Countdown to the Games
17-25 June 2023

Code of Conduct

Code of Honor for dealing with people with and without disabilities

For all full-time and voluntary employees of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 Organising Committee gGmbH.

  1. In my work with people with and without disabilities, I take responsibility for the well-being of those entrusted to me. In doing so, I take the individual threshold of each person seriously and also protect them from sexualised violence.
  2. I want to be a role model for the people with and without disabilities entrusted to me and I stand up for the observance of interpersonal and sporting rules. I take an active stance against doping, drug and medication abuse and any kind of performance manipulation.
  3. I will not take advantage of my special position of trust or authority and will give priority to the needs of those entrusted to me over my own personal goals.
  4. I will orient my sporting and non-sporting activities towards methods and framework conditions suitable for children, young people and people with disabilities, and I will ensure that those entrusted to me have sufficient opportunities for self-determination and co-determination.
  5. I will respect the personality of each person entrusted to me and support their development. I will teach them to behave fairly and respectfully towards other people and animals and to treat nature responsibly.
  6. I will respect the right of those entrusted to my care to physical and psychological integrity and will not allow any form of violence.
  7. I respect the dignity of every human being. I promise to treat everyone fairly and to resolutely oppose discrimination of any kind and anti-democratic ideas.
  8. I undertake to intervene if this Code of Honor is violated in my environment and to inform those responsible at management level. In addition, I have the possibility to obtain information and advice from the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 Organizing Committee gGmbH and Special Olympics Deutschland e.V.. The protection of those entrusted to me comes first.

Code of Ethics

Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023


In a rapidly changing, globalised world, German sport clubs, federations and other sporting organisations can make an indispensable contribution to democratic and sustainable development.

As the world’s largest sporting movement of its kind, Special Olympics has been an advocate for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities since its founding in the year 1968. The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 will be organised by the Local Organising Committee (LOC) within Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee gGmbH. The LOC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Special Olympics Deutschland (SOD) e.V. and acts in consultation with the federal association.

The LOC wishes to promote greater inclusion in sport in the long term as well as use its resources to tell the world about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities and achieve a lasting change in attitudes within society towards them through opportunities to meet and connect.

The values and fundamental principles defined in the following Code of Ethics determine the conduct and interactions within the LOC and in respect of third parties. The Code of Ethics is binding on all volunteer and professional staff as well as members of the LOC.

1. Tolerance, respect and dignity

Tolerance and respect are the basis for trust and cooperation and guide our actions. Mutual respect as well as the protection of personal dignity and rights ensure fair and cooperative collaboration and safeguard unity in diversity within the Special Olympics movement.

Any form of discrimination and disadvantage, especially in regard to race, ethnic background, nationality, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or political views, is impermissible.

Harassment and bullying of any kind are not tolerated. The LOC condemns any form of violence, whether it be physical or psychological.

2. Sustainability and responsibility for the future

In the interest of safeguarding the future for generations to come, the LOC is committed to a comprehensive, sustainable organisational policy that appropriately balances respect for the environment, economic requirements and societal aspects.

3. Zero-tolerance policy

Adherence to rules and fair play are key elements of sport.

Compliance with valid laws as well as other internal and external guidelines and regulations is expected. The LOC has a zero-tolerance policy towards violations of laws and breaches of duty, in particular doping and manipulation of events.

Regulations for people with disabilities are based on the fundamental principles of sport.

4. Transparency

All decision-making processes and underlying facts of relevance to the LOC, the associated bodies and their tasks are to be treated with the greatest possible transparency and diligence. This applies to all financial and staffing decisions in particular. Confidentiality and compliance with data protection laws are guaranteed.

5. Integrity

Integrity requires that decisions be made independently of personal interest and gain. If personal interests – be they ideological or commercial in nature – are affected by a decision to be made for the LOC (“conflict of interest”), this information must be disclosed.

Invitations, gifts and other material and non-material benefits may only be accepted or given in a transparent manner within the specified framework.

The interests of the LOC are represented and sport for people with intellectual disabilities is promoted in a transparent and responsible manner.

