The pioneering “IOC Certificate: Safeguarding Officer in Sport” course, designed to help protect athletes’ safety, successfully concluded its first edition. The 69 students from 38 countries across all 5 continents who enrolled in the inaugural course expressed great satisfaction, with 97.5 per cent of them rating its academic content as “very good” or “excellent”.
Of these participants, 84 per cent were from National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Federations (IFs) and National Federations (NFs), and 95 per cent are or will be responsible for their organisations’ safeguarding policy. All NOCs could enrol one candidate free of charge thanks to a dedicated Olympic Solidarity scholarship programme.
Those who completed the course praised its approach and delivery. “The course has shone a bright light on safe sport,” said Gobinath Sivarajah from the Sri Lankan NOC. “It takes a brilliant approach with the research and has offered a tremendous learning opportunity.”
“I can highly recommend the course if you want to bring your Federation’s safeguarding efforts to the next level,” added Sarah Fussek, Integrity Manager at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS).
The course, which ran online from September 2021 to April 2022, offered participants 250 hours of learning, covering all areas of safeguarding in sport. Each module contained a section dedicated to the athletes’ perspective, ensuring the athletes’ voice was at the forefront of the programme – and some 97.5 per cent of the 2021 cohort rated the representation of the athletes’ voice in the programme as good to excellent.
Building a new safeguarding community
The IOC Certificate: Safeguarding Officer in Sport seeks to establish an international network of highly skilled safeguarding officers in sport across the Olympic Movement. This initiative aligns with Recommendation 5 of Olympic Agenda 2020+5, which calls for the IOC to “further strengthen safe sport and the protection of clean athletes”.
The IOC recently announced that, following the success of the first edition, the second course will begin in September 2022. Applications are now open on the sportsoracle platform and must be submitted by 31 July 2022.