Commonwealth Games partners with ICSS to promote good governance

David Grevemberg (right), CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation speaking at HOST CITY 2015 with Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life (left)

With sports bodies under mounting pressure to show good governance, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is working with International Centre for Sport Security Europe (ICSS EUROPE) in a new partnership to help promote the highest standards of good governance, transparency and integrity in sport. 

The CGF will also work with ICSS EUROPE as it looks to help encourage the development of a global independent, neutral, multi-stakeholder integrity alliance for sport.

“As a values-driven movement connecting athletes and communities across the Commonwealth, we are proud to be a leading voice in the drive to protect, promote and safeguard sport and look forward to a successful collaboration with ICSS EUROPE and its partners,” said David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

“Good governance and strategic partnerships are key pillars of Transformation 2022, and today’s announcement amplifies our responsibility and commitment to use Commonwealth sport to build peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities globally.”

Athletics is one of the most popular sports at the Commonwealth Games but it is currently battling with mounting evidence of widespread organised doping. 

“The mounting and complex challenges to the integrity of sport are more apparent than ever,” said Mohammed Hanzab, Founder and President of the ICSS.

“On behalf of the ICSS, I would like to thank the Commonwealth Games Federation for its commitment to safeguarding sport and look forward to advancing efforts with them to address the very real challenges sport now faces to its integrity and credibility.”

The agreement was signed at a reception in the UK House of Commons with key stakeholders from sport, business and government.

“Recent events have shown that there is a real and urgent need for a new approach to the integrity and governance of sport. What is also clear is that this new approach must be credible, coordinated, holistic and global.” said Dr Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of ICSS EUROPE.

“This agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation demonstrates a growing momentum developing across a range of sectors to protect and safeguard sport integrity. It also represents a unique opportunity for ICSS EUROPE and CGF to make a real difference to sport across the Commonwealth, as well as advance ongoing discussions with key stakeholders about establishing an independent sport integrity global alliance.”

ICSS EUROPE will also independently audit the CGF’s governance model and assist with the development of a code of conduct on sports betting and integrity to maintain the Commonwealth Games body’s position as a global leader in the field of sports policy, governance and integrity.


New IOC Director of Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Department to start in March

Philip French (right) with Mike Gatting (lef (Photo Credit: England and Wales Cricket Board)

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appointed Philip French as its new Director of Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Department (PASD), to start work on 1 March.

A British national, French is joining the IOC from the England and Wales Cricket Board where, as Director of Public Policy and International Relations, he was responsible for overseeing the organisation’s strategic development in public affairs and managing key external relationships.

The IOC says it has developed a comprehensive programme using sport as a tool for local socio-economic development and for humanitarian assistance. 

“The PASD is central in defining the strategies for the development and implementation of such grassroots and peace projects around the world, as well as for advocating for the integration of sport and physical activity in national and international policies and programmes,” the IOC said in a statement.

“It is also responsible for fostering partnerships with a wide range of organisations specialised in development and humanitarian aid, including the agencies of the United Nations (UN) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in a bid to build a better world through sport.”

Before working at the England and Wales Cricket Board, Philip French held the position of Chief Adviser on Sport at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom government. With responsibilities ranging from grassroots and elite athlete funding ahead of the Olympic Games London 2012, the National Lottery, broadcasting and gambling, French led on drafting and delivering the government’s key strategic policies on behalf of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Mr French was previously Chief Executive of Supporter Trusts, a British non-profit organisation which aims to provide a platform for fans to influence the running of their clubs, and Director of Public Policy at Premier League, where he had responsibility for public affairs, corporate communications and community development. He previously wrote for the Guardian newspaper and was a consultant to UEFA in the UK.

A graduate in Economics with Government of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Philip French has acquired over his career extensive experience in public affairs, international relations, community development and stakeholder management. He is very well acquainted with the world of sport, from both the media and management sides, and will be a valuable addition to the IOC’s team of directors.

A fan of athletics, football, cricket and tennis, Mr French is also involved in a number of grassroots and charity projects.


UNICEF boosts Generations For Peace refugee host programme

Generations For Peace (GFP) has been awarded additional funding from UNICEF to expand a successful programme engaging volunteer youth leaders to strengthen social cohesion and resilience, and reduce the potential for violence in refugee host communities

The programme has seen impressive positive impact in 10 communities over the last year. Building on this success, UNICEF is increasing its support, to expand the programme to 16 communities in 2016. To power the expansion, from 9-14 January, 80 Jordanian and Syrian youth leaders completed six days of intensive training, gaining the capacity and confidence to assess local conflict issues, identify a target group, and design, organize, run, and sustain an ongoing series of activities with youth in their communities.

