IOC President Dr Thomas Bach:
"The International Olympic Committee is honoured to once again give patronage to the IAKS Congress.
This year’s theme – “Building resilient communities through sports and leisure facilities” – resonates very much with the IOC mission to make the world a better place through sport and in particular with our commitment to sustainability.
Building resilient communities – this is where sport can make a difference. Sport is the low-cost, high-impact tool par excellence to support all countries to build a healthier, more equal and more sustainable world for everyone, 365 days a year.
This is why the IOC and the Olympic Movement are focused on strengthening this important enabling role of sport and contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As your Congress highlights, building resilient communities and strengthening sustainability must go hand-in-hand. In this respect, you can always count on the support of the IOC as we bring the power of sport into the heart of our communities.
We all have a role to play. Whether it is improving people’s lives, stepping up climate action, or putting sustainability at the heart of all our actions – we can only have an impact if we stand together. Because it is only by joining hands, that we can live our Olympic motto: Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together."
IPC President Andrew Parsons:
“It is my pleasure to welcome you here to the 28th international IAKS Congress.
In my role as President of the International Paralympic Committee I’m often asked, what value does Para sport provide for people and communities? It is a priceless one.
By its very nature sport is inclusive. It is about the people we meet, it is about the memories we create along the way, and it is about the togetherness felt by both the individual and the community in which they belong.
You may say you’re building a sports facility, but in reality, you’re creating a freedom facility. This is especially true for the 1.2 billion people on this planet who have a disability, and are also the world’s most marginalised population.
When you create an inclusive space for persons with disabilities to practice sport, you give them the opportunity to challenge themselves and help increase their confidence.
If you ask a person with a disability what sport gives them, then it is a profound sense of freedom, empowerment, and a strong sense of personal identity. For people and communities that is priceless.
I hope you have a wonderful week at the Congress.”
Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs Nancy Faeser:
"Sport keeps us healthy, motivates us and gets us moving not only physically. Sport animates people to hone their own skills and creates cohesion in a diverse society. As the Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, I am therefore delighted to act as the patron of the 28th IAKS Congress.
The IAKS' services to sports and leisure facilities underpin the German sports sector. Your work has therefore also been recognised with good reason by such specialist international organisations as the International Olympic Committee.
We need high-quality, demand-driven and also sustainable sports facility infrastructure in Germany. This applies equally to grassroots and top-level sport. In order to compete internationally, our top athletes need the best conditions for training and competition. The federal government will make around EUR 26.5 million available for this purpose in 2023.
At the International Congress for the Planning, Construction and Operation of Sports and Leisure Facilities, you can now advance innovation and exchange ideas. I wish everyone attending a fruitful congress in Cologne with plenty of inspiration for your future work."
IAKS President Dr Stefan Kannewischer:
"A warm welcome to FSB and the IAKS Congress 2023!
With its rapid recent changes, the world is presenting us with multifaceted challenges in all areas of life. This is why we are focusing the Congress on resilience in society.
Climate change poses technical and architectural challenges for sports and leisure facilities. Sustainability and particularly the transition to renewable energy sources call for innovations that have yet to be developed.
Now fortunately behind us, the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of health and thus of an active lifestyle – while at the same time changing people’s sports behaviour. In addition, greater importance is being attached to social cohesion and comprehensive social inclusion. Our sports and leisure facilities must respond to this.
To show how sports and leisure facilities can contribute as the foundation of a resilient society, we have again put together many inspiring lectures and discussion panels, bringing together speakers from all over the world.
The IOC IPC IAKS Architecture Prizes will also generate exciting stimuli. Don’t miss the award presentation ceremony at the gala on Tuesday, 24 October, where we shall be celebrating the most innovative ideas of our industry and their creators.
All this would be impossible without the many years of excellent cooperation with our dependable partners. I should like to express my sincere thanks to the IOC, IPC, Koelnmesse and the German Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs for their involvement in a spirit of trust.
I wish you many fruitful discussions and useful insights at the IAKS Congress, FSB and aquanale as well as at the many events taking place in this context. Please find the time for this valuable exchange of expertise, as it only comes around every two years. And why not join the IAKS to benefit from the latest know-how and the many services of our network in the intervening period? We shall be happy to provide you with further information at our Meeting Point on the Messeboulevard.
I look forward to meeting you personally in Cologne."