A New Year message from European Olympic Committees president Patrick Hickey

“How do you follow a year like 2015?” is something we will all be asking ourselves at the EOC head office in Rome this week.

My answer is to go back to basics and to revisit the EOC’s primary purpose as an organisation: to focus on the specific needs of Europe’s NOCs. 

Last year was of course the year that Europe added the missing fifth ring to the continental games of the world by staging our inaugural European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Those wonderful 17 days of Games created more headlines and interest in the work of the European Olympic Committees than any previous initiative or programme in our history. It was a magnificent event and a great milestone for the EOC and the Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan. But it’s important to remember that the work of all 50 of our NOCs and affiliated organisations continued unabated before, during, and after the Games. 

In 2015 our NOCs scaled great heights. To highlight a few for example: the NOCs of Austria, Liechtenstein and Georgia all showed expert teamwork, innovation and organisational capacity in staging the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festivals whilst the Czech Olympic Committee staged a hugely professional EOC General Assembly in Prague that exhibited the perfect balance of private support from partners and public support from volunteers. I highlight these examples not for praise above others but to give a small snapshot of the hard work, cooperation and innovative thinking that characterised the activities of all 50 European NOCs in 2015. 

Last year, the sports industry as a whole started a process of important and necessary change to its collective governance to make transparency and accountability an absolute priority. These changes were, rightly, front and centre of everyone’s thinking. Yet it’s important to train our eyes to see the enormous amount of great work that was done in the background. This helps remind me why making these changes as soon as possible is so important: because sport is so important to people’s lives. If we govern our organisations better we will attract more participation in what we do, from corporate sponsors, from governments, from fans and from young people. 

To ensure the changes take root, it is up to every single person in the sports world to shoulder more responsibility in defending the integrity of sport. It starts with the good governance of sports organisations and the individual honesty of sports administrators, but from here it must run through every strand of the sports world, touch every affiliate, every fan, and every athlete. 

I echo Thomas Bach’s words for 2016 when he says “as the role and relevance of sport in society continues to grow, so do the expectations of the public vis-à-vis the integrity of athletes and sports organisations. It is our shared responsibility in the Olympic Movement to provide new answers to new questions.” 

2016 is, of course, an Olympic year. And it is incredibly exciting that for the first time ever the Olympic Games will be staged in South America. It shows that the Olympic family is a truly global family and it is a wholly positive milestone for the Olympic Movement. 

Europe has staged 30 editions of the summer and winter Games but must fight hard now to maintain its pre-eminence, which is why it is so pleasing to see three of the four 2024 Candidate Cities coming from Europe. In addition, as the most developed sports continent, we have a vital role to play in establishing the models of, not just good governance, but exceptional governance, which the whole Olympic family can benefit from. 

I wish you all a great year in sport in 2016. 

 

Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees

 

Developing hosts through cycling

Brian Cookson, President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)

One of the beauties of cycling lies in the huge variety of its different disciplines, which cater to athletes of contrasting profiles, attract fans of all ages and backgrounds, and can be hosted by cities of varying sizes and with differing budgets.

Each year, the Union CycIiste Internationale organises UCI World Championships and UCI World Cups across its eight disciplines, which means more than 50 annual cycling events worldwide.

Infrastructure necessary for these different events varies enormously: depending on the discipline, the requirement may simply be a well-equipped sports hall, a downtown urban centre, park, countryside trail, or a mountain. Other disciplines call for more specific infrastructure such as a BMX Supercross track or UCI-approved velodrome. As well as major championships for the professionals, there are mass participation events for amateur riders. The possibilities for hosting a UCI event are plentiful. Even small cities on limited budgets can become hosts of a major international cycling event.

Beyond the excitement and emotions that go hand in hand with hosting a high-level cycling competition, the UCI proposes to help host cities establish a true legacy from the event. This is achieved largely through the development of Cycling for All.

Cycling is more than just a competitive sport: it is also a popular leisure activity and an efficient means of transport. In these roles, the bike can help public authorities face environmental and health challenges by limiting noise, reducing traffic congestion and improving public health.

