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Global Water Polo Community to Discuss the Future of the Sport at FINA World Conference

Water Polo Community To Discuss Future Of Sport at FINA World Conference

This week, from April 26-28, the International Water Polo Community gathers in the Magyar capital for the FINA World Water Polo Conference.

Over 250 participants, including 163 National Federation delegates, will discuss the future of the oldest Olympic team sport.

The Conference will feature more than 40 speakers who will address 19 different topics. A key component of the conference will be to discuss the sports’ rules and competition formats. Thanks to the extensive and comprehensive programme, the Conference will offer a unique platform to exchange ideas and best practice.

The main objectives of the Conference are:

  1. To review and discuss the current challenges of Water Polo
  2. To examine resources and concepts to address our current challenges and professionalize our sport in various areas
  3. To agree on recommendations, next steps, and definitive action plans
  4. To discuss Water Polo rules and competition modernization
  5. To advance Water Polo by inspiring visionary thinking and innovation

The conference will hear from a multitude of sports experts performing both inside and outside Water Polo. From development, media, technical, broadcasting and events, experts will weigh in on what it takes to succeed in each of these areas, helping Water Polo strive for more success in the future.

Below you can see the entire program of the Conference:

Day 1: Thursday, April 26 – 2018

9:00 – Opening

Opening session – Welcome
Welcome address by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione

9:15 – Start Conference Sessions

The sports landscape is very competitive, today all sports are growing and being more innovative than ever before. Water Polo has the opportunity to also reflect on its position and decided how it can make positive advancements – the time for this is now. Participants will be provided with an overview of how Water Polo is currently doing, in-terms of participation, current statistics, and reflect on the future.

Speakers:

Theme 1: Water polo – 150 years of evolution

  • Yiannis Giannouris, Water Polo Coach

Theme 2: Where we are now?

  • Cornel Marculescu, FINA CEO

Theme 3: Where do we want to go?

  • Eric Van Heijningen, FINA Bureau Member
  • Manuel Ibern, Chairman FINA Technical Water Polo Committee
  • Andrey Kryukov, FINA Bureau Member & Water Polo Liaison

10:25 – Coffee Break

10:45 – Conference

Theme 4: Brand, Communication & Image

Professional brand development and management are essential to successful marketing and communication of any product or service, including sports. This theme will focus on how branding works as a basis for marketing in sport, and what National Federations can do to promote Water Polo in their nation, starting by getting the right message to the right audiences and using data to drive promotion.

Speakers:

  • Terrence Burns, Executive Vice President Global Sport at Engine Shop Agency
  • Matthias Lüfkens, Social Media Expert at Burson-Marsteller

Theme 5: Water Polo Reform 21

With the Water Polo rules currently under evaluation, this theme is dedicated to informing participants about the Water Polo Reform 21. The project “Water Polo Reform 21” provides unprecedented measures to ensure the widest possible coverage of opinions in the history of our sport and participation of all stakeholders of Water Polo. Water Polo experts will present the results of various research.

Speakers:

  • Andrey Kryukov, FINA Bureau Member & Water Polo Liaison
  • Wim Keman, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Honorary Secretary
  • Dragan Jovanović, Director General at WWPCA

12:35 – Lunch

14:10 – Conference

Theme 6: Water Polo Rules

With the Water Polo rules currently under evaluation, this theme is dedicated to providing an overview of the proposed rule changes – including wording and interpretation – and an outline of the process.

Speakers:

  • Yiannis Giannouris, Water Polo Expert
  • Manuel Ibern, Chairman FINA Technical Water Polo Committee
  • Bill Shaw, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Member
  • Dragan Jovanović, Director General at WWPCA

Theme 7: Game officiating and refereeing matters

To build strong nations worldwide, increasing technical capacity on all levels is crucial. This session will focus on refereeing matters. Topics to be discussed include, E-learning platform, code of conduct, ranking systems, the referee pathway, certification, and evaluation.

Speakers:

  • Mark Koganov, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Vice Chairman
  • Wim Keman, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Honorary Secretary
  • Boris Margeta, President of WWR
  • Danny Kurmann, IIHF

15:50 – Coffee Break

16:05 – Conference

Theme 8: Technology and Innovations

Technology plays an ever-increasing role in sports. This session provides participants with information on the latest innovations in Water Polo, including video monitoring system, live scoring system, FINA TV, result databases and more.

Speakers:

  • Takeshi Inoue, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Member
  • Will Bastin, FINA Events & Services Manager
  • Alex Garcia, ERIC Sports

Theme 9: What coaches need

To build strong nations worldwide, increasing technical capacity on all levels is crucial. This session will focus on coaching matters. A panel of coaches will discuss the needs of coaches and touch upon topics such as the FINA coach pathway and certification, and how to manage coach skills.

Speakers:

  • Adam Krikorian, FINA Coaches Committee
  • Prof. Yoji Omoto, Coach Japanese Men’s Team
  • Lance Rochester, Water Polo Coach Jamaica
  • Dénes Kemény, FINA Coach
  • Ratko Rudić, Star Coach

Theme 10: The athletes’ perspective

Athletes are not only the most important part of the sport, but also have unique views on the game. This session features a panel of athletes, including current and future stars and athletes from developing countries who will discuss their views on the state of Water Polo and ideas for the future.

