Report from Sportaccord International Federation Forum 2009

Sportaccord is the new brand name for GAISF (General Association of International Sports Federations), an IOC supported organization. This is the 3rd International Federation Forum.

Sportaccord is the new brand name for GAISF (General Association of International Sports Federations), an IOC supported organization. This is the 3rd International Federation Forum. The forum is designed specifically to encourage communication and knowledge sharing. There were 250 registrants and 70/100+ IF’s present.

There were 2 major themes for this IF Forum 2009. There was a stream of presentations and discussions focused on Youth and Sport and Revenue Generation for International Federations. Both themes are relevant to the current challenges and opportunities for ILS.

ILS was represented at this event by the ILS Legal Advisor & Sport Commission Member Ian Fullagar and ILS President, Steve Beerman. Sportaccord funds the cost of the event and the hotel costs for one participant per IF. They also provide a 300 Euro airfare supplement for one ILS representative. This funding was used to assist with the costs for Steve Beerman. Steve and Ian worked diligently to learn, exchange knowledge while representing ILS to the Sportaccord participants and the IOC. This was an opportunity to meet and discuss with our colleagues in other international federations and IOC leadership.

We heard interesting presentations outlining the current world state and the most probable future issues that international federations should respect. We heard that the current uncertainty and speed of change is likely to accelerate as we look forward. Accountability to stakeholders will be more important as we move forward. The importance of engaging youth to sport organizations cannot be overemphasised. There is value in connecting youth to our organizations at the community, national, regional and global levels. Sport is desired content to an ever expanding media appetite and for civil society community building. The need to include and embrace the emerging middle income nations with their more diverse cultures and languages adds value, challenges and opportunity for IF’s. Creating passionate culture connection with IF’s Vision, Mission, Values and Strategic Goals was highlighted.

The Sportaccord IF Forum placed high emphasis on branding our organizations. Branding is not just a logo but a symbolic construct created in stakeholder’s minds. Licensing, rights management, endorsing, accrediting, trade marking, and expanding income options from events, products and services was discussed. Intellectual property identity and control was also discussed. Sponsorship and partner selection relationship management was discussed.

There were presentations on the importance of youth to sport organization. Integrating youth into governance, decision making and strategic planning was discussed. The value of connections of youth to the IF level of organizations was reviewed. Methods for achieving greater youth involvement were encouraged. In the IOC environment youth is defined as 24 years of age or younger.

ILS has unique positioning with the strongest humanitarian focus. We must learn to make stronger relationships, greater exposure and therefore more revenue generation for our international and national member federations. The upside potential for Lifesaving Sports to gain support from sources outside of the ILS member federations is significant. ILS will need staff and project recourses focused on advancing these opportunities.

We attended an exploratory meeting about Beach/Ocean Games. There were 25 persons present from 14 member federations. There was a strong interest in proceeding with further research and planning for this concept. If this is undertaken by Sportaccord this gives ownership/profit for the event with the IF’s (vs the X-Games which are owned by ESPN). A steering committee will be formed and exploration for a host city and sponsor will be explored.

Ian Fullagar, ILS Governance & Anti-Doping Committees, Sport Commission and Legal Advisor

Steve Beerman, ILS President
Movenpick Hotel, Lausanne, Switzerland
November 16-18, 2009-11-17