THE International Olympic Committee has approved the establishment of the ‘International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate’, a programme aimed at safeguarding athletes, protecting the integrity of sport and promoting sporting values.

According to IOC, the move implied that athletes would, from 2021 onwards, need to have officers with certificates representing them before they could fully participate in IOC competitions.

“As part of its ongoing efforts to promote athletes’ safety and wellbeing, the Executive Board (EB) of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today approved the establishment of the “International Safeguarding Officer in Sport Certificate”. The course leading to certification is set to commence in September 2021. This is a first of its kind because there is currently no certificate or minimum standard of education or training for safeguarding officers in sport on an international level. The five-month education course will be developed by an International Advisory Board of experts, under three Programme Directors, and will be fully aligned with other international efforts to protect athletes and align sports policies and programmes with the United Nations 2030 Agenda,” an IOC statement read.

“It will be hosted on sports oracle. The course will include a final examination, which must be passed in order to receive the certification. Registration for this course – which will be open to anyone, but aimed in particular at International Federations (IFs), National Federations (NFs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) – will incur a fee. Successful candidates proposed by the NOCs will be able to apply for Olympic Solidarity scholarships to enroll in this course.”

The committee further clarified that the programme seeks to create awareness among athletes on the need to promote sporting value and tackle vices such as racism.

“Additionally, the IOC is planning a safe sport digital education and awareness campaign starting in the fourth quarter of 2020. This Athlete365 campaign will look to build global awareness around safe sport in the run-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” stated the Committee. “The overarching principle of the safe sport digital education and awareness campaign is to safeguard athletes, protect the integrity of sport and promote sporting values, through: Educating and empowering athletes with knowledge of what safe sport means. Removing the stigma surrounding this topic and moving the conversation towards a positive message of support and solidarity. Encouraging action by providing easily understood education, and awareness of reporting frameworks and procedures such as the IOC Games-Time Framework, during the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games.”