40 Years WFSGI celebrations at ISPO Munich – One voice for the global sporting goods industry

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) celebrates its 40th anniversary at ISPO Munich. The Federation pursues the mission created by its founding fathers, who on September 30, 1978 at 10 o’clock at the SPOGA in Cologne, Germany, spoke the WFSGI into life. WFSGI has not only executed the initial vision but has gone above and beyond. The WFSGI is the relation to all parties concerned when it comes to global sports and economics and their joint role in society.

As WFSGI enters its 40th year, sport continues to unite in a world often divided. Chairman of the Board of the WFSGI, Sean O’Hollaren, is convinced: “For 40 years, our industry has evolved – from the materials and technology we use, to how products are sold and distributed. With our athletes and teams, the people we employ, our customers and fans, all come together to make our reach enormous. Our collective voice in the world changes nations, makes heroes, and builds companies. But competition remains at the heart of sport and what we do. 40 years of amplifying the power of sport and for being the voice of the world’s sporting goods industry is a great achievement.”

President and CEO of the WFSGI, Robbert de Kock, said, “it is an enormous privilege to lead the WFSGI through its 40th anniversary. Since 1978, we have been able to play a role in several challenges or projects that influenced our industry. This started with the early recognition of globalization and understanding the need to build relations with International Sport Federations (IF’s), the IOC and other International Organizations around the world. A major success has been our child labour elimination project where a joint collaboration between different stakeholders introduced programs that motivated people not to use children as workforce.”

You may ask: Why do we need a World Federation? There are associations for manufacturers, retailers and for special interest groups throughout the regions in this world. In one word, the answer is: Yes, worldwide unity for the sporting goods industry. A unity of all industry segments that can address questions of common interest with one voice. The World Federation is the only global body capable of filling this need on a global level. In this age of big government, global conglomerates, worldwide markets and gigantic sports events, the industry must be able to speak with one voice – or take the risk of not being heard at all.

The WFSGI has a unique structure with equal partnerships between Asia/Oceania, Europe/Africa and the Americas. This unique structure, whereby the large share power with the small, whereby the industrial nations share with the developing nations, is a supreme achievement. Deserving special support and recognition. This is not a ‘comfortable club’ with special interest groups huddled in the back room and making deals without consultation. WFSGI is an open democratic forum with legitimate representatives of all sporting good associations and individual companies throughout the world; brands, manufacturers, retailer and others sport related companies.

The World Federation owes its very existence to a small group of men who, with imagination and unbelievable persistence, conceived and implemented a dream. One of the key goals was to give the industry a powerful tool with which they can express their opinion towards global organizations. The Late Puma CEO Armin A. Dassler was one of the founding fathers, who put his work for the association under the motto: “We must continue our efforts to convince the world that every item produced and sold by the sporting goods industry, to the consumer, helps threefold: to show profit, to give work to our employees, to improve the health of the people. Every dollar we make is a healthy dollar.”

For more information about the 40-Year Anniversary of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) read our WFSGI Magazine 2018 – Jubilee edition: “Forward Thinking” including a timeline with key personalities and highlights of the past 40 years.