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President’s blog: Fatima, the beginning of reforms

Date: July 5, 2023

Category: General

Following my recent election in Fatima to be the President of this very special sports organisation for those like me with a visual impairment it is my intention to provide through this blog, news of the progress being made in all areas for the benefit of our athletes. This blog although in my name is open to all for comments and feedback. All I ask is that contributions are respectful and positive: I am a firm believer in constructive criticism.

In 2021 I offered myself for election as Vice-President not on an agenda of my choosing but on the outcome of a workshop organised in 2018 by my dear friend a former IBSA President, Jannie Hammershoi with her Executive Board. I was successful on that occasion, but circumstances over the next eighteen months saw zero progress by any of the elected Members.

Last Friday, June 30th was a significant day for IBSA with 52 Members present at an EGA with only elections on the agenda. The overall outcome can be found elsewhere on this web which shows four members of the 2021 group returning and a new intake of five. Joe Walsh elected VP in 2013 returns for another four-year term. Of general interest was that the election process started at 15.00hrs and ended at midnight as there were 18 candidates for the Members at Large positions. Not sure if that is a record, but certainly a record of patience and endurance!

In my letter in support of my candidacy I proposed the same ambitious agenda for the coming period as I did in Jordan 2021 –
1. Strategic Review including our current administration contract,
2. Total reform of the IBSA Constitution to make it more inclusive.
3. An Independent audit of IBSA accounts, processes, and controls.
4. The establishment of a stakeholders and partners group to ensure a sustainable financial future for IBSA.

However, my main goal has been for the upcoming World Games in Birmingham, UK, during this month, members to be asked to nominate an athlete for election as a Member-at-Large. The athlete’s voice on the IBSA decision board was absent for too long. I also promised we would look at gender balance and other inclusion challenges in the reform of the Constitution.

Saturday in Fatima was a spare day but saw the Members gather again for a workshop in which issues such as classification, the election process, development, and sports structure were discussed in groups. Something that was welcomed and will be repeated at future opportunities.

So, a momentous few days in which my message was, and is clear that I want to establish a leadership structure where the Board determines overall strategy and oversight but the day to day work is carried out by professional staff supported by our fantastic volunteers.

In the next blog I shall give you my take on our World Games. You of course are welcome to give yours too.

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