GAISF President Raffaele Chiulli has pledged to support member associations in a challenging year ahead ©Getty Images

Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) President Raffaele Chiulli has said the organisation will support its members as they tackle a "daunting task" of holding major events this year.

In a New Year’s message, Chiulli said GAISF began 2021 with fresh optimism after the development of COVID-19 vaccines, which have started in several countries.

The vaccine has raised hopes the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will go ahead.

The Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8, followed by the Paralympics from August 24 to September 5.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are among the highlights of the upcoming sporting year, which is still expected to face disruption amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

"In 2021, the best athletes of the world are set to take the stage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and at the World University Games.

"Between them, they will be counted in the tens of thousands, across dozens of sports.

"It is a daunting task, but one that we at GAISF will do all we can to help our members make a successful contribution.

"2020 presented a huge challenge for global sport.

"But the community’s resilience and positive reaction to adversity has no doubt allowed us to emerge stronger than ever.

Indeed, this unshakeable determination and passion will continue to inspire the efforts in Japan during the coming 200 "days to Tokyo 2020.

"GAISF extends its best wishes to the IOC, to the organising committee and all their partners as they work diligently to prepare to deliver a safe, secure and sustainable Games."

The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are due to be held this year ©Getty Images
The rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are due to be held this year ©Getty Images

Chiulli added: "GAISF will continue to fully support its members during these preparations to ensure that athletes and their respective sports have their moment to shine on the world’s biggest stage.

"Of course, we must not underestimate the journey ahead.

"If we are to successfully reach the light at the end of the tunnel, we must continue to support each other through collaboration and sharing best practices.

"Because as 2020 demonstrated, we are always stronger together.

"With the recent positive developments regarding testing and vaccines, combined with the creativity and innovation shown by the global sports community throughout 2020, I truly believe that 2021 will be the beginning of an exciting new chapter for sport."

Chiulli commended GAISF’s members on their continued creativity to encourage people to remain active during the pandemic, despite many people living under restrictions in their countries.

The GAISF President said sport would continue to "live up to its promise to society".

The second edition of the World Urban Games could be held this year after GAISF confirmed in November that it had extended the deadline for Budapest to decide whether it will stage the event again.

GAISF has been re-evaluating the dates of the World Combat Games in Nur-Sultan, with the inaugural event now likely to be held in 2022.