The potential to engage new audiences
Marking the latest step in supporting the development of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement, the establishment of the Esports Commission, chaired by IOC Member David Lappartient, who led the IOC Esports Liaison Group until the creation of the new Commission, underlines the IOC’s recognition of the tremendous potential that esports have to engage new audiences and provide new opportunities for athletes and fans alike.
Virtual and simulated sports have become an increasingly important part of the sporting landscape in recent years. The IOC has already been exploring this potential through initiatives such as the Olympic Esports Week, which was held for the first time in Singapore from 23 to 25 June, and the Olympic Esports Series, which invited both professional and amateur players from across the world to compete in virtual sports competitions.
“The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic Movement,” said President Bach. “We believe that virtual sports can help to promote the values of excellence, friendship and respect that are at the heart of the Olympic Games, and that they can inspire young people around the world to get involved in sports and to lead active and healthy lifestyles.”
Gender equality across IOC commissions
The IOC commissions play a vital role in the organisation’s work, focusing on specific subject areas and making recommendations to the IOC President, the Executive Board and the IOC Session. The composition of each commission includes IOC Members and a range of external experts.
President Bach once again maintained gender equality across the commission positions for 2023, highlighting the organisation’s efforts to foster gender equality and inclusion throughout the sports movement. The IOC continues to lead by example in regard to corporate citizenship, which was one of the key recommendations of its strategic roadmap, Olympic Agenda 2020+5.
Of the 583 positions on the IOC commissions, 287 are occupied by men and 296 by women. This represents a substantial increase in female representation since 2013, when only 20 per cent of commission positions were held by women.
Chairs ensure consistent approach
Almost all of the already existing IOC commissions will retain the same chairperson as last year, ensuring a consistent approach in fulfilling their mandates. 14 chairs of the 33 commissions are female, which makes it 42.42 per cent.
The only recent changes were the appointments of IOC Member Karl Stoss as Chair of the Future Host Commission for the Olympic Winter Games and of IOC Executive Board member Kristin Kloster as the Chair of the Coordination Commission for the XXV Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026, both replacing members who resigned from their position.
The President also appointed two additional independent members to the IOC Advisory Committee on Human Rights, to reinforce the expertise of the body in the field of business and human rights – namely Ms Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis and Ms Alexandra Guáqueta.
Ms Grynspan Mayufis is a Costa Rican economist who has been serving as Secretary General (SG) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) since 13 September 2021. Before that, she held various official positions in the UN system and in her country – including as Vice-President and Coordinating Minister of Social Affairs of Costa Rica (1994-1998).
Ms Guáqueta is a Colombian national who currently leads the global social impact and human rights function at a multinational consultancy firm that focuses on sustainability. Prior to her current role, Ms Guaqueta held various positions related to social standards – including as a member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (2011-2015).
The next IOC Commissions Week, which sees all the IOC commissions meet to discuss their specific subject areas, will be held remotely in November.
World Athletics will introduce a centralised licensing system for Athletes’ Representatives from 1 September 2023 after the regulatory framework was approved by the World Athletics Council this week.
The new system will set global minimum standards for becoming an Athletes’ Representative (AR) and maintaining a licence to act on behalf of athletes for any competition.
Under the new system, Member Federations (MFs) will not be permitted to regulate World Athletics ARs or charge any fees to them. If MFs wish to implement a framework to regulate ARs, they will only be permitted to regulate matters falling within their national jurisdiction but must meet the minimum standards of the World Athletics framework.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “We have consulted with ARs and athletes around the current system, examining the practical realities faced by ARs and athletes working within the global athletics market and we believe a centralised system which sets minimum professional standards and provides ongoing professional development will lead to a better outcome for both athletes and agents.”
The new rules will introduce eligibility criteria to become an AR, which will apply equally on a global basis. Individuals who apply will be subject to a vetting and exam process.
The vetting requirements will be similar to those required to become a World Athletics official, but will also include specific requirements related to the duties of an AR. A new World Athletics Athletes’ Representative Panel will conduct the vetting.
The AR exam will contain essential subjects for acting as a sports agent including ethical compliance and safeguarding.
To maintain a licence an AR must pay an annual licence fee (to cover costs incurred by World Athletics), maintain professional indemnity insurance, and complete a minimum amount of continuing professional development.
World Athletics will establish an online portal to facilitate the licensing process and also plans to provide education to athletes on matters such as the meaning of their contracts, appropriate levels of payment/commissions and introductory information for emerging athletes on becoming an elite athlete.
The maximum amount of time that an athlete and AR may enter into an agreement will be two years, which can be extended for one-year periods. Athletes are also allowed to represent themselves.
