Damian Collins is serious about reforming sport. He speaks like a man whose time in the spotlight has come – and events of the past two years perhaps suggest that it has. As a member of the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Select Committee of the UK Parliament, he pressed UK Athletics Chairman Ed Warner to reveal who told him that ‘brown envelopes’ were being passed to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council members by Qatari officials keen to secure the 2017 IAAF World Championships for Doha. As co-founder of NewFIFANow, he organised a live debate between FIFA Presidential candidates at the European Parliament, and disputes the argument that to hold such a debate would have broken FIFA’s rules on political interference in football.
In Collins’ view, the two recent incidents are both symptomatic of the same issue – that sport wants to keep corruption and reform ‘in house’. Despite everything that has happened in the past two years, sport still resents outside scrutiny of its governance and is keen to internalise reform. However, Collins thinks that the corruption scandals uncovered at FIFA, the IAAF and more recently within tennis have led to a public “crisis in confidence” in sport, which means that such an approach will no longer be accepted.