Chile’s Neven Ilic has become the latest candidate to formally declare he will stand to become President of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).
A key part of the campaign of the Chilean Olympic Committee President is set to be his relative youthfulness, claiming that at the age of 53 he represents a younger generation who deserve the opportunity to make their mark.
Ilic is is 20 years younger than Brazil’s Carlos Nuzman, the President of Rio 2016 considered the favourite to replace the 80-year-old current head, Julio Maglione.
Ilic, also an Executive Council member of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), is hoping to orchestrate wide-ranging changes across the PASO in order to make it accessible to new age groups.
Central to this is a pledge to coordinate “special programmes based on the specific needs of each country” to take into account the huge diversity within PASO’s 41 constituent National Olympic Committees.
Ilic was full of praise for Nuzman, President of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, but believes the time is right to hand over to someone younger.
He cited the examples of other bodies, such as the International Olympic Committee and ANOC, who have appointed the comparatively youthful Thomas Bach and Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, now aged 62 and 53, as Presidents in recent years.
“Carlos is a really good leader,” Ilic, here leading Chile’s squad of 10 competing in the Winter Youth Olympic Games, told insidethegames.
“He helped us a lot through a really difficult period when we were awarded the South American Games in Santiago just after the devastating earthquake [in Chile] in 2010.
“He helps all the South American countries.
“But I think he has been there a long time and this could be a good moment to change to a new generation of PASO leaders.”
Dominican Republic’s José Joaquín Puello, the first contender to formally launch his application, is 75.
Nuzman, currently battling several problems overshadowing the build-up to Rio 2016, is yet to formally confirm his intentions.
He is, however. considered a near certainty to stand.
St Vincent and the Grenadines general secretary Keith Joseph, 63, also officially joined the race yesterday.
St Lucia’s IOC member Richard Peterkin, 67, is another poised to join the race, having told insidethegames today that he will formally enter “when the time is right”.
Ilic believes PASO must better utilise youth-orientated concepts like social media.
“I want to make PASO more professional, with more staff, a general manager, and a sustained marketing drive,” he said.
“We have the opportunity to add more companies as sponsors in order the generate more money, so we must improve marketing programmes and set up commissions so as to help do this.”
He has already revealed his intentions to stand to PASO members, he claims, but plans to draw-up a detailed manifesto over the next two months.
The document is unlikely to be circulated until after an Extraordinary General Assembly meeting scheduled for Brasília in May at which a new PASO constitution is due to be voted on.
Among the proposals is a measure ruling that all Presidential candidates must have served as either the President or secretary general of a National Olympic Committee within the previous three years.
If confirmed, this would seemingly rule both Puello and Peterkin out of standing.
The election is due to be staged at an Ordinary General Assembly later this year, probably after the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- By Nick Butler at the Radisson Blu Lillehammer Hotel
- republished with permission insidethegames.biz