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Beyond the Field of Play concluded in London today, following a productive and insightful day which saw influential figures from the world of sport debate the critical issues facing the industry.

The event, in association with Mishcon de Reya, was part of the three day Beyond Sport Summit and Awards. It brought together International Federations and National Governing Bodies to address topics such as reputation management, governance, financial transparency and social impact in sport.

Speaking in a keynote address UK Sport Minister Tracey Crouch MP called for reform at the highest levels of football governance.

“It is safe to say that public trust in FIFA is at an all time low. This has to change for the good of the game that many people in this room and the millions of people around the world love so much.

“It is my hope that FIFA will have been completely reformed by the time the next World Cup kicks off in 2018, and that by then, there will be a world governing body for football that we can all trust.

“But it is hard to believe that change will happen if the men at the top of FIFA appear to be corrupt and corruptible. Whoever is elected the next FIFA President must have wide scale reform at the heart of their manifesto.

“Everyone in sport has a role to play in ensuring good governance, particularly the leading administrators and influencers in this room. We must ensure that through collaboration and sharing best practice, we all work towards bringing positive outcomes for sport.

Also delivering a keynote speech at the event was HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein, Former FEI President, who said:

“We have a responsibility to ensure that in 2015 sport continues to be powerful, relevant, valued and credible and most importantly properly governed. Sport must be that force for good which people can look up to.

“In order for sport to reach its full positive potential those who govern must guide and direct it. Public trust in sports governance must be re-established; we will have to work very hard to achieve that because it is plain for us all to see that better, responsible governance is key.

David Grevemberg, CEO, Commonwealth Games Federation, speaking on a panel addressing transparency and good governance in sport, said:

“We are definitely at the crossroad in sport right now, high performance is dependent on everyone’s focus and that’s how it’s measured and that’s important. However, sport has made enormous claims over the past several years focused on its social values and social impact.

“Going beyond high performance, high impact is something sport is going to be faced with and I think that is where we are today. Sponsors are going to increasingly be looking at what is our reach, and do we make people feel good.

Also present was Damian Collins, MP and member of the UK House of Commons Select Committee for Culture, Media & Sport, who added:

“Some sports bodies are run by people who feel they are above international law ...the only way to save FIFA is through an Independent Reform Commission.”

Other notable speakers and panellists present included:

  • Francesco Ricci Bitti – President, ASOIF
  • Emanuel Medeiros – CEO, ICSS Europe & Latin America
  • Sir Keir Starmer MP – Labour PM for Holborn & St Pancras
  • Ignacio Packer – Secretary General, Terre Des Hommes
  • Mike Lee OBE – Chairman, VERO Communications
  • Alastair Campbell – Writer, Communicator and Strategist

Beyond the Field of Play, staged with the support of the Commonwealth Games Federation, was an invite-only event which explored how organisations can address issues around ethics. It provided those present with ideas on how to educate and replicate current best practices of leadership in and out of the world of sport.

Nick Keller, Founder of Beyond Sport, said:

Beyond the Field of Play has proved to be an informative and insightful event, which has produced tangible recommendations to NGBs and International Federations on how the sector can move forward in a more socially and economically responsible environment.

“Sport can have a positive impact but only if it leads with integrity. Good governance is vital if sport is to reach its potential as a catalyst for social change and I am heartened by what has been discussed at today’s event as it shows there is a genuine desire from those who work within the industry to drive for reform.”