Friday, April 17, 2009

AGFIS/GAISF new directions

The WKF karate president Mr. Espinos presented to the MAG session the program of the games between other issues concerning the setup of the Games.

16 Apr 2009

GAISF President Hein Verbruggen speaks about projects and challenges for the future
What was the most important development for GAISF during the past year?

This has been a very big year for the organisation, one that I think will be seen as a turning point. The creation of the Martial Arts & Combat Sports Games means that we have now have a large event that we control and this is very important. At our General Assembly during Sportaccord in Denver, our members approved a re-branding of GAISF. In the future, the organisation will be called Sportaccord. This re-branding comes at a time when we are pushing ahead with the aim of uniting the world of sport. Along with the other Council members, I believe that the world of sport will be stronger when tackling global challenges together, so we seek to reinforce our members' position by uniting and supporting them, while fully recognising the authority of the IOC and the Olympic Movement. The General Assembly also approved moving our headquarters to Lausanne.

What is the state of play in terms of preparations for the first Martial Arts & Combat Sports Games?

During Sportaccord, we signed an agreement with the city of Beijing to host the 1st Martial Arts & Combat Sports Games in Beijing in September 2010. The event will showcase 13 sports represented in GAISF, including four Olympic sports. The best athletes from all of these sports will take part. The venues are already allocated and our Chinese partners are very enthusiastic. The public's appetite for these combat-type sports has become more and more important around the world and this is shaping up as a really significant event. GAISF has also patronized the first World Mind Sports Games. The first edition took place in Beijing last October.

What innovations are we likely to see from AGFIS in the next year?

A big part of our new direction will be in the area of anti-doping. GAISF, in collaboration with WADA, and with the support of the IOC, is now working on developing support services to provide its members on anti-doping matters. These would be real practical services designed to help member federations comply with the WADA Code. GAISF would bring in the expertise and provide services to IFs at nominal costs. GAISF is also supporting its members in efforts to develop and adopt proper statutes to ensure good governance. Our new Multi-Sports Video Platform is also making progress with the goal of giving all IFs channels to distribute video footage.

What are the biggest challenges facing your members - and how are you facing them?

Taking the second part of the question first, I would say that the way our members need to meet all challenges is together, not in isolation. One challenge that I would single out is the threat of breakaway leagues - organisations that set up for themselves with the view that they don't need the IF. Pro leagues are becoming more and more common, even in smaller sports. This is a threat because it presents the scenario of a pyramid without the top, which is what the IF is supposed to provide. And this is very dangerous because the top provides money for the grassroots. Doping is another challenge. Every federation is fighting doping. Our members can fight it better by joining forces. Illegal betting and match-fixing present a challenge for everybody, not just in one sport. We need to fight on a common front.

Which aspects or achievements of Sportaccord are most important for you? How do you think Sportaccord can evolve most usefully?

Sportaccord enables the federations to see that see that they share challenges and this can promote action. Sportaccord makes it clear that they don't need to reinvent the wheel over and over. Sportaccord is about networking and the exhibition, but I think federations should go away from the event thinking about how can they can work together to save money and save energy. Sportaccord makes them aware that they are not alone and that they can take action together and that is what the associations of GAISF, ASOIF and AIOWF are for.

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