“We have started out on the path of reaching out to our youth with our Get Up and Go program but we need to look further – take advantage of new technology; to use whatever means are available to engage the youth of today,” he will tell representatives from Europe’s 49 NOCs gathered at the Corinthia Hotel in the Portuguese capital.
“For today’s youth are our future, apart from including our leading athletes they include the future leaders of NOCs, sports administrators and our educators.”
Pat Hickey appealed to the NOCs to “continue to promote sport amongst young people, using the EYOFs [European Youth Olympic Festivals] as the highest expression of Olympism in Europe”.
European NOCs will have the opportunity to further this mission of connecting with the younger generation in preparations for the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games.
As the 2005-2009 cycle draws to a close, Hickey will outline the EOC’s other targets for the next quadrennial.
Among the goals is to “continue to gain greater visibility and influence with the European Union in order to ensure the Olympic Movement’s autonomy”. Pat Hickey also wants to see the fight against doping stepped up and plans an overhaul of the EOC commissions and working groups
“I feel that in the new era we are entering, we need to have much more dynamic commissions with more members having more power,” he will tell the congress.
“It will be my intention that after this General Assembly here that the newly elected executive committee will design a new format and implement it for the next four-year term, based on your feedback received. I in turn am certain that you will all be happy with these changes.”
About a dozen IOC members, some of whom arrived Thursday night from the Peace and Sport Forum in Monaco, are among delegates at the assembly. They include Rene Fasel, Alex Gilady, Gian Franco Kasper, Vitaly Smirnov and Irena Szewinska.
IOC president Jacques Rogge, who attended an EOC gala dinner Thursday evening, addressed the congress this morning.
Pat Hickey praised his EOC colleagues for helping the organization meet and exceed its goals over the past four years. Accomplishments include re-energising the EOC’s relationship with the European Union aided by a new EOC office in Brussels and “the development of a highly-focused marketing strategy with the objectives of re-enforcing our identity and raising additional funds from pan-European sponsors”.
“We have battled hard over the specific nature and autonomy of the sports movement in Europe, and finally succeeded in obtaining the inclusion of an article on the nature of sport in the Lisbon Treaty,” Pat Hickey told the assembly.
“So at last, sport has a legal base within the EU, which will greatly facilitate our dealings with the Commission. The issue of the autonomy of sport has still to be settled definitively, therefore achieving uniformity of legislation at national level will be much easier under the umbrella of the EU.”
Despite the achievements, Pat Hickey urged the 49 NOCs not to rest on their laurels: “We must redouble our efforts using recent successes as a platform to strive even harder for the further development of sport and the promotion of Olympic values throughout our continent.”
With reporting from Mark Bisson – Around the Rings