The youth leaders work in Community Development Centres run by the JOHUD, and Youth Centres run by the Higher Council for Youth, in Ajloun, Amman, Irbid, Karak and Mafraq. The Generations For Peace training helps to empower youth leaders as peer educators, as they learn to design and facilitate activities using a unique conflict transformation curriculum. Following the training this month, Generations For Peace will continue to mentor and support the youth leaders as they organize weekly sessions for youth in their communities. A total of 22 weekly sessions helps to ensure that long-term behaviour change and conflict transformation impacts are secured. To expand the positive impact still further, the youth participants and trained volunteers will also design and conduct local community social cohesion initiatives, reaching an even wider audience with what they have learned.

HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan, Founder and Chairman of Generations For Peace, thanked UNICEF, noting: “We are grateful for the support of UNICEF and others who see the positive impacts of our work and are helping us to build on our strengths and successes to benefit the most vulnerable communities in Jordan. Our programmes over the past few years have demonstrated the effectiveness of empowering Jordanian and Syrian youth to lead activities in their own communities to break down stereotypes and barriers, build strong friendships with one another, and manage conflicts without violence.”

Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Country Representative for Jordan, said: “UNICEF is proud to increase our support to the ongoing work of Generations For Peace in improving the lives of children and youth affected by the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan. In Jordanian communities hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees, youth-led activities that strengthen social cohesion and resilience are critical to ensuring youth can successfully participate and engage in society, and draw upon support networks when facing extreme challenges.”

Omar Alharaki, a volunteer who participated in the training, said: “I have to be an active member in this community; whatever I can offer, I will offer. We have to make sure that our community is a safe place, and this is why I volunteer. I also volunteer so I that can contribute to building a socially conscious generation. Even if we go back to Syria, we will have concepts and principles to take with us, and we will work hard to pass them on from generation to generation.” 

Since the conflict in Syria began, more than 633,000 Syrians have registered as refugees in  neighbouring Jordan (UNHCR 2015), 52% of whom are youth under the age of 18, and with 82% residing in host communities rather than refugee camps. 

The work of Generations For Peace towards improving social cohesion among Jordanian and Syrian youth in host communities is also supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Inti Raymi Fund, Samsung, Orange, and DHL. 

Source: Generations For Peace


IOC’s Gilbert Felli to speak at AGES 2016 event

Former Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli is now an Honorary Member of AGES (Photo (c) IOC/R. Juilliart)

A number of high profile figures have confirmed to speak at the Association of Global Event Management (AGES) 2016 annual event, which takes place in St. Augustine, Florida, USA on 29 February and 1 March. 

Internationally recognised figures speaking at the conference on day one of the event include: Gilbert Felli, IOC’s Senior Olympic Games Advisor; 

Jerry Anderson, founder and Senior Principal of Populous; John Baker, VP Games Overlay and Broadcast Integration, Toronto 2015, José Quiñones González, President of the Peruvian Olympic Committee and Member of the board COPAL 2019 (Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games 2019, Lima) and Patrick D. Sandusky, Chief External Affairs Officer, United States Olympic Committee. 

AGES has also announced that former Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli is now an Honorary Member of AGES. 

According to AGES, a large majority of its members, associate members and partners have confirmed their presence at our event. 

AGES also announced that its membership is growing, with two new members joining recently: Pro Construction, a market leader in Poland and that delivers event infrastructure works at international level, and Unitec Systems, a leading event supplier in Korea specialising in seating. 

The AGES 2016 event is hosted by CAT ES, an AGES member and leading supplier of temporary power.

The second day of the event will include presentations from AGES partners EY and SOS Global, as well as working group activities. 

One working group is developing a state-of-the art contract template for the delivery of overlay works while another is elaborating a table showing temporary import and export provisions for all major large events until 2020. 

AGES members ES Global, GL events, Nüssli and MTD have delegated experts to these working groups. AGES says it will focus on finding suitable industry partners in the area of technology and sustainability in 2016. 

For more information visit

“Brazil is prepared,” promises Rio 2016 security chief

Andrei Rodrigues, of the Minsitry of Justice, commands a plan featuring 47,000 people (Photo: Rio 2016/Gabriel Nascimento)

The challenges for guaranteeing safety at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the biggest sporting event on the planet, are plentiful, with around 15,000 athletes representing 206 countries and the majority of action concentrated in just one city. 

