Leaders unite at Securing Sport 2018 and call for new approach to safeguard sport

21 January 2018

Securing Sport 2018 co-hosted by U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and The McCain Institute with the support of Qatar Chamber

Top experts highlight urgent need for multi-sector collaboration to combat growing security and integrity challenges in sport

Leaders and international experts from the field of sport safety, security and integrity gathered at Securing Sport 2018 in Washington D.C this week to highlight the importance of a united approach to protecting sport as well as the urgent need to establish strong multi-sector partnerships to combat the emerging threats in sport safety, security and integrity.

Under the theme of ‘The Business of Protecting the Future of Sport’, Securing Sport 2018 brought together executives and experts from around the world to address key security and integrity issues facing sport and to explore business opportunities associated with major event security, sport governance and integrity and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Organised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and The McCain Institute and with the support of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Securing Sport 2018 featured speakers and panellists from a range of international organisations including the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Center for SafeSport, World Bank, Sport Radar USA and the NFL Players’ Association.

Speaking at the opening, Mohammed Hanzab, ICSS Chairman, said: “Sport is an unparalleled economic, social, and cultural force. Yet, it is under attack like never before.

“When I established the ICSS nearly eight years ago, I envisaged a world where sport is free from corruption and where stadia and major events were safe and secure for all.

“Through the ICSS and forums like Securing Sport 2018, which gather top international experts from all sectors and corners of the world, I am passionate about making this vision a reality however, if we are to achieve this, it is urgent that we stand together, collaborate and bring together different sectors and expertise to confront the growing threats facing the security and integrity of sport.”

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue added: “Sport is important to a nation’s culture, identity, and often, its economy. To maintain a vibrant sports industry, we have to answer some big questions. Most critically, we must seek ways to ensure the safety and security of fans, athletes, and employees at sporting events. Because for many, sport is not just a pastime, it’s a passion that they should be able to safely enjoy. Thank you to the ICSS and the McCain Institute for their partnership in bringing together today’s special event. Let’s continue working together to grow and strengthen this vital industry.”

Under the overall conference theme, representatives from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy also attended the event and provided an update on the latest progress and developments on stadia and infrastructure currently being built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as well as safety and security measures being put in place for the tournament.

H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said: “The safety of everyone attending or participating in the 2022 FIFA World Cup is our top priority. We’re determined to not only deliver the greatest, but also the safest and most secure FIFA World Cup ever and to leave a lasting positive legacy for the region.

“Qatar is already one of the safest countries in the world, making it a popular tourist destination. However, with almost 1.7m fans due in 2022, our Security Committee, headed by H.E. the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, has left no stone unturned in finding and eliminating potential threats.

“From the numerous cooperation agreements put in place with international institutions, including INTERPOL and the ICSS, to enhance the effectiveness of our security initiatives, to the regular observation programmes we conduct to other mega-events, safety and security will remain of the utmost importance to the SC to ensure the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar is as enjoyable and exciting as it is safe in five years’ time.”

As part of Qatar Chamber’s support for the event, QC’s Board Member Adel Al Mannai attended on behalf of the chairman HE Sheikh Khalifa.

Al Mannai expressed the Chamber’s thank to the ICSS and Mccain Institute for hosting a very vital event that sought mechanisms of protecting and securing sports worldwide.

He affirmed the Chamber’s commitment to supporting events adopted by the ICSS which made great efforts since its establishment 9 years ago.

Mannai praised the sessions contents, noting they touched key issues in the field of securing sports.

In one of the opening sessions of the day, entitled ‘How Technology and Innovation Provide Safety and Security’, Shaun McCarthy (CEO, ICSS Enterprise) led a panel of technology experts to discuss the role of technology in sport and how it can play a key role in protecting major sport events.

During the panel, experts discussed the important relationship between people and technology as well as how greater trust is needed in the new and developing technologies now available to governments and other host cities and nations in securing major sport events.

Later in the day, Emanuel Medeiros (CEO, ICSS INSIGHT) moderated the ‘Safeguarding the Integrity of Sport’ panel featuring senior figures from USADA, SportRadar USA, NFL Players’ Association and the World Bank. Panellists debated the impact of legalised sport betting in the United States, as well as the need to educate more athletes about the dangers of doping and match-fixing, including through the use of mobile platforms and applications like the ICSS’s Trusted Athlete app that is currently under development.

Securing Sport 2018 also included a number of highly emotive panels and speeches from high-profile sport stars, international experts and senior figures from US government and other sectors of civil society throughout the day.

Speaking on the ‘Protecting Our Youth in Sport’ panel, moderated by Michael Hershman (Group CEO, ICSS), Shellie Pfohl (CEO, U.S. Center for SafeSport) passionately shared her insight’s about the role her organisation plays in protecting young athletes in the United States and encouraged more efforts at a regional and international level to help educate parents and athletes about best practice in safeguarding young athletes, as well as how to identify and prevent cases of abuse in sport.

In addition, Dikembe Mutombo (NBA legend and President of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation) also spoke about his experiences growing up as young athlete in Congo and arriving in the United States. He was joined by Mary Harvey (U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy, Former U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper and Special Advisor – Sustainability at United Bid 2026), who spoke about how human rights is playing an increasingly important and central role in major events and within the governance of sport.

Mohammed Hanzab, ICSS Chairman concluded: “At a time where much of the focus is on the financial growth and commercialisation of sport, Securing Sport 2018 has provided an important and unique platform for leaders and top international experts to come together to identify real solutions to protect and safeguard sport.

“On behalf of the ICSS, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the U.S. Chamber and the McCain Institute for co-hosting Securing Sport 2018 and to our friends and partners at the Qatar Chamber for their support of the ICSS and Save the Dream and helping to bring together some of the world’s top executives and businessmen together for this forum.”

For more info about the ICSS and its various products and services in the sport safety, security and integrity, please visit www.theicss.org.


About Securing Sport
Securing Sport is the annual international conference of the ICSS and attracts some of the world’s top experts and decision-makers to discuss and debate a range of issues impacting on the safeguarding of sport.

Acknowledged by many as one of the top annual conferences on the international sport calendar, Securing Sport aims to raise awareness of the global threats that face sport.

Securing Sport 2018 is the sixth edition of conference and the second time the event has been hosted in United States, having been hosted in New York City in 2015.

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