The Transnational Project Meeting and Mid-term Conference of the GAMES project (Guidance to Achieve More Equal Leadership in Sport) have been hosted by the Hellenic Olympic Committee between the 22nd and 24th of May 2023.

The primary scope of the Transnational Project Meeting was to review the status of the project and discuss the NOCs National Action Plan, NOCs National Launching Event and the GAMES Pool of Actions. 

Besides, the Mid-term Conference was scheduled in concomitance with the TPM in the afternoon of the 23rd of May 2023. The primary scope of the GAMES’ Mid-term conference was to present different strategies and steps that can be taken with regard to gender equality in sport leadership whilst showcasing the main activities and deliverables produced within the framework of the project. Therefore, it involved various experts in the field of sport and gender equality with the aim being to promote a better understanding of common challenges and relevant actions to successfully promote gender equality in leadership positions among European NOCs and federations.

GAMES Transnational Project Meeting (TPM)

The meeting gathered representatives from the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, North Macedonia and Turkey, experts on gender equality and sports governance such as Professor Kari Fasting (Equal Rights in Sports) and Rowland Jack (I Trust Sport), as well as the IOC.

The TPM started at the Panathenaic Stadium where the partners of the GAMES project held a structured discussion on the NOC’s National Action Plan. NOCs had the opportunity to bilaterally discuss with each other, as well as with the experts from IOC, Equal Rights in Sport and I Trust Sport. Accordingly, 7 “laps of exchanges” were organised to address common goals and challenges in relation to drafting, approval and implementation of the National Action Plans. Hence, the GAMES project aims to support NOCs by pairing academic/expert knowledge with peer-to-peer exchanges.

Notably, Folker Hellmund (Director, EOC EU Office) and Yvette Kosmetatou (General Manager, Hellenic Olympic Committee) opened the TPM by thanking all participants for their attendance whilst recognising the value of working together on the topic of gender equality in sport leadership under the GAMES project.

Remarkaby, each partner’s NOC presented the extensive work carried out in the framework of the GAMES project to produce the NOC’s National Action Plan. Accordingly, each NOCs representative delivered a brief presentation showcasing the vision, mission, and actions included in their National Action Plan, as well as showcasing the next steps in terms of implementation and related foreseen challenges. The overview of the common actions foreseen within the NOC’s National Action Plans to tackle structural and cultural challenges related to boosting gender equality in leadership positions include, among others:

The TPM continued with a brief update on the National Launching Events (NLE) foreseen to occur in each NOC’s countries between September and November 2023. Accordingly, the scope, timeframe, target groups and main elements of the NLE were discussed together with the required documentation upon the implementation of the NLE. In merit, the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee gave a presentation regarding its experience in delivering the National Launching Event in April 2023. Accordingly, partners had the opportunity to exchange and discuss common strategies to promote participation and create momentum, as well as address is foreseen main challenges and common queries.

After this, the status of the Pool of Actions – both long and short versions – was discussed among the consortium in order to review the amendment carried out according to the latest Minute Report of consortium meetings held in January 2023 and March 2023. In merit, the consortium has unanimously identified additional amendments required before proceeding with the publication of the Pool of Actions in the Good Governance Online platform foreseen in 2023. Hence, fruitful additions were made towards the advancement of the Pool of Actions, as well as enhancing its comprehensiveness and accuracy.

Finally, the EOC EU Office provided a brief overview of the next steps to ensure a shared understanding among all the consortium before officially concluding the closing remarks from the EOC EU Office and Hellenic Olympic Committee. Folker Hellmund (Director, EOC EU Office) and Yvette Kosmetatou (General Manager, Hellenic Olympic Committee) highlighted the importance to boost cooperation among European NOCs to tackle common challenges related to gender equality in sport leadership yet recognise the specific challenges experienced by European NOCs. Hence, the EOC EU Office thanked the Hellenic Olympic Committee Committee for their hospitality and outstanding organisation and the entire consortium for their time and commitment to boosting gender equality in sports leadership.

The next TPM is foreseen to be hosted by the Czech Olympic Committee in Prague (Czech Republic) on the 14th and 15th of November 2023; after which, the Final Conference is foreseen in Belgium in March 2024.

GAMES Mid-term Conference

The mid-term conference of the Erasmus+ project GAMES (Guidance to Achieve More Equal Leadership in Sport) was organised in a hybrid format on the 23rd of May 2023 from 13.00h to 18.00h (CEST).

