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30 Jun 2022

ASOIF President speaks at Play the Game conference

This week, the President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Francesco Ricci Bitti, participated in the 2022 Play the Game conference, held in Odense, Denmark, from 27-30 June.  During the panel discussion “A movement for peace in the shadow of war”, the ASOIF President explained the positions and actions taken by International Federations (IFs) following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He underlined the IFs’ support of the Ukrainian sport community as well as of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) recommendations on this important matter.

During another panel titled “European Model of Sport: a pyramid, a church or a world of variety”, Francesco Ricci Bitti explained how solidarity is at the heart of the European Sport Model and, more largely, of not-for-profit international sport. He outlined how the Olympic Games remain the most important competition and respected catalyst to shape the solidarity mechanism of modern sport, nurturing a large sports participation base at grassroots level. Thanks to the pyramidal system, any profit made through events and activities at elite level are reinvested at the lower levels into sport development. The ASOIF President also addressed pressing challenges, in particular the creation of closed breakaway leagues violating the openness of competitions and causing a congestion of the international sport calendar.

In March, ASOIF had published a position paper “The solidarity model of organised sport in Europe and beyond - A stable platform for collaboration”, aimed at contributing to a better understanding of the role IFs play in the global organisation of sport, and to a more informed debate on its future. For instance, it will be crucial that IFs continue to coordinate the international sport calendar and the global sporting rules in order to protect the integrity of the competitions and the well-being of athletes. The paper explains the rationale and lays out a framework with clear commitments on how IFs, public authorities and commercial entities can work together. Learn more here.

The Play the Game conference is organised annually and aims to connect academics, journalists, and other stakeholders in sport to share research insights and debate key issues in international sport. The 2022 conference is the 12th edition of its kind. Click here to learn more about the event.