41st EOC Seminar wraps up in Slovakia

The 41st EOC Seminar came to a close today in Samorin, Slovakia with constructive sessions on Marketing & Communication and EOC Sports Events.

The day got under way with a presentation of the 14th European Laurels Awards to recipients for their outstanding contributions to sport and the Olympic Movement of Europe. They included Marijan Kvesic, President of the NOC of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Sanda Čorak, Vice President of the NOC of Croatia; Kveta Peckova, Olympic cross-country skier, NOC of Czech Republic; Denis Masseglia, President NOC of France (2009-2021); Jeno Kamuti, President of the International Committee for Fair Play, NOC of Hungary; Maria Mracnova, Former Vice President of the NOC of Slovakia; Mr. Zintis Ekmanis, Latvia bobsleigh athlete; Mr. Jozef Lipiec, Chairman of the Polish Olympic Academy; Mr. Ihor Cheredinov, Ukrainian shooting coach.

A discussion on Athletes’ Commissions Best Practices followed with a panel featuring EOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Gerd Kanter, Director of the IOC’s Athletes’ Department Kaveh Mehrabi, Elite Sport Director at the NOC of Belgium Olav Spahl, and CEO of the NOC of Ireland Peter Sherrard.

“Everything in sport is about athletes, we are at the centre of sport, so we need to include athletes more in the decision-making process,” said Kanter, who encouraged the Athletes’ Commissions of Europe to become more active. “It’s important that athletes have a voice because from just a competition point of view they can tell us how things can be better.”

The third panel session of the two-day Seminar was on the theme of Marketing & Communication and featured discussions on useful tools for NOCs and on best practices.

EOC Executive Committee Member and Chair of the EOC Communications Commission Mihai Covaliu moderated the talk on useful tools for NOCs, which also included panellists Jiri Kejval, Chair of the IOC Marketing Commission, and Gustavo Harada, ANOC’s NOC Relations Manager.

Harada presented on the ANOC Digital Accelerator Programme for social media, which grew out of discussions on how the NOCs could be helped with new revenue streams. He also detailed the top-performing NOCs in terms of social media during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with Team GB topping all NOCs in terms of video views and other KPIs.

The discussion on best practices was led by Senior IOC Commercial Manager Kate Grabska, with insight from the NOCs coming from Diego Nepi Molineris, Director General of the Sport E Salute Spa (Casa Italia); Victor Sanchez Naranjo, Treasurer at the NOC Of Spain (Casa España); and Jura Ozmec, Chief Editor at the Croatian Sports TV Channel – NOC of Croatia.

Georgina Grenon, Environmental Excellence Director at the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, presented remotely on all the important sustainability measures being implemented to make the next Summer Olympic Games as environmentally sound as possible.

The Session on EOC Sports events focused on the 3rd European Games and upcoming editions of the European Youth Festivals (EYOFs).

Hasan Arat, Chair of the Coordination Commission for the 2023 European Games in Krakow and Malopolska, said that the host city contract for the event will be signed in December. He underscored all the important new partnerships (ATOS, EBU, etc.) the EOC has signed in recent months and the strong programme of Olympic Sports (16 signed so far with three still in the works), all of which points to the most successful edition of the European Games yet in 2023. A report on preparations was also given by Andrzej Krasnicki, President of the NOC of Poland.

The 15th Winter EYOF will be held in Vuokatti, Finland. Presentations on preparations for the event were delivered by EOC Executive Committee Member Jose Manuel Araujo, Coordination Commission Chair Florin Misca, and Organising Committee Secretary General Marita Kaipanen.

Reports were then given on the 16th Summer EYOF in Banska Bystrica 2022 by Coordination Commission Chair Joseph Cassar and Organising Committee Chair Peter Hamaj.

In conclusion, EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi thanked all the delegates and panellists for their participation in the Seminar before providing his insights on the discussions.

“I thank all of you for your active participation during these two days,” said Secretary General Pagnozzi. “This demonstrates that the new format of our Seminar is very, very successful. We must constantly improve, as we have done here in Samorin, and for our next Seminar as well.”

Representatives from all 50 European National Olympic Committees (ENOCs) attended the hybrid seminar, either in person or online. The NOCs of Europe will next gather at the EOC General Assembly in Skopje, North Macedonia scheduled for 11-12 June.

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