IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted the importance of the world of sport embracing innovation, as he addressed an audience of sports leaders gathered at the SportAccord Convention opening ceremony in Aarhus, Denmark.
“We live in a fast-changing world and the role of sport in society is constantly evolving too. Innovation becomes the key to adapt to this new reality. All International Federations and all sports organisations are at the forefront of this rapidly changing landscape and many of you are demonstrating innovation every day,” he said.
Praising the constructive involvement of the International Federations during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, he expressed his confidence that this strong engagement would carry on for future Olympic Games.
In his remarks, President Bach stressed the need for innovation in reforming the WADA anti-doping system. “This new system must be equally independent from both sports organisations and from national interests.” he said. “In a world where the integrity and credibility of sport is scrutinised like never before, perception sometimes and even more often becomes reality. This is why it is so important that we avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest.”
He emphasised that a system that is equally independent from sports organisations and national interests would also be advantageous for International Federations, as it would protect them from the risk of being held liable for a mistake or unjustified sanction. Speaking about the plans for the creation of an Independent Testing Authority, President Bach said that such an entity would benefit International Federations by bringing transparency and consistent worldwide testing standards for each athlete in every discipline of a sport.
President Bach also spoke about the importance of innovating the candidature process for the Olympic Games. He pointed out that the current reality of political decision-making made it more difficult to build a winning candidature. “We need to keep innovating and adapt our candidature process to this reality,” he said. “Right now, the process produces too many losers. But the purpose of the candidature process is not to produce as many losers as possible. The purpose of the candidature process is to produce the best host city for the Olympic athletes. We need to adapt the process, making it less costly, more flexible, more effective, more streamlined.”