However, certain aspects receive special attention from the Brazilian Federal Government, as revealed by Andrei Rodrigues, special safety secretary at the Ministry for Justice for major events.

“We have implemented the Integrated Anti-Terrorism Centre, a specific body of police, law enforcement and intelligence, to increase the exchange of information, training and knowledge,” he told “Police from several countries are working with us, mutual cooperation between countries is vital.”

In 2015, Brazil sent around 100 police officers abroad to learn about the best practices at large international events, including the Boston and Berlin marathons, the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, the Baku 2015 European Games, the Tour de France and the UN General Assembly.

“We’re going to bring 10,000 officers from the National Force to Rio. And we’ll have almost 5,000 federal police officers from other parts of Brazil,” he said.

Rodrigues is in charge of a body of over 47,000 Brazilian security professionals who will work intensely during August and September. Added to this will be 38,000 members of the armed services, meaning the security operations around the Rio 2016 Games will be the largest in Brazilian history. Thus, Rodrigues maintains full confidence in Rio de Janeiro remaining free from terrorist attacks.

“Brazil is prepared. We have hosted a series of events which have not taken place in any other place, which has allowed us to advance and progress with each step taken”

The vision of the Brazilian Government also involves efforts to make Rio de Janeiro safer as a whole, not only the areas surrounding the Olympic venues. “We cannot think about staging the Games if the city as a whole isn’t safe,” said Rodrigues. “A very large effort is underway to maintain safety on a daily basis.”

With attention focused on Rio de Janeiro, the government promises to be attentive to security in other cities and regions (and not only the football co-host cities). 

“There will probably be an increase in tourism in other places. The Games will signify reinforcement in security, wherever that may be,” Rodrigues said.




Atos signs contract with Finnish Olympic Committee

Atos, the Worldwide IT Partner of the Olympic Games since 1989, has signed a contract with the Finnish Olympic Committee (FOC) that includes IT services, sponsorship of local triathlete and joint marketing initiatives until 2018. 

The Olympic Games is one of the world’s biggest IT-projects, its scope bringing special challenges to IT management systems and infrastructure. Atos has been a key technology provider for the Olympic Movement since 1989, when it provided services to the Barcelona 1992 Organising Committee, and is now delivering IT for the upcoming Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games.

“It’s great to see how the international player Atos implements the IT during the Olympic Games in Rio. We will utilize this know-how also in Finland in our own IT-projects of the Finnish Olympic team,” said Ville Köngäs, Client Manager at the Finnish Olympic Committee.

“We pursue to reach a point where our own performance in IT-related issues will raise into a totally new level enabled by Atos.”

As part of the cooperation, audiences will be able to follow the sporting life and competition preparations of ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship silver-medalist Kaisa Lehtonen through social media channels. She will also participate in the upcoming Olympic events.

“It is great to be part of the cooperation with the Finnish Olympic Committee and Atos,” said Lehoten.  

“Through the cooperation I can see from a vantage point the big role technology has also on our athletes’ work; and on the other hand let people follow my daily life as an athlete.

“The cooperation enables me to prepare determinedly to the upcoming competitions and helps me on my way to be part of the ultimate top of the world athletes.”

Atos provides consulting & systems integration services, managed services & BPO, cloud operations, big data & cyber-security solutions, as well as transactional services through Worldline, the European leader in the payments and transactional services industry.

The Group works with clients across a number of other business sectors including defence, financial services, health, manufacturing, media, utilities, public sector, retail, telecommunications and transportation.

Harri Saikkonen, Managing Director of Atos in Finland said “It is fantastic to start a local cooperation with the Finnish Olympic Committee. Being successful in sports and business has many common elements. Gold-medal achievements and succeeding in international arenas requires from companies an unconditional work ethic, at the same level as top athletes when preparing for competitions. 

“Like FOC fosters the blue-and-white performance of the athletes, we at Atos commit ourselves to empower the performance of Finnish companies into internationally 

FIFA explains ban for Qatar and Russia bid inspector

Harold Mayne Nicholls in 2009, when he was chairing the FIFA Bid Evaluation Group for World Cups in 2018 and 2022 (Photo: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who chaired the FIFA Bid Evaluation Group for World Cups in 2018 and 2022, was on Thursday notified by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee of the reasons for his seven-year ban. 

The adjudicatory chamber, chaired by Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert, had banned Mayne-Nicholls from taking part in any kind of national and international football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of seven years.

The FIFA-led investigation found Mayne-Nicholls guilty of infringing article 13 (General rules of conduct), article 15 (Loyalty), article 19 (Conflicts of interest) and article 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE). 

