General Assembly review – Fair Play and governance

One of the key topics raised at the IOF General Assembly held Friday July 10th was fair play in orienteering. The topic was raised through a member federation proposal from Finland asking the IOF Council to report on activities carried out, and planned, to protect the culture of Fair Play in orienteering.

President Leho Haldna noted the importance of the topic in his comments to the General Assembly and Senior Vice President Astrid Waaler Kaas addressed the actions taken and also the impact that the topic had on the future activity planning of the IOF for the next Council period, until 2022. A new Focus Area was introduced into the activity plan for the period 2020 – 2022 regarding sports ethics, fair play and credibility, with corresponding goals and activities.

The Council also proposed to the General Assembly the adoption of a resolution by all delegations. The resolution had been commented upon by members in advance of the General Assembly and was unanimously adopted.

IOF Governance for the upcoming Congress period 2020 – 2022

The General Assembly approved the updated Strategic directions of the IOF including focus areas for activities from 2020 – 2022 as well as the corresponding budget.

Some General Assembly 2020 reflections

The General Assembly did in fact reach record participation. The detailed participation data received from meeting partner Lumi shows that:

  • The General Assembly had 121 delegates participating
  • The delegates represented 55 IOF member federations (51 members and 4 provisional members)
  • Votes were received from 51 voting members at some point during the assembly
  • 119 guests observed parts or all of the assembly
  • Among the guest observers were representatives of the IOC, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the International World Games Association (IWGA), as well as Honorary IOF President Brian Porteous, who sent a greeting to the delegates.

As this was the first ever fully digital General Assembly a lot can be learned from the experiences gained. The IOF has sent out an evaluation questionnaire to all participating delegates to gain an understanding of their impressions of the assembly. In the initial feedback received delegates are satisfied with the conduct of the General Assembly. Most importantly delegates have expressed their satisfaction that the decisions of the General Assembly reflect the opinions of the members and that the General Assembly was conducted in accordance with the Statutes and practices of good governance. However, a number of areas for improvement have been identified particularly regarding the efficiency of the digital meeting tools for commenting and voting, and the timing and length of the meeting. The feedback received so far indicates that there is very strong support for continuing to allow digital participation at the General Assembly although a hybrid model with both physical and digital presence is preferred.