A commission has been set-up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to investigate the increasingly crowded sporting calendar but which has already decreed that the Olympics must remain the most important event.
The consultative working group was one of several initiatives announced following a summit today of the Olympic Movement’s key stakeholders in Lausanne, which had been called by new IOC President Thomas Bach.
Among the 17 delegates who attended the summit was Marius Vizer, the new President of SportAccord, whose manifesto pledges included the creation of a “United World Championships” for Olympic and non-Olympic sports, which would be held every four years.
Vizer has insisted that the Championships, due to launch in 2017, will not be a rival to the Olympics.
But his plan had been heavily criticised by Bach’s predecessor, Jacques Rogge, before he stepped down.
“With respect to the sports calendar, the participants agreed that any new initiative has to respect the uniqueness of the Olympic Games,” the IOC said in a statement.
“It means that neither the Olympic Programme nor Games revenues should be adversely affected in any way.”
The calendar is becoming increasingly crowded with multi-sports events, including the launch of the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015.
“In order to ensure the respect of these principles, the participants agreed to the creation of a consultative working group under the leadership of the IOC, composed of the main stakeholders of the Olympic and Sporting Movement, which will compile a comprehensive sporting calendar of current events,” said the IOC statement.
“This working group will also discuss the priority of current and future sports events within the global calendar.”
The IOC also agreed to set up a special unit to coordinate efforts against match-fixing and illegal betting – issues which were at the top of Rogge’s agenda and which Bach has promised to keep working on.
“This unit will work on risk prevention and the dissemination of information, and will support the harmonisation of rules of the Olympic and Sports Movement,” the IOC said.
The rules will be based on measures enforced by some federations already, including FIFA, which “has already applied severe sanctions” for match-fixing, the statement said.
Other important decisions included a reaffirmation of support for Britain’s Sir Craig Reedie as the next President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) when Australia’s John Fahey steps down at the end of this year.
Sir Craig’s appointment is due to be formally rubber-stamped at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in Johannesburg, which is due to take place between November 12 and 15.
Sir Craig was present at the meeting, along with fellow IOC vice-presidents, Australia’s John Coates and Morocco’s Nawal el Moutawakel, and Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the influential Kuwaiti who heads the Association of National Olympic Committees.
Others in attendance included Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committees, C K Wu, head of the International Boxing Association but on this occasion representing the international federations, and Claudia Bokel, chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
Several international federations were represented, including FIFA President Sepp Blatter, as well as Liu Peng, Alexander Zhukov and Larry Probst, heads of the National Olympic Committees in China, Russia and United States respectively.
The meeting also endorsed the IOC’s proposed revisions of the World Anti-Doping Code, including an increase in suspensions from two years to four years, meaning that convicted of a drugs offence will miss at least one Olympic Games.
The delegates also called on WADA to “strengthen its role in research and as a service organisation.”
Some sports have complained that WADA has overstepped its role by criticising and giving orders to international federations, rather than serving their own needs.
The leaders called for closer cooperation between international federations and national anti-doping bodies, as well as between doping organisations and national Governments.
Bach also presented his ideas for changing the Olympic bidding process, reviewing the Olympic sports programme and bringing more young people into sport, the IOC said.
The issues will be discussed further at the next summit meeting in the first half of 2014.
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.