Council discusses increased athletes’ representation

At the latest IOF Council meeting the Council discussed the importance of athlete representation in the Council and in the discipline commissions.

Improving athletes’ representation in the governing bodies of the IOF, beyond the current advisory Athletes Commission structure, is something that has been discussed on and off informally by Council. But this was the first time a prepared and structured item was included in the Council agenda, according to IOF CEO Tom Hollowell.
– Athletes’ representation and influence is a very important topic of discussion within international sports organisations and the IOF Council has taken this seriously as one potential area of improvement in the governance of our sport.

The Council agreed to prepare a proposal for improved athlete representation, including statutory changes, to be presented and hopefully approved by the members at the IOF General Assembly in 2020. A Council working group was appointed to prepare initial proposals for its next meeting in August, and was tasked with investigating best practices from other organisations and liaising with the IOF Athletes Commissions when forming the proposals.

It was seen as important that the election process of athletes’ representative(s) be carried out by the athletes themselves and this would most likely require a new type of election process. It was also seen as important to highlight desired competencies of athletes representatives and that a commitment by an athlete to be in Council or a commission would require engagement.

– Because athletes are the number one stakeholder within sport, I believe it is important that we are able to make our voice heard. In my opinion, athletes can strengthen the decision-making process in many ways. For example by providing perspective and advise directly from the forest. Therefore, I think it would be great if we could have athlete representation in IOF Council/Commissions. But to be able to effectively represent the athletes, it is important that the members of an Athletes’ Commission understand the views of all athletes, and not just depend on their own. A good foundation for this is a clear and structured election process for the Athletes’ Commission, says Erik Blomgren, coordinator of the Ski Orienteering Athletes’ Commission.