Integrity: acting as guardians

The board must look to uphold the highest standards of integrity not only in what it does but in the wider environment of its sport, recreation, activity or area.

It is vital not only from a conflict of interest perspective, but from a time perspective that your board members are able to effectively contribute and are not limited by the amount of roles or activities they are engaged with.

It can be helpful to have Board members who sit on other committees or boards because of the experience they will bring or their knowledge from an international perspective.

However in order to be effective as board members, each individual will need to have sufficient time to dedicate to delivering their role and to understanding the context they are operating in.

You should bear this in mind when appointing board members and try to get the right balance between finding someone who knows everyone and is involved with everything, versus someone who doesn’t understand the context they operate in at all.

Practical considerations:

  • Setting and protecting the vision, mission, values and reputation of the sport, recreation, activity area and organisation.
  • Maintaining high sporting ethical standards.
  • Taking the athletes' or participants' views into considerations during decision-making processes.
  • Protecting and promoting the moral and physical wellbeing of participants.
  • Actively promoting and monitoring equality and diversity.
  • Ensuring each board member has adequate time to dedicate to their role and does not take on too many roles to be effective.
  • Upholding education and training on anti-doping issues if appropriate.
  • Determine what "fairness of competition" means within the sport or activity and upholding it.
  • Developing rules and regulations in cooperations with participants.
  • Ensuring illigal activities do not impact on the competition (e.g. corrupt betting).
  • Ensuring you organisation is equipped to manage threats to the safeguarding of children and vulnarable adults.
  • Being aware of risks to the sport, recreation, activity or area and monitoring and responding to them appropriately.
  • Establishing rules and regulations for participants to abide by which maintain standards and foster appropriate development of the sport.
  • Promoting and communicating the interest of the sport recreation, activity or area to a wider audience to raise the profile and ensure representation is a reality.














Putting in place an integrity infrastructure is vital for sport in order to avoid the cumbersome and costly investigations that can tarnish its reputation. Sport-specific risk assessments allow NGB’s to focus resources where they are most needed and consultation with participants is important in ensuring sport can be proactive and not reactive to threats to its integrity such as corrupt or suspicious betting.

Darren Bailey, Director of Football Governance and Regulation, The FA














This principle really focuses on the ability of the board to understand and navigate the correct balance between ethical standards and legal requirements.

In a self-regulated sector it is vital that the members of the board are aware of legislation that will affect the organisation. In addition it is also appropriate for board members to protect the integrity of the organisation and everything it relates to.

If there is too much influence from external sources then the activity, sport or recreation would cease to resemble itself. It is vital that board members understand the cornerstones and foundations of their organisation that need protecting.

They may do this through listening to key stakeholders, such as participants, or by putting in place practices and standards to ensure they meet legal obligations.

The key question is ‘what are the vital parts of your organisation and the wider environment that needs to be maintained?

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