by Jan Fransoo, IKF President
The IKF, along with about 100 other international sports federations and about 2000 delegates just finished a week of intense meetings and networking at the SportAccord Sports and Business Summit. I had the privilege of representing the IKF, together with our newly elected Secretary General Joana Faria and CEO Tilbert La Haye.
At the SportAccord Summit, we attended a number of formal meetings. The most relevant for us this year was the Annual General Meeting of the International World Games Association IWGA. The IWGA governs The World Games, the top-level multi-sport games at which korfball has been included since 1985. The IWGA held elections for their Executive Committee. President Perurena (Canoe / Spain) was reelected along with a number of other officers. I was newly elected into the IWGA Executive Committee, and I intend to contribute to the development of The World Games, sharing the perspective of korfball. The IWGA Executive Committee also announced that korfball will once again be included within the program of The World Games. We obviously very happy and proud of this, and thank the IWGA for their confidence in the IKF. Our proposal to include beach korfball as an invitation sport has not yet been accepted, but we are in discussion with the Birmingham Organizing Committee to find common ground how a beach korfball showcase could benefit the BOC.
We further attended the General Meetings of the Association of IOC Recognized Sports Federations ARISF and the Global Association of International Sports Federations GAISF, and had a bilateral meeting and attended a workshop with the IOC. It is good to note that overall grassroots sports participation has become more prominent on the Olympic and general sport agenda, and as part of this we were able to showcase korfball at the Sports Festival that was linked to this year’s Summit. We very much appreciate the efforts of the Thailand Korfball Association, the Chinese Taipei Korfball Association, the National Taiwan Normal University, and the Chinese Taipei Sports and Education Ministry to make this happen.
However, we are also confronted with more and more challenges affecting sport in general, and having an impact on our work and budgets. First, as you know from the sports and general media, there are many challenges in the fight against doping. As a consequence of this, WADA is working with the IKF to help us remain compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. Consequently, the IKF will need to further invest in the fight against doping, and we will require also more efforts, in particular from our A and B countries, to regulate, educate, and invest more in the fight against doping in their national leagues. Second, the new GDPR data privacy legislation will unfortunately lead to more bureaucracy that each of our member countries taking part in international competitions will experience. We are trying to implement this in the simplest possible way, but undoubtedly this will also affect us. At the Summit, we met with WADA and were informed by GDPR specialists to help us tackle both of these challenges in the most effective way.
With all these increasing costs and commitments, it is crucial that we collectively find a way further increase the budgets of the IKF. There is a need to grow our professional staff due to the increase of our competition calendar and the increased external requirements. There is a need to further invest in development and marketing. We are seeking to obtain this additional funding from commercial parties, but we can only do this in close collaboration with our leading countries. If you are ready to think along, do not hesitate to get in touch.
We have a great sport and with our gender-equal principles we are more timely than ever. This is an opportunity we need to seize now.
President, International Korfball Federation