THE BIG PICTURE: IOC approves its “Athletes’ Declaration”

Among the many features of the Youth Olympic Games program in Buenos Aires (ARG) was the Olympism in Action Forum sponsored by the International Olympic Committee and meetings of the IOC’s Executive Board, and the Session on 8-9 October.

The full Session adopted the IOC’s Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration, which was developed over a year’s process within the IOC Athletes Commission. It includes 12 “rights” and 10 “responsibilities.” Among the rights are:

○ Be part of a transparent, fair and clean sporting environment, particularly one that fights against doping and competition manipulation, and provides for transparent judging/refereeing,selection and qualification processes, and appropriate competition schedules, including training schedules at such competitions.

○ Leverage opportunities to generate income in relation to their sporting career, name and likeness, while recognising the intellectual property or other rights, rules of the event and of sports organisations as well as the Olympic Charter.

So, notably, the Declaration offers no relief from the IOC’s rules against promotion of sponsors of athletes who are not IOC or organizing committee partners. Among the responsibilities:

○ Respect the rights and well-being of, and not discriminate against, other athletes, their entourage, volunteers and all others within the sporting environment, and refrain from political demonstration in competitions, competition venues and ceremonies.

The Associated Press reported that “the World Players’ Association urged the IOC to delay the project, claiming it failed to properly consult athletes or experts, and would ‘curtail fundamental athlete rights rather than protect them.’” The IOC Session approved the Declaration anyway.