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Are the global sports organizations hiding behind the FIFA governance challenges?

First Ethics in Sports Symposium Berlin digs deep into the current sports- political issues

Berlin, 25 September 2015 – In a trailblazing intervention at the famous football stadium An der Alten Försterei, the World Forum for Ethics in Business in partnership with the German football club 1. FC Union Berlin convened for the Ethics in Sports Symposium Berlin on 24th September, taking place for the first time in Germany’s capital.

International stakeholders from sports, business, politics and media not only discussed on current governance issues in sports but also emphasized on the important values sports promotes and the enormous potential sports has to address social problems.

Quoting WFEB’s founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in her welcome address, the president of the Forum, Rajita Kulkarni, reminded the audience of the influence sports has, ‘If every gun in the hand is replaced by a soccer ball at the feet, the world will be a much more healthier, happier and peaceful place.’

‘Sports is necessary for the international community to convey messages where politics cannot’, added Jo Leinen, Member of European Parliament.

1. FC Union Berlin President Dirk Zingler stated how the strong must support the weak. ‘We should be aware of using the integrating power of sports to benefit the society.’
Dr. André Hahn, Member of German Parliament, commended the Köpenick based football club for their dedication and current activities towards supporting the refugees in Berlin.

Participants and speakers mutually agreed that the commercialization in sports threatens to overshadow the values that sports transports. In keynote speeches and panel discussions ways for the protection of the purity and integrity of sports were discussed.

Sylvia Schenk, Chair of the Working Group Sport at Transparency International urged that ‘It is not enough to just proclaim values in sports. We need to live them everyday anew.’ Schenk also commended that the creation of such open discussion platforms is a step forward and a ‘healthy approach’.

The core discussion at the Symposium on the challenges on and off the pitch raised the question whether global sports organizations are actually hiding behind the FIFA’s governance challenges and therefore do not address their own challenges.
The common understanding was that it is easy to point out mistakes in others, however, it is critical to address ones own issues in first place.

The Ethics in Sports Symposium Berlin welcomed 200 participants from 15 countries. Speakers included amongst others the international football coach Christoph Daum, the multiple swimming champion Mark Warnecke, Jürgen Trittin and Matthias Schmidt, Members of German Parliament, FIFA Deputy Head of Communication Alexander Koch, UEFA CSR senior manager Patrick Gasser, DFB Vice- President Eugen Gehlenborg, Florian Bauer, Special Sport Political Journalist at German TV ARD, Wendela Kuper, Chair of the EPAS Governing Board at the Council of Europe and Dr. Mustafa Al-Sayed, Secretary General of the Royal Charity Organization Bahrain.


  • Dr. Mustafa Alsayed, Secretary General, Royal Charity Organization, Kingdom of Bahrain
  • Mr. Christian Arbeit, Communications Director, 1. FC Union Berlin
  • Mr. Florian Bauer, Special sport political Journalist, ARD German TV
  • Mr. Christoph Daum, International Football Manager
  • Mr. Patrick Gasser, Senior CSR Manager, UEFA
  • Mr. Eugen Gehlenborg, Vice-President, Social Responsibility, German Football Association
  • Dr. André Hahn, Member of German Parliament, Spokesperson of the Left Party for the Sports Committee
  • Mr. Alexander Koch, Deputy Head of Communication, FIFA
  • Mrs. Rajita Kulkarni, President, World Forum for Ethics in Business
  • Ms. Wendela Kuper, Chair of the EPAS Governing Board, Council of Europe
  • Mr. Jo Leinen, Member of European Parliament; Member of the Board, World Forum for Ethics in Business
  • Mr. Jamilon Mülders, Coach of Germany women's national field hockey team, Hockey world champion in 2002
  • Ms. Birgit Nössing, Moderator, Sky Germany
  • Mr. Peter Nünlist, CEO, PETER NÜNLIST AG, Investment Management & Services
  • Ms. Sylvia Schenk, Senior Adviser on Sport, Transparency International
  • Mr. Matthias Schmidt, Member of German Parliament, Member of the Sports Committee (SPD)
  • Mr. Jürgen Trittin, Member of German Parliament, Member of the Foreign Committee, Federal Minister a. D.
  • Mr. Mark Warnecke, CEO AM Sport, Former professional swimmer, Olympic Medal Winner, World and European champion
  • Mr. Dirk Zingler, President, 1. FC Union Berlin e.V.

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