The last 12 months have not been good for sports in general, with faith in some of the world’s most important governing bodies falling to an all time low.
FIFA had some of their most senior members banned from the sport, under investigation and some already facing prosecution over alleged corruption. Despite this the president is still technically a man who has been banned from the sport for 8 years and every one of his likely successors have been tarred with the same corrupt brush.
The IAAF has also been under suspicion, given the alleged widespread covering up of positive doping tests amongst athletes. Again the people who have now taken over the organization are still tarnished by their association with the members who allegedly committed the offences before the current leaders were in position.
The full extent of what this will mean for these organizations and others like them is yet to be seen, but what is certain is that transparency and making sure that everything is above board within even the largest organizations is key.
We have seen that people have attempted to do this in isolation, with Chris Froome being a recent example after people alleged his use of performance enhancing drugs. Doing this with a larger and far more complicated organization is another matter, but unless something is done to try and make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again, then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
One of the ways this needs to be done is through more precise and accountable uses of data. From the way that transactions are recorded to the full, historic data of athletes to decide whether or not they have cheated. Essentially sporting organizations should be using this data in the same way that an accountant uses financial data to audit a company.
Only through this kind of data driven and open approach can we achieve the transparency needed to create trust in the new leaders of these organizations, without this they will be tarred with the same brush of guilt as their predecessors, making meaningful change even more difficult.