The adjudicatory chamber described the violation of article 20 as “the most serious breach committed by the official”, contravening a provision that aims at “guaranteeing that the requirement for FIFA – and its bodies and officials – to behave with integrity and neutrality is upheld at all times”.

“Mr Mayne-Nicholls, in his capacity as chairman of the FIFA Bid Evaluation Group for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022, had a special obligation with regard to the integrity and neutrality of his work,” the adjudicatory chamber said.

“Confidence in the work of the Bid Evaluation Group was especially crucial in order for it to properly exercise its powers and duties. After having taken part in an inspection visit to one of the Bid Committees in September 2010, Mr Mayne-Nicholls, at his own initiative, repeatedly asked for personal favours related to the hosting and training of his relatives (a son, nephew and brother-in-law) at an institution linked with that Bid Committee. 

“Not only were these requests of a private nature, but they were made only a few days after the visit to the Bid Committee, during the time the Bid Evaluation Group of which Mr Mayne-Nicholls was the chairman was still exercising its duties and prior to the election of the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. 

“By making the requests, Mr Mayne-Nicholls did not act in FIFA’s interests and ignored his responsibility as a high-ranking FIFA official, someone who was expected to act with utmost neutrality and integrity, in order to pursue his own personal interests.”

Mayne-Nicholls now has the option to lodge an appeal with the FIFA Appeal Committee.


Olympic Stadium gets new surface

From 6 to 10 July 2016, Amsterdam's venerable Olympic Stadium will host the 23rd European Athletics Championships – the first time the event has been held in the Netherlands.

Around 1,300 athletes from 50 countries will be there for the launch. As this international sports meeting will be held immediately before the Olympic Games in Rio, the programme has been reduced from the usual 47 disciplines to just 42. The marathons and the walking races will not take place.

The running track was given a new synthetic surface from Polytan in June 2015 in order to prepare the best possible surface for peak performances by all the other track and field athletes. The premium Polytan PUR coating in brick red – a standard Polytan colour – was chosen.

The surface in Amsterdam is 17 mm thick and complies with the requirements of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), making it suitable for international competitions with officially recognised personal bests and records. 

The first "litmus test" for the new synthetic surface from Polytan was the national Dutch Athletics Championships in July 2015 – immediately after its installation – and the important "IAAF Class 1" certification of the stadium. 

The facility is unusual in that the water jump for the steeplechase is the outside of the running track. This means that more events can be held simultaneously than is normally the case. 


Gold medal for sports architecture

Now a listed monument, the stadium was built in the Stadionbuurt district of Amsterdam for the Summer Olympics in 1928. It was designed by the Dutch architect Jan Wils, who was awarded a gold medal for the building in the art competition held as part of the Games. 

Historically speaking, the stadium belongs to the "Amsterdam School" of architecture, the famous Dutch classic Modern style, which is also described as Brick Expressionism. 

The competition arena has a closed brick facade on the outside that looks neither dark nor heavy in spite of its large size. This is down to the varied division of the external envelope – a characteristic feature of this architectural style. 

In contrast to the facade, the only thing visible inside the stadium is the reinforced concrete frame in the style of the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which was popular at the time. 

A narrow tower on which the first ever Olympic flame was set alight marks the main entrance. It was and still is the ground's emblem. 


Restoration to glory

The stadium was heavily used in the decades following the Olympic Games – it was the home ground of the well-known football club Ajax Amsterdam for a long time, for instance. It deteriorated visibly during the 1990s, however, until expensive renovations breathed new life into it from 1996 onwards. 

The stadium was restored as far as possible to its original condition, with the demolition of a grandstand extension dating back to 1937. Numerous sporting and cultural events are held there now and it is the base of Amsterdam athletics club Phanos.


Polytan PUR – the faster surface

By opting for the Polytan PUR sports surface, the organisers in Amsterdam decided on a water-impermeable, extremely durable solid synthetic surface consisting of a continuous blend of PUR and elastic rubber granules all the way from the base to the top layer. Polytan employees used the in-situ construction method to install it directly on site. 

Not only does the solid structure make the surface extremely durable, it also greatly enhances the tread elasticity of athletes and thus their acceleration. The track is significantly faster than conventional multi-layered synthetic surfaces. In addition, the top layer of the sports surface is interspersed with EPDM granules, which means that it is suitable for sports shoes with spikes. 

This article was contributed by Polytan. For more information visit


Messi signs with Expo 2020 as Global Ambassador

Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020, with soccer superstar Lionel Messi (Image Credit: Supplied / Dubai Media Office)

Multi-award-winning footballer, Lionel Messi has today been announced as the first Global Ambassador for Dubai’s World Expo, taking on an international role as a champion for Expo 2020 Dubai.