6. Participation

The involvement of athletes, the World Games Committee and other interest groups (stakeholders) ensures forward-looking decisions in keeping with the pluralistic structure. Broad participation formats, which include the Athletes’ Forum and Dialogue Forum, facilitate the involvement of athletes in the LOC and its bodies.

7. Focus on athletes

Athletes of all ages and performance levels are the focus of our work. Supporting and encouraging the athletes requires an ethical fundamental attitude and a pedagogical orientation from all responsible parties. People with disabilities should be active in volunteer and professional positions so that the first World Games are shaped by athletes for athletes. The actions of the LOC are based on a self-determined/ emancipatory view of people with intellectual disabilities and a management style that emphasises partnership and participation. The SOD code of honour for engaging with people both with and without disabilities is applied accordingly by the LOC.

Code of Good Governance

Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023


This Code of Good Governance (CGG), taken together with the Code of Ethics of the Special Olympics World Games 2023 Organizing Committee gGmbH, constitutes the basis for living up to the gGmbH’s commitment that the actions of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) be guided by ethical standards.

The ethical standards always reflect the four principles of good governance:

  • Integrity
  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Transparency
  • Participation and inclusion

The CGG is binding on all office-bearers, such as members of the executive body and the General Assembly, and both professional and volunteer staff of the LOC. At the same time, it serves as a model and inspiration for codes of this nature in associations and organisations similar to Special Olympics. The aim is to promote transparency and emphasise the special aspects of voluntary organisations in order to enhance confidence in the credibility of German sport.

A. How we interact with each other

1. Culture of appreciation and respect

The manner in which the LOC’s professional and volunteer staff behave and present themselves is instrumental in shaping its image and reputation. That is why respectful, fair and professional dealings with each other and third parties are so important for the culture within the LOC and its public reputation. There are special aspects to sport for people with intellectual disabilities that also play a role within the LOC itself and in terms of its function as a role model for clubs and associations.

Sports and sporting events are all about shared experiences, varied physical activities and having fun together. The sense of community builds ties and an easy-going approach is the norm, although care should still be taken to ensure that boundaries are never crossed. We are all different: some of us need more space, some of us are not immediately comfortable with being addressed on a first-name basis by strangers and some of us do not want to be hugged each time we meet. Each of us is entitled to our feelings, and our willingness to communicate openly should not be questioned as a result of them. Where hierarchical issues are a factor, professional distance is of particular importance. In our volunteering and professional work, misunderstandings can easily arise if a casual approach comes across as too pushy and/or the intentions behind it are unclear and leave room for interpretation. What some may (still) put down to sporting camaraderie may be perceived by others as excessive (and forced) intimacy. That is why special care must be taken and respect for individual sensibilities and the desire for (more) space must always be at the fore. Only then can shared sporting experiences in which everybody is treated as an equal be perceived as something positive by all.

Furthermore, the LOC rejects all forms of sexualised violence and is fully active in preventing and combating sexualised violence in sport. An officer responsible for prevention and intervention measures in respect of sexualised violence is appointed within the federal association. The physical and emotional closeness that can arise in sport and that is of no similar significance in any other context brings with it the risk of sexual assault. A culture of attention and action on the part of people in positions of responsibility must therefore help to empower those affected to speak out, deter potential perpetrators and create a climate that protects children, young people and adults – with and without disabilities – against sexualised violence in sport. That is why basic codes of conduct on dealing with proximity, physicality and trust, especially in relationships between adult office-bearers and athletes who are still minors, are put in place as well as an intervention plan for dealing with (suspected) incidents of sexualised violence. The SOD Code of Ethics on interactions with people with and without disabilities also holds within the LOC.

2. Basis for our actions

Staff in leadership roles bear special responsibility. Their actions are characterised by friendly and committed interactions, performance, openness and social skills. They trust their staff and allow them to assume responsibility and make their own decisions regarding their work (wherever possible), while still ensuring appropriate supervision thereof. Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff adhere to the applicable laws and observe the LOC’s guidelines and regulations. The rules governing organisation within the LOC and the working methods and responsibilities are found in the rules of procedure and statutes.

The LOC’s work is based on the constructive cooperation of volunteer and professional staff.

