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IWGA Interview of the Month: Guillaume Felli

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IWGA Interview of the Month: Guillaume Felli

Improving our product

“After The World Games” is also “before The World Games”. In the IWGA interview of the month, Guillaume Felli, head of IWGA projects, describes the way to Chengdu. The twelfth edition of the event will take place on August 7-17, 2025 in the capital of Sichuan Province in China.

Are the preparations for Chengdu already underway or are you still evaluating Birmingham 2022?

Guillaume Felli: We are currently working on evaluating The World Games 2022 and at the same time we have started preparations for The World Games 2025. Due to the postponement of our last edition by a year, we are now doing our best to make it to our event in Chengdu. Looking back on the very successful edition in Birmingham, we want to find out just how successful we were. We have collected an important set of data during and after the Games, which is now being analysed. We are also working closely with the independent company Quantum (UK based), which is working on the Games timing report, and other stakeholders (Birmingham Organizing Committee, Swiss Timing, ISB, etc.) to get as complete a picture as possible of how the Games will be delivered. All reports and assessments should be completed by the end of 2022 at the latest. The World Games Impact Report will be made public and will provide excellent insight into the value of the World Games organization.

Are there already lessons learned from the 2022 Games that will play a role in 2025?

Guillaume Felli: The IWGA strives to improve its product from edition to edition of The World Games, and each event allows us to identify areas for improvement to improve the experience of athletes, officials and spectators in the next edition. In this sense, the feedback we collect from our member federations is crucial and extremely helpful in identifying what worked well and what we will need to pay special attention to in the future to take the whole product to the next level. What we already know and agree on is that we want to strengthen cooperation with National Sports Organizations and National Olympic Committees. What we learned from the 2022 Games is that working with standard procedures across the board makes it easier for a host city to run an event successfully. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.

The dates for TWG 2025 have already been set: it will take place from August 7-17, 2025. When will you announce the sports program?

Guillaume Felli: The sports program will be ratified by the 2023 IWGA General Assembly to be held in May or June 2023. Member Federations will be asked to send us their requests for review and discussion from mid-November 2022 to the end of January 2023. On this basis, the Executive Committee IWGA will formulate a proposal for approval at the Annual General Meeting.

How are the federations involved in the development of the sports programme?

Guillaume FelliA: We want the application process to be a discussion and co-creation with member federations to select the disciplines that will bring the most added value to them and the IWGA, based on the availability of places in Chengdu. In the next edition, we will pay special attention to the level of development of the sport/discipline in the host country (China) and how member federations intend to use The World Games to further strengthen their presence in China.

Do you expect to introduce new disciplines?

Guillaume Felli: Yes. Member federations have the opportunity to propose sports under their jurisdiction that have never been featured at The World Games. In addition, the IWGA recently changed its rules and composition to provide additional flexibility to the sports program. We have set aside an additional amount for the host city and stakeholders such as the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee to propose sports/disciplines for inclusion. The selection of these additional sports/disciplines will be made after close consultation with our partners and will be subject to a strict set of criteria to ensure compliance with The World Games rules.

What are the other important milestones on the road to Chengdu?

Guillaume Felli: The first Meeting of the Race Directors (site visit) is always an important milestone which usually takes place 3 years before the Games. At this time, we are still working with our Chinese counterparts to find out when the IWGA will be able to travel to Chengdu for field visits. COVID-related restrictions remain in place in China and we need to factor them into our plans.

As mentioned, the next milestone will be the confirmation of the sports program before summer next year. Then we will work according to the schedule. The first draft will most likely be available in the third quarter of 2023. Our Chengdu counterparts and our member federations will be working in parallel to confirm suitable sites. The qualification process will start in the second half of 2023 and will last until the first quarter of 2025. The second and most important Meeting of the Race Directors on site will take place at the end of 2024. As already agreed, we will invite the National Olympic Committees and National Sports Organizations to a preparatory meeting immediately after the Match Directors’ Meeting.

How do you build cooperation with IWGA partners in Chengdu?

Guillaume Felli: IWGA enjoys excellent cooperation with the city of Chengdu and the Chinese Olympic Committee. Both attended The World Games recently held in Birmingham. We organized the Observer Program for the Chengdu 2025 representatives and had the opportunity to discuss and extensively review the next steps in preparations for The World Games 2025. We had a fruitful exchange and we look forward to continuing preparations in the spirit of co-creation and cooperation.

World Games 2025 will be the first time that the guidelines contained in the strategic document “Growth Beyond Excellence” will apply. What does this mean in specific terms?

Guillaume Felli: Our goal is to continuously increase our brand recognition and improve our product and gaming experience for our athletes, officials, stakeholders and the public. In doing so, we also pay particular attention to improving our governance principles. For example, we will publish a Sustainability Report for the first time following the ratification of the United Nations Framework to Fight Climate Change (UNFCCC) and we are in the process of implementing the Athletes Commission to continue to address the needs and well being our competitors.

IWGA is now also present on Weibo, the Chinese social media platform. What ideas do you implement in this way?

Guillaume Felli: During the next edition of The World Games in China, we decided to strengthen our presence on Chinese social media platforms to increase awareness of our brand and product. Historically, China has achieved excellent results in the last three editions of The World Games, and our goal is to increase the Chinese public’s interest in the Games until 2025.

World games is a multi-sport event organized every four years by the International World Games Association, organized with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The 2022 World Games took place in Birmingham, Alabama, USA from July 7-17, 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries participated in the games. The 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, CHN in 2025.

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