Media Release : Olympic and transplant movements sign ‘unprecedented’ agreement

The promotion of organ and tissue donation on a global scale is to enter an unprecedented era following the signing of an agreement between the World Transplant Games Federation and the International Olympic Committee.

Across the world hundreds of thousands of people wait for a life-saving transplant. One of the key challenges is to encourage communities to consider the benefits of donating their organs. Equally important is ensuring health and hospitals systems have the right infrastructure and organ donation programs in place.

The World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) is to combine forces with the Olympic movement to address this first challenge through raising awareness on the importance of organ donation.

The two Presidents of the respective organisations, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Mr Thomas Bach, and WTGF President, Chris Thomas, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding underpinning cooperation between the two sporting bodies.

The announcement is welcome news as the WTGF prepares to stage the world’s largest awareness event for organ and tissue donation, the World Transplant Games, in Malaga, Spain, from June 25 to July 2. IOC Member, Marisol Casado, from Spain, will represent the IOC President at the Opening Ceremony of the Games on June 25.
The Memorandum creates an important link between the WTGF’s Fit for Life! program to motivate the worldwide transplant population into physical activity and sport and the IOC’s Sport and Active Society Commission and the IOC Athletes’ Commission.

The Memorandum is consistent with the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 and will enable the IOC to help promote the activities of WTGF and in particular the World Transplant Games which is a celebration of the success of transplantation and an event which inspires recipients to get active.

WTGF President, Mr Chris Thomas, thanked Mr Bach for his commitment to helping the WTGF address the worldwide shortage of organ donors.

“We were able to meet Mr Bach last year at the IOC headquarters. He shared with us his previous work to promote donation in his home country of Germany and he was more than prepared to consider projects which could promote donation through the IOC on a global scale,” Mr Thomas said. “This is an unprecedented opportunity. The value of support by the Olympic movement for our social health issue cannot be measured.”

Mr Bach said: “The IOC will help to create awareness within the Olympic Movement and amongst athletes for this important topic.”

The WTGF is to form a special communications taskforce to maximise this commitment and develop a specific project to be agreed between the IOC and the WTGF. The WTGF will be looking for a pro bono communications and advertising partner to help steer the campaign.

Further meetings will take place over the coming 12 months to develop the proposals.
For further information: WTGF – Kim Renyard (kim.renyard@wtgf.org)