 

How hosting a cycling event can motivate a population

Experience has shown that organising a UCI event is an ideal springboard for developing cycling among a region’s population.

For example, to coincide with hosting the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, the city of Richmond (USA), published a Bicycle Master Plan which details a proposed network of improved bike infrastructure throughout the city and includes halving the rate of injury to cyclists by 2025.

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said: “While hosting the UCI World Championships in itself was a tremendous honour, we’ve always viewed this opportunity as having a lasting impact on the Richmond community.”

For many people considering taking up cycling for their health – and for transport – the sight of elite riders can be one of the triggers for a shift in behaviour. If bike events are incorporated within wider transport and marketing strategies, they can help persuade people to try cycling as an alternative to the car.

The savings from a shift to cycling can be huge. Someone who commutes 5km to work by car could save half a tonne of carbon dioxide per year by shifting to cycling for all those journeys.

Together with the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA), the UCI has recently commissioned a report on the impact of a much greater use of cycling in urban areas. Carried out by University of California, Davis (UCD) and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the scientific study – a first of its kind – shows that cycling and e-biking can cut energy use and CO2 emissions of urban transport by up to 10% by 2050 compared to current estimations, while saving society trillions of dollars.

We can also look at how an increase in cycling can boost trade. This phenomenon is highlighted in a New York City report entitled “Measuring the Street,” which states that after the construction of a protected bike lane on 9th Avenue, local businesses saw a 49 percent increase in retail sales. On other streets in the borough, the average was only 3 percent.

 

UCI Bike City Label 

To encourage host cities to help their populations shift to a cycling mentality, the UCI has invested in and relaunched the UCI Bike City label from 2016. This will reward bike friendly cities and/or regions to fulfil certain criteria under two key pillars:

•Hosting UCI cycling events

•Investing in cycling for all.

There are three levels of UCI Bike City label, depending on the scope of the development plan. 

Level 1: to host at least one UCI World Cup and one UCI World Championships for two different disciplines during a four-year period.

Level 2: to host at least one UCI World Cup and two UCI World Championships for two different disciplines over a four-year period.

Level 3: to host at least one UCI World Cup and one UCI World Championships over a four-year period, plus the UCI Road World Championships within 10 years of these events.

As well as hosting UCI events, cities will need to meet specific targets under the second pillar, Cycling for All. These targets concern:

•Strategy

•Ambition

•Funding

•Protected bike lanes

•Safety for cyclists

•Participation

•Cycle training

•Measuring progress

•Sustainability

Cities will not be alone as they work towards the UCI Bike City label. The UCI will work hand in hand with host cities, helping them develop and benchmark their plans to grow cycling at all levels. They will also share best practices from around the world.

The aim of the UCI Bike City label is three-fold:

•To reward cities that invest in cycling;

•To build long term relationships between the UCI and different cities;

•To inform the wider public about bike friendly cities and/or regions that are suitable for bike tourism.

In return to their investment and commitment, UCI Bike Cities will: 

•Be able to use the label on all official documents; 

•Be listed on the UCI website;

•Benefit from promotion on the UCI’s social media channels;

•Receive support in securing athletes as ambassadors of their cycling programmes; 

•Have access to free advice on advocacy topics;

•Receive VIP tickets for the main UCI events. 

The UCI Bike City label will be awarded to cities demonstrating a long-term engagement to cycling at all levels. In partnership with the UCI, our most committed city partners work towards the development of cycling at all levels and in all parts of the world.

 

A new dawn for UIPM

UIPM president Dr Klaus Schormann (photo: UIPM)

National Federations from around the world voted for significant changes to the governance of Modern Pentathlon at the 67th UIPM Congress (November 7-8) in Taipei.

