At the GAISF General Assembly at SportAccord 2009 in Denver, it was decided to re-brand' the General Association of International Sports Federations under the SportAccord brand-name which is aimed at getting the organisation known, according to GAISF President Hein Verbruggen. "We need a brand-name for the organisation itself. All these abbreviations are no good, except for the IOC, which is a brand-name in itself", Verbruggen said. "We're starting to have products - the convention, the martial arts games, the mind games - and we have to brand these. We want to make them into important, high-profile events."
As part of Verbruggen's vision for the future of the organisation a unanimous decision was made at its general assembly last weekend to move its headquarters from Monte Carlo to Lausanne.
Verbruggen said: "We need an association in Switzerland to hire people there. The IOC is there, and many of the international federations are here. We're working closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency, and they're in Lausanne."
The SportAccord brand-name has hitherto been reserved for the annual convention, part-owned by GAISF, whose latest edition concluded last weekend in Denver.
Verbruggen said that GAISF had won the approval of the other co-owners of the convention - the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations and the Association of Winter Olympic Federations - for use of the name.
The activities can be grouped under three headings:
Administration. The day-to-day administration of the organisation, including contact with members, admission of new federations and due diligence to ensure that they comply with the GAISF criteria, and bookkeeping is handled by a staff of three.
Projects. The organisation is working on about six special projects, comprising "issues of common interest" to its federation members. These include: lobbying for the autonomy of sport in Brussels: a "co-financing" agreement with the IOC and WADA aimed at offering common anti-doping services to groups of smaller federations to help them to afford the costs of compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code; and a project aimed at distinguishing sports and disciplines of sports in sports such as martial arts.
At present, two people are employed on GAISF projects but Verbruggen said that it is "not to be excluded" that others, including consultants, could be employed in this area.
Events. A planned new quadrennial martial arts games event, to be introduced in 2010, is intended to become the blueprint for other new groupings of related sports to create international games. The games would be organised by international sports federations instead of by national Olympic committees, as has traditionally been the case for multisports games, Verbruggen said.
The host city contract for Beijing to host the inaugural edition of the martial arts games in September next year was signed at the SportAccord convention.
The event is set to take place in three venues and to involve sports governed by 13 different international sport federations: ju-jitsu, judo, karate, kendo, kick-boxing, muaythai, sambo, taekwondo, wushu, sumo, aikido, boxing and wrestling.
The event follows last year's inaugural edition of World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, organised by the International Mind Sports Association, and comprising competition in five mind sports: bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi (Chinese chess).