Saudi Arabia NOC conference focuses on managing national federations

Photo taken during the 2nd SAOC virtual conference at SAOC.
Photo taken during the 2nd SAOC virtual conference at SAOC.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, July 22, 2020: The Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC) held its second monthly virtual conference on July 22 entitled “Managing National Sports Federations” under the patronage of SAOC President HRH Prince Abdulaziz ibn Turki Alfaisal. 

The guest speakers were Kelly Fairweather, chief operating officer at the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and Florian Pasquet, national federations and sport senior associate at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). More than 150 sports officials and specialists attended.

In his welcoming speech on behalf of HRH Prince Abdulaziz, SAOC Director of International Relations Prince Fahad bin Jalawi stated that Saudi Arabia has 64 Saudi sport federations some of which were only inaugurated one or two years ago. 

He explained: “The inclusion of women is also considered a recent update to our federations. However, despite its young age they are all putting their best efforts to meet the expectations and goals, and that’s why this seminar was very beneficial to all our colleagues at SAOC and the Ministry of Sports.”

Pasquet’s speech focused on empowering national federations. “Improving the infrastructure is key in levelling up the game in any national federation,” he said. 

He pointed out six important steps to follow based on FIBA strategy: building professional leadership, boosting grassroots basketball, levelling up the game, developing the next generation of talents, professionalizing national teams’ structures and building event-hosting capacity.

Speaking about the ITF model, Kelly Fairweather explained that federations were now reviewing their plans after the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. For him, the importance of having a solid structure is crucial. 

“We want more players, or better players. You need a better approach based on your nation’s goals. Every successful sporting federation has a good strategy and a good implementation of that strategy,” said Fairweather.

One of the topics raised was how to build a successful relationship between the National Federation, National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport. The speakers said the National Federation must gain the trust of the other two organisations through strong management and strategy, leadership and governance, income generation and technical development.

Prince Fahad concluded: “The guest speakers both managed to cover and answer many questions as they represented different strategies. They added value to our organisations through exchanging their experiences in the field.”

Source: Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee