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IPC proposes separation for 10 para sports

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, speaks during a press conference (by Jörg Schüler/Getty Images)

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has proposed that it will cease acting as the International Federation (IF) for 10 sports as it seeks to move away from accusations of conflict of interest.

The proposal was one of a number of reforms put forward following 18 months of consultation in a Governance Review document designed to ensure the IPC remains world leading as an organisation. In the proposals, which IPC members were presented with for the first time at the IPC Conference in Bonn, Germany, nine key principles for change were outlined, headlined by the “managed exit process” for the 10 IPC sports, namely Alpine skiing, athletics, biathlon, cross country skiing, dance sport, ice hockey, powerlifting, shooting, snowboard and swimming.

The IPC report read: “This role, and the structure created to operationalise it, has created perceptions of conflict of interest, disparity in the application of resources, a sense of unfairness between the IPC Sports and those which are not and confusion about the IPC’s role, all of which is impacting its reputation.

“These perceptions are acknowledged as the IPC currently spends approximately one third of its time and money on the IPC Sports. However, the IPC Sports bring in approximately 20 per cent of the IPC’s revenue so there is a balancing of costs and benefits.”

To give effect to this change in purpose, it is proposed to set an aspirational, but not strict, date by which all IPC sports will be separated from the IPC. For summer sports that date will be the end of 2028, and for winter sports, the end of 2030.

The separation will occur by each IPC sport either establishing a stand-alone entity, joining an existing able-bodied IF, or becoming part of another organisation, which may include a multi-sport entity. It is proposed that an internal division of the IPC, entitled World Para Sports (WPS) Unit, will be formed to manage the process. It will be operationally independent from the IPC with its own board and staff.

Commenting on the overarching reform plan, IPC president Andrew Parsons said: “Everyone involved with the Paralympic Movement wants the IPC to remain a world leading sports’ organisation and nowhere is that desire felt stronger than within the IPC Governing Board.

“In order to achieve this, in today’s ever-changing sporting landscape of greater scrutiny and accountability, it is vital that we have in place the best and most up-to-date sports governance structures.

“These proposals are the result of 18 months’ worth of consultation and dialogue with IPC members, athletes and key stakeholders, as well as development work by the IPC Governance Review Working Group. The proposal document is by no means a finished article, but it does aim to make the IPC more membership focussed and athlete-centred.”

In April 2018, the IPC announced a review of its governance structures for the first time since 2004, establishing a Governance Review Working Group led by vice-president Duane Kale.  Since then there has been extensive consultation with IPC members and key stakeholders, including September 2018’s IPC Membership Gathering.

Following the presentation and publication of the reforms, there will now be 12 months of consultation with IPC membership to gather feedback. An Extraordinary General Assembly will take place in December 2020 and, if approved, the principles will be implemented through a range of changes in the Constitution, by-laws, practices and procedures of the IPC as set out in the proposal.