This year's IF Forum will be a virtual event ©SportAccord

This year's International Federation (IF) Forum will be a fully virtual event, it has been confirmed.

The annual gathering of governing bodies, organised by SportAccord, will move online due to ongoing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli and managing director Nis Hatt confirmed the decision in a letter to IFs, seen by insidethegames.

The Forum is scheduled for November 4 and 5 and was originally due to take place at the Hotel Royal Savoy in Lausanne.

A partially online "hybrid" Forum was then planned because of the impact of COVID-19.

"Given ongoing uncertainties regarding international travel and restrictions on in-person gatherings, the decision has been taken to adopt a fully virtual format for the IF Forum 2020," the SportAccord letter says.

"SportAccord had already put extensive plans in place for the IF Forum 2020 to operate a hybrid format, with strong emphasis on optimising the experience for delegates participating virtually.

"With that in mind, we wanted to inform you of the switch to a fully virtual IF Forum as early as possible, allowing you to adjust your plans accordingly.

"Rest assured that SportAccord will ensure this is an outstanding event for virtual attendees, having formulated an excellent conference programme that will focus on the vital and timely issues facing the international sports movement.

IOC President Thomas Bach opening last year's IF Forum ©SportAccord
IOC President Thomas Bach opening last year's IF Forum ©SportAccord

"Various experts will discuss strategies to drive the recovery of sport following the pandemic, delving into crucial topics such as crisis management, scenario planning, limiting risk from a legal and financial perspective, and how to stay connected and reassure athletes, fans and stakeholders in times of adversity."

The full programme for the IF Forum is due to be shared before the event.

"Of course, we would always prefer to meet in person," the letter adds.

"But we must all rise to the current challenges and adapt our approach where necessary.

"For the good of sport, it has never been more important for us to all come together, and modern technology – with live online streaming of the different sessions – will allow us to overcome the temporary barriers that have been placed in our path.

"This year's IF Forum will be a vital signpost for the global sports movement as our thoughts turn towards a brighter future, and we look forward to you joining us for this important virtual gathering in November."

The pandemic is likely to dominate the agenda for the Forum, which last year had the theme of athlete welfare.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach opened the event.

This year's event is expected to attract more than 200 sports leaders from more than 100 IFs.