The SIGGS Project (“Support the Implementation of Good Governance in Sport”), which is coordinated by the EOC EU Office together with 11 partner organisations, had a very busy month of May. After the national first Strategic Workshop, which took place in Lithuania on 13 April, two additional Strategic Workshops were organised in May.
The Strategic Workshop in Portugal was organised on 4 May 2016. The meeting, which took place in Lisbon, was hosted by the National Olympic Committee of Portugal (COP) and was attended by more than 30 participants from 22 national federations, the Portuguese Olympic Academy and the NOC. Besides presentations by the SIGGS Project Management and the NOC, Joana Gonçalves, President of the Portuguese Hockey Federation, and Marcos Oliveira, Secretary General of the Portuguese Canoe Federation, shared their experiences with the participants. The Strategic Workshop also served as an excellent opportunity to discuss the national results of the first evaluation round, which took place in October-November 2015, and to exchange views on the shortcomings of the implementation of good governance in Portuguese sport. Particular elements that were mentioned were: risk management and liaison with athletes. The NOC also announced the actions that it will undertake in the forthcoming months, in particular in the fight against match-fixing.
The other Strategic Workshop was organised in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 26 May. The Workshop, which was organised in connection with the NOC’s General Assembly, attracted around 40 representatives from national and regional sport federations. It was officially opened by Dr. Janez Kocijancic, Honorary President of the NOC of Slovenia and Vice-President of the EOC, who stressed the importance of implementing good governance in Slovenian sport. On the occasion of the Workshop, the SIGGS Project also launched the consultation phase for Slovenian sport federations through the SIGGS self-evaluation tool, which has been translated in Slovenian. Following an interesting presentation by the Slovenian football federation, Ales Solar of the NOC of Slovenia presented the current and upcoming activities of the NOC in the field of good governance. He referred to the establishment of an ethics commission last year, the creation of the position of Guardian of the athlete’s rights, for which Rozle Prezelj as former Olympian has been appointed, and the agreement to set up a hotline for reporting misconduct.
Besides these two Workshops, the SIGGS Project management had the privilege to organise a Workshop within the framework of the annual EOC Seminar for NOCs, which took place in Tarragona, Spain. The Seminar presented an excellent occasion to present the progress of the project and to engage the 42 other NOCs that are not part of the project consortium as the SIGGS tools are being developed to the benefit of all 50 NOCs and their member federations.
With good governance and integrity being the main focus of the Workshop, a panel debate was also organised on the main challenges for the implementation of good governance at national level. This panel, which was moderated by Niels Nygaard, Member of the EOC Executive Committee and President of the Danish NOC, included: Joao Paulo Almeida, General Director of NOC Portugal, Blaz Perko, Deputy Secretary General of NOC Slovenia, Stavri Bello, Secretary General of NOC Albania, Jean-Michel Saive, Chair of the EOC Athletes’ Commission, and Matthias Van Baelen, SIGGS Project Manager. Joao Almeida explained how the SIGGS Project helped the NOC to support the implementation of good governance in a very practical way and how the NOC is trying to support the federations. Jean-Michel Saive stressed the duty of the athletes to contribute to initiatives helping to safeguard the integrity of sport and good governance as the credibility and the future of sport is key. During an interactive debate with the audience, various elements were discussed including how legal compliance links with good governance, what the link is with the fight against doping and how to cooperate with the national governments. One of the conclusions of the debate was that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in the field of good governance. Therefore, flexible tools are needed. This flexibility is one of the advantages of the SIGGS tools as the customised, practical guidance with a 5-level approach is embedded within the methodology of the Project.
Following this busy month of May, an additional Strategic Workshop was organised in Belgium on 7 June. The remaining Strategic Workshops in the other countries (Germany, Luxembourg and Turkey) are scheduled for the forthcoming months