European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov met with HRH Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan this week to discuss a strategy for dramatically improving the safeguarding of athletes across Europe.
HRH Prince Feisal is an IOC Executive Board Member, Chair of the IOC Working Group for Prevention of Harassment & Abuse in Sport (PHAS) and President of the Jordan Olympic Committee. He was joined on the virtual call by Kirsty Burrows, an expert IOC consultant in this area. Together they have worked with the IOC to develop a best practice toolkit to help stakeholders in the Olympic Movement identify, prevent and solve issues around harassment and abuse of athletes.
The hour-long productive call followed Karamarinov’s pledge to focus on this important topic in a recently published white paper outlining his policy for European Athletics following the death of European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen earlier this year.
European Athletics CEO Christian Milz also joined the call which concluded with a clear set of next steps commencing with European Athletics’ review of athlete safeguarding policies and procedures across its 51 Member Federations.
Commenting on the virtual meeting, HRH Prince Feisal said: “We are delighted to see that the IOC’s great work on this very important topic is being embraced by European Athletics.
“Abuse and harassment is an issue that affects all sports and one which we as leaders of the Olympic Movement need to be tackling seriously. I therefore look forward to continuing our discussions with European Athletics and supporting them through the implementation of policies in the IOC Safeguarding Toolkit”.
Looking ahead to implementing an athlete safeguarding strategy, Karamarinov said: “I want to thank His Royal Highness for offering European Athletics his words of wisdom and guidance on how we can best tackle and prevent abuse and harassment in athletics.
"It is critical that we take proactive approaches to such important issues, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has created more scope for the potential harassment and abuse of athletes. We want parents to feel that we are doing all we can to safeguard their children’s safety, and more importantly, that athletics provides their children with a positive environment in which they can develop both physically and mentally.”
As soon as European Athletics concludes its review of athlete safeguarding policies and procedures across its members, the continental body will tailor the IOC’s Safeguarding Toolkit with guidelines and policies which can be adopted by its 51 Member Federations.