Open Letter: 9th IOC Athlete Forum "The time for meaningful change is now upon us"

10 April 2019

Dear Athletes,
 
Global Athlete wishes the athletes that have been invited to attend the International Olympic Committee’s International Athletes' Forum in Lausanne (13-15 April 2019) the best of success for constructive and open dialogue to further enhance the rights of athletes. With the current global surge in the athlete voice for positive progress, the time for meaningful change is now upon us.

This is an important opportunity for athletes from around the world to come together and discuss emerging issues that are deeply affecting the collective international athlete population; issues that have spurred the athlete community to speak up for change like never before.

In that regard, Global Athlete fully supports the call by the German Athletes’ representation, Athleten Deutschland e.V., for:

  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) to provide a fair share of Olympic Games revenue for all athletes.

Athletes must request a detailed accounting of how IOC funds are distributed with the goal to better understanding what percentage of the dollar directly goes into athletes’ pockets compared to what is distributed to the International Federations (IFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Such a transparent review would educate athletes and be a springboard for open dialogue to change the status quo.

Athletes have a unique opportunity to request that the IOC provides a level playing field when it comes to marketing rights by allowing all athletes from all countries attending the Olympic Games to have the same rights as the German athletes obtained recently through a court ruling on Olympic Charter Rule 40 (which permits athletes more possibilities to advertise at Tokyo 2020).

Global Athlete also advocates Athleten Deutschland e.V’s call for:

  • Truly independent and professional athlete representation without the influence from sport governing bodies. In addition, this revised structure of athlete representation should receive sufficient funding and human resource to facilitate work on behalf of athletes. 

  • Meaningful engagement of athletes at the decision-making table, including professional athletes. We are also of the view that an athlete-led collective approach to decisions can only benefit the future growth of sport.

Global Athlete has also noted the IOC Administration response to the Athleten Deutschland e.V. led discussion paper that “In fact, the IOC has already taken many of the mentioned initiatives on board”. Athletes attending the Forum can therefore properly ask that their concerns are not only taken “on board” but also that concrete solutions be provided to their requests.

We encourage all athletes to join the momentum for change to how sport is run. We encourage sporting organizations to listen to the growing athlete voice and we support athletes in embracing meaningful calls for change without the fear of retribution. Athletes are the number one stakeholder in sport, and their rights must always be prioritized.

We look forward to seeing some tangible athlete-centred outcomes from the IOC Athletes’ Forum; ones that build a stronger collective voice and continue the momentum towards securing and protecting athlete rights within the Olympic movement and beyond.

Best regards,

                                               

Rob Koehler
Director General

Open LetterRob Koehler