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AESF Welcomes IOC Plans to Create Olympic Esports Games

AESF Welcomes IOC Plans to Create Olympic Esports Games

AESF welcomes the announcement made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Mr. Thomas Bach, on the creation of Olympic Esports Games during his opening speech at the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India.

In his address, Mr. Bach stated, “There are 3 billion people playing Esports and gaming around the world. It is estimated that over 500 million of them are specifically interested in Esports, which includes virtual sports and sports simulations. What is more relevant to us is that the majority of them are under the age of 34.” Mr. Bach mentioned that the IOC has taken the strategic decision to engage with Esports in a holistic way and has chosen an approach to be active in the Esports space while staying true to Olympic values. 

The Olympic movement is embracing Esports in recent years, and the Asian Esports industry is leading the way. The major Asian multi-sports events, including the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games, have included Esports as an official medal sport.

AESF actively promotes the further integration of Esports into the Olympics. At the AESF's 3rd Executive Board Meeting, AESF President Mr. Kenneth Fok, mentioned that AESF's mission is not solely focused on organizing Esports events but also on bringing the Esports community closer to the Olympic community and National Olympic Committees.

AESF has collaborated with publishers on the adaptation of popular mobile shooting game, such as PUBG Mobile, which was renamed as 'Peace Elite Asian Games Version,' as well as MOBA game, such as Arena of Valor, which was renamed as 'Arena of Valor Asian Games Version,' during the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. Both of the adaptations have been made to comply with Olympic values, and the changes provide a good stage for athletes from various countries and regions to compete while also presenting the core values of sports, such as equality, respect, and fairness.

AESF has established the Publisher Commission for the first time, and we will continue to collaborate with publishers to further cooperate and deliberate on game adaptations that fully conform to Olympic values and the Olympic movement. AESF looks forward to cooperating with the Aichi-Nagoya Asian Games Committee (AINAGOC) for the upcoming 20th Asian Games in Aichi-Nagoya, as Esports has been designated as one of the official medal sports.

IOC President at the second ANOCA Gender Equality Forum: “Everyone has a role to play to empower women in sport”

IOC President at the second ANOCA Gender Equality Forum: “Everyone has a role to play to empower women in sport”

Nearly 200 key decision-makers from across the Olympic Movement in Africa gathered in Cabo Verde this week to continue working together towards gender equality in and through sport. The theme of the forum, “From the Boardroom to the Playing Field”, reiterated the need for the Olympic Movement to address gender equality in all areas of its activities and resulted in 10 key commitments to action.

Driving equality at all levels

Next summer’s Olympic Games Paris 2024 will be the first Games with full gender equality on the field of play. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has distributed the quota places equally: 50 per cent for women and 50 per cent for men. The same principle of gender equality will be fulfilled two years later at the first Olympic sports event to be held on the continent of Africa: the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026. These Youth Olympic Games were also a topic discussed at the forum, with participants being urged to look at the impact and opportunities of this event being held in Africa, with the aim of engaging more young women and girls in sport.

Off the field of play, meanwhile, the IOC’s own membership is growing more gender equal, with more than 40 per cent of IOC Members now female – and 50 per cent of the positions in the IOC commissions occupied by women, a landmark reached in 2022. However, as the IOC is the first to acknowledge, there is still much work to be done to bring about gender equality across the wider Olympic Movement – especially off the field of play.

Everyone has a role to play

IOC President Thomas Bach addressed the forum through a video message, with additional keynote addresses from Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former Executive Director of UN Women and now Chair of the IOC’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights; and IOC Member HRH Prince Faisal Al Hussein, who serves as both the Chair of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC)’s Gender Equity Commission and the Vice-Chair of the IOC’s Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission.

In his video message, President Bach praised the progress that the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) has made so far – while also emphasising that the entire Olympic Movement needs to work together to narrow the gender gap across sport.

Only 26 per cent of NOC [National Olympic Committee] leadership positions are occupied by women. Among the IFs [International Federations], only four are led by a woman, and just eight IFs have a female secretary general. We also see this gender gap in the athletes’ entourage, where the number of women holding leadership roles remains unacceptably low.

If we truly want to promote gender equality and empower women in sport, not only as athletes, but also as coaches, officials and leaders, then everyone has a role to play – the IFs, the NOCs, the athletes and all the other partners and stakeholders.”

