This January we do not just enter a New Year, we actually enter a new decade. For many companies and other organizations, this turn of a decade has been a good reason to revisit the strategy. Also in the world of sport, many are rethinking their position in this rapidly changing world. As the International Olympic Committee has attained many of its strategic objectives of the Agenda 2020, it now focuses much on immediate challenges. While the IOC has tried to contain the gigantism of the Olympic Games, it now seems that the fight against doping seems to drive many decision makers towards a new uncontrollable mechanism that consumes way too many resources from all of us in the world of sport. I do hope that the IOC is able to somehow bring this matter back to normal proportions as I think it is an unacceptable path if International Federations need to spend more resources on the fight against doping than on the development of sport.
I have also noted with great satisfaction that the International World Games Association is about to agree with its membership on a number of strategic choices for the coming years. The World Games are traditionally the Games with much innovation, both in terms of adapting to the host cities’ abilities, needs, and preferences, but also in terms of embracing new sports and disciplines. Now that TWG sees some innovative disciplines strengthen the Olympic Program in Tokyo and Paris, we need to have more flexibility in the TWG program to remain relevant. I am privileged to have been able to contribute to this discussion and process as a Member of the IWGA Executive Committee.
Within korfball, the IKF discussed our strategic orientation during the World Korfball Congress last August in Durban, South Africa. The Congress was an excellent event, in particular due to the very active participation of many member national federations. I have also been pleased with the outcome, which will be formulated in terms of a concrete plan for the next decade. At the core of this plan is a roadmap towards Olympic program inclusion. Along this path is increased participation in multi-sports games, where especially the various regional games are on our agenda.
At the Congress, a lively debate took place on the format that will be our format of choice for multi-sport games. In our own competitive cycle, korfball8 is the main format of choice and this also dominates in most countries that national leagues. However, smaller formats seem to be growing fast, with beach korfball in particular gaining much ground and exposure. At international level, beach korfball has become more competitive with many different countries winning medals in the IKF Beach Korfball World Cup series. Next year, in 2021, we hope to organize the first-ever official Beach Korfball World Championship at a phenomenal venue soon to be announced.
However, a shared vision on our format of choice for multi-sport games has not yet materialized, and the Executive Committee will soon appoint a special task force to prepare a format-choice decision. The task force will be requested to conduct broad consultations within the global korfball community and in the broader world of sports, media, and marketing, and to present their final report in advance of the 2021 World Korfball Congress where the Council will present a final proposal based on the report of the task force. Specific attention will also be given to the equipment needs for any new format; we have been experiencing limits to our growth due to the poor availability of equipment, in particular in Africa and Latin America.
The Executive Committee has also been very pleased with the commitment demonstrated by many of our national federations to become part of our strategic plan. The Congress has agreed to my proposal to invite 40 national federations to formally join the project. These 40 national organizations will need to give a firm commitment with clear objectives what their contribution can be to our ambition. National organizations that have an interest are obviously welcome to contact me directly, but we will definitely also reach out to those organizations that we think can contribute.
Without currently going in detail through all of our plans, I would like to make one matter clear, and that is that for the near future we do not expect any changes in our competition calendar. We very much realize that the extensive growth in youth events with annual events for U19 and U21 now having become official, and potentially moving towards officializing the U17 events, we expect quite a bit from you as member national federations. However, I am firmly committed that youth competition is absolutely necessary to secure our future. Hence, within the current calendar we will seek to maximize growth in youth participation in these events. For increased participation in multi-sports games we will need to have outstanding athletes also after 2025, and the youth events are crucial for this.
We do realize that in most countries , and also within the IKF, we are fully reliable on thousands of volunteers running korfball developments and competitions. I would like to extend my warm personal wishes to all of you, not just in your korfball activities, but first and foremost in your private and family life. I do wish all of you a wonderful 2020, as the start of the next decade, with joy, happiness and in good health!
Jan C. Fransoo