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The Ethics Commission is the guardian of the ethical principles of the Olympic Movement. These principles are set out in the Code of Ethics

Guardian of the ethical principles

The Ethics Commission was created in 1999 by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in order to safeguard the ethical principles of the Olympic Movement. These principles are set out in the Code of Ethics

This independent Commission is made up of nine members including a majority of personalities who are not part of the Olympic Movement.

The Commission’s Activities

The Ethics Commission has three functions:

  • It draws up and continuously updates the ethical principles, including in particular the Code of Ethics as well as specific implementing provisions based on the values and principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter. It takes care that these texts are disseminated to the relevant stakeholders.
  • It conducts investigations into breaches of ethics submitted to it by the IOC President and, where necessary, makes recommendations for measures or sanctions to the IOC Executive Board and/or the IOC Session; these recommendations remain confidential until the IOC Executive Board makes a decision. All decisions taken are published in the section of the Ethics Commission on www.olympic.org.
  • It has a mission of preventing breaches of ethical principles and of advising the whole Olympic Movement in order to assist with the application of the ethical principles and rules. In all cases, this advice remains confidential.

The Commission is located in the Villa du Centenaire, in Lausanne. It meets at least twice a year, and more frequently if the urgency of the files demands it.

To whom do the Code of Ethics and Implementing Provisions apply?

The Code of Ethics and all the Implementing Provisions must be respected by the Olympic parties at all times and in all circumstances.

Who are the Olympic parties?

• the IOC, its members and administration;
• the cities that wish to organise the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games;
• the National Olympic Committees (NOCs);
• the Organising Committees for the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games;
• during the Olympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games, all participants, in particular the athletes and their entourage, the NOCs and International Federations’ (IFs) delegations, the referees, the judges, etc.

Who can refer a case?

The Ethics Commission cannot refer cases to itself, but it can inform the IOC President of the existence of a situation of which it has knowledge, more particularly of complaints received from any person concerned by a breach of the rules of Olympic ethics.

Procedures and possible sanctions

When a case is referred to the Ethics Commission by the IOC President, it prepares the file, possibly under the responsibility of a rapporteur. It can hear any person necessary to understand the situation. The right to be heard of the person or organisation implicated is always respected.

The Ethics Commission can propose any useful measure, such as recalling the rules. It can also recommend a sanction - those defined by Rule 59 of the Olympic Charter - from a warning to expulsion or the withdrawal of an Olympic Games accreditation. It can also recommend the sanction published in Rules 16.3.8. of the Olympic Charter.