IOC President says “Now is the time for change”
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today revealed the 40 proposals that make up Olympic Agenda 2020, a strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, which will be discussed and voted on by the full IOC membership at the 127th IOC Session this 8 and 9 December in Monaco.
During the public launch of the recommendations at The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, President Bach called the 20+20 proposals “the culmination of a year of open, transparent and widespread debate and discussion, which had already begun in mid-2013.”
“These 40 recommendations are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” he added. “When you put them together, a picture emerges that shows the IOC safeguarding the uniqueness of the Olympic Games and strengthening sport in society.”
The IOC President first presented the recommendations to a round table of athletes, many of whom actively contributed to the Olympic Agenda 2020 process. The discussion included a number of medal-winning Olympians.*
Some of the key areas addressed by the recommendations are:
- Changes to the bidding process (Recommendation 1), with a new philosophy to invite potential candidate cities to present a project that fits their sporting, economic, social and environmental long-term planning needs. Shaping it more as an invitation and introducing an “invitation phase” – during which cities considering a bid will be advised about the opportunities this new procedure offers, in particular in regard to legacy and sustainability. The organisation of sports and events outside the host city and even, in exceptional cases, outside the host country could also be allowed, always respecting the integrity of the Olympic Village.
- Reducing costs for bidding (Recommendation 3), by decreasing the number of presentations that are allowed and providing a significant financial contribution from the IOC. At the same time emphasising that the sustainability of a bid must be taken into consideration right from the beginning.
- Move from a sport-based to an event-based programme (Recommendation10). Create limits on accreditation for athletes, coaches and other athlete support staff to ensure that the Games do not grow bigger. Allowing more than 28 sports to be on the programme while respecting these limits.
- Strengthen the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism (Recommendation 14). The IOC to include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism in the Olympic Charter.
- Launch of an Olympic TV Channel (Recommendation 19) to provide a platform for sports and athletes beyond the Olympic Games period, 365 days a year. To fully connect with the digital age and connect with young people on their terms. It will be a worldwide platform and an opportunity to spread Olympic values as well as highlighting the IOC’s many cultural and humanitarian projects. Candidate cities may also be given exposure during the bidding phase.
- Adapting and further strengthening the principles of good governance and ethics to changing demands. Ensuring compliance with the Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance (Recommendation 27) and transparency of accounts (Recommendation 29), with the IOC’s financial statements to be prepared and audited according to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) even when not legally required. Strengthening the independence of the IOC Ethics Commission (Recommendation 30), with the chair and members of the Commission to be elected by the IOC Session. The IOC will also create the position of compliance officer (Recommendation 31) to advise IOC members, staff, NOCs and IFs with regard to compliance.
The athletes remain at the centre of all 40 of the proposals, with the protection of the clean athletes being at the heart of the IOC’s philosophy. The central importance of the “athletes’ experience” will be introduced into the evaluation criteria with no compromise on the field of play for athletes, and the paramount importance of the Olympic Village.
“Over the past year many people have asked me why there is a desire to make changes. After all, they say, the Olympic Games, the IOC, and the Olympic Movement have enjoyed many successes and we are in a very good position,” said President Bach. “My answer is that we are now in the position to drive change ourselves rather than being driven. We have to take leadership with Olympic Agenda 2020. We have the opportunity, and we must seize the moment – now is the time for change.”
There is no change proposed to the age limit of 70 for IOC members. In a limited number of cases (five), a one-time extension of a member’s term of office may be made for a maximum of four years (Recommendation 37). There is no proposal to allow individual members to visit candidate cities, but there is a proposal that will lead to more in-depth information and discussion about the strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities of candidate cities (Recommendation 2).
The 40 recommendations were finalised by the IOC Executive Board in October following presentations from the chairs of the 14 Working Groups that were set up to refine the proposals earlier this year. In addition to members of the Olympic Movement, including National Olympic Committees, International Federations, TOP sponsors and athletes, the Working Groups consisted of experts from civil society such as the United Nations, Google/YouTube, Transparency International, the Clinton Foundation, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the World Bank.
Strong interest from across the Olympic Movement has been shown in Olympic Agenda 2020. Discussions at the 126th IOC Session in Sochi, for example, included a total of 211 interventions by the IOC members. The proposals were also debated by the IOC Commissions and at two Olympic Summits. The Summits brought together the presidents of the major stakeholders of the Olympic Movement.
The inclusive and transparent Olympic Agenda 2020 process was initiated by President Bach over a year ago. His call for contributions resulted in more than 40,000 submissions and produced 1,200 concrete ideas.
