Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain speaks during the debate on "Sport as a leader in sustainable development" on the last day of the SportAccord International Convention 2010 Dubai at the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah. The three-day convention brought together the heads of all the major international sporting federations. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

Dubai: Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, President of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) yesterday called for enhanced transparency in sports governance.

"At the moment I think the need is to have more transparency in governance rather than anything else," Princess Haya, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said in her remarks during the debate on "Sport as a leader in sustainable development".

"The FEI has such an impeccable record even though we deal directly with nature through the involvement of animals in our sport. And since 1997 we have had a code of conduct in place," Princess Haya said at the SportAccord International Convention at the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah yesterday.

Princess Haya went on to expound on the fact that sustainable development in FEI events was the least concern for their sport.

"Sustainable development is so multi-faceted and multi-layered. And I believe that the emphasis ought to be on transparence in governance at the moment. I think this needs to be the main topic of the day," she said. "Changes take time and we accept this as an evolutionary process."

However, she added that sport belonged to the people who practise it rather than to those who govern and rule it. "It is all about the athlete today. They are the main actors and they need to get the recognition," Princess Haya said.

The day's opening debate was centred on how the sporting community can lead the way as a catalyst for change by creating greener, more responsible and sustainable products and events.

The conference further explained the opportunities and challenges that federations, sponsors, organising committees, host cities and events face.

Moderated by Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer for the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC), and President, The Ann Duffy Group, the other panellists included Malcolm Ross, Executive Director, Operations and Venues, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Thierry Borra, Director, Olympic Games Management, The Coca Cola Company, Jonathan Smith, CEO, Golf Environment Organisation and Mike Szomjassy, Executive Vice President, Operations Director, CH2M Hill.

Speaking on the 2012 London Olympic Games, Ross said everything that is being created in East London for this mega event will be part of the lasting legacy that sport can leave behind for the community and country.

"The aim is to have a sustainable city, and with the building of more than 10,000 homes and jobs over the next 20 years, we seek to make London the largest regeneration project in the UK, if not Europe," Ross said.

"But at the core of all this is sport. We will have more than 100 hectares of open space and a diversity of sporting venues," he added.