Commitments to action

Following two days of active discussions, the forum participants presented their “commitments to action” as a roadmap to work together for gender equality in Africa. These commitments comprise a range of actions and awareness-raising around the need for gender equality from grassroots level to elite sport, including:

  • Increasing female athlete participation from grassroots to elite levels
  • Implementing the gender balance quotas for governing bodies, with a minimum female representation level of 30 per cent, as outlined in the ANOCA statutes
  • Increasing women’s capacity and representation in all categories (i.e. athletes’ entourage, administrators, etc.) from grassroots to elite levels
  • Implementing and disseminating the IOC Portrayal Guidelines across media and sports stakeholders
  • Establishing and implementing measures for a safe sport environment for all, especially groups that are at risk.

President Bach pointed out the importance of such actions in the efforts to advance gender equality: “Gender equality does not just magically happen. To continue to advance, we need deliberate policies and institutional commitment. This is why I am very pleased to see how ANOCA, through its Gender Equality Commission, is taking important steps. With your strong focus on promoting sport across Africa at the zone level, you are demonstrating the importance of a bottom-up approach – also when it comes to gender equality.”

IOC safeguarding workshop

On the sidelines of the forum, the IOC also hosted a safeguarding workshop for the NOCs. The workshop, held as part of the IOC’s objective to help NOCs develop their own policies and programmes to prevent harassment and abuse, focused on understanding the local challenges that are faced in terms of strengthening safe sport, and on discussing the local solutions available in the various zones of Africa.

World Players: IOC's call with Peng Shuai exacerbates alarm, special delegation needed

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In the wake of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's call with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, the World Players Association has released the following statement:

The World Players Association repeats its call for the urgent establishment of a special delegation of international organizations and human rights experts to meet with Peng Shuai in order to ensure and obtain the necessary guarantees for her rights, health and safety.

The ITA is granted observer status of the Monitoring Group for the Council of Europe’s Anti-Doping Convention

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The International Testing Agency (ITA) has been granted observer status with the monitoring group of the Anti-Doping Convention of the Council of Europe. The convention lays down binding rules on the 47 member states of the Council of Europe and 5 other states (Australia, Belarus, Canada, Morocco, and Tunisia) with a view to harmonise anti-doping regulations and to promote the important role of sport in moral and physical education as well as in international understanding.

Beijing 2022 Playbooks published

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Beijing 2022) published the first editions of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks today. 

IOC EB approves Olympic Qualification System Principles for Paris 2024

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The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved today the Qualification System Principles (QSP) for the Olympic Games Paris 2024, outlining the rules for all the qualification systems that will now be established by the International Sports Federations (IFs) for these Games.

Joint statement from the IOC, World Athletics and Athletics Integrity Unit

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30 SEPTEMBER 2021, MONACO: Further to the incident involving Belarusian athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the decision taken by the IOC to cancel and remove the accreditations of the two coaches, Messrs A. Shimak and Y. Maisevich, as a provisional measure during the Games, the IOC and World Athletics have jointly agreed to continue the investigation and to open a formal procedure vis-à-vis the two aforementioned coaches.

LawInSport Weekly News Recap - 17 September

LIS News Roundup

Welcome to LawInSport’s weekly News Roundup.  This recap highlights this week’s news pieces from across the world of sport. For further updates, please visit our news section.

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IOC Executive Board suspends NOC of Democratic People's Republic of Korea

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The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today decided to suspend the Olympic Committee of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (PRK NOC) until the end of 2022, as a result of the NOC’s unilateral decision not to participate in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS THE APPEAL FILED BY THE RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (ROC) AGAINST THE DECISION TAKEN BY THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE TO SUSPEND ITS MEMBERSHIP

THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) REGISTERS THE APPEAL FILED BY THE RUSSIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (ROC) AGAINST THE DECISION TAKEN BY THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE TO SUSPEND ITS MEMBERSHIP

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeal filed by the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), against the decision rendered by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC EB) on 12 October 2023 (the Challenged Decision).

In the Challenged Decision, the IOC EB suspended the ROC with immediate effect until further notice following the ROC decision to unilaterally include as its members some regional sports organisations which are under the authority of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Ukraine (namely Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia). The IOC EB found that such action constituted a breach of the Olympic Charter because it violated the territorial integrity of the NOC of Ukraine, as recognised by the IOC in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

In its appeal to the CAS, the ROC requests that the Challenged Decision be set aside and that it be reinstated as a NOC recognised by the IOC, benefitting from all rights and prerogatives granted by the Olympic Charter.

