The upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the future of “sport diplomacy” were among the main topics of the 77th Congress of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), held from April 28-30 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
A delegation from the Kazakhstan Sports Press Association (KSPA) headed by KSPA President Ilyas Omarov, Vice President Pavel Tsybulin and Secretary General Stanislav Filippov attended the event, where 270 sports journalists from 110 countries discussed the development of sport and its press coverage around the world. The Baku meeting also marked the organisation’s 90th anniversary.
The congress was opened by Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev, who noted that his country conducts many major world competitions and will aggressively pursue its dream of holding a Summer Olympics in Baku. The world’s largest sports federations, including the International Football Federation (FIFA), the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the International Swimming Federation (FINA), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and others made presentations about world and European sport championships and responded to such questions as “What changes are occurring in the coverage of the world’s largest fora for sports journalists?” The FIFA World Cup, to be held in Brazil this June-July, was a subject of particular attention.
Three Kazakh channels, Kazakhstan, KAZSport and First Channel Eurasia, will broadcast the event. It is for such broadcasters like that that head of media at the World Cup 2014 Alan LeBlanc explained the intricacies of coverage for several groups of the sports press.
AIPS representatives took part in the forum along with the world-renowned sports news agencies, in particular Agence France-Presse, L’Equipe, Gazetta dello Sport and other representatives of various printed media, radio and TV.
Kazakhstan drew a lot of attention: many attendees, including AIPS President Gianni Merlo, remembered the Asian Games in 2011 and talked about the upcoming Winter Universiade 2017 in Almaty and Almaty’s bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. In this regard, they expect Kazakh sport journalism to be active, particularly in organising seminars for reporters, participating in training programmes for young correspondents and communicating and working with the most important international sport federations.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach paid tribute to AIPS in a video address. He said that without sports journalists, the Olympics would not exist today. Bach invited participants to contribute to the road map of the future of the Olympic movement. This goes in the same vein as an updated motto of the Sports Press Association of Kazakhstan, which was terms by its president Ilyas Omarov as “sports diplomacy.”
AIPS is an international professional organisation of journalists founded in 1924. On July 2, 2013, at the international congress of representatives of the sports press in Paris, it was decided to create an international professional organisation, the International Sports Press Association, which unites nearly one hundred and fifty national unions.
Since 1995, at the AIPS’s initiative, the International Day of Sports Journalists has been celebrated on July 2. The AIPS mediates between the international press, athletes and sponsors and organises meetings and seminars for young journalists.
Today, the AIPS numbers more than 9,500 sports journalists from more than 150 countries. Kazakhstan has been a member of the AIPS since 1992, and today it counts 43 domestic journalists among its members.