PASO Playing Catch-Up to Olympic Movement

(ATR) The Pan American Sports Organization is trying to modernize in order to fall in line with the Olympic Charter.

(ATR) The Pan American Sports Organization is trying to modernize in order to fall in line with the Olympic Charter.

Although the region hosted the last editions of the FIFA World Cup and Summer Olympics, there is still work to be done to revamp the organization and be more in step with the International Olympic Committee.

While PASO organizes one of the longest running and largest continental multi-sport games, until recently the organization maintained an outdated constitution which has delayed its election of the next PASO president. Julio Maglione has run the organization since May 2015 following the death of former PASO leader Mario Vazquez Rana.

PASO’s revised constitution was passed on Nov. 17 at an extraordinary general assembly in Doha, Qatar following the ANOC General Assembly. The approval of the revised statutes brings the organization more in line with Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, just one step towards a larger modernization project for PASO.

The organization will elect the president who will oversee the revamping of PASO at its next assembly to be held in Montevideo, Uruguay from April 27-28. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is expected to attend the assembly, a move that PASO leaders believe could help elevate the prominence of the organization in the Olympic Movement.

"Having in our general assembly the IOC president is very important," Rio 2016 president and PASO presidential candidate Carlos Nuzman said in Doha. "He talked about our elections, so I think it would be better to hold this meeting in Uruguay, but at the time Bach can come."

The next PASO president will also oversee the expansion of PASO’s event portfolio. During its extraordinary assembly, PASO vice president Ivar Sisniega updated the 41 member countries on the commitment to establish new events that will help fuel sports development in their countries.

PASO is currently considering the creation of the Pan American Youth Games, Pan American Sports Festival and Pan American Beach Games. The organization is also expanding the sports program in its flagship Pan American Games, with the addition of sports like bowling and bodybuilding bringing the total for Lima 2019 to 39 sports.

"Another reason to create these new events is there are no existing multi-sport games at continental level in the Americas for the youth compared to Europe," said Sisniega. "They will add to sport development and visibility to PASO as a caring organization for youth in the region."

Sisniega says the creation of the youth games is a priority for PASO and will allow greater cooperation and coordination with the IOC through its organization of the Youth Olympic Games.

PASO is also seeking to modernize its image. Sisniega announced the beginning of a design competition between each of the NOCs to update its existing design and meet the IOC’s requirements.

The continental association of the Americas is also the only one to not refer its disputes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. PASO legal commission chair Michael Chambers says this makes PASO "the exception" in Olympic organizations and that he will draft an amendment to include this in the statutes at the April general assembly.

PASO leaders hope these projects will help elevate the continental association in the Olympic Movement and lead to greater cooperation with the IOC and other international sports bodies.

Written by Kevin Nutley

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