The governance of International Federations (IFs) featured high on the agenda of today’s General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), held in Bangkok, Thailand, alongside SportAccord Convention. The yearly meeting offered the opportunity to present and discuss the outcomes of the second IF governance review, which assessed all ASOIF member federations, including the new associate members. The results reveal good progress, but also huge variations and remaining challenges in IF governance. The objectives of this second review were to provide continued impetus for IFs to reach or maintain a high standard of governance; track governance improvements since the initial review last year; and identify best practice.
IFs were divided into four groups based on their total scores. Key findings include:
- There was huge variation in moderated scores among the 33 IFs with scores ranging from 46 to 177 out of a theoretical 200 (there were 50 indicators, each scored from 0 to 4). Six IFs scored over 150 whereas 12 scored under 100, below an average of 2 per indicator.
- The mean score has risen from 104 to 121 (113 for all full and associate members), suggesting there have been meaningful improvements in IF governance.
- Half of the 28 IFs which were assessed in 2016-17 have improved by an impressive 20 points or more and a further six have advanced by over 10 points.
- Some of the small IFs with fewer than 20 staff reached a high standard, demonstrating what can be achieved even with limited means.
- There was evidence of an improvement in transparency, for example in the publication of annual accounts. Twenty one of the 28 Full Members published at least one set of audited accounts, up from 18 a year ago.
- There is increasing attention on whistleblowing. The number of IFs without any sign of a confidential reporting mechanism in place declined from 11 in 2016-17 to five this year. Six demonstrated that they had acted on confidential information received.
On the occasion of today’s governance presentation, ASOIF President and Governance Taskforce Chair Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “It is great to see that there has been considerable progress in IF governance since our first review.” He added: “However, there are still very large differences between the best performing IFs and the others and a great deal of work remains to be done. That’s why we will set up a new, permanent Governance Monitoring Unit which will guide IFs on governance matters.”
The Governance Monitoring Unit will operate as a permanent entity alongside the questionnaire, to identify priorities, help members that request assistance, recommend corrective actions and provide financial analysis to develop a better culture of risk management.
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Find out about best practice examples from IFs.
The General Assembly also learnt more details about ASOIF’s new project on the “Role of the IFs & Future of Global Sport” which will examine and seek agreement on the status and responsibility of IFs in the future sports landscape (2020-2040) between the interested stakeholders, particularly the public authorities at national and regional levels as well as business. The same study will also look at the speed of change impacting sport from political, social, technological and economic influences. The objective is to enable IFs to have an adequate understanding of what the future may look like when they take decisions with long-term impacts, e.g. regarding contracts with broadcasters and sponsors. A report will be published in September this year. In addition, ASOIF will set up a new Sports Innovation Taskforce which will look specifically into the important topics of fan engagement, new technologies and big data.
During the report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), it was discussed how IFs can deal best with the amounts of data they are receiving from WADA’s Intelligence and Investigation team regarding Russian athletes. IFs can now also rely on the new International Testing Agency (ITA) which will provide doping controls and other services to IFs and Major Event Organisations that wish to delegate their anti-doping programmes to a body that operates independently from sports organisations and national interests.
A number of important Games related topics featured on today’s programme: During the report from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), ASOIF member federations were informed in detail about the “New Norm”, published in February. The new initiative proposes 118 concrete measures with which the IOC reviews its Games awarding, preparation and delivery process to make them more attractive to bidding cities and less expensive to deliver. For instance, the IOC aims to reduce the costs of the summer Games by USD 1 billion. It was agreed that the IOC, ASOIF and its member federations must work closely together to achieve such a significant change.
Both the Organising Committees for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 and the Paris Olympic Games in 2024 gave updates about their Games preparations. Tokyo 2020 reported that all sports managers are now appointed and how the new Sport Delivery Plans have enhanced their collaboration with the IFs. Paris 2024 is looking forward to working together closely with all IFs and the first visit of the IOC Coordination Commission, of which the ASOIF President is a member, will take place in June.
In addition, ASOIF member federations elected Nenad Lalovic, President of United World Wrestling (UWW), as ASOIF Council member for a three-year term of office, in replacement of Ching-Kuo Wu. In February, the IOC Session had elected Lalovic as the ASOIF representative to the IOC Executive Board (EB).
The General Assembly also approved the Auditors’ Report on the 2017 accounts as well as the 2018 and 2019 budgets.