I am addressing all of you just two weeks after a successful General Assembly held in Paris at the CNOSF headquarters. Once again I take the opportunity to thank President Denis Masseglia and his team for the warm reception given to ENGSO family in a city which is one of the landmarks of modern sports.
Paris, one of the two remaining 2024 Olympic Games candidates, hosted our GA exactly three months before the final IOC decision and the “air” was full of expectations but above all hope that the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad will take place in the city which I mentioned on the opening speech as the real Olympic City, Paris.
In fact the International Olympic Committee will choose, in September, among the two very strong remaining candidates, the city in which the 2024 Olympic Games will be held. The final choice will be between two cities with a long lasting past in the Olympic history. Both of them already hosted the Games two times. Paris in 1900 and 1924 and Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984.
One of the reason to raise this question, is what surprises all of us in sport: the scarce number of candidates compared to previous years. Considering only the Summer Games of 2016 the number of candidates was seven (Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Tokyo, Chicago, Doha, Prague and Baku) and for 2020 they were six (Tokyo, Istanbul, Madrid, Doha, Rome and Baku). We all know that Rome (for 2020 and 2024) Hamburg and Budapest (both for 2024) were at the start of the race, but due to local opposition they had to withdraw.
Just last week at the European Evening of Sport held in Brussels, organised by the European Olympic Committees EU Office, the IOC President Thomas Bach recognised this new reality, , which in fact is changing completely the way how World Federations must operate and seek future organisers for their events.
The citizens are nowadays much more aware of the cities’ spendings and the consequences of the spending on their welfare. We, the leaders of sport movement, need to be more responsible than ever before and need to identify the changes that are urgently needed in the way the megasport events are organised. It is also important to notice that these changes are beneficial for the organised sport movement itself.
The growth in the number of people engaged in grassroots sport will bring more people to the sports fields, more associated members to the sport clubs and a healthier population.
It was having all of these in mind that the topic “Legacy of Olympic Games to Grassroots Sport” was chosen for our seminar in conjunction with the ENGSO General Assembly. The Seminar addressed several sub-topics, such as environment, volunteers, facilities and social inclusion, related to the megasport events from the perspective of successful legacy for grassroots sport. All the presentations are available on our website, and I encourage you to have a look at them.
I wish you all a sporty summer and look forward to the second half of 2017 with interesting discussions.