The Congress approved a number of motions designed to modernise the way the UIPM manages Modern Pentathlon and its sub-sports, including: 

• A comprehensive review and update of the entire structure of the UIPM, including changes to simplify and reduce the number of rules on internal organisations 

• Changes to the UIPM Biathle/ Triathle competition rules 

• Adoption of a code of ethics in line with the latest IOC requirements that provides for a clear and efficient procedure in cases of litigation 

• A simplification of election rules for all elective seats within the UIPM. 

“This Congress has been a big step forward for development with new member federations joining our global community and new innovations such as Laser Run making our sport even more accessible to the world,” said UIPM president Dr Klaus Schormann.

“The National Federations are very united in focusing on sport, education and the integration of society through sport. UIPM is committed to the IOC Agenda 2020 and to supporting the protection of the clean athletes.” 

Expansion was the main theme of the UIPM Congress 2015 as Dr Klaus Schormann, UIPM President, and Shiny Fang, Secretary General, reviewed another year of relentless progress and innovation and looked ahead to a bright future. 

“With a strong vision, with a clear understanding that change is a certainty, and with a total commitment by all the family, modern pentathlon can and will be successful in retaining and gaining on its position after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and, in fact, being considered as an essential part of the Olympic program and one of the International Federations that has adapted itself successfully to the challenges of these times,” said Secretary General Shiny Fang. 

“As we continuously improve our structures centrally and in every country, ‘expanding’ our reach is our real next frontier. The right choices in this area will make a huge difference in the lead up to Tokyo 2020, when the IOC will once again review the sports program, and in the long run, also beyond 2020.” 

UIPM delegates approved the membership of another six member nations: Bermuda, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Benin, Madagascar and Colombia. 

UIPM also became the first International Federation to express its backing for the Declaration of Support for the Olympic Charter, which was signed by Olympians representing all five continents at the inaugural World Olympians Forum organised by the World Olympians Association (WOA), in Moscow, Russia in October. 

The two-day conference also revealed the winners of the 2015 UIPM awards and named the venues for numerous future UIPM competitions.

 

Source: UIPM

Beijing 2022 organising committee reviews bid pledges

The new Beijing 2022 organising committee was inaugurated on 15th December

The organising committee for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games has been established five months after the election of Beijing as host city, with Guo Jinlong confirmed as president of the newly formed body.

During the 2008 Olympic Games, Guo was mayor of Beijing and executive chairman of the organising committee.

Guo said the first duty would be to review Beijing's host city contract in light of the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020.

"We will pore over the HCC and the Olympic Agenda 2020, and review our bid commitments before we work out the roadmap and timetable," Guo was reported as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

"We shall ensure every task is accomplished.”

The organising committee, created by the city and the National Olympic Committee, will be responsible for ensuring the Games are organised successfully. Its establishment follows an Orientation Seminar that was held in early November in Beijing. 

Guo’s appointment was welcomed by IOC president Thomas Bach.

“On behalf of the International Olympic Committee, it is my great pleasure to congratulate everyone on the inauguration of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022,” he said.

“Allow me to congratulate Mr Guo Jinlong, the President of the Organising Committee.

“Beijing is making history as the first city in the world to host both the Olympic Summer Games and the Olympic Winter Games.”

Reducing the cost and increasing the sustainability of hosting the Games is a key aim of Agenda 2020. 

Using infrastructure from the 2008 Olympic Games will help Beijing to keep costs down, with a projected budget of US$1.5bn.

“The formation of the Organising Committee represents the start of an exciting journey for the entire Olympic family,” said Bach.

“This milestone is the first step on our six-year journey together to deliver brilliant Olympic Winter Games in 2022 for Beijing, for China, and for the world.”

Beijing was selected as host of the 2022 ahead of Almaty, the only other city that progressed to the candidature stage. 

The host faces challenges in managing air pollution in the city and ensuring there is enough snow in the mountain resort of  Zhangjiakou. 

According to Xinhua, Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked the organizers to "work harder to host a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent Games”, saying city management, environmental protection, budgetary control and the appeal of winter sports in China will all need to be heightened. 