B. Conduct in business dealings

1. Conflicts of interest: gifts and invitations

1.1. Conflicts of interest

Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff make their decisions for the LOC without regard to extraneous considerations, i.e. personal interest or gain.

This means:

a) Where personal interests may overlap with a specific task/decision, this must be disclosed and it must be clarified whether it is possible to be involved in the discussion and decision or if the task should be transferred to someone else.

b) Personal relationships that go beyond normal sporting ties and personal interests relating to member organisations, other sporting associations, customers, suppliers, service providers or other business partners of the LOC and that may lead to a conflict of interest in a particular case must also be disclosed.

c) The members of the executive body (CEO/COO/CTO/CMO/CFO) of the LOC and the Board of Directors of shareholder Special Olympics Deutschland e.V. (SOD) must declare in a register of interests all material and non-material interests that may lead to a conflict of interest or could be perceived as such due to their respective roles within the LOC. These include all positions held in business and industry, politics and sport as well as memberships relevant to their role within the LOC (please refer to the enclosed DOSB template for a register of interests).

d) Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff shall refrain from any actions, especially personal or professional dealings of their own, that may run counter to the interests of the LOC or influence decisions or activities for the LOC.

e) The voluntary involvement of LOC staff in bodies for organised sport at club level is encouraged in light of the opportunities for grassroot contact. Involvement in the bodies of member organisations must be examined on a case-by-case basis. Staff should avoid holding leadership roles in bodies of member organisations.

1.2. Gifts and other benefits

Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff must avoid creating any impression of them being open to accepting personal gain in the scope of their actions for the LOC. Gifts and other benefits related or potentially related to their respective role within the LOC may therefore only be accepted or granted within the defined limits and in a transparent manner.

This means:

a) Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff may only accept gifts from member organisations, other sporting associations, customers, suppliers, service providers and other business partners of the LOC within socially acceptable limits.

b) Where a gift is accepted as an LOC representative, it must be passed on to the LOC upon receipt.

c) When assessing whether a personal gift is socially acceptable, a monetary value of 35 euros per person can be applied (as per Section 4(5)(1) of the German Income Tax Act (EStG)).

d) Personal gifts which it would be impolite to reject given the situation may be accepted in exceptional cases and must be passed on to the LOC upon receipt.

e) The provision of discounts or other concessions is also considered a benefit.

f) The acceptance of benefits in the form of (cash) monetary gifts is prohibited without exception, as is requesting a gift or other benefits.Vorteile.

g) If volunteer office-bearers or professional staff of the LOC obtain goods or services from member organisations, other sporting associations, customers, suppliers, service providers or other business partners of the LOC for personal use, this must be conducted in a purely personal capacity in line with normal commercial practices and at normal market prices.

h) LOC staff are prohibited from accepting commissions or the promise of commissions for themselves or people connected to them for brokering deals of any kind in connection with the performance of their duties without the express consent of the executive body.

1.3. Invitations

Invitations from third parties may only be accepted within the defined limits and in a transparent manner. For invitations to sporting events, a distinction must be made between official or representative events and invitations of a (largely) recreational value. The latter must be declined in cases of doubt.

This means:

a) Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff may only accept invitations for meals or events from member organisations, other sporting associations, customers, suppliers, service providers and other business partners of the LOC if these serve a legitimate business/official purpose and the invitation is given voluntarily.

b) Invitations to cultural, sporting and other events must be disclosed. A representative of the host must be present in order to ensure that the event serves a business purpose.

c) Invitations of any kind must be appropriate and fall within the scope of normal cooperation (e.g. for meals and drinks during a meeting or seminar, a reception following an event). The decisive factor in all cases is that the invitation serves a business purpose or representation and allows for no impression of undue influence.

d) If so agreed, attendance at recurring events, participation in normal meetings and comparable official appointments during which hospitality is provided can be disclosed in a general way rather than for each event separately or the respective travel approval/expense sheet may suffice as disclosure.

e) Prior permission must always be obtained where higher-end hospitality or invitations of higher value are obviously involved.

f) In general, frequent invitations from the same customers, suppliers, service providers or other business partners must be viewed with a critical eye and are only permitted as an exception and once duly authorised by the executive body.

