Last week the International World Games Association started the process of compiling the sports programme for The World Games 2021 in Birmingham, Alabama. IWGA CEO Joachim Gossow explains the procedure for the member federations that apply to be on centre stage in the USA.
Can you please explain the procedure by which the IWGA shapes the programme for TWG 2021?
Joachim Gossow: Last week all IWGA Member Federations were sent an email asking them to fill in and send back their ‘Application for Participation in the TWG 2021 Birmingham Official Sports Programme’ by 17 January 2018 at the latest. After that date, the member IFs’ applications along with the proposals of the Birmingham Local Organising Committee (BOC) will be analysed. The programme will be compiled together with the Host City. The whole process of compiling the first draft of the 2021 sports programme will last approximately two months as we may have to clarify further details, either with the IFs wishing to participate or with BOC.
What are the criteria for a sport or a discipline to get on the programme?
Joachim Gossow: General criteria which must be fulfilled by the IFs which apply for participation are outlined in our ruling documents, and briefly listed again in the application form sent to the IFS, such as the “... condition to be accepted or remain on the programme is to be fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. WADA will report directly to IWGA on the status of compliance based on the Compliance Questionnaire and the follow up actions.” And of course we expect that our IFs will be able to send the best athletes in each discipline to TWG 2021.
Are there additional expectations on the federations?
Joachim Gossow: Participating IFs must understand that The World Games are a showcase for their sport and not a copy of any other championship they run. This event serves as an extraordinary platform for their presentation, and as such it needs extraordinary performances by all involved parties to be successful. This includes the efforts and support of the Host City as well!
Are there any regulations which refer to the cooperation between IWGA und the IOC?
Joachim Gossow: There is just one general rule: “The IWGA shall ensure that only sports whose IFs are recognised by the IOC, or are full members of AIMS, or are members of the IWGA will be included in the official sports programme of The World Games.” And of course: only events that are not on the programme of the Olympic Games can be included in TWG 2021.
Regarding criteria: are there any changes compared to the ones for the Wroclaw event?
Joachim Gossow: No, the Board was satisfied that the process which was used for the 2017 Games worked well with regard to criteria. Nevertheless the 2021 form asks for more detailed information pertaining to the performance itself, and requests the IFs wanting to participate to start very early to identify and appoint representatives for organisational tasks, who will work with IWGA, BOC and service partners.
How will you bring your experience of TWG 2021 into the design of the programme?
Joachim Gossow: TWG 2017 were evaluated by our own commission, the participating IFs and the Wroclaw Organising Committee as well as by our main service partners. We finalised this process last month. In the meantime the IFs have received the TWG 2017 Evaluation Report, and based on recommendations in this document for improvements and on other criteria, for example the venue situation in Birmingham, the ticketing programme and media requirements, the sports programme will be compiled for Birmingham.
Do you expect to have new sports or disciplines on the programme?
Joachim Gossow: Yes; for example we assume that BOC will select different Invitational Sports than those we saw in TWG 2017. Additionally we hope that IFs that participated in the recent event will read the 2017 Evaluation Report critically, and draw the ‘correct’ conclusions from the information provided. Once again: we need to create the most exciting product for all spectators - either on site or on whatever device people are using - without changing the sports themselves.
How is the host city involved in the process?
Joachim Gossow: We have asked the BOC to identify their Invitational Sports for 2021. The Host City can propose, for IWGA’s approval, up to five sports with a maximum number of 800 participants. Over the whole preparation period of five years (starting with the signing of the Organiser agreement), the Local Organising Committee is involved in all discussions with the IFs and services partners. In regular meetings with BOC we discuss all matters, including what is seen as a best-shaped programme. We look for the best solutions, in the best interests of the product, The World Games.
Are there any numbers: How many sports, medal events and athletes?
Joachim Gossow: We expect 30+ sports. This means we will see around 25 sports on the official programme and not more than five Invitational Sports. Altogether we anticipate a total number of around 4,600 participants. The number of medal events will depend on the programme proposals of the participating IFs, but we again expect a number of around 200 medal events in TWG 2021.