The CAS arbitration proceedings have commenced. In accordance with the Code of Sports-related Arbitration (the CAS Code), the arbitration rules governing CAS procedures, the parties are exchanging written submissions and the Panel of arbitrators that will decide the matter is being constituted.

Once constituted, the Panel will issue procedural directions for the next phase of the procedure, including the holding of a hearing. Following the hearing, the Panel will deliberate and issue an Arbitral Award containing its decision and the grounds for it. At this time, it is not possible to indicate a time frame for the issuance of the decision.

The CAS Panel’s decision will be final and binding, with the exception of the parties’ right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds.

Establishment of regional safeguarding hubs in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands approved by IOC EB, groundwork laid for European safeguarding hub

Establishment of regional safeguarding hubs in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands approved by IOC EB, groundwork laid for European safeguarding hub

The new regional hubs will act as central coordination points, and will provide athletes with independent guidance, and help them access psychosocial support, legal aid and any other assistance that they may need. This will be delivered through existing services, available locally, in the athletes’ own language and with an understanding of their culture and local context.

In response to the request by Olympic Movement stakeholders and International Federations (IFs) in particular for the IOC to take the lead in addressing the critical challenges related to safeguarding in sport at local level, the IOC created a dedicated Safeguarding Working Group in March this year. Chaired by EB member and Deputy Chair of the IOC’s Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, the working group’s remit is to consider the best approach to establishing independent safeguarding systems and structures at national level, which will ensure that resources are directed to where they are most needed to support athletes and build safeguarding capacity in sports organisations.

United by an International Safe Sport Framework

The establishment of the pilot hubs will be overseen by an International Safe Sport Task Force, which will include representatives from sport, intergovernmental organisations and civil society. The IOC EB today approved the creation of the International Safe Sport Task Force, and also gave its green light for the drafting of an International Safe Sport Framework.

This will draw on existing international standards, and will set out the complementary but differentiated roles of states and sports bodies. It will be endorsed by the Olympic Movement.

A comprehensive expert assessment will also be conducted to determine additional measures that may be needed to strengthen national legal and policy frameworks and cooperation between states, to reinforce their essential role in preventing and responding to harassment and abuse.

Taking the lead on providing local solutions

Today’s decision follows the announcement made by IOC President Thomas Bach in March this year of the establishment of a USD 10M fund per Olympiad to strengthen safe sport locally.

“With this initiative we are following up on the request of the Olympic Movement stakeholders to take the lead and to develop an approach which works locally. Over the past few months, we discussed how we can bridge the gap between the work being done internationally and locally to safeguard athletes,” explained HRH Prince Feisal al Hussein, Chair of the IOC Safeguarding Working Group.

“With the establishment of pilot regional safeguarding hubs in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands, we are taking a bottom-up approach - critical in this field. We provide standardised principles that can be adapted on the local level, aligned with the culture and context. By the region, for the region,” he added.

A staggered and collaborative approach

Composed of representatives from IFs, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and athletes, the Safeguarding Working Group has met six times since its inception. Together, its members have identified what they consider the best approach to strengthen safeguarding in sport at local level, through the establishment of regional safeguarding hubs providing more localised expertise around the world.

The pilot hubs in Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands will build on existing initiatives in the regions, and will have in-depth knowledge and understanding of local safeguarding measures, and the legal landscape and services available, so that they can guide anyone harmed in sport – from grassroots through to elite level – towards trusted services, particularly those designed to support their well-being.

Where there are gaps in the available services, the hubs will seek to mobilise resources and partnerships to address them. The hubs’ primary focus will be on response, in order to ensure that any person who has been harmed in sport has a direct point of contact who can offer immediate assistance and access to local support.

Both hubs will also coordinate a network of fully trained, trauma-informed safeguarding in sport investigators, as well as a network of trained safeguarding officers.

Endorsed by the Olympic Movement, the hubs will represent a collaboration between the world of sport, governments and civil society at regional and international levels.

