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08 Oct 2019

Olympic IFs gather at ASOIF workshop to discuss governance

More than 60 senior executives, representing almost all Summer and Winter Olympic International Federations (IFs), gathered at the Governance Workshop, organised by ASOIF on 8 October 2019 in Lausanne. The focus was on further promoting and ensuring a culture of better governance within all sports federations. This is a topic which has been spurred by ASOIF since 2015 through a dedicated taskforce, regular IF governance reviews and a number of other measures.

ASOIF’s report on the "Future of Global Sport”, published in February this year, also highlights the need for IFs to demonstrate an exemplary standard of governance throughout their structures and processes in order to maintain the confidence of all stakeholders.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos, who is a member of the ASOIF Council, the ASOIF Governance Task Force (GTF) and the IOC, said during his opening remarks: “Governance is an evolving concept and the public scrutiny on sport organisations remains high. We must all continue to challenge ourselves to improve and address emerging, pressing topics. We have seen that when one sport is involved in controversy, it affects us all. We must maintain the integrity and credibility of our organisations.”

In line with this statement, ASOIF presented the third edition of the self-assessment questionnaire which will be sent out to all its members early next month. This will for the first time include the topics of safeguarding from harassment and abuse as well as compliance with data protection and anti-trust legislation. The declared objective is to see at least 26 of the 28 full ASOIF members score 120 points (out of a maximum of 200 points) across the 50 indicators. In order to support this process, the ASOIF Governance Support and Monitoring Unit (GSMU), established in late 2018, will continue to help IFs achieve progress in good governance. ASOIF member federations will have until mid-January to respond and the results will be presented at ASOIF’s next General Assembly in April 2020.

Click here to learn more about ASOIF’s activities in the field of governance.

The meeting also offered the opportunity for group discussions on the complex topics of transparency and conflicts of interest. In addition, case studies were presented by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation, newly set up in January to address the subject of safeguarding athletes amongst others; and the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which outlined how they created an Ethics Commission and a Code of Ethics. World Taekwondo (WT) shared their practical experience in driving a number of governance reforms internally, such as in the field of transparency, and in convincing their members at continental and national level to follow them.

Professor George Kohlrieser from the IMD Business School confirmed the importance of high standards of governance during his presentation about “Organisational Culture”. He stressed the link between good governance and strong leadership, with the latter determining the culture of an organisation. He also made the point that accountability comes back to leadership.

Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, updated the group on the activities of the International Partnership Against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), of which ASOIF is a member. This multi-stakeholder platform has made good use of the governance indicators developed by ASOIF.