President’s Voice ÔÇô Gideon Sam

The world of sport has many, many get-togethers around the globe and one that has a huge attraction is Sport Accord. I was recently in St Petersburg, Russia for... Read more

The world of sport has many, many get-togethers around the globe and one that has a huge attraction is Sport Accord.

I was recently in St Petersburg, Russia for the most recent convention and what happens with Sport Accord is that International Federations and International bodies like the International Olympic Committee (IOC), International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the World Games Federation and others meet with business and have serious discussions about sport.

The people in the television industry come along and tell sport what they like and how they would like us in sport to adjust to what the fan wants. Event managers and marketers are there and they all lobby for the business that goes with sport.

They want to know who is going to bid for which event so that they can make their services available to bidding cities. New sports that want to be recognised by the IOC demonstrate their sport and it is just about lobbying all the way. The sessions are great and go on until late into the night in the various hotels where the delegates are accommodated.

It is during these discussions that your thinking about sport is shaped and it is actually quite scary to see the pace at which sport development is happening in the world. The amounts of money that people are talking about leaves you wondering where all of this will stop.

It also clarifies why some countries are changing their attitudes towards funding models for sport because you simply have to keep up with the pace or fall out!

We certainly do not want to be left behind by the world of sport so we learn from these encounters; make friends and build up relationships that will benefit South African sport as a whole. People get to know about what we would like to achieve and in turn they offer advice and assistance. International federations also want to spread their wings and are looking for territories where they can spread their sport to.

They say that if you snooze you lose, so we have to keep up with what the conversation is all about in world sport and act on it.

Our CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy is heading off to the ANOC conference in Lausanne and will again meet up with other National Olympic Committees to discuss the business of the Olympic Movement and the role National Olympic Committees must play.

Here too we will learn about plans to improve the service to National Olympic Committees by the IOC. Besides all the plenary sessions we also get an opportunity to network, especially as we are looking for training camps for our athletes in other countries.

We have already indicated our desire to work closely with the Italian and German Olympic committees in this regard. We should be able to report progress on this front in our next media briefing some time in July.

What we gather from these meetings we share with our various National Federation Presidents at the appropriate time.

The next Presidents’ Council meeting is scheduled for 22-23 June at SASCOC House. There we’ll take an in-depth look at our policies and the performances of all our federations. Importantly we strategise how we are going to perform on the international stage.

We believe strongly that this platform creates an opportunity for our Presidents to share what works and what doesn’t work in sport and how we should collectively find ways of dealing with our challenges.

It is a meeting not to be missed by federation Presidents. We also invite the provincial sports confederation heads to come and listen to the Presidents so that they can assist them with taking the sport to all our communities in the country.

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