On Sunday, the Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (FISU) will elect its President for the next four years. There are two candidates in our presidential race. And for both of us – and for the entire university sports movement – the implications of Sunday’s decision are enormously important.
Come Monday morning, there will be numerous challenges and opportunities awaiting the next President. In reference to my election manifesto – and for the benefit of the wider Olympic Movement – I want to outline what I believe these to be. Because whoever wins on Sunday will have one of the most important jobs in world sport: responsibility for the moral, intellectual and physical development through sport of students around the world.
One of the first items in the next FISU President’s in-tray has to be good governance. As IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted in Washington, D.C. last week, all our achievements are at risk if we do not have good governance.
FISU’s political structure ensures that all decisions around the effective running of our federation are taken by our 167 members. This has created a democratic and united electorate. In addition, the executive body enjoys immense technical support from our 16 permanent committees.
Crucial to the success of this structure is that all the constituent parts and individuals are independent and free. Safeguarding this independence and, where possible, further increasing FISU’s autonomy will be a cornerstone of my administration, if elected.
As a presidential candidate I have taken great care in gathering support for my campaign. And I have been fortunate enough to have received support from major individuals and federations, on my terms.
And my terms guarantee my independence as a sports administrator. Implementing good governance across a worldwide federation like FISU not only requires good intentions but rigorous systems and processes and frequent self-evaluation to ensure compliance.
This is the day-to-day reality of good governance and I am ready to vigilantly oversee its implementation across the breadth of FISU’s operations. Good governance is not just a key resolution in Olympic Agenda 2020: it is the principal theme that runs through the whole document. Therefore, placing it at the heart of our thinking and decision making closely aligns FISU with Olympic Agenda 2020. It is important that as we move closer to Olympic Agenda 2020, we do so on FISU’s terms. A highly strategic approach is required so that we can adopt pieces of the “jig-saw puzzle” – as the IOC has referred to Olympic Agenda 2020 – according to what benefits both FISU and the wider Olympic Movement.
The administration and good governance of FISU, and aligning the federation with Olympic Agenda 2020, are the first two pillars of my manifesto pledges. The third pillar is communications, and this represents as many challenges as it does opportunities. FISU is a global federation, covering all five continents, 167 countries and countless languages. So we must be coherent in what we say within the Olympic Movement, to the wider sports family and, most importantly, to the students of the world. Yet at the same time we must embrace diverse media platforms to reach these different audiences, particularly the students.
To be relevant we must be in the eye-line of students around the world and social media is our most direct form of engagement. If we are relevant to students, we will have a greater share of their attention, allowing us to disseminate FISU’s ethos of pursuing excellence in body and mind, and to better promote our core property: the World University Games. This article serves as a summary of my manifesto for becoming the next President of FISU. Yet, as the current President of one of FISU’s 167 National University Sports Federations, it is also a humble note of encouragement, guidance and warning to the next President of FISU. I hope it is a note to self.
by Oleg Matytsin, FISU 1st Vice-President and President of the Russian Students Sport Union
Reprinted by Courtesy of Sport Intern, the international inside World Sports news letter.