Speakers:

  • Margaret Steffens, USA
  • Aaron Feltham, CAN
  • Aaron Younger, AUS
  • Kelsey White, RSA
  • Istvan Gergely, HUN

Day 2: Friday, April 27 – 2018

9:00 – Conference

Theme 11: How to stage exciting events

Water Polo events, big and small, are great opportunities to showcase the sport. In order to fill out venues, the event experience needs to be top notch. Spectators expect spectacular sports presentation, entertainment, and a hassle-free experience. This session will look at how Water Polo events can use innovation and new technologies to enhance the spectator experience.

Speakers:

  • Great Big Events
  • Paola Bosio, sports presentation expert

Theme 12: How to make the game more attractive?

In order to grow, sports need to attract more fans and new fans. This is the same principle for Water Polo. When reaching out to fans, especially to a new audience, video and broadcasting are often the first points of contact. This session will take a closer look at Water Polo through the lens of broadcasters and viewers. What are the challenges Water Polo faces in presenting their sport and what opportunities are there for growth?

Speakers:

  • Jochen Färber, Head of Olympic Channel Services
  • Peter Diamond, NBC Executive Vice President Programming
  • Marco Birri, LEN expert

11:00 – Coffee Break

11:15 – Conference

Theme 14: Water Polo and the Olympic Games – 100 years together

  • Pere Miro, Deputy Director General, International Olympic Committee

Theme 15: Sponsorship, Marketing & Partnerships

All sports face an ever-increasing challenge to attract and retain long-term sponsors that add value to the brand beyond the rights fee. This theme will introduce the concept of changing sponsorships into partnerships. Partnerships create mutually beneficial marketing and branding relationships and opportunities, with clear goals and objectives for each party.

Speakers:

  • Claude Ruibal, Director at Infront
  • Kristian Götsch, Two Circles
  • Richard Tattershaw, Sports Hit Factory

Theme 15: Developing Water Polo – How to grow our sport beyond the Olympic footprint

The future of Water Polo needs many strong nations, where the winner is tough to predict. This starts with further developing the sport, not only is there a need to expand Water Polo to new nations, but also to help all nations become stronger. This session will provide an overview of FINA’s new development initiatives and also give insights from other sports where the same strong nations are present year after year.

Speakers:

  • Dale Neuburger, FINA Bureau Member
  • Yiannis Giannouris, Water Polo Coach
  • Ratko Rudić, Star Coach
  • Bartolo Consolo, Grassroots expert

13:15 – Lunch

14:30 – Conference

Roundtable Theme 6: Water Polo Rules

During this session, selected experts, and national federation and continental representatives will discuss the proposed new Water Polo rules in detail. Questions raised by participants during previous sessions will be answered and reasoning behind the proposals outlined. To allow for maximum transparency in the rules change process, all participants are able to observe the discussion.

16:30 – Coffee Break

16:45 – Conference

Roundtable Theme 15: How to expand our sport beyond the Olympic footprint

Continuing the discussion on how the sport of Water Polo can ensure further expansion, this Roundtable will feature a large group of expert, both from within and outside the sport.

19:00 – Dinner

Day 3: Saturday, April 28 – 2018

9:00 – Theme 16: New activities in Water Polo

Having a focus on the future means thinking outside the box and trying out new things. In Water Polo, many new activities are in the pipeline and this session is dedicated to providing the participants with information on all the exciting initiatives in Water Polo that are planned or on-going. Speakers will touch upon topics such as Beach Water Polo and new competition formats and events.

Speakers:

  • Ken Kuroda, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Member
  • Prof. Andy Hoepelman, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Member
  • Haider Farman, Asian Games Director at Olympic Council of Asia

Theme 17: Game improvement solutions

This theme will present an overview of all proposals and solutions from experts, both internal and external, discussed during the conference.

Speakers:

  • External Experts
  • FINA Experts

10:20 – Coffee Break

10:35 – Conference

Theme 18: Game improvement solutions

In this theme, an overview of all proposals and solutions from experts will be presented. This includes an overview of the final proposed rules, testing procedures, and explanations of the calendar and future steps.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Monica Brochero, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Member
  • Manuel Ibern, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee Chairman
  • Mark Koganov, FINA Technical Water Polo Committee

Theme 19: Keynote speech – Embracing new ideas

No one knows what the future holds, except that the world changes at an ever growing pace. Staying ahead of the times and embracing new ideas requires continuous effort and motivation from everyone involved in Water Polo. World Famous coach Adam Krikorian will leave participants motivated and inspired to continue their contributions to the game.

Theme 20: What is the future of Water Polo?

Conference summary and closing by FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione.

12:30 – Press conference followed by lunch

You can follow the Conference LIVE on FINA Youtube channel as of Thursday, April 26. For all the water polo news around the world, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

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