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IRF participation at the 2023 SportAccord International Federation Forum

By invitation from the SportAccord, Eric Beaudreau, First Vice-President and Chair of Sport and Competition, represented the International Rafting Federation at a three-day Forum for International Sports Federations held on November 13-15, at the Olympic Capital of Lusanne, Switzerland.

SportAccord is a global sports event organisation governed by stakeholders representing Olympic and non-Olympic International Sports Federations. SportAccord brings together International Federations and organisations involved in the business of sport with the aim to serve, promote, and protect the common interests of its stakeholders, help them achieve their global objectives, and facilitate knowledge-sharing.

Under the theme of ‘Sport (R)evolution’ the 2023 IF Forum held at the Olympic Museum covered topics including the use of new technology to build fan engagement and optimise the monetisation of International Federation assets, the strategies that have succeeded in revolutionising women’s sport, climate action and other topics that are transforming the environment in which IFs work.

With a record attendance of more than 400 people representing more than 120 International Federations, the Forum provided a valuable networking opportunity to exchange ideas and embrace opportunities.

At the welcoming address, the President of the International Olympic committee spoke frankly, urging unity amongst the IFs and the sport and business community, given an increasingly complex international backdrop, to face the headwinds that are being felt across all sports including supply side squeezes and global instability.

Key accomplishments for Eric were creating contacts with other small non-olympic federations to discuss ideas for coordination (example: implementing anti-doping requirements more cost effectively/efficiently).

Eric also attended sessions related to climate change and sustainability and is pleased to report that based on the nature of our sport, and IRF current practices, we are on the right track. Because IRF events are primarily organized around natural rivers, and do not typically involve the construction or operation of large infrastructure, it is just inherently easier for us to do what we do, sustainably.

Eric also met with Stephen Fox, the President of AIMS (Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport), which represents International Sports Federations who are currently not recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The aim of AIMS is to strengthen each individual sport, combine expertise, share knowledge, and maintain close cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), so that the individual sport will eventually achieve official recognition from the IOC. Mr. Fox is also a board member of the SportAccord, and over the next year SportAccord will be designing a new process for achieving IOC recognition for AIMS members.

Recognized by SportAccord and AIMS as the official governing body of international rafting competition, the International Rafting Federation will continue to stay engaged with multiple partners to further common goals of sustainable and equitable participation in sport.

Presentation on Environmental Sustainability in Sports
Eric and Mr. Steven Fox, AIMS President