During its meeting held via video conference yesterday, the Council of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) agreed to organise its General Assembly in a “virtual” format on 9 November 2020. Originally scheduled for spring this year, the annual gathering of ASOIF’s membership had been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this year’s meeting will also feature the election for the next term of the ASOIF Presidency, the Council decided to hold the voting by electronic means during the General Assembly.
In another important decision, the Council approved publishing the report of the Third Review of International Federation (IF) Governance on 16 June 2020, which was originally due for publication at the postponed General Assembly of spring 2020. ASOIF’s Governance Task Force (GTF) and the Council thought it essential to publish the findings while they remain current and to share the substantial progress that the IFs have made. Further information concerning the performance of each IF will now be made public.
The Council was updated on the results of ASOIF’s initiatives to support its member federations on pressing issues arising from the COVID-19 health crisis. Regular virtual meetings and conference calls have been held with IFs and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as consultations with the Swiss public authorities and banks in order to facilitate the finance options for ASOIF members during this difficult time. As a result, IFs have secured support from government schemes or the IOC on a case-by-case basis. ASOIF is also in regular contact with the IOC and kept informed by the Tokyo 2020 organisers about the fast-moving developments arising from the postponement of the Games to next year.
In addition, ASOIF initiated a three-month project in late March to identify what medium- to long-term impacts the COVID-19 pandemic would have on the strategic planning of the lFs and ASOIF in the future. The project is a follow-up to ASOIF’s 2019 “Future of Global Sport” Report, supported by the input from approximately 50 lF experts who are members of the eight ASOIF consultative and advisory groups.
Reflecting on the current global situation, ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said during the meeting: “During this global health crisis, it is essential that we all demonstrate respect and solidarity, so sport must play its part in upholding all the Olympic values while preserving responsible autonomy. Strong IFs contribute to a strong Olympic Movement – that’s our guiding principle in everything we do.”
The ASOIF Council took the opportunity to reiterate the relevance of sport in society as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, more than ever, the importance of an active lifestyle and its impact on mental health. It has also brought to life many innovative forms of exercise, demonstrated extensively in social media by elite athletes and public alike.