Collective efforts towards safer sport in the Pacific region

An example of this collaboration was recently seen at the Regional Safeguarding Skills Building Workshop, hosted by the Oceania Sport, Equality and Inclusive Communities Impact Network. This Network is a collective of committed stakeholders who share a common vision of promoting gender equality, inclusion and safety in and through sport in the Pacific region, and has been initiated by the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), the Australian Government’s “Team Up” sport for development programme, UN Women and the IOC through Olympism365 and Olympic Solidarity.

The three-day workshop led to concrete actions to provide safer and more inclusive access for women and girls to play and be involved with sport throughout the Pacific. Additionally, the workshop served as a vital capacity-strengthening opportunity for Pacific safeguarding focal points in preparation for the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands later this year, and the Olympic Games Paris 2024, where each participating country has been given an allocation for a safeguarding officer in its delegation.  

By working together, these organisations are supporting the development of safeguarding systems and plans in each Pacific nation, bridging the gap between major Games and benefiting the entire sporting ecosystem.

A strong commitment to provide a safe environment to all athletes

The IOC has also delivered several important reports and resources related to Safe Sport, including the IOC Consensus Statement: harassment and abuse (nonaccidental violence) in sport (2016), the IOC Consensus Statement on Mental Health in Elite Athletes (2019), and the IOC Toolkit for IFs and NOCs related to creating and implementing policies and procedures to safeguard athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse in sport.

Established in 2022, the dedicated IOC Safe Sport Unit specialises in safeguarding, and has introduced a range of new programmes and initiatives for the Youth Olympic Games and Olympic Games, as well as broader initiatives beyond Games time that cover education and awareness-raising, such as the IOC Mental Health in Elite Athletes Toolkit. In July 2023, the IOC Safe Sport Unit also launched a comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.

This expertise will help guide the new regional safeguarding hubs, beginning with Southern Africa and the Pacific Islands, and soon to be followed by Europe.

IOC supports the calls for a wider consultation on FIFA’s World Cup plans and shares concerns

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The Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) takes note of FIFA’s plans to change the football competition schedule and to hold the World Cup every two years. A number of International Federations (IFs) of other sports, national football federations, clubs, players, players associations and coaches have expressed strong reservations and concerns regarding the plans to generate more revenue for FIFA, mainly for the following reasons:

LawInSport Weekly News Recap - 1 October

LIS News Roundup

Welcome to LawInSport’s weekly News Roundup.  This recap highlights this week’s news pieces from across the world of sport. For further updates, please visit our news section.

We hope you find this useful. If you have any related questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

The ITA supports pre-Games education for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022

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THE INTERNATIONAL TESTING AGENCY (ITA), LEADING AN INDEPENDENT ANTI-DOPING PROGRAM FOR THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES BEIJING 2022, HAS SUPPORTED THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW INTERACTIVE EDUCATION COURSE FOR ATHLETES AND COACHES AIMING TO ATTEND THE UPCOMING WINTER GAMES. THIS CLEAN SPORT COURSE WAS DEVELOPED BY THE WORLD ANTI-DOPING AGENCY (WADA) IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ITA AND THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) AND IT LAUNCHES TODAY ON WADA’S EDUCATION PLATFORM ADEL. THE ITA IS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR A PRE-GAMES EDUCATION PROJECT DESIGNED TO ENABLE CODE SIGNATORIES TO EDUCATE THEIR DELEGATIONS BEFORE THEY HEAD TO BEIJING.

IOC Transgender Guidelines further delayed to 2022

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The International Olympic Committee transgender guidelines have been delayed until 2022 due to “very conflicting opinions.”

The guidelines are now expected to be published after the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing which would be three years later than originally planned. The IOC’s science and medical director Dr Richard Budgett said the guidance would “prioritise inclusion” and “avoid harm.”

LawInSport Weekly News Roundup - 10 September

LawInSport Weekly News Roundup

Welcome to LawInSport’s weekly News Roundup.  We have curated the top ten news pieces from around the world of sport. For further updates, please visit our news section.

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NHL involvement fuels growing anticipation for Beijing 2022 Games

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During today’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board (EB) meeting, a progress report from the Beijing 2022 Organising Committee highlighted the growing anticipation and preparedness for next year’s Games. This follows the recent confirmation that National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey players will participate in Beijing.

Heat countermeasures protecting athletes at Tokyo 2020

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Organisers of summer sports events have to plan carefully to prevent heat-related illnesses. A group of medical experts have developed a suite of tools for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, to counteract the effects of high temperatures and keep the competitions safe for athletes.

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