Competition on the field of play: Partnerships among governing bodies
Even though the Olympic Movement promotes unity, the essence of sports revolves around the idea of athletes or teams competing against each other. This competition is replicated within the Olympic Movement itself whereas governing bodies compete among themselves for broadcasting and sponsorship income as well as for fans and participants.
It is hard to say how the world will change in the aftermath of this pandemic. However, it is possible to raise questions about the future regardless of the Covid-19 outbreak and rather because the general framework of the sports industry can be reviewed, improved, transformed from being fragmented to becoming more synergic and integrated. Increased collaboration and cooperation can make the Olympic Movement stronger; an integrated approach will optimise planning and operations, develop capacity and contribute to building more economically dynamic communities. In this moment of disruption, three shifts in thinking can foster new transformations and sustainable development.
From output to outcome
Reporting standards in the Olympic Movement are very much focused on the output; i.e. the quantity or amount of material produced, for instance, number of events, total breakdown of participants, etc. Outcome, on the other hand, is the result or the consequence of using or producing the given output. Since sports events organisers move from one event site to another, they do not showcase commitments to the outcome as that refers to the aftermath of hosting the event. Reports can help to appease the conflict and tensions between positive and negative outcomes following sports events.
From complacent reporting to acknowledging negative and positive impacts
In a globalised world with multiple stakeholders, sports events will benefit from added transparency standards and more accountability towards affected populations and interested parties. The Olympic Movement should be more open towards accepting and analysing the negative impact of its events and make sure to use that knowledge to try to diminish them whilst enhancing the positive impact.
From competition to partnerships that provide solutions for society
The industry of sports has the opportunity to embrace societal issues as key principles for its events and development programmes. This pandemic exposed the limitations of the system and how events and solidarity-based programmes can be redesigned to make an impact on local communities. The IF network can also leverage existing programmes to develop an integrated approach to reporting based on well-defined multi-stakeholder partnerships. Such an approach could even benefit public support for future sports events.
The current framework of the sports industry is reflected on how reports are framed and conducted; they are often rushed to be able to move onto the new event or project, a fancy exhibit of what sports (can) achieve. Multi-stakeholder partnerships will enable more integrated processes, including planning and organisation as well as reporting systems and mechanisms. Therefore, integrated reporting, i.e. taking into account and responding to stakeholders’ interests, can empower rights holders to make more realistic claims about the impacts of hosting sporting events and implementing sport for development programmes. It is not far-fetched for IFs to integrate monitoring & evaluation mechanisms - UN agencies do it. There should be no competitors in the Olympic Movement except among teams and athletes within the field of play.
Diogo Jurema: With over 15 years working in sports, Diogo has worked with different IFs as well as public and private organisations to build and implement sport event strategies; he worked with bids and event organisers, and managed sports events and legacy programmes.
Donata Taddia: Donata has always been interested in the creation of innovative solutions for inclusive sustainable development. Among other responsibilities in the field of sport for development, she is currently driving the initiation of an impact, legacy and sustainability roadmap for the FIVB.