Reducing the Risk of Corruption in Public Procurement in the Context of Sports EventsThe sports sector is classified as a multi-billion industry, in addition to engaging billions of sports fans. For many throughout the globe, sports are a source and symbol of both great joy and fair play through taking part as a participant, attendee, or just a fan watching sports events. In Saudi Arabia just like other nation throughout the world, sports, particularly major sports events include a lot of public engagement and involvement, coupled with political interests and influence, and not to mention the huge sums of funds at stake. With such a combination, the challenge of corruption prevails as perpetual risk especially for major sports events in Saudi Arabia. The increase in corruption scandals on match-fixing, elections of sports organizations, and the bidding for major sports events, combined with systematic inadequacies in the management and governance of sports undermines the value of sports (events), in addition to compromising public trust (Kovacic, 1998). Therefore, it is evident that in sports corruption takes many forms, as both private companies and the government can work in liaison with the government to rig the bidding and procurement process for construction contracts, as well as sponsorship, marketing, and advertising arrangements. Also, money laundering is prevalent and deep-rooted in the sports industry.

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To minimize the risks associated with corruption in public procurement as it pertains to the context of sports events in Saudi Arabia, it is extremely important for the government to strengthen governmental and inter-governmental sports organizations and associations. Strengthening the sports organizations and associations in this context means that the government spearheads the efforts of eliminating corruption by supporting, promoting and instilling the culture of good governance in all stakeholders of sports entities. It is evident that through genuine collaboration among stakeholders’ issues such as match-fixing, doping or sports violence can be substantially reduced (Jones & Sufrin, 2016). Equally important, it is strongly advised that all allegations of corruption are not only recorded in the sports organization’s databases but that the relevant authorities followed up the raised allegations with the required investigations, monitoring and the provision of responses on the matter.

In the same vein, it is important for the entities or parties involved be served with the appropriate disciplinary measures of the relevant sports institution as well as the criminal justice system. Similarly, as a means of instilling good governance in sports, it is important to build partnership initiatives with international organizations. Through such partnership initiatives, the Saudi Arabian sports associations will gather and transfer good sports management practices and expertise that can be implemented to reduce or minimize the risks of sports corruption in Saudi Arabia.

The measures and policies mentioned above can be put in place to eliminate corruption in the sports industry. Even so, it is best to take into account that openness, transparency, and accountability are the cornerstones of successfully and effectively implementing these policies and measures, consequently breaking the link between sport and corruption in Saudi Arabia. As such, the government ought to coordinate and closely collaborate with the international sports industry as well as the anti-fraud organizations (World Trade Organization, 2017). Equally important, sports organizations ought to develop and integrate robust anti-corruption measures into their code of conduct and constitutions respectively. Even more importantly the rules must be adhered to the latter and actively enforced when they are violated.

Open and transparent bidding and procurement procedures will facilitate the prevention of corruption in the selection of venues and cities that host major sports. Transparency and openness are also fundamental to in the bidding and procurement of major sports contracts such as the construction of stadiums. It is essential to monitor bids and ensure they are transparent (Jones & Sufrin, 2016). Sponsors can also help eliminate corruption by promoting ethical practices and governance in their social corporate responsibility initiatives. The media can also help in sensitizing the public and creating awareness about corruption in the sports industry. While it is a global imperative to eliminate corruption from sports, it safe to say that the government has a critical mandate and duty in the prevention of corruption. With the implementation of the aforementioned proposed policies, the sports sector (industry) will no doubt rebuild its reputation.

Ensuring Transparency and Integrity in the Selection of Venues for Major Sports Events in the Light of Relevant Standards on Conflict of Interest
In order to guarantee transparency and integrity in the selection of venues for major sports events, it is prudent that the information on procurement decision-making procedures and processes are not hidden from the public. Instead, it is of great importance to disclose all the details and make all the information on procurement available to the public, including all bidders. Equally important, the information should be disclosed before, during and after the tendering processes (World Trade Organization, 2017). In light of the relevant standards on conflict of interest, transparency and integrity in the section of venues for major sports events can be ensured publicizing the procedures and processes of procurement. By so doing, the procurement process is made open for public scrutiny. Consequently, this ensures transparency and integrity of the bidding process for the venues.

Another measure that can be taken to ensure that the bidding or procurement process for major sports events are beyond reproach and free from any conflict of interests public administrators must also be sensitized by increasing their awareness on the risks of corruption as well as collusion. Creating awareness involves adequately training both the public administrators and the public in general on the consequences of collusion and corruption to public resources in such process and the benefits of a bidding process free from conflicting interests. As such, the objective of the training and awareness campaigns should focus on detecting signs of conflicts of interests and reporting such incidences.

Optimizing the Processes of Compliance with Good Governance Principles to Mitigate the Risk of Corruption
To optimize the processes of compliance with good governance principles and mitigate the risks of corruption it is advisable to implement an action-oriented approach. The proposed approach or mechanism incorporates the strengthening of governmental and inter-governmental sports organizations and associations, by partnering with international sports agencies or bodies to facilitate the transfer of good governance practices in the management of sports. Equally important, mitigation of the risk of corruption it is strongly recommended that conflicts of interests are effectively managed (Kovacic, 1998). Since the conflict of interests’ acts as a catalyst agent for corruption in sports, the effective management of conflicting interests leaves no room for corruption and maintains the integrity of the procurement process and instills public confidence in the government and sports organizations respectively.

    References
  • Jones, A., & Sufrin, B. (2016). EU competition law. Oxford University Press.
  • Kovacic, W. (1998). The Civil False Claims Act as a Deterrent to Participation in Government Procurement Markets. Supreme Court Economic Review, 6, 201-239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/scer.6.1147106
  • WTO � Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy. (2017). Wto.org. Retrieved 7 December 2017, from https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/comp_e/comp_e.htm