2. Representation of interest

Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff represent the interests of the LOC in a transparent and responsible manner and refrain from giving undue advantage to third parties.

This means:

a) The aforementioned rules on “Gifts and other benefits” and “Invitations” apply accordingly to gifts, other benefits and invitations that the LOC or its volunteer office-bearers and professional staff provide to representatives of politics or administration, member organisations, other sporting associations, customers, suppliers, service providers and other business partners.

b) In particular, elected officials, holders of office, persons with special public service obligations and employees of members of parliament and political groups as well as persons in comparable roles in other countries may only be invited to information events or for representative purposes, for instance to sporting events at which there is appropriate and socially acceptable hospitality. Accompanying persons and invitations to purely entertainment or recreational programmes are not permitted unless they are an integral and socially acceptable part of the information event. There must be no question of undue influence.

c) The groups of persons referred to in 2(b) may only be involved in LOC events (for instance through a presentation or participation on a panel) within the context of their respective role and without remuneration. Travel expenses are only covered in line with the travel expense scheme and where the LOC requests attendance or participation, if official representation as per 2(b) does not apply.

d) The LOC may invite its own volunteer office-bearers and professional staff, including those at lower levels, to its own events and similar. This must be based on transparent criteria that are communicated ahead of time.

e) Invitations to cultural, sporting and other events are issued in writing or via email. In each case, reference must be made to the need to observe the compliance rules and tax requirements that apply to the invitee’s company or authority, sporting association or relevant institution.

f) All LOC invitations must be documented as part of regular record keeping, for instance in the form of registration lists or hospitality receipts.

3. Donations

Donations are monetary and non-monetary benefits provided by a person or company voluntarily and free of charge in order to promote causes for which donations qualify for tax relief without any services or benefits being provided in return.

a) Donations and other non-reciprocal benefits provided by the LOC to third parties are not eligible for aid (funding agency rules) and are therefore not allowed in principle. However, where a donation should be made in an exceptional situation, the following applies:

  • Donations must be transparent and comprehensible. The recipient of the donation must be known to the LOC. Possible recipients of donations are in particular institutions that are recognised as charitable or are authorised to accept donations on the basis of special rules.
  • (Monetary) donations should be tax-deductible and given in a form that ensures their tax deductibility (for instance by means of a donation receipt).
  • Donation payments to private accounts are generally not possible.

b) Incoming (monetary) donations must always be acknowledged and documented, regardless of the sum involved. Donated funds are used to achieve the statutory purposes with the greatest possible impact and cost-efficiency, taking into account economic aspects. The executive body decides on the use of donations. If a donor stipulates a specific purpose, this must be met. General donations without a specified purpose are used to cover general expenditure. The general provisions of laws governing donations and charity must be observed for this.

4. Sponsorships

In contrast to donations, sponsorships are always based on the principle of reciprocity. Sponsorships are money or payments in kind or services of monetary value contributed by a legal or natural person with economic interests who is pursuing other interests in addition to wishing to promote the LOC.

a) To ensure greater transparency and oversight of the LOC’s sponsorship decisions, all agreements regarding sponsorships must be set out in a written contract. In particular, this should govern the nature and scope of the benefits provided by the sponsor and the LOC as well as the tax implications.

b) The LOC may not enter into any sponsorship agreements that run counter to basic sports ethics.

c) Sponsorships that undermine the decision-making independence of the sponsored party are not permitted in any circumstances. Likewise, the granting of sponsorships must not have any influence over the LOC’s decisions.

d) Existing sponsorship agreements are regularly reviewed in order to minimise the risk of dependent relationships forming.

5. Management of public funding

Grants awarded to the LOC by public authorities (at city, state or federal level) must be managed in accordance with the provisions of the respective granting decisions and the general and specific ancillary provisions contained therein and in compliance with all other regulations governing such grants.

