IPC Board discusses impact of COVID-19 pandemic

'The Tokyo 2020 presentation was reassuring and gave the Board confidence about the measures the Organising Committee is taking to re-plan the Paralympic Games next summer' 08 Jul 2020
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During four days of meetings that were held virtually and concluded on Wednesday (8 July), the IPC Governing Board discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the Paralympic Movement, including the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

On Tuesday (7 July), the Board endorsed the positioning, principles for re-planning, and a roadmap to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games following a video conference presentation by Yukihiko Nunomura, Tokyo 2020 Vice Director General and Chief Operating Officer.

Tokyo 2020’s positioning document highlighted the Organising Committee’s commitment for the Paralympics in 2021 to be a global celebration of human endeavour, resilience and hope.  With athletes and sports placed at the heart of the Games, Tokyo 2020 believe the Paralympics will be a spectacular showcase of sport with Para athletes entertaining the world and advancing a more inclusive world.

Following an audit of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations regarding classification requirements ahead of Tokyo 2020, Gen Duff, the IPC’s Acting Classification Director, presented the Board a range of strategic proposals based on scenarios relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and likely sport calendar.  Further membership updates will be provided on this in due course.

The Board was also informed that due to the postponement of Tokyo 2020, the IPC Athletes’ Council elections were postponed until August 2021.   As a result, members whose term would have ended in August 2020 have had them extended by a further 12 months until next year’s elections.

Andrew Parsons, IPC President said: “The 85th IPC Governing Board meeting was the first time in the IPC’s history that the members could not meet in person.  Much of the meeting was dominated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic not just on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, but across the IPC and wider Paralympic Movement.

“The Tokyo 2020 presentation was reassuring and gave the Board confidence about the measures the Organising Committee is taking to re-plan the Paralympic Games next summer.  Classification ahead of the Games is clearly going to be a challenge for everyone due to the uncertainty of the sporting calendar, but the IPC management team is planning for multiple scenarios and proposing a range of solutions.”

Pandemic and its impact on the IPC

The IPC Governing Board was updated by the Mike Peters, the IPC’s Chief Executive Officer, on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had so far on the IPC, including its finances.

Members of the IPC Management Team will continue to work remotely until at least 1 August 2020 and, since 1 July 2020, 19 staff members have taken furlough due to a decrease in their day-to-day workload.

Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the IPC Governing Board approved an updated and balanced budget for 2020.  This included savings of EUR 1.7 million that had been made by operational departments.   Framework budgets for 2021 and 2022 which highlighted the impact the pandemic could have on the IPC’s finance over the coming years, were also presented.


The Board was informed of the progress the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is making in conducting eligibility assessments of all 4.0 and 4.5 sport class players ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.  Such assessments are part of an IPC approved action plan the IWBF is following after it was found to be non-compliant with the 2015 IPC Athlete Classification Code.

IPC Athlete’s Council

IPC Athlete’s Council Chairperson Chelsey Gotell provided a comprehensive update of the group’s activities, highlighting key progress made in terms of implementing its Strategic Plan.  This has included improved two-way communication between the IPC and athlete representatives and the development of an athlete leadership programme.

The Board were informed that Elvira Stinissen, the Vice-Chairperson of the Athlete’s Council, had resigned due to personal reasons, and a successor would be appointed in due course.  The Board placed on record their gratitude to Stinissen who had served the Council since 2012.

Gotell also stated the Athletes’ Council’s intention over the coming months to host a series of focus groups giving athletes the opportunity to present thoughts and solutions on how they can share their views on topics of interest to them during the Paralympic Games.

Governance Review

On the final day of the meeting, IPC Vice President Duane Kale presented key findings and feedback from IPC members on the IPC Governance Review reform proposal “Remaining Fit for Purpose” which was first published in October 2019.

Following feedback from IPC members and further Board consultation, the IPC will publish an updated governance review proposal later this year, highlighting all updates.  A further round of consultation will then take place with the IPC membership.

Some elements of the IPC Governance Review will be put forward to vote on at the 2021 IPC General Assembly, while matters that relate to Governing Board composition and membership will be put back to the 2022 IPC Membership Gathering due to 2021 being an election year.

As part of the IPC Governance Review, the IPC Governing Board also approved a proposed framework for negotiations with the World Dance Sport Federation concerning the transfer of governance of World Para Dance Sport.

The 85th Governing Board meeting marked the first time in the IPC’s 30-year history that it had been unable to meet in person.  Following the meeting, Parsons will host a series of calls over the coming days with IPC members and athlete representatives to inform them of the key outcomes from the meeting.