IIHF a leader in good governance
by Adam Steiss|04 SEP 2020
Picture from the last regular IIHF Annual Congress in 2019.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The IIHF has been named among the top-ranked winter-sports federations in an independent International Federation Governance review. 

The review, commissioned by the Association of International Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), place the IIHF in category A1/A2 with 165 points. The IIHF 5-point lag behind the top A1 category was due to the delay of the implementation of certain governance items, resulting from rescheduling 2020 IIHF Annual Congress for COVID-19 reasons

The governance review is the third comprehensive study of its kind. It is  independently conducted by the London-based I Trust Sport consulting agency and involved 50 indicators covering various governance criteria, including Transparency, Integrity, Democracy, Development and Control Mechanisms.

Click here to access the International Governance Review.

“The review provided the IIHF with a chance to take a look at ourselves and see where we have progressed in the last few years since we made good governance a priority as part of the current Council Mandate,” said IIHF President RenĂ© Fasel.

“Although there is always more work to be done, we should be proud of what we have achieved so far. It is easy to say that good governance is an objective, but not so easy to actually make the regulatory changes necessary to implement real change.”

In order to proceed with good governance legislation, the IIHF needed to create amendments to all its legislative rules, from competition regulations to the IIHF Statutes and Bylaws. Coming up with proposals was one thing, but another challenge was to present the proposed changes to the IIHF’s member national associations for approval. 

“Getting our MNAs and the IIHF Council on board was of course key to pushing through the regulatory changes we needed,” said Fasel. “I was very pleased with the level of support we received from all of our stakeholders, together we set the IIHF on a strong course for the future. 

Based upon the overall scores, improvement was demonstrated among all seven winter federations from the previous evaluation study in 2018. The mean score for the AIOWF members was 140 out of a theoretical maximum of 200, compared to 109 in 2018, an average increase of approximately 31.

“The analysis of the governance of the AIOWF members shows substantial progress by all of the sports since 2018, which is to be commended, but there are significant differences between the strongest performers and the weakest,” the report states. 

The current IIHF Council cycle began in 2016. One major part of the current Council’s mandate was to appoint a Governance Reform Group, which was responsible for creating a set of proposals and amendments to make the IIHF compliant with good governance principles. 

“We did a lot of work in analyzing what governance areas the IIHF excelled in and which areas needed improvement,” said Reform Group chairman and IIHF Council Member Ron DeGregorio. “We wanted to improve transparency and strengthen the integrity of the IIHF, and we were able to get a total buy-in from our membership and our Council to do just that. I thank RenĂ© for his leadership and vote of confidence that enable us to achieve this.”

From 2016 to 2020, the IIHF successfully implemented the following good governance actions: 
  1. Separation of Powers between an operational office and a strategic Council
  2. Clearer and more robust Council Eligibility requirement, Council Campaigning Procedures and Rules, and Council election requirements (minimum votes required to be elected and vetting by an independent auditor);  
  3. Council Term Limits;
  4. Creation of an Independent Ethics Board with members elected by the Congress (Ethics Board mandate takes effect in 2021 due to COVID-19);
  5. Clear requirements and procedures for organizations to become IIHF members and detailed accountability requirements for MNAs once they become members (IIHF Audit rights)
  6. Procurement Policy and Procedures for the IIHF and Hosts of IIHF Championships;
  7. Financial clarity and transparency; 
  8. Creation of a clearer, more robust and accountable Integrity Program (Anti-Doping, Match Fixing, Abuse and Harassment – including racism, and Ethics) – Integrity Hub; and
  9. IIHF Environmental and Social Responsibility Guidelines and Manual for IIHF Championship Hosts.