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Taekwondo is a traditional Korean martial art dating back more than 2000 years and is designed to promote physical, mental and spiritual development. Today, Taekwondo is practised by an estimated 80 million people in 210 countries, governed by a global federation and administered by five Continental Unions, making it one of the world’s most popular sports.
World Taekwondo (WT) has an Integrity Committee responsible for protecting the ethical principles of the Taekwondo Movement as set out in its Statutes and Code of Ethics. It promotes the values of a “SAFE” sport which is Sustainable, committed to Anti-doping, Fair and Ethical.
The purpose of GoodCorporation/Mission 89’s assessment was to test WT’s safeguarding policies and procedures and to evaluate whether they are working adequately and to make recommendations to WT for improvement, where needed. All GoodCorporation assessment reports highlight areas of strength and best practice but also identify areas where improvement is recommended. Assessments are based on the GoodCorporation/Mission 89 framework on safeguarding children from child trafficking in sport. A detailed plan of recommended actions is also provided with priority levels given for each recommendation.
During the assessment, we spoke to stakeholders at all levels including Federation, Continental Unions, Member National Associations, regional groups and local clubs. One area of focus was the way in which WT communicates and ensures that its standards are being implemented at every level. We considered how different Member National Associations safeguard young athletes within their own cultural context and how WT monitors local implementation of policies.
GoodCorporation/Mission 89 always consider the protection of young women in sport. Taekwondo is a particularly diverse sport and equal gender balance is ensured at competitions both in terms of athletes and referees. Protection of young women remains a live issue which requires special focus on an ongoing basis.
Para Taekwondo is a very prominent part of the sport and, for the first time, has been included in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games programme. We learned about the African Para Taekwondo Open in Rwanda in 2017 and discussed safeguarding guidelines for all WT events.
Further to interviews, document reviews and desktop research, the review team put together an action plan for WT, consolidating recommendations and priorities to ensure good practice at both federation level and across national associations.
Hoss Rafaty, Secretary General of World Taekwondo, said “At World Taekwondo we are determined to set the highest standards in terms of safeguarding children, young people and all those who take part in our sport. We were delighted and really impressed by the safeguarding assessment that GoodCorporation and Mission 89 undertook. It has really helped us to analyse our policies and procedures carefully and has given us a clear road-map for our next steps.”
Obtaining an external perspective of our safeguarding systems and processes was extremely valuable and we are committed to ensuring that all recommendations for best practice are embedded in our sport throughout all national associations worldwide.
Secretary General of IFMA
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