Back to the future as SportAccord proposes return to GAISF name
By Jonathan Rest
SportAccord, the umbrella body for international sports federations, is set to change its name to the Global Association of International Sports Federations and introduce a two-year rotating presidency as part of a series of statute amendments to be voted on next month.
An eight-page document, distributed to SportAccord members today and seen by Sportcal, calls for SportAccord to adopt the same GAISF acronym that it had prior to 2009 when it was known first as the General Assembly of International Sports Federations and then the General Association of International Sports Federations.
The change to SportAccord was pioneered by former president Hein Verbruggen in 2009, but has caused some confusion with the role of SportAccord Convention.
According to the document, "it is the opinion of the Council that a name that reflects this, like “Global Association of International Sports Federations” (GAISF) would better represent the nature of the organisation. It would also make a clear distinction with the commercial activities held under the patronage of the Association, such as the SportAccord Convention/IF Forum or the Multiple Sport Games which shall also in the future retain the name and brand “SportAccord”, which is a protected mark of the Association."
The switch to a two-year rotating presidency will come into force from 2020, if enacted at the SportAccord general assembly in Aarhus, Denmark on 7 April.
The current president Patrick Baumann, secretary general of FIBA, the international basketball federation, was elected last year for a four-year term.
Under the proposed amendments, after Baumann's tenure ends, he will be succeeded by a representative from the Association of International Olympic Committee Recognised International Federations (ARISF) from 2020 to 2022. The Association of International Olympic Winter Federations (AIOWF) will then lead from 2022 to 2024, followed by a figure from the Association of Independent Members of SportAccord.
The next Association of Summer Olympic International Federations representative will not serve as GAISF president until 2026.
A first vice-president would be appointed by whichever organisation is presiding over GAISF at that time.
A rotating presidency should help alleviate concerns among non-Olympic sports that they are being sidelined in the decision-making. All seven GAISF/SportAccord presidents have come from ASOIF members.
Another significant proposed amendment revolves around the applicant membership process, which at present can be cumbersome with would-be members having to fulfil strict criteria regarding the number of member national federations with the appropriate recognition certificates by national Olympic committees and/or national sports authorities.
SportAccord said that, at present, it has 29 applications for membership pending.
Subject to approval, these applicants will be placed into a newly created category with 'observer' status. These observer international federations will be able to attend the annual general assembly and work closer with the administration to assist them in the process to gain full membership.
At last year's general assembly, three sports were rejected for membership of SportAccord, namely rugby league, poker and arm wrestling.