Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Corruption in sports


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Major developments in the global economic landscape continue to pose serious challenges to economies throughout the world irrespective of size, resource endowments and policies adopted by various governments.
Logically, the issues to overcome are magnified the smaller and more dependent the countries are on external factors.
A glance at the obstacles standing in the way of Caribbean countries alone provides sufficient evidence that unless significant restructuring of those economies are undertaken, it would become increasingly more difficult for them to continue to protect the socioeconomic gains they have made over the past few decades.
While traditional sectors like agriculture and manufacturing have and do continue to provide important impetus to growth and development of Caribbean economies, diversification efforts have led to the emergence of tourism and international business as key drivers of economic transformation.
The problem, however, is that the performances of these services industries are closely connected to the fortunes or misfortunes of the global economy.
Hence, new areas of economic opportunities have to be sought if the progress we have made to date can be enhanced and sustained.
Without doubt, sports at the international level have emerged as major avenues for great successes not only for individuals but also for various business-related activities and nations.
The Caribbean, like most other countries, must, therefore, do everything possible to fully exploit all available opportunities that present themselves in areas such as football, cricket, basketball, track and field, and tennis just to name a few.
The problem, however, is that if sports become paralyzed by massive and frequent allegations of corruption, then, a perception will emerge that sports have become “dirty” and that perception by itself is sufficient to bring a growing area of economic activity to its proverbial knees.
Of all the major sporting activities that one could point to, it might be prudent to suggest that football and cricket hold the greatest promise for Caribbean athletes and businesses to earn decent income and thereby make meaningful contributions to national development.But how, in an industry plagued by growing allegations of corruption, can that happen?
No doubt, therefore, that everyone in the Caribbean should take a keen interest in the recent revelations out of Europe of widespread allegations of corruption involving match-fixing in football games in several regions of the world.
 What is probably most worrying about the reports is the claim of involvement of match officials, representatives of various clubs, football players, and organized criminals in the fixing of matches. Can the situation get any worse?
 Given the vast number of opportunities that have been opened to players from the Caribbean with various teams throughout the world, football must continue to grow as a major sporting event and cannot be allowed to be destroyed by acts of corruption. Hence, the world governing body (FIFA) must do everything humanly possible to eradicate all of the threats to the sport and restore the image of football as the “beautiful game”.
The future and livelihood of too many individuals, businesses, and nations are at stake if football is allowed to be destroyed by corruption. No one can deny that!


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