In his speech to the General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Zagreb (Croatia), the IOC President Thomas Bach gave an update on the opportunities and issues currently facing the Olympic Movement. Regarding the investigations into the failure of the anti-doping system in Russia, he confirmed that a decision will be taken on 5 December by the IOC Executive Board (EB) and once again emphasised the need for "fair and due process, to which every individual or organisation is entitled". President Bach went on to warn those who might be trying to influence the final decision of the IOC. "From whichever side some may try to put pressure, they will be wrong. The IOC EB is used to this kind of situation. They will look at the facts and conclusions of the different commissions and take a fair decision with regard to the participation of Russia in PyeongChang, or any other issue to be considered," he told participants. President Bach once more emphasised the difference between the current investigation and the situation ahead of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. "This is about what happened at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 - now it is about us," he said. "This is about the integrity of the Olympic Games. Now it is about what happened at the Olympic Games at an Olympic laboratory with Olympic athletes and Olympic medallists." President Bach also outlined the pre-Games testing programme that is in place ahead of PyeongChang 2018. He also looked forward to the process for selecting the host city for the Olympic Winter Games 2026. "We have three consecutive Olympic Winter Games in cities which have to develop some winter sports disciplines from scratch and to develop the related infrastructure," said President Bach. "I hope that this time we will have a candidate with a tradition in winter sport with existing infrastructure, be it in Europe, be it in Asia, or be it in the Americas," he added.
During his report, IOC Deputy Director General Pere Miró gave a report on the relations between the Olympic Movement and the European Council, and particularly the recent visit by the IOC President to the European Union Sports Ministers Council meeting (see later in the section). Miró told the Assembly that the IOC President had called on the EU Commission to take the specificity of sport into consideration. The IOC having opened the door to this exchange, Mr Miró encouraged the EOC and NOCs to take up the relationship. Full press release here.
During a meeting at the presidential residence, the IOC President and the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, discussed the Olympic Movement in Croatia and a number of topics of mutual interest, including the development of sport in the country and EU issues. The IOC President was accompanied by EOC President Janez Kocijančič, the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), IOC Member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, and Croatian NOC President Zlatko Mateša.
Before travelling to Zagreb, President Bach was in Brussels (Belgium) at the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers for discussions with sports ministers from the Member States. Addressing the plenary session entitled “The main challenges facing sport in the 21st century”, President Bach welcomed “the great opportunity to swap ideas and opinions and to set a new tone for the cooperation between the European Union, governments and sports organisations”. The IOC President called on Europe to respect and preserve the European Sports Model. “It is my sincere hope that we do not lose sight of the important social role of sport by equating it with commercial sports business. We are deeply concerned about certain interpretations of the European treaty and EU competition law with regard to sports,” he said. “If everything in Europe is looked at only from a business perspective, the social value of sport is lost. Sport is about so much more than business,” he added. President Bach also addressed current doping issues, and in particular the systematic manipulation of the anti-doping system at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014.
Chairing the meeting, Indrek Saar, the Minister for Culture of Estonia, currently holding the Council presidency, added, “Europe is not just about economy and the single market, it’s also what we create, what we read, what we listen to, what we play. Culture, arts and sport are the glue that binds our communities together.” For the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics, “the social role of sport has become especially important in recent years, in particular in the context of the migration challenges that Europe is facing. The sports movement has already considerably contributed to a more integrated European society with sports coaches playing an important role.” Full press release here.
In Lausanne, the IOC President welcomed the Comoros NOC President, Ibrahim Ben Ali, who was accompanied by the Comorian Sports Minister, Salim Mahamoud. They discussed the current situation of the NOC and the development of sport in the country, as well as preparations for the upcoming editions of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games.
A delegation led by Serbian NOC President Bozidar Maljkovic, accompanied by IOC Member Nenad Lalovic, met President Bach. Their discussions focused on the preparations of Serbia’s athletes for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
The IOC President hosted the Mayor of Montreux, Laurent Wehrli, who is also a National Councillor in the Swiss parliament. The two men discussed the organisation of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 and relations between the IOC, the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Confederation.
