Saudi Arabia NOC holds first remote conference on Olympic Day

HRH the President welcoming the speakers.
HRH the President welcoming the speakers.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 23, 2020: The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) held its initial monthly conference to mark Olympic Day on June 23.

The topic was sports governance and the two special guests were Jérôme Poivey, Head of Institutional Relations and Governance at the IOC, and Dr Donald Rukare, Advocate at the High Court of Uganda and Secretary General of the Uganda Olympic Committee.

The conference, which was conducted online, ran under the patronage of HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal, President of SAOC, and was attended by members of the SAOC, Saudi national sports federations and sports specialists in the kingdom.

Dr Rukare opened the first session about the principles of governance and stressed that transparency, accountability, equality/equity, fairness and being inclusive were the most crucial principles to follow. 

Mr Poivey discussed the role of National Olympic Committees and sports organisations within the good governance framework of Olympic Agenda 2020. 

A refreshing discussion took place at the closing of the conference between the participants and the speakers with regards to several Olympic issues such as the current pandemic, women in sport and the interrelation between all various sports institutions. 

When asked about the unprecedented conditions for athletes due to the pandemic and about working remotely, Dr Rukare said NOCs needed to review and adapt their policies due to the changing working environment.

Regarding the governance of sports federations in Saudi Arabia, Mr Poivey said NOCs should first follow the IOC Charter but added there was still room for flexibility in certain areas.

Mr Poivey also spoke on the relationship between NOCs and governance in terms of rules, implementation and auditing in reference to Olympic Agenda 2020 and said every NOC should comply with the sports law and Olympic Charter. If the IOC could not find a solution, the NOC would face suspension, he added.

On the subject of women in sport, Dr Rukare explained that all sports institutions must establish a mechanism to empower more women in sports and aim for the 50/50 ratio in the work place advocated by Olympic Agenda 2020. He said that sports institutions must deliver courses specifically for women in leadership and administrative roles.

The second SAOC monthly conference will be held in July with a new topic: Managing National Federations.