Gifts, benefits and hospitality
On July 1 2011 the Bribery Act came into force, which has greatly influenced sporting federation's and how they operate in relation to corporate hospitality, gifts and other benefits.
The previous legislation dated back to 1889 and the aim of the act is to collate all relevent legislation into one act and draw UK law in-line with other countries.
The Bribery Act will:
- Introduce a corporate offence for the failure to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business. A business can avoid conviction if it can show that it has adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
- Make it a criminal offence to give, promise or offer a bribe and to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe either at home or abroad. The measures also cover bribery of a foreign public official.
- Increase the maximum penalty for bribery from seven to 10 years imprisonment, with an unlimited fine.
An organisation could be liable and held accountable if a senior person in the organisation (for example a managing director) commits a bribery offence.
An organisation could also be liable where someone which performs a service for the organisation (it could be an employee or an agent) by paying a bribe to gain business, keep business or gain a business advantage for your organisation.
The act will not prohibit the use of hospitality, but where hospitality is a cover for bribery organisations will be liable.
Sports organisations will, however, still be able to provide hospitality as part of sponsorship agreements as long as it’s provided “in good faith” and as long the hospitality is reasonable and proportionate given the sort of business an organisation is in.
It will also still be possible for organisations to provide tickets to sport events, take clients to dinner, offer gifts to clients to reflect good relationships or pay for reasonable travel expenses to demonstrate your goods/services to clients – as long as the benefits offered are reasonable and proportionate to your business.
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