The President of World Archery, Uğur Erdener, has been elected Vice-President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).
After stepping down as President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Ching-Kuo Wu has resigned from the IOC Executive Board, on which he represented the Olympic summer sports IFs. He has also resigned from his role as ASOIF Vice-President and from the ASOIF Council. (See also the “IFs” section below.)
With less than 80 days to go until the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, the IOC concluded its final Project Review in PyeongChang confident that a memorable experience awaits athletes and Olympic fans in the Republic of Korea. "Venues are complete, the Olympic Villages are being kitted out, the Olympic Torch Relay is generating excitement for the Games across the Republic of Korea, and I can attest to the convenience of the new KTX high-speed railway (read the news here). These are just a few of the many ways that preparations are continuing to be delivered ahead of what I am confident will be a memorable event for athletes and fans alike," IOC Coordination Commission Chair Gunilla Lindberg said following the two-day review. With facilities now complete, POCOG has turned its attention to testing operational readiness and fine-tuning details to ensure athletes compete on the best fields of play possible. Full press release here.
other olympic news
The IOC has launched a new integrated brand campaign entitled “Become The Light”, which aims to promote the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. The campaign uses “light” as the symbolic representation of the Olympic values. Supporting the IOC’s vision of building a better world through sport, the campaign invites participants to make a “donation” of their physical activity. In keeping with the campaign theme of “light”, the IOC will convert recorded activity into tangible support for refugees, by providing sustainable, solar powered lighting solutions for the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda in cooperation with the UNHCR. Full press release here.
The IOC published new decisions from the Oswald Commission hearings, which are being conducted in the context of the Sochi 2014 forensic and analytic doping investigations. On 22 November, four Russian skeleton athletes, Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Elena Nikitina, Mariia Orlova, Olga Potylitsyna and Sochi 2014 gold medallist Aleksandr Tretiakov, have been sanctioned (full press release here). On 24 November, two Russian bobsledders, Olga Stulneva and Sochi 2014 gold medallist Aleksandr Zubkov, and two Russian speed skaters, Sochi 2014 silver medallist Olga Fatkulina and Aleksander Rumyantsev, have been sanctioned (full press release here). On 27 November, one Russian skeleton athlete, Sergei Chudino; two Russian bobsledders, Sochi 2014 gold medallists Aleksei Negodailo and Dmitrii Trunenkov; and two Russian biathletes, Sochi 2014 silver medallists Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, have been sanctioned. The IOC has also published the first full decision including the reasoning of the Disciplinary Commission, related to the case of Russian cross country skier and Sochi 2014 gold and silver medallist Alexander Legkov. More hearings concerning other athletes will be held over the next few weeks (full press release here).
international sportS fEdErations
For the first time ever, the Para-Badminton World Championships will be held at the same time as the Badminton World Championships in 2019. The city of Basel (Switzerland) will host both events. This historic decision was taken by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Council on 17 November in Montego Bay (Jamaica). The BWF President is IOC member Poul-Erik Høyer (pictured left of photo with Robbert de Kock, the President of Swiss Badminton). Basel was selected to host the Badminton World Championships in March this year. More details here.
On 22 November, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) released a basketball-specific tool outlining best practices and preventive measures to aid team doctors in achieving the highest possible level of care for players. The Medical Resource has been published ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, which tip off on 23 November. It features information on the prevention of common basketball injuries, concussion, cardiac screening and ethical considerations for a team physician and anti-doping. Full details here.
On 20 November, AIBA and Ching-Kuo Wu published a joint statement announcing that they had amicably agreed to resolve the management issues within AIBA and to withdraw and terminate all related pending procedures before civil courts and the AIBA Disciplinary Commission. Wu thus steps down from the AIBA presidency after 11 years. For the time being, Franco Falcinelli will remain AIBA Interim President. AIBA will convene an Extraordinary Congress on 27 January 2018 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), among other things to consider proposed governance changes. Full details here.