A number of Chinese dignitaries atteneded the launch of the organising committee, including Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, Beijing 2022 President Guo Jinlong, Chinese Olympic Committee President Liu Peng, Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun and Hebei Governor Zhang Qingwei. 

The three "power pillars" of major events

David de Behr, Head of Global Events at Aggreko spoke at Host City 2015 on the panel discussion "Live Entertainment in the City"

The fact is that events themselves are getting bigger. The Olympics, for example, continues to increase the number of sports contested and this year’s Rugby World Cup was the largest ever staged – official fan zone attendance alone broke the one million mark.

The conference industry, too, is booming – many attract tens of thousands of people and require the kind of infrastructure you might normally associate with a football match. 

As events get more ambitious, the sporting and entertainment industries are constantly evolving to meet consumers’ expectations: larger screens, faster Wi-Fi connections, brighter or more interactive lighting and, more recently, the convenience of electronic ticketing. 

The power needs of events, and therefore energy strategies, have to adapt to meet these challenges. A reliable power source (or several) has become a critical factor in event planning and there has also never been greater emphasis on organisers to meet energy efficiencies in this process. 

 

Power Pillars

There has been significant investment in energy strategies across the events industry in recent years and typically we see that investment across three "power pillars": reliability, cost & sustainability.

The show must go on. Every event planner works to this mantra and power reliability is usually first on the list of influencing factors. Unplanned disruptions can be catastrophic, especially if the issue is not resolved instantly. Losing broadcast or stadium power even for a minute could cost the event millions – and decimate its reputation. The effects spread across spectators and viewers to the experience of corporate partners, the exposure received by advertisers and, worst of all, the performance of the events’ protagonists themselves – sportsmen and women, artists and actors.

A large amount of our strategic preparation with event organisers is therefore spent on contingency planning, and rightly so. The earlier a power provider is involved in the planning process, the easier it will be to identify issues and create solutions. When we plan an event, we focus on pre-empting possible issues and creating flexibility in the way we deliver power. 

Both mobile and grid-connected energy can be advantageous for the event organiser, with the latter particularly popular when the host expects to stage its event repeatedly over several years. Modern, modular power technology also brings great benefits – from having the flexibility to operate in different environments to reducing waste by managing redundancy more effectively. And while no two events are the same, each one requires a back-up power plan. 

What does this mean in practice? Early stage reliability planning would include ensuring steps can be taken to synchronise and switch over from grid power to mobile power stations as well as verifying connection points for electrical distribution.

Of course, guaranteeing reliable power is only half the battle. Once an event is confident in its energy supply, it needs to deliver efficiencies both to reduce carbon emissions and manage its cost base.

This is where mobile, modular power comes into its own as it tends to be preferred for its relatively low capital cost. By virtue of being temporary, the host does not have long-term financial or environmental commitments in place either. 

The scalability of modular power systems can also help event organisers to flex power levels to suit changing needs. This already happens across many industries – in mining, for example, developers will front-load power resource to construct the mine and its surrounding infrastructure, but then downgrade power resources and focus on fuel efficiencies when operational. 

The events industry faces similar challenges: from the construction of permanent and temporary sites to the creation of supporting infrastructure, preparation for major events is a long-term process. However, once operational, events’ power needs fluctuate dramatically. Modular power is the ideal solution in this instance – for example, we can just as easily install fifty 1 MW generators across many sites as we can fewer, more powerful generators in a smaller area.

But it’s not just how many generators you install, and where. Power technology has made great strides and our technicians at our manufacturing plant in Scotland have made advancements in efficiencies and smart monitoring, too. 

We can monitor power and fuel use of any of our power stations remotely, and can very easily synchronise our generators back to the grid without affecting the supply of power to the events themselves. These advancements can all dramatically reduce energy costs. Of course, individual generators can also be turned on and off as needed, reducing emissions and saving energy.

A final component to delivering a sustainable event is minimising noise emissions. Either the organizer can adopt technology specifically designed to operate quietly; or it can improve the event’s energy efficiency in order to reduce the number and size of generators or coolers in situ.

