ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, left, and GAISF counterpart Patrick Baumann, right, signed the agreement at SportAccord Summit in the presence of International Olympic Committee head Thomas Bach, centre ©ANOC/GAISF

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) have signed a landmark partnership agreement covering the organisation of editions of the World Beach Games after 2019.

The deal is said to recognise ANOC’s important efforts in launching the World Beach Games and GAISF’s critical role in multi-sport Games. 

insidethegames reported last week that International Sports Federations are due to play a more direct role in the organisation of the ANOC World Beach Games from 2021.

This was agreed in principle following a meeting in Kuwait between ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and GAISF counterpart Patrick Baumann.

Baumann and Sheikh Ahmad officially signed the agreement here today at SportAccord Summit in the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

Under its terms, ANOC and GAISF will form a 50-50 partnership to run the World Beach Games through a jointly-held event company registered in Switzerland. 

Respecting each other’s roles and responsibilities within the Olympic Movement, a Board consisting of equal numbers of GAISF and ANOC representatives will run the company with a Presidency which will rotate between the two stakeholders. 

ANOC will lead the company during the first four-year term and GAISF will propose the company’s managing director.

The World Beach Games is scheduled to be held every two years following the inaugural edition being organised by ANOC in San Diego in 2019. 

The sport programme will be determined in agreement with the IOC and in principle, no Olympic events will be included in future Beach Games.

"We are delighted to have reached this agreement to work in partnership with ANOC to ensure a bright future for the World Beach Games," Baumann said.

"Beach sports continue to grow in popularity and prominence and the partnership will ensure that GAISF continues to fulfil its role of providing showcase events for our Member Federations, promoting new disciplines and bringing the expertise from all International Federations (IFs) to the table."

The Beach Games was originally launched as a joint project between ANOC and SportAccord ©IOC
The Beach Games was originally launched as a joint project between ANOC and SportAccord ©IOC

Sheikh Ahmad added: "We are delighted to sign this MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with GAISF which will continue the constructive collaboration between the NOCs and IFs under the leadership of the IOC. 

"We are very excited by the huge potential of the World Beach Games. 

"Working with the NOCs and IFs we want to reach the next generation of sports fans by creating a sustainable event which will unite the Olympic family and excite young audiences all around the world."

Baumann had previously called for a greater International Federations role in the World Beach Games.

The event was originally launched as a joint project between ANOC and SportAccord - the former name of GAISF - in October 2013 but has been increasingly seen as a personal priority of Sheikh Ahmad.

The idea came out of the success of the Asian Beach Games, first held in Bali in Indonesia in 2008. 

Relations between the two bodies deteriorated in 2015 when former SportAccord President Marius Vizer awarded Sochi the inaugural edition without participation from ANOC, although the Russian coastal resort withdrew soon after before Vizer's resignation.

Relations between GAISF and ANOC have undergone a gradual improvement since Baumann was elected President of the former in 2016.

Sports due to appear in San Diego include 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle, beach handball and a karate beach kata event, along with the surfing disciplines stand-up paddle and shortboard.

A park terrain skateboarding event is also set to feature, along with beach soccer, open water swimming, aquathlon, beach tennis and a 4x4 beach volleyball competition.

The programme will be completed by bouldering, wakeboarding, a waterski jump event, kiteboarding and beach wrestling.

The event was initially due to take place in 2017 but was pushed back to October 2019 last year to allow more time for preparations.