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Leveling the playing field in international sports

Law professor Andy Spalding is fighting corruption at the highest level of international competition. He believes that hosting major sporting events like the Olympics should inspire our highest ideals, not rouse our worst instincts.

With groundbreaking research and sharp analysis, Spalding is examining the conditions in which sports-related corruption thrives. He focuses on an oft-overlooked area: the flood of public spending that a successful bid to host requires. For the powerful but unscrupulous, this spending is a tempting opportunity to siphon off funds.

Spalding’s 2016 report examining Brazil’s experience with the 2014 World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympics brought national and international publicity for his innovative analysis. He calls the corruption trials that rocked the nation in the wake of the games “Brazil’s anti-corruption triumph.” He also pushes for strong anti-corruption commitments in future contracts between governing bodies and event hosts.

Andy Spalding with students

Professor Andy Spalding, second from right, is dedicated to fighting corruption in major international sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup.

Spalding’s pushback against corruption is about more than bringing misdeeds to light and prosecuting crimes. It’s about applying the power of athletic achievement to generate a legacy of good governance. To Spalding, that’s worth striving for wherever the games are played.


Andy Spalding is a professor of law at the University of Richmond School of Law and an expert in international law and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In addition to his law degree, he also has a doctorate in political science.

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