For instance, we provided temporary power to The 2014 Ryder Cup, where tournament golf requires a discreet audience and an even quieter built environment. We used a new set of innovative “Super Silent” generators that produce very low noise emissions (48-55 dBA at 50 feet). 

However, noise levels also cause a significant challenge for city centre events and sometimes innovative ideas need to be explored in order to minimise disruption to residents. In planning for The 2012 London Olympics, we took this challenge on and placed generators on floating platforms on the River Lea, moving the noise out of the built-up area.

The events industry is growing, evolving and modernising. Power suppliers have to follow suit.

 

Blatter and Platini banned from football world

Michel Platini, Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA (Photo: UEFA)

The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans Joachim Eckert has banned Mr Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA, for eight years and Mr Michel Platini, Vice-President and member of the Executive Committee of FIFA and President of UEFA, for eight years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) on a national and international level. The bans come into force immediately.

The proceedings against Mr Blatter primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 transferred in February 2011 from FIFA to Mr Platini. Mr Blatter, in his position as President of FIFA, authorised the payment to Mr Platini which had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Neither in his written statement nor in his personal hearing was Mr Blatter able to demonstrate another legal basis for this payment. His assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.

The evidence available to the adjudicatory chamber in the present case was not sufficient to establish, to the extent required, that Mr Blatter sought the execution or omission of an official act from Mr Platini within the meaning of article 21 paragraph 1 of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE) (Bribery and corruption). However, the conduct of Mr Blatter towards Mr Platini without a legal basis constituted a breach of article 20 paragraph 1 of the FCE (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits). Furthermore, Mr Blatter found himself in a situation of conflict of interest, despite which he continued to perform his related duties, failing to disclose said situation and the existence of personal interests linked to his prospective activities, thus violating article 19 paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the FCE (Conflicts of interest). By failing to place FIFA’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Mr Blatter violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA and breached article 15 of the FCE (Loyalty). Mr Blatter’s actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as President of FIFA, hence violating article 13 of the FCE (General rules of conduct).

In consequence, Mr Blatter has been banned for eight years from all football related activities and fined CHF 50,000.

The investigation into the case of Mr Blatter was conducted by Mr Robert Torres, member of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The investigation resulted in a final report which was submitted to the adjudicatory chamber on 20 November 2015. The adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings on 23 November 2015, and the hearing of Mr Blatter took place in Zurich on 17 December 2015.

The proceedings against Mr Platini primarily related to a payment of CHF 2,000,000 that he received in February 2011 from FIFA. The payment to Mr Platini had no legal basis in the written agreement signed between both officials on 25 August 1999. Mr Platini’s assertion of an oral agreement was determined as not convincing and was rejected by the chamber.

The evidence available to the adjudicatory chamber in the present case was not sufficient to establish, to the extent required, that Mr Platini obtained the payment for the execution or omission of an official act within the meaning of article 21 paragraph 1 of the FCE (Bribery and corruption). Nevertheless, the conduct of Mr Platini without a legal basis constituted a breach of article 20 paragraph 1 of the FCE (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits). Furthermore, Mr Platini found himself in a situation of conflict of interest, despite which he continued to perform his related duties, failing to disclose said situation and the existence of personal interests linked to his prospective activities in violation of article 19 paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the FCE (Conflicts of interest). By failing to place FIFA’s interests first and abstain from doing anything which could be contrary to FIFA’s interests, Mr Platini also violated his fiduciary duty to FIFA and breached article 15 of the FCE (Loyalty). In addition, Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities. His actions did not show commitment to an ethical attitude, failing to respect all applicable laws and regulations as well as FIFA’s regulatory framework to the extent applicable to him and demonstrating an abusive execution of his position as Vice-President of FIFA and member of the FIFA Executive Committee, hence violating article 13 of the FCE (General rules of conduct).

In consequence, Mr Platini has been banned for eight years from all football related activities and fined CHF 80,000.

