November 2020: IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission meeting
The IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission (AEC) met virtually on 12 November to review a number of topics, including the AEC’s four-year plan, gender equality and Athlete365’s new learning provider.
- The IOC AEC met virtually for the first time, and also held a joint meeting with the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC).
- Sergey Bubka provided an update on the AEC’s four-year plan, with other presentations on the latest gender equality and Olympic Solidarity updates relating to entourages.
- In the joint meeting with the IOC AC, the groups spoke about progress in the fields of safeguarding and mental health, and Athlete365 Learning.
For the first time in its history, the IOC AEC convened virtually on 12 November to discuss ongoing progress. In addition to this, the Commission also held a meeting with the IOC Athletes’ Commission on the same day. It was the fourth meeting ever between the two Commissions, and gave them an opportunity to discuss topics which are relevant to both of them.
Sergey Bubka, Chair of the IOC AEC, delivered an update to his fellow members on the AEC’s four–year plan and related initiatives, relevant to each of the five priorities set out in the plan. As part of this, the Chair also covered the development of the entourage toolkit and the support that has been offered through Athlete365 to entourage members in relation to the COVID-19 situation, acknowledging the results and key findings of the recent Athlete365 survey.
The AEC also acknowledged the important contribution of the working groups covering the five different entourage stakeholder groups (performance, family & friends, organisational, health & well–being, and legal & commercial) during the year, which helped the Commission to focus its work by identifying priorities and actions related to each theme.
Several updates were given concerning Olympic Solidarity, including the approval of the new budget for 2021-24. Statistics were also released from the 2017–2020 quadrennial period, with over 27,500 coaches and 65,000 entourage members impacted through Olympic Solidarity programmes such as technical courses for coaches, individual scholarships and the development of national sports systems.
At the heart of the discussion were the subjects of mental health and safeguarding athletes, with the impact of several initiatives highlighted, such as the digital awareness campaigns on Athlete365 and the Intel partnership.
The IOC Safeguarding Webinar Series for National Olympic Committees was praised for the fantastic response and turnout from NOCs, with those involved already providing updates on their work on prevention of harassment and abuse initiatives. And there was an update on the IOC International Safeguarding Officer Course, which will have its first intake in 2021.
Additionally, an update was provided on the progress of the IOC Mental Health Working Group with regard to its production of an IOC Mental Health in Elite Athletes Toolkit, which is due for release in 2021.
Regarding IOC Gender Equality Review Project Recommendation 6 (Balanced gender representation for coaches selected to participate at the Olympic Games), Sir Clive Woodward gave an update on the progress of the Women Coaches Working Group. While the current statistics highlight the low number of female coach accreditations for the Olympic Games, the Commission identified the main barriers to this and discussed possible solutions.
It was noted that substantial progress has been made in many areas, including female participation at the Games from an athlete perspective, and an update was provided on the IOC’s ongoing commitment to gender equality across all functions of the Olympic Movement.
It was also announced that a new Athlete365 learning provider is to be rolled out in 2021, with courses available both online and offline (once downloaded) to help address the issue of athletes and entourage members around the world who do not have extended access to exclusively online features.
For more information about the work of the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission, click here.