*The athletes who attended the round table were:
Susana Feitor – Portugal – Racewalking – Competed in five editions of the Olympic Games; Athletes’ Commission and IOC Athletes’ Career Programme Outreach trainer
QUOTES FROM MEMBERS OF THE OLYMPIC MOVEMENT:
“Supporting clean sport and clean athletes is what the IOC and WADA are all about. The IOC has shown itself time and again ready to invest in making Olympic sport credible, and these proposals are an important pillar in that fight. Part of the recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020 will see a continued and renewed investment to protect sport and the athletes. Sports fans must be able to believe in the sporting events they watch if our Movement and the good it can do are to have a future.”
– Craig Reedie, IOC Vice-President and WADA Chairman
“We have to find a way of being able to introduce new sports that are relevant to young people.
I was very impressed by the new sports presented at the Sports Lab at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in the summer, and particularly the culture of those athletes taking part. We just have to be flexible to include new events – and I think the recommendations contained in Olympic Agenda 2020 will help us to do that.
Above all, for me the credibility of sport remains crucial to the future of the Olympic Movement. It is good to see us investing in protecting athletes who play fair when it comes to doping, and particularly when it comes to match-fixing and manipulation.”
– John Coates, IOC Vice-President
“Thirty years ago, I became the first Moroccan athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. The celebrations in my home country underlined to me the important role that sport and the Olympic Games play in people’s lives. It is therefore essential for me that, as a Movement, we continue to evolve and stay relevant for the athletes and the watching world. This is why I fully endorse the outcomes of Olympic Agenda 2020 and am looking forward to seeing how the Olympic Games can benefit from our final decisions.”
– Nawal El Moutawakel, IOC Vice-President and Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Rio 2016
“Olympic Agenda 2020 has seen stakeholders from all around the world and from very many different backgrounds contributing ideas that will make our Movement stronger in the future.
The Olympic Games continue to push new boundaries and to appeal to many different audiences of sports fans around the world. We must continue to do this. The power of the Olympic ideal is that it reflects universal ideas in different ways around the world. Olympic Agenda 2020 will build on our success.”
– Zaiqing Yu, IOC Vice-President and ANOC Vice-President
“These reforms will shape the future development of the Olympic Movement so that Olympic sport can continue to connect with people around the world. At the ANOC General Assembly in Bangkok early this month, we gave unanimous backing to Olympic Agenda 2020. As the President of the IOC said, the time to change is when you are successful and it is indeed a pleasure to see the launch of these reforms, which will ensure we remain relevant to all generations around the world. We must continue to appeal to different cultures and populations with a unifying message based on the Olympic values.”
– Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, IOC Member, ANOC and OCA President, Chair of the IOC Olympic Solidarity Commission
“The International Federations have been involved every step of the way in the creation of these recommendations, which lay out a comprehensive plan for the future of Olympic sport.
Through the Working Groups and through our representatives in the IOC, we have been able to help shape these proposals, which, if accepted, will lead to greater flexibility and help maintain the relevance of Olympic sport, particularly among young people.”
– Francesco Ricci Bitti, ITF President and ASOIF President
“For winter sports, it is imperative that the Olympic Winter Games remain strictly for sports on snow and ice. We need to continue to spread their popularity and ensure that more cities come forward with bids that work for them and that the Olympic Games remain attractive around the world.
There has to be a place for a wide range of concepts for the Games, and the proposals contained in Olympic Agenda 2020 are designed to encourage more cities with different ideas on the size and scope of the Games to come forward. The IOC is listening and wants the bidding process to help cities and governments to propose Games that appeal to their citizens.”
– Gian-Franco Kasper, IOC member, FIS President and AIOWF President
“I am extremely pleased to see the recommendation in Olympic Agenda 2020 to include sexual preference in the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter. This recommendation by the IOC sends a strong and powerful signal to all athletes, and to the world at large, of our message of absolute non-discrimination. Including sexual orientation reaffirms that Olympic sport stands for fundamental values, and hopefully ensures that each and every athlete attending the Olympic Games feels inclusion and acceptance. Hopefully this amendment to the Charter will also send a message of tolerance and acceptance to the rest of the world.”
– Angela Ruggiero, IOC member, IOC Athletes’ Commission member, 4 Olympic medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze)
“The recommendations in Olympic Agenda 2020 are designed to change the bidding process in a positive way. I think it is important to bring the Olympic Winter Games especially back to their roots, where the organisers are creating genuine winter festivals and where the inhabitants of the host city are as important as the athletes.
I think it is a step forward that the bidding cities will have the chance to focus on Games that work in the local context – socially, economically and environmentally. I also think it is positive that the IOC will encourage the re-use of venues, temporary venues, and even the use of some venues in other regions and countries. This will lower the costs, which will hopefully make staging the Games more attractive for more countries.”
– Ole Einar Bjørndalen, IOC member and most medalled Winter Olympian, 13 Olympic medals (8 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze)
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