On 4 February, the SIGGS Project organised its Kick-off meeting in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The event, hosted by the NOC*NSF, was the official start of the SIGGS Project which will run until December 2016. It brought together over 25 representatives from the 12 different project partners. The SIGGS Project is managed by the EOC EU Office and supported by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ Sports Programme. 

The Kick-off Meeting was officially opened by the Secretary General of the NOC*NSF, Gerard Dielessen, and by the Director of the EOC EU Office, Folker Hellmund. In his introductory words, Folker Hellmund listed a number of reasons why it is crucial for sport organisations to implement principles of good governance. Furthermore, he stated that it is about “the credibility of sport” and that “good governance should be an attitude and part of the culture of the sport organisation. In this regard, it should become an integral part of the daily activities”. 

Subsequently, some general information was provided listing out the objectives of the project, the methodology, the activities and the tasks of the different project partners. With the general aim of the project to provide practical guidance to National Olympic Committees and national sport federations on the implementation of principles of good governance, particular emphasis was put on the need for a flexible and sustainable approach. This was confirmed by several representatives during the parallel group discussions as the situation in the different countries clearly varies substantially. 

During the afternoon session, Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, Director of the IOC Ethics Commission, presented the ongoing activities of the IOC regarding good governance in the context of the Olympic Agenda 2020. She stressed that “good governance is not just a necessity; it is a win for sport”. She also confirmed the support of the IOC to the SIGGS Project and expressed the hope that the outcomes of the Project can contribute to the implementation of the Olympic Agenda 2020. 

Finally, Huibert Brands presented the activities of the NOC*NSF in the field of good governance. Valuable lessons can be learnt from the process that was started in the Netherlands already in 2004, including the fact that good governance is an ongoing process and that support to sport organisations on the implementation is essential. The inspirational story of the NOC*NSF concluded a successful Kick-off Meeting.

The next steps of the project include the decision on the various principles as well as the development of the self-evaluation tool. The Steering Committee, which consists of a number of experts and the various Work Package leaders, will meet in the upcoming months to proceed with the implementation of the two-year project.