Messi, who yesterday won the coveted Ballon D’Or for a record fifth time, is one of the most widely known footballers in the world. With over 80 million followers on social media, and recognition levels above 85%, by international survey respondents, he is one of the most influential players in modern football.

“Expos are all about focusing attention on issues of global interest and global concern to help imagine a better future,” said Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020. “What better way to do this than by recruiting allies among people who are already working towards better future outcomes?”

Expo 2020 is guided by the belief that innovation and progress are the result of people and ideas combining in new ways. Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds Creating the Future’, the international event aims to bring together hundreds of countries and millions of people to celebrate human ingenuity.

“Lionel Messi’s performances on the football pitch bring people together, and as a result his influence reaches far beyond it. He is the ideal person to be our first global ambassador. He overcame youthful health challenges to achieve his dreams of international excellence through hard work; making him an inspiration. He is perfectly placed to reach out to young people around the world, bringing them together to join us as we work towards hosting our World Expo in 2020 ” H.E. Al Hashimy explained.

Expo 2020 Global Ambassadors will be recruited from leading figures in the sports, arts, music, culture and media, as well as international thought leaders in the fields of architecture & design, science & technology, business, economics, education, philanthropy and sustainability.

Ambassadors will travel the world, talking to stakeholders to explore connections between their work and that of Expo 2020, along with potential opportunities for collaboration and engagement.

The organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai will be making further ambassadorial appointments over the coming months.



European Athletics backs UK call for review of world records

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen has announced a number of measures to bring about a “cultural revolution” in athletics.

These initiatives include a review of European records, in line with the UK Athletics proposal that world records should be reset in light of ongoing doping revelations. 

“Rebuilding the reputation of athletics is likely to be the biggest job we have ever undertaken,” Hansen wrote in a statement issued to stakeholders.

“Symbolic gestures and cosmetic measures will not be sufficient, this grave and unprecedented situation calls for fundamental reform.”

“We believe a cultural revolution will be required for athletics to rebuild its reputation and bring the sport’s governance to where it needs to be.”

The reform programme includes further development of good governance structures; investing in a new mandatory anti-doping education programme, pushing IAAF and WADA to implement tougher penalties for doping offenses, developing a national anti-doping system of assessment and monitoring, and reviewing the European records, in line with the British Athletics proposal for world records.

“The recent scandals have reopened the discussion about the legitimacy of certain records in our sport. These link us to a past in which neither we nor the public can have full confidence,” said Hansen.

“Over the years different approaches for addressing this question have been proposed but the issue is very complex and so far nothing has happened. It is clear that now the situation is different.

“We will set up a special project team in the coming months to look again at what is best for the sport and possibly a new approach to records in Europe that could be an example for the IAAF and our Member Federations. 

“We will also review the lists of all past award winners, like our European Athlete of the Year or our Coaching Awards, to see if action needs to be taken. Whatever changes we make will be clearly explained so that the public can see how European Athletics is coming to terms with the realities of our sport’s past.”

An independent WADA-commissioned report, published during HOST CITY 2015 on 9 November, revealed that officials at a WADA-accredited drug testing laboratory in Moscow destroyed samples and accepted bribes to cover up positive tests. 

“Like everyone in athletics, I am gravely concerned and saddened by the recent WADA report on systemic doping in Russia, the serious corruption allegations against some former IAAF officials and the other scandals that seem to surface on a daily basis,” said Hansen.

“Although European Athletics has not been implicated in any way and these issues are not unique to athletics, the public image and reputation of our sport have been tarnished and this, of course, touches all of us.”

Hansen said European Athletics would take work with IAAF to “help Russia come back into the sport on the right terms.”

“Our philosophy will be one of “tough love” – firm, fair and respectful – but our tolerance for doping and any form of corruption must remain at zero. 

“We will also support our Member Federations that have ideas to contribute to the discussion about our sport’s future now taking place, for example the ‘Manifesto for Clean Athletics’ published by UK Athletics.”

WADA is due to release another report later this week. 

“When the second WADA report is released, we will carefully study it and any recommendations it contains. If immediate comments are called for, we will make them. Then, in light of the report, we will take our time to review the projects and proposals we have put forward and make any adjustments or additions required,” said Hansen.

Hansen endorsed the current leadership of the IAAF. “We have full confidence that IAAF President Sebastian Coe is the right man for the current challenges, and European Athletics will give him the backing and support he needs.”