Major sporting events: reshaping the way forward in the COVID-19 transitional era
On 23 July 2020, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), organized the virtual roundtable discussion “Major sporting events: reshaping the way forward in the COVID-19 transitional era.”
The Roundtable discussion was attended by more than 200 participants. High level speakers included Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo, Director of UNICRI; Ms. Alison August Treppel, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE), of OAS; Mr. Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish Olympic Committee; Mr. Berni Rodríguez, Professional basketball player (retired) and World Champion and Founder of the Basketball Academy for Children with Disabilities; Ms. Sandra Sanchez, Professional Karate Athlete and World Champion; Mr. Guillermo Miranda, President of the Organizing Committee of the Central American Games in Santa Tecla; Brigadier General Ramiro Alberto Riveros Arévalo, Head of the Planning Office, Colombian National Police. The panellists were moderated by Andrea Rodriguez, Program Officer at the CICTE of the OAS.
The event represented an important opportunity to exchange expertise and lessons learned from practical experiences. It focused on the impact of the pandemic on major sporting events and on how to improve cooperation and coordination to ensure safety and security.
Enhancing capacity to establish solid partnerships among different national agencies including health and civil protection services, the sport federations and the games’ organizing committees, the concerned regional and international organizations, as well as the private sector, is critical to address this unprecedented challenge to the sports world.
The Director of UNICRI, Ms. Antonia Marie De Meo, emphasized that “improving integration of services and increased coordination is indeed the only way in which major sporting events can survive during and after this dramatic and critical phase we are all living through as a result of COVID-19. Health services and emergency responses are becoming even more central elements, to which all the important stakeholders involved in the organization and planning of major sporting events must pay increased attention.”
Each panellist highlighted the importance of sports for the social and economic development of states, the need to guarantee the security and safety of athletes, the public and employees, and reiterated the centrality of cooperation in this process.
The Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, Ms. Alison August Treppel said “in order for sporting events to be successful again, it is essential to regain public trust. That trust will only come by implementing appropriate security measures.”