The investigation into the case of Mr Platini was conducted by Ms Vanessa Allard, member of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The investigation resulted in a final report which was submitted to the adjudicatory chamber on 20 November 2015. The adjudicatory chamber opened formal proceedings on 23 November 2015, and the hearing took place in Zurich on 18 December 2015 in the presence of Mr Platini’s lawyers.

Source: FIFA

 

FIFA acting leaders look to the future

Dear friends of football, 

FIFA has faced unprecedented difficulties this year in a crisis that has shaken global football governance to its core. We are now moving through a period of necessary change to protect the future of our organisation. 

We maintain that the majority of those working in football governance do so in the right way and for the right reasons, but it has become clear that root-and-branch reform is the only way to deter future wrongdoing and to restore faith in FIFA. For these reasons, this year and the immediate years to come will be among the most important for FIFA since it was founded in 1904. 

A new FIFA President will be elected at the Congress in February, offering the opportunity to start a new chapter. It is vital to recognise that this will be only the beginning. We will need to work hard together over the coming years to win back the trust and respect of fans, players, commercial affiliates and all the many millions of participants who make football the world’s most popular sport. 

We are confident that the new reform measures approved by the FIFA Executive Committee in December, alongside the separate actions of the Swiss and US authorities, will lay the foundations for a stronger, more transparent and more accountable and more ethical governing body of football. 

We call on all of FIFA’s member associations to fully support, implement and abide by the new reforms. The future of FIFA and the global development of football depend on our full commitment to embracing a change in culture from top to bottom, through the following key reform points: 

• A clear separation of powers between the political side of global football and the day-to-day financial and business operations of FIFA, such as organising competitions and football development investments, will help to protect our integrity and avoid conflicts of interest. All financial transactions will be monitored by a fully independent body. 

• Member associations must mirror the above structure and comply with principles of good governance, such as establishing independent judicial bodies. They will also be accountable for the conduct of their entire team and any third parties that they work with. 

• Strict term limits for senior positions within FIFA of three four-year terms will ensure that no single person can wield too much power or influence. 

• An explicit commitment in the FIFA Statutes to develop women’s football and to promote the full participation of women at all levels of football governance, including a minimum of one female representative from each region in the new FIFA Council. 

• Central integrity checks by an independent body for all appointments to FIFA bodies and senior management. 

• Members of the new FIFA Council must be elected by the member associations from each respective region under new FIFA governance regulations and monitored by the new, independent FIFA Review Committee. 

• More independent and properly qualified members of key committees such as finance, development, governance and compliance to provide a stronger layer of neutrality and scrutiny. 

• More involvement from the football community (players, clubs, leagues, member associations, etc.) in decision making. 

• A statutory commitment by FIFA to uphold and protect internationally recognised human rights in all its activities. 

There may be further challenges ahead, and it will take time for these reforms to take effect, but our resolve to rebuild FIFA for the better remains steadfast. Our aim is to establish a secure, professional and fully accountable sports organisation by the time of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia. 

We are confident that this is a realistic target, and we look forward to returning our full focus to FIFA’s primary mission of promoting and developing football everywhere, and for all. 

The hundreds of millions of fans, players, coaches and others dedicated to football around the world deserve nothing less from those of us with the incredible responsibility and privilege of governing and guiding global football. 

Yours faithfully, 

Issa Hayatou Acting FIFA President

Markus Kattner Acting FIFA Secretary General 

 

FIFA criminal procedures could affect sport long term, says IOC

The IOC Executive Board met in Lausanne from 8 to 10 December 2015 (Photo Copyright IOC/Christophe Moratal)

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday adopted a declaration on good governance in sport in response to growing concerns of sports organisations. 

In the declaration, the IOC singled out criminal investigations into FIFA as an area of particular concern that “could affect all sport organisations” for up to five years. 

In a statement, the IOC said the Executive Board welcomed the FIFA Executive Committee’s proposals for major reforms, which include term limits. 

However, the IOC said its Executive Board “remains concerned with regard to the ongoing criminal procedures in the United States and Switzerland, which according to these authorities could last for another five years. 

