Lausanne, Switzerland’s Olympic capital, was last week the centre of sports governance, with meetings taking place for all IOC commissions. In addition to the IOC meetings, SportAccord – the union for both Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations – gathered all International Federations with the goal of ‘working together to ensure that the state of governance within sports institutions can be readily assessed publicly and monitored on an ongoing basis.’
The busy week for ITU started on Tuesday, with ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado attending the annual meeting of the IOC Women in Sports Commission.
IOC President, Thomas Bach, was present during the session, and remarked how impressed he was by the inspiring women on the Commission, which is fully committed to achieving gender balance in the Olympic family.
Casado, as the only female International Federation President of a summer sport on the Olympic programme, took the floor to ask the IOC President for help in implementing gender equality as a good governance issue within the Olympic family. The Commission supported Casado’s position, and Bach agreed to address the issue as a priority at the IF Forum, which was also taking place throughout the week in Lausanne.
“We have come a long way in increasing opportunities for female athletes,” Casado said. “We still have work to do there, but we also need to look at creating opportunities for women in sports leadership, coaching and technical official capacities. There is still a severe lack of representation from women in these areas.”
Fostering gender equality and strengthening women’s participation in, and through, sport is one of the key missions of the International Olympic Committee. With the adoption of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, the IOC reaffirmed its commitment to work with International Federations and National Olympic Committees, as well as various regional, national and international platforms, to increase the possibilities for girls and women in sport and to achieve the goal of female athletes representing 50% of the athletes taking part in the Olympic Games.
The members of the IOC Women and Sport Commission are particularly active in raising awareness about gender equality in their respective domains of sports expertise throughout the year. Among other important advocacy initiatives are the IOC Women and Sport Awards, which this year was given to the New Zealand Olympic Committee; the Afro-Asian Women and Sport Forums and the IOC World Conferences on Women and Sport.
Casado, the former President of the Women and Sport Commission on the Spanish Olympic Committee from 2000-2009, has been a member of the IOC Women and Sport Commission since 2014.
On Wednesday 11 November, Casado also attended the annual meeting of the IOC Public Affairs and Social Development Commission, where the latest programs and projects were presented relating to using sports development as a tool for local socio-economic development and for humanitarian assistance, meant to improve the lives of under-privileged communities worldwide.
In addition to Casado’s meeting with the Women and Sport and Public Affairs Commissions, ITU was strongly represented at the IF Forum, which took place in Lausanne the same week, and where the decision was taken to merge the SportAccord Council and the SportAccord Convention into one body.
Casado was joined by ITU Director General Antonio Arimany and ITU Sport Director Gergely Markus at the Forum.
Arimany presented on the work International Federations are conducting in conjunction with the IOC to prepare guidelines that aim to prevent the manipulation of competition.
The presentation was part of a review of good governance, which included approaches to transparent operations and coordinated efforts in relations to difficult ethical situations and illegal betting.
‘The objective of this undertaking is to ensure that the state of governance within sports institutions can be readily assessed publicly and monitored on an ongoing basis,’ stated an official release from SportAccord. ‘This will be done in an inclusive manner, taking into account best practices and using the most appropriate available tools so as to not only establish the right processes, but to promote and ensure a culture of good governance within all sport Federations.’
ITU’s Antonio Arimany stated that all International Federations “need to be all together in the same page, have the same code and work all together with the same standard rules” in order to achieve those goals.”
“Early on, ITU took an active approach to fostering good governance, which has created a positive illustration for other IFs to follow,” Casado said. “For example, ITU has had an ethics committee for a number of years, and we recently took their suggestion to create an independent disciplinary panel. These measures help us to ensure a fair playing field is created for athletes, which we are committed to creating.”