6. Stakeholder involvement

The LOC is committed to sustainable, responsible and transparent action. The LOC’s internal and external stakeholders are organisations, groups and individuals that influence the LOC’s actions or are affected by the implementation of the LOC’s objectives.

a) The goal is to intensify open dialogue with stakeholders in order to thereby improve understanding of the respective concerns and expectations in respect of the LOC but also better communicate the LOC’s objectives, motivations and need to act.

b) The following requirements must be met to ensure fair dialogue with stakeholders:

  • Fairness and reliability: Promises and agreements must be honoured. Where fundamental changes to overall conditions or new circumstances arise, this must be communicated.
  • Transparency: Both sides must provide complete and up-to-date information.
  • Early and regular action: Information on impending developments must be made available to the stakeholders involved as soon as possible.

c) The intended nature (information only, dialogue, discussion or further-reaching participation), the overall conditions1 for the exchange and the objectives pursued by both sides must be clearly defined at the start of the stakeholder involvement.

d) Relevant findings and results from the stakeholder dialogue are incorporated into the LOC’s strategic decisions. The fundamental responsibility for decision-making remains with the LOC’s bodies.

e) The dialogue shall not impinge on legitimate business interests or the rights of third parties or prevent an internal discussion or decision-making process that has not yet been concluded. The LOC shall ensure that no information is given to stakeholders which must first be presented to other parts or bodies of the LOC based on statutory or internal regulations.

7. Fees

The following applies to consultancy fees received by volunteer office-bearers and professional staff, for instance for drafting expert reports, giving speeches or presentations, participating in discussion events or forums, etc.:

For instance whether documentation of the results is planned, whether there are non-disclosure agreements, how to deal with the media, etc. If the activity takes place in the services of the LOC, i.e. the person is clearly and unequivocally acting within the scope of their voluntary or professional capacity for the LOC, then the LOC (as the service provider) invoices the organisation for which the activity is performed for the services provided through the accounting department. The organisation for which the service is performed is not entitled to the issuance of a donation receipt as a result of the exchange of services between the LOC and said organisation.

In particular, the following are indicative of an activity in the service of the LOC:

  • Initiation by a body authorised to issue directives
  • Initiation by resolution of a decision-making body
  • Submission of an application for business travel approval
  • Submission of an application for reimbursement of travel expenses
  • Time spent on the (preparatory) activities being recorded as working time
  • Work undertaken by virtue of holding an LOC office
  • Acquisition/invitation within the context of work for the LOC

If the activity comes under the scope of the private sphere of the person concerned, i.e. the person performing the activity is clearly and unequivocally acting outside of their voluntary or professional capacity for the LOC, then the private individual (as the provider of the service) shall issue the organisation that commissioned the activity a fee note for the services provided in their own name and on their own account and shall receive the related payment as personal income. The person concerned is responsible for duly declaring this income for tax purposes.

In particular, the following are indicative of professional staff undertaking an activity in a private capacity:

  • The HR department is notified that this is a secondary activity (as per the employment contract)
  • The service is performed and prepared outside of working time
  • Submission of an application for leave or flexitime in relation to this
  • Acquisition or invitations that take place privately

8. Use of resources

8.1. Use of organisation property and materials

  • Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff are prudent and careful in their use of the organisation’s own resources.
  • The organisation’s own resources include not only physical property (such as office equipment, computer systems and equipment, and stock) but also intellectual property (such as recorded data, business secrets and specific LOC know-how where relevant).
  • Damage to the organisation’s property must be reported immediately and the procurement of a replacement must be clarified.
  • The organisation’s own resources may only be used for purposes related to its activities and may not be passed to third parties.
  • Software may only be used in accordance with the licensing terms. All login details, for instance to access an official account on a social network, and registration codes are the property of the LOC.
  • Volunteer office-bearers and professional staff shall comply with any internal organisation requirements and guidelines, such as those regarding (private) use of the internet, email, (mobile) phones, laptops/tablets and pool or leased vehicles.

8.2. Origin and use of financial resources

When it comes to the origin and use of financial resources, both volunteer office-bearers and professional staff must observe the following:

  • Where there is cause for suspicion that the monies are of illegal origin or there is any question surrounding the integrity of the organisation or individual providing the financial resources, this must be reported immediately.
  • All of the LOC’s financial transactions are scrutinised to make sure that they are correct and proper and are subject to the approval of at least a second authorised signatory (in compliance with the principle of dual control).
  • The LOC sets out within the framework of a financial order the rules governing, among other things, the powers of signature for signing contracts, orders and payment instructions, the methods and procedures for payment transactions (principle of dual control), the standards for processing donations, contributions, grants and benefits as well as representation vis-à-vis funding agencies, and the arrangements for procuring goods and services and awarding contracts (for instance the value limit for awarding contracts, the obligation to obtain a minimum number of quotes and the obligation to issue a public call for tenders).

