down, you won't enjoy being in one of the greatest places on earth - and aren't going to win at cricket either.

"It is now just a couple of weeks away from a squad being selected but players can't sign up to something unless they know what they are signing up for."