The 12th edition of the IF Forum kicked off tonight under the theme “Open Doors and Open Minds – New Tools for IFs”. Organised by SportAccord, the event takes place from 5 to 7 November 2018 in Lausanne. It brings together hundreds of key decision makers from International Sports Federations and selected experts in the fields of technology, eSports and ticketing.
The IF Forum was opened by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee; Oscar Tosato, Town Council Member and Director of Sport and Social Cohesion at the City of Lausanne; ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti; and Raffaele Chiulli, Senior Vice President of GAISF. All speakers remembered GAISF and SportAccord President Patrick Baumann, who suddenly passed away last month during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
“Patrick Baumann’s capabilities and his generous, kind nature were renowned and respected by everyone who had the pleasure of working with him. We are still shocked by his sudden death”, said ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. He added: “We all know that Patrick’s commitment to the International Federations knew no bounds. He is sadly missed by us all. When Patrick welcomed delegates to Bangkok for SportAccord this year, he conveyed the message that ‘we are one family’. These words will stay with us, let’s live up to them in these difficult times.”
This year’s edition of the IF Forum highlights technological innovations relevant for IFs, including Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, 5G, facial recognition, robotics and artificial intelligence to name just a few. There is also a special focus on eSports and on event / ticket pricing models.
Tonight, Oliver Bussmann, the former chief information officer at UBS and SAP who is now President of the Crypto Valley Association, delivered the keynote address about the impact of Blockchain technology on the sport industry. He said: “Blockchain is a game changer that has the potential to transform the sports industry”. He explained that Blockchain digitalises and simplifies many processes and thereby will change the market structure of many industries, including sports business. Sport related fields where Blockchain offers many opportunities include anti-doping, financial investments in clubs and athletes, fan engagement, content sharing etc.
Tomorrow morning, ASOIF will present some important outcomes of its ongoing project “The Future of Global Sport” which looks 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 and ASOIF interviewed key people from the government sector, the business world and sport organisations. The project also examines the evolving role of IFs and will draw up recommendations how IFs can remain fit for purpose. ASOIF aims to publish the full report in early 2019.