Following the decision by the President of United World Wrestling (UWW), Nenad Lalovic, to establish a Referee Expert Group in collaboration with the Coaches Committee to further pursue the improvements of wrestling officiating bodies, the UWW organised, in collaboration with British Wrestling, the first-ever Referee and Coaches Education Week. The event brought together international referees and coaches from 17 countries. The programme was divided into three phases: an educator course, followed by mat sessions and discussions on rule interpretations, and finally a level 1 coaching course and introduction to refereeing. Other courses are planned at continental level in 2018. More details on www.unitedworldwrestling.org.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) and the Colombian Swimming Federation hosted a FINA Diving Certification School in Santa Marta (Colombia) from 15 to 17 November. Fifteen Colombian participants took the theoretical and practical courses, while judges from Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela also attended the School. Pathways and guidelines to becoming an elite FINA judge, as well as the Diving Golden Rules and judging principles were reviewed. This type of training is a crucial step in FINA judges’ and referees’ careers to obtain a recognised certification that enables them to work at FINA events and other major competitions. More details on www.fina.org.
The newly-created Equipment Commission of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) met for the first time in Frankfurt (Germany) this month. The Commission was created to ensure that the UIPM, its member federations and its athletes have access to the latest cutting-edge sports equipment, complying with all the prescribed international rules and regulations. Under the guidance of double Olympic champion Janos Martinek, the Commission discussed the introduction of a new homologation system, specific to pentathlon, for fencing scoring apparatus. Other technological advances relating to pentathlon were covered, as well as all the quality, safety, fairness, performance, reliability and practicability of all other equipment used across the five disciplines. More details here.
World Rugby has underscored its commitment to furthering gender equality at all levels of the organisation by announcing sweeping reform of its Council, with the ambition of at least one-third women's representation from next year. World Rugby will increase the number of people who may sit on Council from 32 to 49, with the 17 new representatives to be women. The ground-breaking reform will give the 11 unions and six regional associations, who currently have an additional vote but no additional representative, the right to send an additional representative to Council subject to that person being female. Unanimous approval of the proposal by Council at its recent meeting in London (Great Britain) is a first and very important step in World Rugby’s wider strategy to accelerate women in rugby on and off the field of play and bring gender balance to the highest levels of its governance. More details here.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) Council held its Autumn Meeting at the FIS Headquarters in Oberhofen (Switzerland) on 18 November, and dealt with a full agenda relating to the current season as well as future activities. Sports organisational aspects, including competition calendars, updates to various regulations and competition rules, appointment of technical officials and reports on the upcoming FIS World Championships and Olympic Winter Games, were among the main subject areas, as well as FIS Governance. Read the main decisions here.
NationaL Olympic committees
The fourth advanced sports administration course has come to an end at the Argentinian NOC. For nine months, members of national federations and of the main national sports administration agencies part in this course proposed by Olympic Solidarity. In 2017, the NOC integrated an educational platform to consolidate the training of current and future sports leaders in the country. More information on www.coarg.org.ar.
In partnership with the national cycling federation, the NOC of Azerbaijan organised a Level 1 Technical Course for Cycling Coaches. The course was funded by Olympic Solidarity and supported by the International Cycling Union (UCI). Physical education teachers who participated in the “Olympic Moves 2017” programme also joined the course, along with coaches from the federation and the state sports academy. Olympic Moves is an international school sports programme launched in 2015 by the NOC and Worldwide Olympic Partner Coca-Cola, together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Education. A total of 20 coaches, including eight women, took part in the course, which was held from 13 to 18 November. More details on www.noc-aze.org.
On 18 November, the headquarters of the Spanish NOC in Madrid hosted a High-level Sports Day for current and former NOC Master’s degree students. Every two years, the Spanish NOC invites six world renowned researchers to talk about the latest developments and studies in this field and to give all the participants the chance to learn about the latest news and trends within high-level sport. More details here.
Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of the Jordanian NOC and an IOC Member, hosted Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and Dahlan Al Hamad, President of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA), who were in Amman (Jordan) for an AAA Board meeting. They visited the NOC’s “Sporting Schools” project with NOC Secretary General Nasser Majali. This initiative is intended to introduce thousands of children to athletics and volleyball. Other sports will be added in the coming years. During their visit, they also attended a ceremony to honour the medallists at the 2017 Arab Athletics Championships and other successful athletes in 2017. More details here.
The Turkish Olympic Committee has announced the death of Olympic weightlifting champion Naim Suleymanoglu (photo), on 18 November at the age of 50. Nicknamed “The Pocket Hercules”, Suleymanoglu was the first weightlifter to claim gold at three different Olympic Games: Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. In 2001, he was awarded the Olympic Order. More details here.
organisinG COMMITTEES FOR THE Olympic Games
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee and the Organising Committee of the Kansai World Masters Games 2021 have entered into a partnership agreement under which the three organisations will exchange knowledge and expertise in order to maximise the benefits and impact of their respective events. The organisers will share their experiences preparing for and managing major sporting events, covering areas such as marketing, public relations and volunteer recruitment. The organisers also aim to give a boost to sporting and cultural activities in Japan, spur the economy and help build a society which promotes the active engagement of all citizens in sport. The agreement was signed by Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu, and Hiroo Kinoshita, Secretary General of the Organising Committee of the Kansai World Masters Games 2021. Full press release here.
The 46th annual European Olympic Committees (EOC) General Assembly closed on 25 November in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, with newly elected President Janez Kocijančič calling for the continued collaboration and hard work of the 50 European NOCs. The highlight of the two-day General Assembly was the election of the Executive Committee for the 2017-2021 quadrennial. Over the course of the two days, there were a number of reports from various Commissions and Organising Committees of past and future Olympics and continental Games. Furthermore, the European Olympic Laurels were awarded to six NOCs’ sports leaders who have distinguished themselves for their merits and their commitment to Sport: Victor Sanchez (Spain), Tzeno Tzenov (Bulgaria), Roberto Fabbricini (Italy), Igor Lysov (Ukraine), Mieczyslaw Nowicki (Poland), and Rezso Gallov (Hungary). The 2017 EOC Order of the Merit was awarded to Croatian Olympic Committee President and EOC Executive Committee member Zlatko Mateša. During the Gala dinner hosted by the Croatian Olympic Committee, Italian cyclist Letizia Paternoster was awarded the 7th Piotr Nurowski “Best Young European Athlete” Prize. Full details here.
During its recent meeting in Lausanne, the ASOIF Council considered the results of the first phase of the governance assessment and agreed to establish a Governance Monitoring Unit (GMU). The GMU will guide IFs on governance matters by monitoring their activity in order to provide corrective action reports. This initiative marks the next phase in the IF governance project, which has been driven by ASOIF’s Governance Taskforce (GTF) during the last two years. Under the stewardship of the GTF, ASOIF conducted a governance review of its 28 IF members between November 2016 and April 2017 in the form of a detailed self-assessment questionnaire with independent moderation by a sports governance consultancy. The exercise will be repeated with a new questionnaire, which has been updated based on experience and feedback, with a view to measuring progress since the first assessment. The second governance report will be presented to the ASOIF General Assembly in Bangkok in April 2018. Details here.
Seven countries from Oceania took part in the first meeting of the Organisational Capacity Programme (OCP) in the region, held on 18 and 19 November in Nadi (Fiji). Representatives from the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and the newly approved International Paralympic Committee (IPC) provisional member Kiribati attended the sessions, which were organised with support from NPC Fiji and the Oceanian Paralympic Committee. Supported by the IPC’s Worldwide Paralympic Partnership with Toyota, the programme will run until 2024 and reach over 140 countries. During the workshop, NPCs could exchange information about their current challenges and identify opportunities for collaboration in the region. Full details here.