IPC announces competitive RFP for organisations to become governing bodies

Cities, national governments, sport organisations and other entities are invited to submit proposals to become the governing bodies of Para athletics and Para swimming by April 2022 14 Oct 2021
Underwater image of Morgan Stickney USA, Jessica Long USA and Nahia Zudaire Borrezo ESP competing in the swimming women's 400m freestyle - S8 final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
ⒸJoel Marklund/OIS

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is inviting interested parties for engagement meetings about becoming the governing bodies for Para athletics and Para swimming, prior to submitting a response to the Request for Proposal (RFP) by 22 April 2022.

The RFP is subject to the IPC Membership voting in favour of a revised constitution at the IPC General Assembly in December 2021. If approved, it will launch a governance reform where the IPC will aim to cease acting as an international federation of Para sports by the end of 2026.

The RFP will invite interested parties to submit a non-binding general proposal in respect of the governance of the sports of Para athletics and/or Para swimming. The RFP outlines information required and the timeline for proposals and engagement opportunities for all respondents.

As part of the RFP, several key criteria will be evaluated, including: 

  • Indicators of potential success: proposals will need to demonstrate proven competencies to effectively govern the Para sport(s). 

  • Motivation: why does the organisation want the specific Para sport(s) and what is their vision for it? 

  • Culture and values: how will they ensure that the new home for each Para sport is one that embraces the core values of the Paralympic Movement.

  • Location:  a strategically optimal location is key for the base of each Para sport.

  • Inclusive community: applicants will need to detail how people with disabilities are perceived, engaged and supported in the proposed location, as well as provide evidence and examples of inclusion, accessibility, links to relevant legislation, etc.

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “The IPC is encouraged that there is already strong interest from organisations, cities and governments to become the home of Para athletics and Para swimming. Now we move to the next stage: we need to prepare to launch a competitive bidding process in January 2022 should the IPC General Assembly approve the governance reform proposals published two years ago. Crucially the IPC is committed to ensure that both Para sports continue to thrive after becoming independent from the IPC, so we will be encouraging respondents to think creatively, expansively, and ‘outside the box’.” 

Para athletics and Para swimming are two of the World Para Sports, the group of international Para sports under the governance of the IPC. Both Para sports are currently based in Bonn, Germany at the IPC Headquarters. 

The sports of Para athletics and Para swimming have been part of the sports programme in the Paralympic Games ever since the first edition of the Games in Rome 1960. In terms of number of participants, the two sports are the biggest in the Paralympic Games programme. Para athletics has the largest number of participating athletes and countries within the Paralympic Movement, and Para swimming is practiced in nearly 100 countries.

One in every four athletes at Tokyo 2020 competed in Para athletics – a total of 1142 athletes in 167 medal events. In Para swimming, 604 athletes took part in at least one of the 146 medal events in Japan. 

Background to the RFP and key timings

In October 2019, the IPC published the Governance Review Proposal which includes a managed process for the World Para Sports to become independent from the IPC. The outcome of the proposal will be decided upon by the IPC Membership at the upcoming IPC General Assembly on 11 December.

The IPC will host virtual engagement meetings with interested parties in the final quarter of 2021, prior to a potential bidding process being launched in January 2022 should the IPC Membership vote in favour of the proposed governance reform. There will then follow a second round of engagement meetings before the RFP submission deadline of 22 April 2022. 

The decision to launch the bidding process, subject to the IPC General Assembly’s approval of the proposed governance reform, was made during the IPC Governing Board meeting which took place in April 2021. 

For more information on the RFP potential bidders are invited to express their interest now via the email address WorldParaSports@paralympic.org.