New partnership to tackle corruption in sport

22 Nov, 2017
David Howman
AUT Adjunct Professor David Howman

AUT has appointed David Howman as an adjunct professor within the School of Sport & Recreation. The former director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is recognised as a global leader in the field of sport integrity. His appointment reflects the increasing attention the School of Sport & Recreation is focussing on ethics and integrity in the field of sport governance and leadership, both in its teaching and research activity.

Director of AUT’s Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), Associate Professor Lesley Ferkins, says the partnership is indicative of the global sporting environment. “Issues of integrity are one of the biggest challenges facing sport,” she says.

“David has a strong interest in New Zealand being a world leader in integrity in sport globally. His vision for world sport and his passion for New Zealand sport make him a great fit for us.”

Howman is currently a barrister sole and chair of the Athletics Integrity Unit Board at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), having previously spent 13 years with WADA. He was subsequently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws by the University of Western Ontario for his leadership in the fight against performance-enhancing drug use in sport.

Howman is now keen to use his experience to help others. “I want to give a lot back from the work I’ve done, and what I’ve seen and been a part of – to sport itself and to younger people. A lot crops up that you have to deal with in the field of sport and sport management.”

“I’ve learnt there’s a lot of corruption that goes on. I’ve been at the coal face and don’t want to be complicit by remaining silent, but rather to rally aggressively against it. It comes down to the question, do you want the bad guys to win? No, I don’t – this corruption has to be exposed and dealt with, whether that’s doping, match fixing, bribery or corruption in any form.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the hugely clever people on staff at AUT and the students they teach – they’re our hope for the future, so to be doing this kind of work with students is enormously encouraging,” he says.

According to Ferkins, Howman will play an active role in working with undergraduate students, who study ethics and integrity content in core papers as part of the Bachelor of Sport & Recreation. He will also work alongside postgraduate students, and advise on AUT’s burgeoning research into ethics, equity and integrity issues related to sport leadership and governance.

“David has worked at the very highest level, and we’re very fortunate to have his expertise and his passion for sport and sport in New Zealand. We’re looking forward to ramping up New Zealand’s contribution on the world stage. I think we can make a difference,” she says.

Howman agrees. “We as a country should be leaders. New Zealand is regarded as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, and we’re also a leader in terms of sport performance, so we should be leading the way in the field of sport integrity too,” he says.

“We have lots of people already involved. We should be lobbying for them, encouraging more to partake, and equipping them to perform on the international stage – there’s lots to be done to help.”

He cites the fall out of investigations into doping in Russia and how they have been dealt with – or not dealt with – as the most apparent example of world sport’s vast integrity challenge. However, he says the issue runs much deeper.

“We’re in a period similar to the late 1990s, which saw sanctions imposed over Salt Lake City’s bid to host the Winter Olympic Games, and the Festina team raided for doping during the Tour de France. WADA was born out of that.”

“We’re currently in a state of chaos regarding sport integrity. Will a sport integrity body be born?”

Howman’s appointment was announced last week at AUT’s annual Sport Leadership and Management Think Tank, held in conjunction with the Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Association.

This year’s Think Tank focussed on governance and leadership for sport integrity, and featured speakers Maria Clarke (Chair of the IAAF Reform Working Party), Kathryn Beck (Chair of the NZ Rugby Respect & Responsibility Review Panel), Heath Mills (CEO of the NZ Cricket Players Association) and Dr Michele Cox (author of Lifting the veil on allowing headscarves in football). The Think Tank generated valuable discussion of integrity in New Zealand sport, emphasised the responsibility of all in governance and leadership roles to champion integrity, and explored how to foster integrity in sport in actionable ways.

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