LAUSANNE, Switzerland – International Federations (IFs) can use the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to explore new ideas and implement positive changes that can drive future growth, according to expert contributors at yesterday’s fully virtual IF Forum 2020.
Close to 30 speakers debated various challenges and responses in relation to the ongoing pandemic, with topics including crisis management, scenario planning and risk mitigation strategies that can be applied in the months and years to come.
After International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, SportAccord and GAISF President Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus underlined how collaboration can help sport to play a key role in the global recovery from Covid-19, delegates heard how opportunities, as well as challenges, can emerge from the current situation.
In his closing remarks at the end of the IF Forum, Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of ASOIF (Association of Summer Olympic International Federations), echoed the words of several speakers by describing how IFs should view the pandemic as an “accelerator” and added: “Covid-19 has changed our sporting environment and we need to find a way forward.”
Dr. Richard Budgett, Medical and Scientific Director at the IOC, spoke about the importance of a close working relationship with the WHO, as well as IFs, and added to President Bach’s earlier comments about how various Covid-19 counter-measures are being put in place for potential scenarios facing the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Riccardo Fraccari, President of WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) and Dr. Dae Hyoun Jeong MD FAAFP, Chair of the World Taekwondo Medical Committee, also explained how finely tuned protocols had mitigated the impact of the pandemic on competitions.
A key theme to emerge during the IF Forum 2020 was that the scale of the challenge facing sport, as a result of Covid-19, has encouraged collaboration, with IFs adopting innovative approaches to engage followers, stakeholders and athletes. International Floorball Federation Secretary General John Liljelund provided a notable example by offering delegates a glimpse of the World Virtual Freestyle Floorball Cup.
However, numerous speakers, including World Taekwondo Council Member Sarah Stevenson, highlighted the ongoing challenge of retaining grassroots interest in times of crisis.
Dr. Chiulli said: “I would like to thank everyone at SportAccord for their hard work in delivering the IF Forum 2020 in this innovative format. Now we can look ahead to an exciting 2021, and I look forward to seeing everyone in the wonderful Russian city of Ekaterinburg, which bridges Europe and Asia, for the SportAccord World Sport & Business Summit 2021.”
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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.