This content was published on October 4, 2014 - 15:21
Visitors and the mascots of Euro 2008, co-hosted in Switzerland, walk through the corridors of UEFA, European football’s governing body, on Saturday.
The organisation was having an open doors day at its headquarters in Nyon, overlooking Lake Geneva, to celebrate its 60th anniversary. UEFA was founded in 1954 but didn’t actually move to Nyon, canton Vaud, until 1995.
UEFA is one of around 65 international sport federations and organisations currently based in Switzerland. The first was the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has been in Lausanne since 1915.
Canton Vaud, of which Lausanne is the capital, is home to about 20. In addition to the IOC, they include the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the world bodies governing Gymnastics (FIG), cycling (UCI) and volleyball (FIVB).
Among the organisations based elsewhere in Switzerland are the governing bodies of world football, FIFA (Zurich), basketball (Geneva), handball (Basel), ski (Oberhofen, canton Bern) and ice hockey (Zurich).
Sports bodies based in Switzerland enjoy association status. Associations are not obliged to register with the state nor to publish their accounts. They are granted tax breaks and flexible legal terms that allow them to govern their own affairs and are exempt from Swiss anti-corruption laws.
However, in the light of various scandals, notably involving FIFA and FIFA’s Swiss president Sepp Blatter, more and more politicians are wondering whether giving tax breaks to bodies like UEFA or FIFA, which make hundreds of millions in profit every year, could be justified. The government merely responds by stressing the importance of these bodies to Switzerland.
On September 26, FIFA confirmed it would not make public a report from its ethics head into alleged bribery during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
Last month, Switzerland hosted a Council of Europe conference on corruption in sport and was one of 15 countries to sign a treaty pledging to crack down on the problem.
The Swiss parliament is also debating measures put forward by the government in 2012 to amend Switzerland’s legislation concerning corporate corruption that would make it possible to charge sports associations for foul play.
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