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26 May 2021 | in FISU

FISU remains strong despite the pandemic

During SportAccord’s Virtual International Federation (IF) Forum held on Tuesday 25th May, FISU Secretary General-CEO Eric Saintrond discussed about how FISU has been impacted by the current pandemic and how it has dealt with the drop in sporting events worldwide.


The online seminar was focused on the topics of “Lessons We Are Learning from a Global Crisis and How Sport and Society Can Emerge Stronger”, where many high-profile speakers from IFs shared their experiences on how they have had to adapt to these challenging times for international sport.


“We are fortunate that our business model does not depend directly on TV and marketing rights,” says Eric Saintrond. “All of those rights are sold to the organising committees, so it is up to them to get creative and find new ways to develop them commercially. However, we have other non-sport projects that help us increase involvement in the FISU business, such as the FISU Healthy Campus programme which includes participation from students, not only athletes.”


One of the main points that came out from the discussion is the fact of using data collection as a method to help International Federations to finance themselves. Some experts believe that this could be an advantageous tool given the industry in which these federations operate, because of the willingness of users to give their information to communities and entities that they believe in.


But when it comes to data collection, FISU’s stance remains one of respect for the privacy of its users. “We do not want FISU to become a data collector, even though we have millions of students who can potentially take part in FISU activities,” Eric Saintrond insists. “Behind every user there is a human being, and we take care in making sure that the data of these people is protected. I suspect as well that in the coming years there will be data protection laws that will be much stricter – as is already the case in Europe.”


In addition to the intervention of Eric Saintrond, FISU Acting President Leonz Eder was part of the few partners and hosts who were able to share their message during a virtual launch celebration from around the world for the SportAccord 2021 Forum, which is scheduled for 7-12 November in Ekaterinburg, Russia.


The Russian city is an ideal place to hold such an event, because of its strong link to international sporting events. Ekaterinburg will be host to the 2023 FISU World University Games as well as the FISU University World Cup Combat Sports in 2022, 2024 and 2026.



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