Council of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation meets for first time
posted on 02/23/2019

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Feb. 23, 2019 – Earlier this week, the Council of the new Gymnastics Ethics Foundation held its inaugural meeting on Feb. 19 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The USA’s Ivana Hong, an athlete representative on the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors and 2017 World team champion, is a member of the Foundation’s Council, which is led by Council President Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Morinari Watanabe, president of the International Gymnastics Federation, welcomed the Council members and thanked them for forming a new body that is tasked both with assisting victims of harassment and abuse and with monitoring good governance principles in the sport.

The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation formally became operational in January 2019, one month after the FIG member federations approved it during the FIG Congress and allocated an initial contribution of 2 million Swiss francs. Creating the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation is one of Watanabe's keynote projects.

As the Foundation's supreme body, the Council defines its strategy and ensures that it is functioning properly. The Council's first members are listed below.

President: Micheline Calmy-Rey, former president of Switzerland
Members: HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, International Olympic Committee member; François Carrard, former IOC director-general; Slava Corn, honorary FIG vice-president; and Hong.
Foundation director: Alexander McLin

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can learn from the past,” said Watanabe. “As the president of the FIG, I promised the gymnasts that I would do all that I could to ensure their protection and to guarantee a safe environment."

Calmy-Rey said, "Our mission is not an easy one. And the fact we are here today to face it head-on attests to its importance. Together we have the necessary skills and experience to address and overcome these difficult challenges that we undoubtedly will encounter as we work to respond to the needs of victims of non-accidental violence as they come forward and speak out. We must not solely act as a disciplinary body but rather become known to the sport's athletes and officials as a partner that is striving alongside them to strengthen the sport and seek justice for those who deserve it. The leadership of the International Gymnastics Federation has had the vision to create a unique entity, which will not only need to help safeguarding in the sport of gymnastics, but which will be also a valuable partner to the Federation in setting the standards needed to inspire a culture of good governance amongst its member federations."

Beyond the set mission, the creation of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation is aimed at establishing a veritable countervailing power in gymnastics governance. "I would like to achieve a separation of powers in the sport, between the administrative power that is the FIG, the legislative power provided by the FIG Congress, and the judicial power enshrined in the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation," said Watanabe.

The Foundation has three sections: a "safeguarding" section, including a helpdesk for reporting any case of harassment or abuse; a "disciplinary" section, which includes the two the FIG’s disciplinary bodies, the Disciplinary Commission and the Appeal Tribunal; and a "compliance" section, to monitor good governance and respect for the FIG’s ethical principles.

During the first meeting, the Council members mainly worked on practical operational details for the Foundation, which is based in Lausanne.

For more information on the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation, go to gymnasticsethicsfoundation.org.

-- Based on information provided by the International Gymnastics Federation