1st SAOC monthly conference to mark Olympic Day
Riyadh, 23 June 2020 – The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee held its initial monthly conference to mark the Olympic Day 23 June with the participation of Jérôme Poivey Head of Institutional Relations & Governance International Olympic Committee, and Dr Donald Rukare, Advocate at the High Court of Uganda and Secretary General of Uganda Olympic Committee who discussed the topic of sports governance.
The conference hosted online ran under the patronage of HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal, president of Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and attracted the attendance from SAOC, Saudi national sports federation members, and sports specialist in the kingdom.
Dr Rukare started the first session about the principles of governance and highlighted that that transparency, accountability, and equality/equity, fairness, and being inclusive are the most crucial principles to follow. Mr. Poivey meanwhile discussed the role of the national Olympic committees and new IOC agenda 2020 and its recommendations which included for an example, (Recommendation 27: Compliance of sports organisations with basic standards of good governance).
A refreshing Olympic discussion took place at the closing of the conference between the participants and the speakers with regards to several Olympic issues such as the current pandemic, women sports and the interrelation between all various sport institutions. When asked about the unprecedented conditions for athletes due to the pandemic and how it should be helping to accelerate the learning and outcome during a crisis such as this where we had to work remotely, Dr Rukare said, “we need national Olympic committees to go back and review their policies because most of it was framed during the time we thought things would be done in physical presence only, but now we need to go back to the guidelines and re configure and amend it to be suitable for nowadays things like taking decisions online. For example, can we do campaigns online without breaching the law, then we need to put that process and build capacity. We need to offer access, quality, and building capacity once again because for example maybe not everyone has internet.”
Mr Jerome Poivey was asked about governance and what module would be useful to use for a sport federation in Saudi, if a unified governance module would work, or if every federation need to be creative and innovative in creating their own module, and he responded responded, “we tend to ask the NOCs to follow the IOC charter and see if the values are reflected then they can approve it if it doesn’t contradict by the law.” He added, “there must be some flexibility so we need to make sure the basic principle is there.”
The relationship between NOC and governance in terms of rules, implementation and auditing with reference to the IOC agenda 2020 was also brought to the discussion table, Mr. Poivey explained with retards to this matter, “every NOC should imply with the sports law and Olympic charter. The issue is when sports law is not reflected then we try to negotiate to find solution and usually it works, if not then we suspend the NOC because it doesn’t follow the Olympic movement for example there must be an election process and sport law must be respected.”
About women and sports, Dr Donald explained that all sport institutions need to embed a mechanism to empower more women in sports, he said “each country needs to find what works best for them within their context. the IOC agenda 2020 is very clearly trying to have 50/50 percentage of men and women employed. You need to embed it in the system and deliver programs to target women in leadership and sports acquisition courses. This will attract them and help build capacity and women power through encouraging them and of course then you will have to document it and identify particular women to mentor and help further to grow.”
It is worth noting that the second SAOC monthly conference will be held in July with a new topic: Managing National federations