8.3. Intellectual property, know-how, confidentiality and data protection

8.3.1. Intellectual property and confidentiality

In accordance with the obligations in respect of confidentiality and secrecy set out in the employment contract for professional staff, the following also applies to volunteer office-bearers:

  • All commercial and business secrets and any matters that become known during the term of office and are identified as confidential by the LOC must be kept secret for the duration of the term of office until they have been recognisably made public. This obligation to maintain secrecy also extends to matters of other organisations with which the LOC has commercial or organisational ties.
  • After the term of office has ended, the obligation to maintain secrecy, where applicable, shall continue to exist in respect of certain commercial and business secrets.
  • All letters, faxes and printed emails relating to the LOC and its interests, regardless of the addressee, as well as all other business papers, drawings, notes, journals, samples, materials, etc. must be returned unbidden and without undue delay upon request or after the employment relationship has terminated. There are no rights of retention.
  • Documents, drawings, etc. that the LOC has identified as confidential and secret must be kept in safekeeping as stipulated.

8.3.2. Data Protection

In addition to observing the German Data Protection Act (BDSG) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the following rules apply to volunteer office-bearers and professional staff:

a) Data that is not needed in accordance with the organisation of work and the respective responsibility is not noted in documents.

b) Within the LOC, verbal and written information is only given to those clearly authorised to receive it.

c) No verbal information about data pertaining to individuals is given to bodies outside of the LOC unless there are special instructions in relation to this. Such a special instruction may, for instance, exist with regard to dealings with insurance companies and the tax authorities.

d) Written communications with bodies outside of the LOC that contain data pertaining to individuals must always be provided as an official letter with a signature unless the data subject has consented to the disclosure. If employee data is involved, the HR department handles this communication.

e) The respective supervisor or the Data Protection Officer must be involved in all requests for
information from data subjects that go beyond routine queries customary to the workplace or where it is obvious that these are requests for information under the BDSG/GDPR. These ensure that the information is provided in accordance with the law.

f) During and outside of working hours, documents must be kept in such a way that they cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons. It must be ensured that documents that are no longer required are destroyed in a controlled manner, i.e. that they are shredded or disguised in such a way that they cannot be reconstructed by unauthorised parties; they may then be disposed of as general waste. Address labels and comparable index cards that are not required must be disposed of as special waste if there is a large quantity involved.

g) In all cases of doubt, the respective supervisor, the Data Protection Officer or – if employee data is involved – the HR department is the relevant contact.

C. Framework

1. Process

Where disclosure, the provision of information, approval, reporting or clarification is required under this code, the following applies:

  • For professional staff, the supervisor is the person responsible.
  • For members of decision-making bodies and volunteers, the executive body (CEO/COO) is responsible.
  • For the executive body, the Good Governance Officer is responsible.
  • All disclosures and decisions must be documented.

2. Compliance Officer

The LOC executive body appoints an internal Compliance Officer in accordance with the conditions set out in the funding guidelines. This person of trust must not hold any other position within the LOC and must be independent.

In addition to a preventive advisory role for all staff and office-bearers (for instance, in the event of potential conflicts of interest), this person of trust also has other tasks and powers if called upon:

  • To examine possible breaches
  • To assess relevance and
  • To issue recommendations to the relevant decision-making bodies regarding the next steps to be taken

This person of trust may also exercise a right of initiative if they are not called upon directly but learn about possible incidents from external sources.
The Good Governance Officer is always in charge in the event of breaches of rules by members of the executive body (investigation, taking the necessary steps).

3. Ombudsperson’s Office
The establishment of an independent reporting body as an Ombudsperson’s Office is required and is a prerequisite to ensuring good governance. The executive body is responsible for establishing the Ombudsperson’s Office.