The programme

The Forum opened with a plenary session and a presentation of the working groups and the objectives for the attendees. Working group discussions began on 30 May and covered three specific themes aimed at improving athlete conditions within the Olympic Movement.

The first theme, entitled “Relationship between the athletes, clubs, federations and NOCs”, was aimed at examining whether the existing structures were still satisfactory and operating efficiently to support athletes, or whether adjustments were needed to better protect the interests of both athletes and the bodies themselves.

The second theme focused on athletes’ health, and was entitled “Health Protection in Training and Competition”. The topics discussed were education, information, treatment, prevention and anti-doping, with a focus on areas requiring improvements to better safeguard athletes’ health.

The third and final theme was “The social and professional life of athletes during and after elite competition”. After the large amount of discussion on this topic at previous Forums, the working group examined how athletes could live their lives with as much continuity and stability as possible.


The first Forum to be held in Africa hosted 75 athlete representatives from various IFs and Continental Associations. Speakers included Patrick Baumann, Secretary General of FIBA; Colin Moynihan, Chair of the British Olympic Association; Lars Engebretsen; and Gillian Taylor


  • To discuss the relationship between athletes and sporting bodies
  • Health protection for athletes
  • Athletes’ lives during and after elite competition
Outcomes and recommendations

The 4th International Athletes’ Forum recognised the recent progress achieved in increasing athletes’ standing within the Olympic Movement and sought to strengthen the structures around athletes to further improve the support they received. The key recommendations from the working groups at the Forum were as follows:

  1. Athlete involvement: Athletes must be involved in the drafting of rules and regulations related to competition and technical aspects established by all sports organisations. They must also ensure that they contribute to raising the profile of sport and recreation across communities.
  2. Organisations’ responsibilities: Sports organisations must ensure that all athletes can compete on a level playing field, be it through impartial implementation of equipment and judging, or the use of transparent and enhanced dispute-resolution mechanisms or other aspects of each sport.
  3. Improving communication: Organisations should provide opportunities to athletes to express their views, including the use of athletes’ commissions to amplify the athlete voice. Similarly, the working group encourages the creation of athletes’ commissions at every NOC.
  4. Health Protection education: The IOC should implement educational programmes on health protection and injury prevention at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, and encourage NOCs and IFs to do the same to support their athletes all year round.
  5. Framework for athlete career support: Amend the Olympic Charter to contain language encouraging the Olympic Movement to support Athlete Career Programmes and endorse the combination of education and sport, known as a “dual career”. The subsequent Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration refers to athlete education and dual-career and is referenced in the Olympic Charter.