“Since this could continue to overshadow the credibility of FIFA and affect all sport organisations for such a long time, the IOC EB encourages FIFA to take all necessary measures to clarify and resolve all the pending issues as soon as possible by further engaging with the relevant authorities.”

At a meeting in Lausanne, the IOC Executive Board addressed requests from “a number of sports organisations which feel affected by incidents in some sports organisations and are concerned their reputation is being tarnished by generalisation."

The IOC declaration proposes a number of measures to develop good governance in sport. “Recent incidents have shown that, in the interest of the credibility of all sports organisations immediate action to reinforce good governance is necessary,” the IOC statetment said. 

According to the declaration, the basic principles of good governance, including transparent and democratic decision making processes, financial reporting and auditing according to international standards, publication of financial reports and ethics and compliance rules, etc. will be applied during 2016.

The IOC will initiate an independent audit system of its major subventions to IFs, NOCs and Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) with regard to the financial as well as the good governance aspects. With regard to all other activities of IFs, NOCs and OCOGs, Recommendation 27 of Olympic Agenda 2020 should be applied as from 2016. The IOC, recognising the independence and autonomy of the IFs, appreciates their support for this initiative as expressed in the IOC EB meeting and by setting up a working group on sports governance by the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

The IOC has also has asked the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne and its Global Board Centre to undertake research into good governance at the IOC itself. A first assessment by IMD was presented to the Executive Board.

The IOC Executive Board also confirmed its zero tolerance policy toward doping, expressing support for the authority and autonomy of WADA while putting forward a number of proposals to the WADA working group. 

These include establishing an independent testing and results management entity, under the leadership of WADA. “Sports organisations should transfer their doping control operations to this new organisation and make the funding available initially at the level of the present investment in the fight against doping. This organisation should also co-ordinate the work of the national anti-doping agencies to ensure a streamlined, efficient and worldwide harmonised anti-doping system. Governments, which are 50 per cent partners of WADA, should support this reform alongside the sports movement, both logistically and financially,” the IOC said.

This entity should include a “professional intelligence gathering unit” to “address issues that may affect the compliance of anti-doping organisations and anti-doping laboratories accredited by WADA, at the earliest possible stage. This would help to make all such institutions compliant at all times and in such a way as to protect the clean athletes worldwide to the same level.”

The IOC declaration also determined that sanctions should be pronounced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a centralised way, which would make the system cost-efficient and lead to harmonisation among all sports and all countries. The current right to appeal such sanctions to a different chamber of the CAS would be fully upheld and guaranteed, the IOC said.

The IOC is aiming to have an independent anti-doping system in place from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

 

Renewing the trust in sport

IOC President Thomas Bach at the Executive Board meeting (Picture ©IOC/Ian Jones)

As an Olympic medallist, recent developments in some sports are particularly upsetting. What saddens me most as a former athlete is that they erode the trust in the clean athlete. Clean athletes who push themselves day in day out pursuing their dreams see the finger of suspicion pointing at them. This is the very worst ‘side-effect’ of doping. 

We must do everything we can to protect these millions of clean athletes around the world. For their sake and for the credibility of sports competition, they have to be protected from doping and corrupting influences. We also have to protect the credibility of sports competition from match-fixing and manipulation. The IOC has created a specific 20-million US dollar fund for the protection of clean athletes. This comes on top of overall international investments of an estimated 500-million US dollars for around 250,000 anti-doping tests a year, among other initiatives. The IOC has a zero-tolerance policy against doping and any kind of manipulation and corruption. 

Doped athletes already face a four-year ban from any kind of sports competition for their first infringement. This means an effective ban from the next edition of the Olympic Games. As a young man, I called for life bans even for the first infringement. Unfortunately, such a sanction would not be upheld by any judicial court. But what we can do is making the anti-doping system more independent from sports organisations. In this respect, the IOC took the initiative to ask the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the international authority in the fight against drugs in sport, to consider taking over testing programmes from the international sports federations. The IOC also proposed that the Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS), the highest judicial body for the sports world, take over all sanctioning of doped athletes. 

