The IF Forum 2022 brought together 350 leaders from more than 125 International Federations, presidents, CEOs, and senior managers meeting face-to-face in a relaxed environment to enable first-class networking and knowledge-exchange opportunities.
This year’s Forum was held at The Olympic Museum and was focused on how International Federations (IFs) must be proactive to ensure safe sport and sustainability are built into the core of everything they do.
On the opening day, Ivo Ferriani, President of SportAccord, highlighted the influence of IFs, and the sports they represent, on the lives of athletes, followers, host cities and the environment.
“We have a duty to protect our athletes, we have a duty to protect our planet, and we have a duty to protect human rights,” Ferriani said. “Ultimately, this consideration – this duty – is in our best interests.
Speaking on behalf of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, who was praised by Mr Ferriani for his leadership on the issues of safe sport and sustainability, together with the creation of a strong human rights framework, International Olympic Committee Vice-President, Ser Miang Ng said: “The theme of this IF Forum, International Federation Impact – Safe Sport and Sustainable Development, could not come at a better time. The word impact is key because it highlights our fundamental belief that we can have an impact, that we can make the world a better place through sports.”
Day one also featured powerful keynotes on human rights and sustainability. David Grevemberg CBE, Chief Innovation and Partnerships Officer, Centre for Sport and Human Rights said, “Universal principles for good governance in sport, provides a solid framework, however, human rights considerations can help to strengthen these principles even further.”
Dale Vince, Chairman of EFL League One football team Forest Green Rovers, recognised by the UN as the world’s first carbon neutral club said, “There are two ways of having an impact in this life, one is to do something yourself and I spent decades doing these things to show that they work. The second and more powerful way to bring change is to be a catalyst, so we share all of our ideas with other people and show them stuff works and other people come along and pick these up and more change happens.”
Day two featured Q&As, scene setters, case studies and panel sessions delving into topics ranging from ‘Human Rights in Practice’ to ‘Safe Sport – Think Globally, Act Locally’, and ‘How to Implement Easy Changes Within Your Sustainability Strategy’, as well as a focus on the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals and their connection to sport.
Additionally the day saw high powered contributions from the likes of Alexandra Rickham PLY, Head of Sustainability, World Sailing; Rodi Basso, CEO, UIM E1 Series; Alex McLin, Director, Gymnastics Ethics Foundation; Julie Gabriel, President of the International Savate Federation; Magali Martowicz, Head of Human Rights, IOC; Riikka Rakic, Head of Sustainability, International Biathlon Union; and Alan Gilpin, CEO of World Rugby.
Athlete contributors included Kady Kanouté Tounkara OLY, chair of the WADA Education Committee who captained the Mali basketball team and Sey Smith OLY, a member of the Canadian 4x100m bronze medal team at London 2012 and Canada’s four-man bobsleigh crew at PyeongChang 2018.
Other expert speakers on day two, which began with a welcome address by Martin Gibbs, Acting Managing Director, SportAccord, included Isabella Burczak, Advocacy & Development Manager, Union Cycliste Internationale; Julie Duffus, Senior Manager Sustainability, IOC; and Niklas Carlsson, Deputy Secretary General, International Ski Federation.