President Jose Perurena addresses the IWGA AGM. (c) IWGA

Around 100 delegates and 29 International Member Federations with voting rights attended the International World Games Association (IWGA) AGM where the IWGA Athletes Committee, Women's leadership programme, Sustainability Strategy, and cooperation with National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Sports Organisations (NSOs) were among the topics discussed.

Among the headlines from the AGM was the announcement of Karlsruhe in Germany as the host city for the 2029 World Games, and acceptance of the International Federation of American Football and the International Cheer Union as member federations of the IWGA.

In his summary of the year, IWGA President Jose Perurena highlighted the success of the many initiatives undertaken by the Head Office as he celebrates his 10th year anniversary with the IWGA. He paid tribute to the delegates and the city of Esslingen in his closing address, saying, “I would like to extend a big thanks to all the International Federation representatives and stakeholders who actively took part in the debates, discussions, and the votes today. Your invaluable experience and knowledge are instrumental in our organisation’s growth.

“I would like to particularly salute the NOCs and NSOs for their attendance. The IWGA is determined to harness the vast potential of further involving you in The World Games as your contribution is imperative to the athletes’ success at the event.

“Also, our sincere thanks to the city of Esslingen and the Neckar Forum for hosting our Annual General Meeting. Optimum conditions were provided for an excellent and productive reunion."

Following the unanimous approval of the 2023 AGM Minutes, CEO Joachim Gossow presented the Activity Report 2023 which highlighted the need to "accelerate" the work for the World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China which takes place just three years after the postponed World Games in Birmingham, USA.

The Activity Report also stated that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) remains the IWGA's "most important partner" and "will continue to be so in the future". It also noted that "the fact that four out of the five additional sports selected by Los Angeles 2028 are sports that will be in the programme of The World Games 2025 in Chengdu demonstrates that the line between Olympic and nonOlympic sports and disciplines has become narrower". Those four sports are flag football, squash, lacrosse and baseball/softball although only softball will be in Chengdu.

A healthy and positive financial report was presented by Treasurer Lukas Hinder. The Assembly then proceeded to the adoption of the balance sheet. The revised 2024 IWGA budget and the 2025 provisional budget were up for votes. All three proposals were adopted. The delegates also followed the ExCo’s recommendations to appoint Zurich based Auditing Firm Liguster Treuhand und Verwaltungs for 2024.

For his outstanding contribution to The World Games, IWGA former Vice-President (2006-23) Max Bishop was named Life Honorary Member of the IWGA on Wednesday 1 May. Bishop stepped down last year from the Executive Committee after 17 years in office.

IWGA Life Honorary Member Max Bishop addresses the crowd as President Jose Perurena looks on. (c) IWGA
IWGA Life Honorary Member Max Bishop addresses the crowd as President Jose Perurena looks on. (c) IWGA

IRF, FAI and WDSF Presidents collected the Athlete of the Year Awards on behalf of their athletes. The trophies will be passed onto the medallists, Racquetball’s Conrrado Moscoso (1st, 75389 votes), Air Sport’s Luisa Rizzo (2nd, 55834 votes) and DanceSport’s Marius-Andrei Balan and Khrystyna Moshenska (3rd, 43560 votes). IWGA Communication and Media Director Anna Jacobson praised the broad reach of this annual communication campaign and outlined the social media success it has had.

The Assembly was presented with a new programme which the IWGA will finance for a selected group amongst its members (two female participants per IF) to promote and drive diversity and equity amongst decision-making positions. The overall course’s objective is to elevate women in leadership positions in sports organisations. Offering an online format, the interactive programme will be implemented in November this year. A list of selected participants will be shared at a later stage.

Established two years ago, the Athletes Committee’s full inclusion into the status is confirmed. Constitutional modifications, which included the formal establishment of the AC, the elections' regulations and the duties and responsibilities of the Committee, were up for ratification at the AGM. The motions were adopted by an overwhelming majority. A deadline of 15 March 2025 was set for candidates’ applications to the Athletes Committee. Set criteria for application were also identified.

Several NOCs and NSOs participated in the AGM as a direct positive outcome of the first IWGA National NOCs and NSOs Meeting held in the Spanish capital Madrid in October 2023, which aimed at strengthening the IWGA’s relationships with national sports entities. At the centre of the IWGA’s agenda was the collaboration with the national sport entities, which was encouraged by IOC President Thomas Bach’s letter to all NOCs.

Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) have already been established with the Austrian, Chinese, French, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Poland, Spanish and Ukraine NOCs / NSOs, reinforcing cooperation in the lead-up to The World Games 2025. Hungary, Portugal and Chinese Taipei also signed an MoU with the IWGA in Esslingen on 1 May 2023. Separately, the IWGA met with the Luxembourg NOC to discuss a potential MoU and future strengthened cooperation.

In an effort to further develop and implement an impactful sustainable strategy, the IWGA has identified priorities and a timeline, both of which were presented to the Assembly. The IWGA is working closely with the Organisers to apply several elements and goals from the sustainability strategy which will be fully unveiled on 5 June 2024, on International environmental Day.

The IWGA is pleased to have extended its agreement with Swiss Timing from 2025 through 2033. Swiss Timing has been one of IWGA’s pillars in the recent years and has tremendously contributed to the growth and professionalisation of The World Games.

The week in Esslingen concluded with a working meeting with the Chengdu 2025 delegation. The LOC representatives unveiled the One Year to Go celebrations plans and the promotional activities around the landmark event. Dates for upcoming meetings were confirmed, as well as accommodation plans for the different participant groups. The IWGA is very satisfied with the preparations’ progress and is confident the Chengdu 2025 LOC will deliver an inspiring Games in state-of-the-art venues, exceeding the highest international standards.