IBU reinforces commitment to good governance upon publication of External Review Commission Final Report

IBU reinforces commitment to good governance upon publication of External Review Commission Final Report

The International Biathlon Union (IBU) today published the final report of the independent External Review Commission (ERC), as a demonstration of the federation’s commitment to ensuring allegations of wrongdoing are thoroughly investigated in a fair and transparent process. The final report can be found here.

The IBU Executive Board appointed the ERC, chaired by Jonathan Taylor QC, in November 2018 to conduct a full investigation into the allegations made against former IBU President Anders Besseberg and former IBU Secretary General Nicole Resch. The ERC’s terms of reference can be found here

Following an exhaustive investigation, the ERC concluded that both Mr Besseberg and Ms Resch have cases to answer for breach of the IBU’s rules, based on their apparent protection of Russian interests, particularly in the anti-doping context, without good justification.

Parts of the public version of the report have had to be redacted for legal reasons. The ERC has supplied a full unredacted copy of the report, together with all supporting evidence, to the Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU). Under the new IBU Constitution adopted in 2019, the BIU has the sole responsibility to determine whether to undertake any further investigations and whether to bring disciplinary charges for breach of the IBU rules that were in place at the relevant time.

ERC Chair Jonathan Taylor said:

“This final report stands as a case study for the importance of good governance in sport. The complete lack of basic governance safeguards previously in place at the IBU meant the former IBU leadership was able to operate without checks and balances, without transparency, and without accountability. The report shows why all integrity decisions should be made by an independent body that is dedicated solely to protecting the ethical values of the sport, not by an executive board that has to deal with a number of conflicting interests.

“However, the Commission commends the new IBU President and Executive Board members for addressing these issues. The IBU has strengthened the constitution and moved forward in line with international best practice, to minimise the chances of wrongdoing like this recurring.”

IBU President Olle Dahlin said:

“We are shocked by the wrongdoing that has been described in the External Review Commission’s report. But, we are grateful to the Commission for bringing this evidence to light and ensuring that misconduct within our sport is accounted for.

“Thanks to the creation of the Integrity Unit and numerous governance reforms we have introduced in the last two years, we now have the safeguards in place to ensure this kind of wrongdoing does not happen again. But we will not be complacent and will continue to work hard to stay at the forefront of international best practice, upholding the highest standards of good governance.”

BIU Chair Louise Reilly added::

“The conclusions of the External Review Commission are deeply troubling and will be thoroughly reviewed by the Unit. It is precisely to detect and prevent instances such as these occurring that the Unit was created, to ensure all of biathlon’s stakeholders can have confidence that ethical issues in the sport will be addressed independently and expertly.

“The Integrity Unit will also analyse the extensive evidence collected by the ERC and determine whether to bring proceedings for apparent violations of the IBU rules independently, impartially, and without fear or favour, thereby upholding our responsibility to protect the integrity of the sport.”

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