Universal principles for integrity

Good governance is part of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism. It serves to obtain the respect and confidence of all partners.


During the past decade the IOC has done a lot to strengthen the implementation of the principles of good governance, promoting integrity across different levels of the Olympic and sports movement; this includes the IOC’s strategic roadmap, the Olympic Agenda 2020 and more recently the Olympic Agenda 2020+5.

In fact, the IOC has urged the reinforcement of the ethical and basic principles of good governance which have evolved towards an increased level of requirements, specifically with regard to transparency and checks and balances. Hence, the current set of Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance (BUPGG) has been updated in the framework of Recommendation 14 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5 – “Strengthen the Olympic Movement through good governance” – with a view to adjusting them to the latest standards. The IOC Executive Board approved the new text of the BUPGG on 9 September 2022.

Sports organisations, as values-based organisations, have the double duty and responsibility to ensure that the principles of good governance are upheld in all their activities..

The following reference documents feature the most important universal principles for integrity in sport:

The Olympic Charter

The Olympic Charter is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, and the Rules and Bye-laws adopted by the IOC. It governs the organisation, actions and functioning of the Olympic Movement and establishes the conditions for the celebration of the Olympic Games. Among other things, it sets the rules for election procedures, terms and age limits of IOC Members and the representation of key stakeholders.

The Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics, which is an integral part of the Olympic Charter, is a framework of ethical principles based upon the Olympic values and principles. It provides a clear explanation of the scope of application of the code, a description of the fundamental principles , and definitions of what constitutes integrity of conduct and integrity of competitions for the IOC and the main Olympic Movement stakeholders, as well as reporting obligations. Anti-corruption principles and definitions of conflicts of interest are contained within.

The Code of Ethics and all the Implementing Provisions must be respected by the various stakeholders of the Olympic Movement under the circumstances defined in the Scope of Application of the Code of Ethics. The IOC Members, the IOC administration and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) must respect the Code and its Implementing Provisions at all times and in all circumstances.

The Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance

The first version of Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance was approved by the XIII Olympic Congress in 2009; they have been updated in the framework of the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 in September 2022.

The updated version of the Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance, in particular strengthen:

  • financial governance and various aspects of financial transparency (financial control, internal control & risk management, internal audit system and external auditor);
  • institutional governance, clarification of the principle of accountability (not only financial), voting & election process, transparency; and
  • Solidarity, social and sustainable development through sport, including the new perspectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).