Zero-tolerance also means all nations and all sports have to be compliant with WADA’s rules. On this front, sport requires the support of governments. Let us not forget that governments have a 50% stake in WADA. Governments need to make sure that their national anti-doping authorities are WADA-compliant. Governments also have to ensure dealers, corrupt doctors and coaches are punished with the full force of the law. 

Protecting the clean athlete goes hand in hand with ensuring that the environment in which the athletes operate is safe from corrupting influences. To fight manipulation in sport and specifically match-fixing and illegal betting, the IOC and the International Sport Federations are already working closely with police, betting operators and regulators around the world. Recognizing the international nature of organized crime, the IOC is also engaged with Interpol to safeguard the integrity of sport. 

Fighting corruption also means that good governance for sporting organisations is essential. The IOC has put the necessary measures in place since a long time. More recently, the reforms passed in Olympic Agenda 2020 exactly one year ago, ensure internationally recognized standards of governance. As a result, all our accounts are audited at a higher international financial reporting standard (IFRS) and we are publishing everything in our annual report, as is common practise in the corporate world; we have term and age limits for all IOC Members; we have a chief ethics and compliance officer, an audit committee and an independent ethics commission. We have called on and we expect all sports organisations to follow this route. All these measures and others, which are publically available, allow the IOC to distribute over 90% of our revenue – that is $3.25 million each and every day – back to athletes and world sport. 

The recent discussions on these issues show the huge significance sport has in our society. Sport has the power to make the world a better place. If these good governance measures are adopted and the zero-tolerance policies are followed by all sport organisations, there is a very bright future for sport. As Nelson Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world.” Yes, these are difficult times for sport. But yes, it is also an opportunity to renew the trust in this power of sport to change the world for the better.

This opinion piece by IOC President Thomas Bach is also published on www.olympic.org

 

Manchester wins Internet of Things bid

Light rail Metrolink tram in the city center of Manchester

A project in Manchester designed to improve services for citizens has won the “Internet of Things Cities” competition. 

The CityVerve Project, which optimises services using the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, received the GB£10m award.

The project, led by Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, was selected out of 22 entries involving 34 cities across the UK and with a shortlist of six finalists. 

UK Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said the Manchester project won because of its “ambition, scale, coordination across the public and private sector, and potential for success.

“The Manchester project will help the UK to be a world leader in the adoption of Internet of Things technologies and inspire others around the world to create smarter cities.

“The Project will bring real benefits to people who live and work across Manchester, one of our Northern Powerhouse cities.”

The CityVerve Project includes plans for talkative bus stops, which let bus operators know when commuters are waiting, and a network of sensors in parks and along commuter routes to encourage people to do more physical activity.

IoT adds sensors and data analysis to equipment like streetlamps, vehicles or home heating equipment. These ‘smart’ improvements enable the delivery of more personal, efficient and flexible products and services.

“The pioneering work Manchester is doing on devolution, finding innovative ways to respond to local needs and priorities, makes us the perfect test bed for this work,” Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council said on behalf of the CityVerve consortium.

“Our plans are firmly focussed on creating the conditions for economic growth and helping connect people with the opportunities created - whether that’s helping them to monitor their own health to help avoid preventable illness or giving them improving transport information to help them move around the city more easily.”

The CityVerve project will demonstrate applications of IoT technologies and services in four key areas: healthcare; transport; energy and environment; and culture and community. It aims to provide a replicable model for other cities in the UK and beyond.

IoT is a major area of growth that is set to have a transformative effect on society. A recent report by independent consultants Arup estimates that the global value of the IoT sector will exceed £255 billion a year by 2020.

IoT is one of the four components of RAID, which comprises the disruptive technologies of Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Internet of things and big Data. 

To harness the potential of these disruptive innovations, city and business leaders are meeting at the large scale RAID Confex in Utrecht on 31st May and 1st June 2016. To find out more visit www.raidconfex.com

 

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