In the IWGA Interview of the Month, President José Perurena looks ahead to the Annual General Meeting on May 9. On the agenda of the delegates of the 37 member federations: the host city decision for The World Games 2025 is to be made.
What are your expectations from your trip to the Gold Coast?
José Perurena: I have high expectations of our Annual General Meeting (AGM) this year at Gold Coast in Australia. We want to inform our member federations about the decisive progress being made on the road to Birmingham. In addition, the host city decision for The World Games 2025 is to be made. Last but not least, it is important to coordinate an overall strategy for the future with our member federations. We also have in mind the need for closer cooperation in the marketing and presentation of our brand, The World Games.
Let's take things one at a time. What decisions regarding The World Games 2021 do you want to discuss with the members’ representatives?
José Perurena: We will talk about the contract with the host broadcaster for the 11th edition of The World Games. The agreement is an important step, because the participating Federations have to appreciate that their performance in this showcase is part of the overall success, but at the same time is also for themselves. In addition, the set-up for international media marketing and distribution has been completed in good time. We are now also well on the way to reaching an agreement with Swiss Timing as our Time Keeper. Finally, the federations will presumably seek talks with those responsible in Birmingham, Alabama now that all the basic data for their events is available, along with the IF Passports.
Another important issue on the agenda will be the agreement with the host city for 2025. Will you sign the contract at the AGM?
José Perurena: We plan to do this as part of the meeting. What I can say is that we have invited the representatives of the Chinese city of Chengdu to be present. But I emphasise the word ‘plan’. Before we can conclude the contract, we need our members to ratify our Board's decision. I cannot and will not anticipate this vote. For us in the IWGA board, the focus in recent weeks has been on preparing for the signing of the host city contract. The evaluation in Chengdu went very well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Vice President Max Bishop and our CEO Joachim Gossow, who had very intensive discussions on site and came back with a detailed report covering all important items. The Board itself has provisionally approved the bid. The negotiations on the Organiser Agreement are about to be concluded. Nevertheless, our members have the last word; it’s up to them to grant their ratification.
How does Chengdu fit into your future strategy?
José Perurena: Very well. In 2017 we were in Wroclaw, Poland, in the heart of Europe; in 2021 we are in the USA and then in 2025 in China. This already underlines the growing importance of The World Games. We want to sharpen this profile further. We have to be aware that more multi-sport events are coming on to the market. We want to assert ourselves through convincing arguments and not by persuasion. The World Games offer high-class sports, with the best athletes in each discipline. We focus on sustainability because we do not ask for new sports facilities. We select host cities that already have the necessary infrastructure. We offer a special atmosphere that still makes people rave about their The World Games experiences many years later, and which promotes our sports in the host countries. Our sports can be seen as a showcase in general, but especially as a route towards getting an invitation to participate in the Olympic Games.
Is The World Games already perceived to have these qualities?
José Perurena: What I can say is that IOC President Thomas Bach has more than once stressed the importance of The World Games for the Olympic family. When the Olympic host city Paris selected the sports for the Games in 2024, only sports and disciplines from our Member Federations were represented. The fact that a significant and aspiring Chinese city like Chengdu, with the express support of the Chinese NOC, bid for The World Games 2025 can also be seen as a benchmark. Nevertheless, we want to position ourselves for the future with a clear profile and make ourselves more attractive when it comes to marketing The World Games. Part of this strategy is to present to our members a fixed quota for participation of their athletes which form the “heart” of the program of the Games. In addition, a defined number of athletes will be selected with the host city as well as with the IOC and with the International Paralympics Committee, IPC.
What about membership applications?
José Perurena: We are always receiving requests from sports federations, because they perceive The World Games as important, not least as a stepping-stone to the Olympics. However, we have informed all interested federations that we will not be making decisions about membership this year. First of all, we want to conclude the process of our strategic re-alignment. This also includes developing criteria for determining which sports fit into this concept. Under certain circumstances it may be necessary to adapt our constitution accordingly. All this should develop in an open and transparent process within The World Games family. We will also be talking about this during our days in Australia.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.