Representatives of more than 200 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) met with their sports ministers during the first ever World Olympic Sport Convention, organised by ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees) on 23 October in Acapulco, Mexico.
The discussions concentrated on topics of common interest such as the fight against doping; Olympic education; women, sport and social development; and the training of high-level athletes. Maintaining a cooperative and productive relationship between the Olympic Movement and public authorities is critical in all these areas, a fact which was emphasised by IOC President Jacques Rogge during his speech at the Opening Ceremony.
Advance shared goals
“Our goal is a mutually beneficial relationship that advances our shared goals”, he said and added: “We know that the development of sport would not be possible without the cooperation of government and public authorities. But we have also seen how sport can assist the public authorities.”
Fight against doping and illegal betting
Rogge elaborated on the key opportunities and challenges that both sides should address jointly: “Sport is a magnet for young people, and it can be used to deliver important messages about values and health – in schools and beyond. We can use sport to encourage physical activity and to educate young people about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. We also have a mutual interest in fighting the scourge of doping and irregular betting. Both are direct attacks on the integrity and values of sport.”
Protect the autonomy of sport
In the presence of the many government representatives, the IOC President also stressed the importance of protecting the autonomy of sport: “What does ‘autonomy of sport’ mean? Let me first say what it does not mean: It does not mean that we are above the law or that we should not be expected to adhere to the principles of good governance. It simply means that the world of sport and sports administration should be free from direct political or government interference. It means that governments should not interfere with fair elections for National Olympic Committees, or seek to force the selection of coaches or athletes. We should be allowed to freely form sports organisations, federations and clubs. We should be allowed to freely determine the rules of sport, and to establish structures and procedures for the practice of sport.” He added: “The autonomy of sport is grounded in the unique nature of sport. Sport is a global endeavour that is built on globally accepted norms of fair play and fair competition.”