IFs Praised for ‘Leading the Way’ in Response to Pandemic as IF Forum 2021 Hears Calls for Solidarity in Sport

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – International Sports Federations were praised this morning for setting an inspirational example over the past year, as leaders at the International Federation (IF) Forum 2021 underlined the importance of solidarity across the global sports movement.

In the Opening Address at the fully virtual event today (25 May) International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach reserved special praise for IFs in a timely update on preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He thanked sport’s global governing bodies for “leading the way” in having “demonstrated that sports competitions can be organised safely”, even before the international roll-out of vaccination programmes.

The IOC President said that the top priority remains the organisation of a “safe and secure Olympic Games for everyone – the athletes and all participants, as well as our gracious hosts, the Japanese people”. He added: “This is why, together with our Japanese partners and friends, we have put in place comprehensive COVID-19 countermeasures to ensure that the athletes of the world can come together in a safe environment for everyone.”

In his Keynote Address, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I have been encouraged to see some sporting events and leagues returning in recent months, often with limited spectators and special arrangements for athletes. WHO is committed to working in solidarity with organisers, athletes and fans to address public health risks so that sports can continue safely… Sports bring us closer as a global community, and it is this same spirit of solidarity that will help us overcome the pandemic and build a healthier world for all.”

H.E. Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and the Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission, then highlighted the UN’s recent adoption of a resolution for sport to enable sustainable development in his Member Keynote Address.

“This resolution is significant, as it not only recognises the important role of sport; it also serves as an important mechanism towards our post-pandemic recovery,” he said. “The United Nations always has and will recognise the important contribution of all members of the Olympic movement to promote peace and development… The sports world has come together stronger than ever before and, together, we will achieve so much more. One of the valuable lessons we can take from this crisis is that the world needs more solidarity, and the world of sport has been a beacon of light to guide us forward.”

Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, President of SportAccord and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), also stressed the importance of a collaborative approach.

“Many lessons have been learnt in recent months, but we must all continue to learn from both our experiences and each other,” Dr. Raffaele Chiulli said. “There are always new ideas, approaches and innovations to consider and implement… As we all look forward to brighter times in the foreseeable future, today’s virtual gathering represents an important milestone.”

Today’s event, organised by SportAccord, has brought together more than 300 leaders from over 125 IFs to explore the theme of ‘Lessons We Are Learning from a Global Crisis and How Sport and Society Can Emerge Stronger’.

Immediately after the closing remarks of the IF Forum, a #SA2021 Virtual Launch Celebration will take place via the same platform for the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit 2021, less than six months before the event in Ekaterinburg, Russia, from 7-12 November. Those who have signed up as delegates for SportAccord 2021 will be able to tune in from 15:45-16:45 Central European Summer Time (CEST) today to learn more about what to expect in Ekaterinburg.

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The International Federation (IF) Forum

The IF Forum takes place annually and targets the specific needs of Olympic and International Sport Federations with a focus on sharing best practices and knowledge. The event is open to International Sports Federation members from ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations), AIOWF (Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations), ARISF (Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations), AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport) and GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations) and its Associate Members.

In addition, the IF Forum receives the full support of the International Olympic Committee.