The World Athletics Council also approved new Safeguarding Rules to guard against abuse, harassment or exploitation by World Athletics officials or which may occur at a World Athletics Series event or Congress. In exceptional cases, these rules will also apply to MF officials.
These new Rules give World Athletics the power to make orders imposing safeguards, limitations and restrictions on certain individuals, in order for World Athletics to ensure that safe, happy and positive environments are created for everyone involved in athletics and that all involved are treated with dignity and respect.
An independent Case Management Group will be appointed to make decisions in relation to safeguarding concerns which are investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU).
The role of the Case Management Group will be to review investigations by the AIU, assess risk and make orders relating to safeguards, limitations, restrictions, sanctions and other matters.
MFs and Area Associations must comply with the World Athletics Safeguarding Policy.
MFs are responsible for managing reports of abuse, harassment and exploitation in their own countries and dealing with safeguarding concerns relating to MF officials, athletes and athlete supporting personnel under their jurisdiction. All MFs are required to adopt and implement procedures for the investigation and prosecution of reported safeguarding concerns in their territories.
Area Associations are responsible for managing reports relating to their staff, officials or volunteers, accredited persons at their events and competitions and participants in activities hosted at Area Development Centres.
The AIU Board will have absolute discretion to decide whether to pursue a matter, taking into account the seriousness of the conduct in question and the other circumstances of the case.
As part of World Athletics’ Human Rights Strategy, human rights considerations have been rolled into the Safeguarding Essentials E-Learning course, which is now available on the World Athletics website.
The focus of the course is to prevent abuse, harassment and exploitation of everyone in athletics, however their involvement and whatever their age.
Furthermore, the appointment process for the new Executive Board and the Risk Committee references human rights expertise as one of the desired qualifications of nominees, and the new Board and new Committee will review the need for other human rights considerations to be included in their terms of reference.
Human rights considerations will also continue to be factored into amendments to new rules and regulations. A report on human rights has been included in the Annual Council Report which will be presented to the World Athletics Congress this week.
ATHLETICS INTEGRITY UNIT, 1 1 ST FLOOR, 6 QUAI ANTOINE 1ER, MC 98007, MONACO PRESS RELEASE ANTI-DOPING STEERING COMMITTEE PRESENTS FIRST REPORT TO KENYAN GOVERNMENT
31 MARCH 2023, MONACO: Member of the Anti-Doping Steering Committee spearheading the fight against doping in Kenyan athletics, Brett Clothier, says the Kenyan Government’s US$25 million commitment to the special project for the next five years gives the Committee the financial muscle to deal with the major problem.
Speaking in Nairobi today as the Committee presented its first Kenya Anti-Doping Report to the Kenyan Government, Clothier – who is Head of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) – lauded the Government for supporting the eradication of doping in Kenyan athletics.
“We must commend the Government of Kenya for the excellent commitment, which will help neutralise the doping menace and keep Kenya’s athletics arena clean. This will be a long road, but as the AIU, we are very glad to contribute to this government initiative that seeks to end doping in Kenya,” said Clothier.
The Anti-Doping Steering Committee – comprising representatives from the AIU, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) and Athletics Kenya (AK) – has developed a roadmap geared at combatting the doping scourge among Kenyan athletes, with a view to reducing doping substantially. Among the plans outlined in its first report, the Committee has indicated it will draw upon the extensive expertise of a multiagency team to investigate and prosecute doping matters. It will also increase testing among Kenyan athletes as well as enhance educational and integrity programmes for athletes and athlete personnel. Clothier stressed, however, that in its quest to clean up Kenyan athletics, the Steering Committee expects to initially be confronted with a higher number of doping cases as it ramps up testing and its overall integrity vigilance.
Principal Secretary for the State Department for Sports, the Honourable Jonathan Mueke, and Chief Administrative Secretary for the department, the Honourable Wesley Korir (2012 Boston Marathon winner), received the report on behalf of the Kenyan Government. Mueke commented that the report presented an implementation strategy that will see Kenya eradicate doping from its sporting ecosystem.
“The ministry is satisfied with the work that has been done by this Committee, culminating in the establishment of this report,” he said.
“We are confident that, with the strategies contained in this report, we are going to completely bring the doping menace under control in Kenya.”
Stating that doping is a matter of strategic interest to Kenya, Mueke stressed no effort will be spared to ensure the scourge is neutralised. He challenged Kenyan athletes to continue flying the Kenyan flag high by running cleanly.
Athletics Kenya President Lt Gen. Jackson Tuwei added that Kenya is a globallyknown sporting nation – an athletics powerhouse – and therefore it is the country’s responsibility to maintain an international reputation of competing without cheating.