ITTF President Petra Sörling participated in the 46th General Assembly of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) in Lausanne, Switzerland. ITTF Secretary General Raul Calin was also in attendance.
The meeting opened with a speech by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who thanked the ASOIF members for the excellent cooperation in the run-up to, and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – a successful edition held amidst unprecedented and very challenging circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also reiterated the IOC’s position on the war in Ukraine and on the breach of the Olympic Truce by the Russian government and the government of Belarus. The IOC recommendations on this important matter have been supported by ASOIF, the ITTF and the other member International Federations (IFs).
“I was delighted to be in Lausanne to be part of the ASOIF General Assembly. After these two years marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, we measure the value of meeting face to face. I had fruitful exchanges with the ASOIF leadership and fellow International Federations Presidents. Together, we are navigating through one of the most challenging periods in our history, and we are all innovating and experimenting in order to stay relevant in this new era.” – ITTF President Petra Sörling
The ASOIF membership received a detailed presentation from the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, led by its President Tony Estanguet.
With two years to go, there was a strong focus on the progress, opportunities and challenges in the fields of infrastructure, venue finalisation, sport delivery and sport presentation. Table tennis competitions will be hosted in South Paris Arena #4, an exhibition and convention centre which will be a major hub for the Paris 2024 Games.
President Sörling and other IF leaders reiterated their readiness to collaborate more closely in order to contribute to the organisers’ vision of delivering spectacular, popular and sustainable Games.
“It was great to meet most of our members in person again. The discussions are livelier than in the virtual space and we were able to address many pressing issues. Obviously, the situation of the Ukrainian sport community is a major concern for all IFs, and we need to do everything to support the Ukrainian athletes in training, also in light of the upcoming qualification process for Paris 2024.” – ASOIF President Francesco Ricci Bitti, who led the General Assembly
The General Assembly also approved several amendments to the ASOIF Statutes concerning the membership status, in particular the eligibility criteria for Full and Associate Members. These Statute amendments will allow ASOIF to accommodate IFs as members as the Olympic sports programme continues to evolve. The updated Statutes are coming into effect immediately and require Full Members to be consecutively included on the Olympic programme for the three most recent editions of Summer Olympic Games. In order to qualify as an ASOIF Associate Member, IFs must govern a sport on the Olympic programme for future editions of the Summer Olympic Games or they must have done so for any five editions of the Olympic Games since 1988.
With governance remaining a top priority for ASOIF and its members, the delegates were updated on the fourth review of IF governance, led by ASOIF’s Governance Task Force. ASOIF President Ricci Bitti praised the IFs’ good collaboration in this regard. The two-year interval since the third assessment has allowed the ASOIF members time to implement more complex changes and significant progress is expected. The results are currently being finalised and will be made public on 21 June.
In addition, the General Assembly heard updates from the IOC on matters related to the IFs and the Olympic Games and from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).