Exclusive Interview: IPC President Sir Philip Craven on Agenda 2020

Reporting from Monaco – President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sir Philip Craven was in Monaco this week attending the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 127th Session where major reforms were introduced and approved.  The Agenda 2020 package of reforms is far-reaching and could impact the Paralympic Games.

Craven chatted with GamesBids.com (GB) in Monaco.

GB: What are your thoughts on Beijing or Almaty hosting the Paralympic Games in 2022?

International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven (IPC Photo)

International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven (IPC Photo)

Sir Philip Craven: Well I’m very happy, these are the two cities that are left in the competition, I think that wherever the Paralympic Movement goes, we have a great influence on society and I know that we’ve already been to China in 2008, but really both cities excite me, excite the Paralympic Movement and we take our story, our message – and the athletes take themselves – to where the Games will be taking place.

GB: What effect will Agenda 2020 have on the Paralympic Movement?

Sir Philip Craven: Well I think as was quite clearly explained by the President, right before there was any voting on any of the 40 points. But these points were about change – and significant change to the way in which the IOC either does it’s business or in it’s relationships with other organisations. As was stated by the President, he used the IPC as a clear example of the great partnership between the IOC and the IPC, therefore we’re not talking about change here – we’re talking about really deepening and strengthening the relationship and continuing as we are. We have a great relationship with the International Olympic Committee and I’m here to make sure that that does strengthen.

GB: How would you like to see the Paralympic Movement and IPC be involved in the future selection of the host cities of the Paralympic Games and how, if any, would you like to see more Paralympic representation on the IOC while the IOC are selecting where the Paralympic Games are held?

Sir Philip Craven: I think what’s become apparent, I think it was Recommendation 38, which was about a review of the nomination process for prospective IOC Members, where it became very clear that the IOC are looking for the right people – and that’s how it has to be in any organisation. Therefore at the moment you could say that the IPC only has one vote, but that isn’t the situation because every IOC Member has become very much aware of the Paralympic Games and the great partnership that we have at Games Time – the Olympics and Paralympics are one great festival of sport. But I also think that they are very much aware now that it’s a great sports competition – and therefore I’m not here to look for more members so that we can influence the vote in that manner – there are many more ways that we can do it and we have done it and I think you have seen now when bidding cities come along with their bids. It’s very much an Olympic and a Paralympic bid – that’s what we’re looking for, that’s what we’re starting to get.

We’re talking about really deepening and strengthening the relationship and continuing as we are. We have a great relationship with the International Olympic Committee and I’m here to make sure that that does strengthen.

GB: Do you foresee a different relationship with the IOC (or even changes to future IOC-IPC agreements) once the IPC becomes more and more financially independent by agreeing on broadcast rights sales, etc.?

Sir Philip Craven: At the moment we have finalised negotiations with the IOC up to 2022, we’re in the middle of negotiations for 2024 and they are of a very similar nature to those which we have had for 2018 and 2020 negotiations, which are concluded. At this moment in time, I don’t see any need for that change. What we do require is that we have such an important message to give to the world by the fact that everybody in society has to be treated equally, treated together and sport is the great vehicle and Paralympic sport is this great vehicle to do that. As long as our resources continue to increase – primarily human and then also financial – then I’m sure that message can be got out there. As I’ve said before, we have a very good partnership that is still developing with the IOC and therefore I’m not looking necessarily for independence in any way – we are independent – but we look for partnerships and partnerships involve two organisations coming together to contribute to a common goal and a common idea – and I think that is what we have between the IOC and ourselves.

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About Andrew Iredale

Andrew has been involved behind-the-scenes at several Olympic Games and IOC Sessions and is a special contributor to GamesBids.com during the 127th IOC Session in Monaco.