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  • IOC Takes Action to Protect Autonomy of Sport


    02/12/08

    IOC president Jacques Rogge urged NOCs and federations to act quickly on the action plan approved at the conference. (ATR)

    (ATR) International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge calls on Olympic stakeholders to unite and act quickly to counter threats to the autonomy of the Olympic and sports movement.

    “I believe that the spirit of this unity is very important when we face difficulties and we will face difficulties in the future,” Rogge said in his concluding remarks at the autonomy of sport conference in Lausanne.

    “It's not going to be a honeymoon with the rest of the world and the governments,” he said. “I'm sure that we will quickly find this unity where we will act together. United we stand.”

    Acknowledging the tensions and disagreements between sport and government he has witnessed first hand on trips around the globe, Rogge maintains that the Olympic Movement is “extremely strong” and respected.

    Rogge stressed the importance of the work undertaken at the two-day summit and urged the Olympic Movement to act decisively on the resolutions and action plan adopted Tuesday.

    “I insist on working extremely fast. We have spoken a lot and it will be discussed with the rest of Olympic Movement and our stakeholders during the [2009] congress,” he said.

    “But it is time to act now, it's time to be pragmatic and act quickly.”

    Seven resolutions were approved by representatives from the IOC, national Olympic committees and international federations gathered at the symposium. Nearly 200 delegates attended the meeting.

    It was agreed that the Olympic Movement should “cooperate and work together with governments and international institutions within a framework of mutual respect, to make sport and its benefits available to all citizens of the world”.

    Nearly 200 representatives from the Olympic Movement were gathered at the meeting in Lausanne.
    Over the two days of the conference, good governance at all levels of the Olympic Movement was pinpointed as fundamental to preserving the autonomy of sport and protecting it from government interference.

    A draft document was presented to the seminar outlining some basic universal principles of good governance of the Olympic Movement.

    The document, which extends to seven chapters and includes 37 line items, will now be refined before being posted on the Olympic Congress Extranet. The entire Olympic Movement will then have the chance to pass comment and make contributions before it goes before the 2009 Olympic Congress in Copenhagen for further discussion.

    Sports leaders at the meeting also supported plans to develop the 'Olympic and Sports Network' - what Rogge calls a “one-stop shop on public affairs and autonomy” - on the IOC extranet.

    The aim is to facilitate the exchange of information and provide a global analysis “which will be used as a basis for future decisions and actions where necessary”.

    “All NOCs, IFs and national feds will be able to flag their issues on this extranet and it's going to be circulated instantaneously to the rest of the Olympic Movement,” Rogge told the meeting.

    It will be operational in two weeks time, said Rogge.

    An advisory board or so-called “emergency team” will also be established in the coming weeks to trouble-shoot major problems experienced by federations and NOCs.

    “In many cases we only have a couple of days or weeks in front of us, we don't have months to solve problems,” said Rogge, who made very plain in his remarks his dislike of “heavy formalized structures” for handling such issues.

    The Association
    Gunilla Lindberg, secretary general of the Association of National Olympic Committees, spoke on the final day of the conference.
    of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), along with the Association of the International Olympic Winter Sports Federations, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the General Association of International Sports Federations are being asked to nominate representatives to the trouble-shooting group.

    The group would convene ad hoc teleconferencing or video conferencing sessions to advise federations and NOCs on how to best manage threats to their autonomy.

    Also in the coming months, the IOC's international relations commission, chaired by Mario Pescante, will be tasked with better defining autonomy of sport issues and establishing how the Olympic Movement can improve cooperation with governments.

    Among the speakers on the final day of the second seminar on autonomy and sport were: Gunilla Lindberg, secretary general of ANOC; FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann; Lassana Palenfo, president of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa; and Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

    Rogge highlighted the fact that autonomy of sport is one of five themes of the Olympic Congress in Copenhagen next year.

    He said it was a matter of urgency that NOCs and IFs get to work on any proposals they wished to present at the congress, suggesting they finalize the texts and submit documents to the IOC for translation before the Beijing Olympics.

    With reporting from Mark Bisson in Lausanne .

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