Mr. Spyros Capralos (President of the European Olympic Committee and Hellenic Olympic Committee) and Ms. Vasiliki (President of the HOC Gender Equality Commission) officially opened the GAMES Mid-term Conference. Accordingly, the relevance of gender equality for sports organisations was underlined whilst showcasing the importance of the GAMES project o support sporting organisations to improve their good governance standards in terms of gender equality. These thanked the participating NOCs as well as the IOC, the European Commission and the EOC EU Office for supporting the NOCs on their way to gender equality.

The Mid-term Conference was continued by Folker Hellmund (Director of the EOC EU Office) who provided insights on the scope, timeframe, deliverables and objectives of the GAMES project. Accordingly, the need to address structural challenges in sports organisations hindering women’s access to leadership positions was showcased, as well as the relevance of the GAMES project in responding to the demand of European NOCs to boost their gender equality strategy within their organisation and beyond. Therefore, the partners of the GAMES project were praised for the major milestones reached so far.

After this, Rowland Jack (Founder of I Trust Sport) presented the main findings from the “Baseline study on gender equality” carried out in the project’s framework to better understand the current situation in terms of gender equality in the participating NOCs and the major National Federations in the partners’ countries. Therefore, it showcased a persistent lack of gender equality in leadership positions among NOCs and NFs persistent; yet an increasing number of initiatives are being implemented. Therefore, the relevance and topicality of the GAMES project in completing the existing initiatives whilst responding to the concrete need for actions and further boosting the momentum for gender equality in sports.

Furthermore, the relevance of gender equality in sports was showcased by Emerita Professor Kari Fasting (Founder of Equal Rights in Sport) who highlighted the importance of gender equality as a fundamental human right. Accordingly, the relevance of the GAMES Pool of Actions as a tool to concretely overcome the current barriers (e.g structural, organisational, cultural) to achieve gender equality was showcased.

Besides, a panel discussion including representatives from 8 European NOCs provided valuable insights on the main achievements and challenges encountered by partner NOCs in the development and implementation of their National Action Plans to encourage gender equality in leadership positions. Hence, NOCs provided insights to the process and their experience while discussing barriers in attaining leadership support, the relevance and challenges of training programs, the obstacles to creating a gender-inclusive culture and the hurdles to developing gender mainstreaming in the NOCs.

Ms AnnaMarie Phelps (Chair of the EOC Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission) presented statistics on the gender composition of sports bodies’ leadership committees; accordingly, the relevance of the EOC’s objectives, its strategies and concrete measures to improve gender equality among European NOCs and their members’ organisations in future. Therefore, the goal of the EOC in making Europe the most equitable, inclusive and sustainable continent for sport was reiterated whilst recognising the role of the GAMES project in supporting the EOC’s goals.

The Mid-term Conference was continued with the EOC EU Office which showcased the next steps of the GAMES project, particularly in terms of the implementation of the National Action Plans, the National Launching Events and the publication of the Pool of Actions in the Good Governance Online platform foreseen in February 2024.

The Mid-term Conference concluded with the remarks of Folker Hellmund (Director, EOC EU Office) and Emmanuel Kolympadis (General Secretary, Hellenic Olympic Committee) who mentioned that the GAMES project already delivered concrete results and thereby had an impact whilst hoping that the other organisations and federations can be further inspired by the GAMES project to further boost gender equality. Hence, the attendees and the Hellenic Olympic Committee Committee for their time and commitment to gender equality in sports governance.

Background information on GAMES project.

The GAMES project is a 24-month project co-funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ Sport Programme 2021 and coordinated by the EOC EU Office. It promotes integrity and good governance in sports by advocating for structural and cultural changes regarding gender equality in leadership and decision-making positions among NOCs and their member federations. The EOC EU Office is implementing GAMES together with 8 NOCs (Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, North Macedonia and Turkey) and renowned experts in the field of gender equality and good governance, including Professor Emerita Kari Fasting from Equal Rights in Sports and I TRUST Sport. Furthermore, the GAMES project is supported by the International Olympic Committee. 

Stay tuned with the progress of the project via the GAMES website and the Twitter account!

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EACEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

2023 Olympic Solidarity and NOC Services Annual Report ( mentions #GAMES and its value in supporting @teambelgium in setting up a National Action Plan and a Gender Equality Commission to boost gender equality and women’s participation in sports”

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