Earlier today on Facebook, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Olympic Committee. IOC President Thomas Bach and ICSD President Valery Hukhledev both signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations on March 8 in Switzerland.
The MoU says both organizations share the same objectives of promoting for and exercise for the well of society, and acknowledges the ICSD’s role as the global governing body for deaf sport. The partnership between the IOC and ICSD is important because this provides opportunities for contracts to support events like the Deaf World Youth Games and to assist in the continued promotion of deaf sport in underfunded regions like Africa by providing additional financial support.
The MoU comes with contractual obligations for both sides, enforceable by the laws of Switzerland and the Court of Arbitration of Sports so long as the ICSD continues to be recognized as a member of the IOC. Part C of the MoU makes clear this document came about as a result of Recommendation 7 of the Olympic Agenda 2000, which calls for greater support in managing sport for people with different types of abilities and working together with organizations that support these sports.
Efforts to get an MoU had been ongoing for several years, with momentum having picked up in 2015. Questions about the future relations with the IOC and how that impacted planning were a topic at the ICSD’s 45th Congress in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia in March of last year. This included issues like names of events, facilitating support of the IOC in the development of the youth side of deaf sport, using the IOC to increase sponsorship opportunities for deaf sports, a potential IOC approved name change for the ICSD to the International Deaflympic Committee and trying to potentially secure office space for the ICSD at the Lausanne Olympic complex. The Congress was attended by Iranian IOC member Kaveh Mehrabi.
The IOC and ICSD have had good relations for many years. At 50th session of the IOC in Paris in June 1955, the ICSD was recognized as an international sport federation for the deaf. The ICSD was awarded the Coubertin Cup in 1966 for their adherence to Olympic ideals. Starting in 1985, the flag of the IOC has flown at all Deaflympic Games, and in May 2001, the IOC gave the ICSD permission to change the name of the Deaf World Games to the Deaflympics.