IOC EB and IAAF Council hold joint meeting in Doha/Qatar
Today, a joint meeting between the IOC Executive Board (EB) and the IAAF Council was held in Doha/Qatar just ahead of the IAAF World Championships, which started this afternoon in the Qatari capital.
In the meeting, IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated Sebastian Coe on his unanimous re-election as IAAF President at the recent IAAF Congress. “Such a result after such a reform programme that you have implemented is impressive,” the IOC President said.
He also stressed the strong and good relationship between both organisations. The link is ensured not only through the regular joint EB/Council meetings but also through the two IOC Members on the IAAF Council: Sergei Bubka as an IAAF Vice-President and Nawal El Moutawakel as an IAAF Council Member.
With 301 days to go before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC EB and the IAAF Council underlined that the preparations are going extremely well. They will be more urban, more youthful and more female than any Olympic Games before. There will also be more mixed events than at past Games.
Both bodies agreed that the politicisation of sport is becoming more and more of a challenge for sports organisations. “Keeping the universality of sport is a priority of our vision. In order to keep it, we need to keep strict neutrality. Only if we respect this neutrality can we expect politics to accept our mission of universality,” the IOC President explained. IAAF President Coe added: “It is really important that sports organisations stay free from political interference. Autonomy is important for us.”
Kirsty Coventry, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission (AC), emphasised that for athletes there is freedom of speech, but the field of play and the ceremonies have to be for sport exclusively, without any political demonstrations. But she made clear that the athletes are permitted to express their views on many other occasions during the Olympic Games, in press conferences and on social media, for instance.
Following Olympic Agenda 2020, the IAAF gave information about the governance reforms it has implemented and the initiatives it has undertaken with regard to gender equality and other topics. In addition, the IAAF President updated the IOC EB about the situation of the Russian Athletics Federation, which is still suspended by the IAAF.
The IOC EB congratulated the IAAF on the good cooperation of its Athletics Integrity Unit with the International Testing Agency (ITA) in connection with the pre-testing programme for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. “As you know, the IOC is very much interested in catching any cheats already before the Games,” Bach said.
The IAAF also briefed the IOC about its decision to rename the Federation as “World Athletics” and to reform the presentation of athletics, including the competition series. This is one of projects to ensure that more young people come to the sport, which is a growing challenge for many sports federations.