Mike Rowbottom ©ITG

So SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for International Federations, is proposing changing its name. Because, among other things, it sounds a little like the SportAccord Convention, the commercial operation that works under its patronage. Well you can’t argue with that, can you?

The amendment, which will be considered at next month’s General Assembly in Aarhus, is among changes designed to "clarify and signify the nature of the organisation", insidethegames was told by Patrick Baumann, the body’s new President.

By that token the organisation should more recently have been known as SportDisaccord following the extraordinary rumpus during the 2015 Convention when the then President and head of the International Judo Federation, Marius Vizer, went - boldly but disastrously - for ippon against the IOC, its President Thomas Bach and his Agenda 2020 Reforms.

As Baumann prepares to lead his members into a more peaceable future after what he has described as "a few rough years", he also is proposing to take a step back into the past.

The organisation was known as the General Assembly of International Sports Federations from 1967 until 1976, when it transformed itself into - wait for it - the General Association of International Sports Federations.

In 2009, the then President Hein Verbruggen re-branded it as SportAccord.

Now, however - and before you read on, perhaps it would be as well to make sure you are sitting down and not holding anything sharp, such as a carving knife, or fragile, such as a champagne glass. OK. Now the proposal has morphed into this: the GLOBAL Association of International Sports Federations.

Yep, that’s right. Back to good old GAISF.

Well it may not be very snappy, but at least it has the benefit of being honest. Assuming the old - sorry, new name is accepted, the organisation will be what it purports to be. An association doesn’t require accord. It simply requires regular contact.

By contrast, the name SportAccord presupposes likemindedness and agreement. It’s less of a name and more of an aspiration.

Australia's Rugby World Cup winner Michael Lynagh interviewed at the 2016 SportAccord Convention, an event often confused with SportAccord, the organisation which represents International Federations ©Getty Images
Australia's Rugby World Cup winner Michael Lynagh interviewed at the 2016 SportAccord Convention, an event often confused with SportAccord, the organisation which represents International Federations ©Getty Images

"It is the opinion of the Council that a name that reflects this, like 'Global Association of International Sports Federations' would better represent the nature of the organisation," the proposals explain.

"It would also make a clear distinction with the commercial activities held under the patronage of the Association, such as the SportAccord Convention/International Federations (IF) Forum or the Multiple Sport Games which shall also in the future retain the name and brand 'SportAccord', which is a protected mark of the Association."

As Baumann and co prepare to change their identity, another debate is going on over nomenclature in the related field of the Tokyo 2020 Games. In other words, the organisers are setting about naming their mascot - a mascot whose design will be decided in a public competition.

If this process proves anything like as vexed as that which produced the Tokyo 2020 logo, we could be in for a long wait.

The initial design by Kenjiro Sano had to be scrapped in 2015 due to allegations of plagiarism, after Belgian Olivier Debie claimed that it resembled his Théâtre de Liège logo too closely.

The contest for the design was then thrown open, prompting nearly 15,000 entries. The eventual winner, designed by Asao Tokolo, a graduate of Tokyo Zokei University with a degree in architecture, received a mixed response when it was unveiled in April.

The latter process had earned criticism, notably, in December 2015, from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, which said a "remarkable" design could only come from a professional designer.

Now Tokyo 2020 is operating in the same spirit as it insists that, whatever kind of mascot is chosen, the official name must be supplied by a creative, marketing-savvy professional rather than a mere member of the public.

Officials told Kyodo News that the Organising Committee will open the process to those with "knowledge and experience" not just of creative writing, but also of dealing with trademarks.

The revised Tokyo 2020 logo, pictured alongside the Olympic flag, arrived after a long and difficult process. Will the process of deciding on the Games mascot, which the public can choose but not name, prove any smoother? ©Getty Images
The revised Tokyo 2020 logo, pictured alongside the Olympic flag, arrived after a long and difficult process. Will the process of deciding on the Games mascot, which the public can choose but not name, prove any smoother? ©Getty Images

"We discussed the possibility of asking the public about the name of the mascot, but as you know, it’s a much tougher task [than the design] when it involves trademark rights," Yoshiko Ikoma, the panel's vice-chairman, told Japanese agency Kyodo News.

"We'll concentrate on the naming once the design is decided.

"We’ve yet to discuss how to choose the people who will decide the name, but we have to overcome the trademark issue both in Japan and abroad.

"We need more than a name that sounds cute.

"It’s not so simple."

Mmmmhh….let’s take a look at some of the professionally calibrated mascot names that have been sent out into the Olympic world over recent years.

The 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid featured a raccoon - named Roni. I suppose they could have referenced The Beatles and gone for Rocky. But it hardly seems a trailblazing choice.

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, featuring a bald eagle - named Sam. Who would have thought it?

Four years later, and the Calgary Winter Games featured not one, but two polar bears. Named Hidy and Howdy. The expertise speaks for itself.

The general public only got the option of making its opinion known on this topic in 2014, when three creatures were chosen for the Sochi Winter Games on a public vote during a live TV show. Step forward Bely Mischka (Polar Bear), Zaika (Hare) and Snow Leopard (A snow leopard.)

Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat - unofficial, and enduringly popular mascot of the Sydney 2000 Games ©Wikipedia
Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat - unofficial, and enduringly popular mascot of the Sydney 2000 Games ©Wikipedia

All cute. All indigenous. None noticeably unmarketable.

Two years later, at the Rio Olympics, another public vote produced one of the best Olympic mascot names ever - Vinicius, in honour of the poet and bossa nova composer Vinicius de Moraes, who died 37 years ago in Rio in the company of his eighth and last wife, and who once announced: "Whisky is man’s best friend - it’s the dog in a bottle."

It seems unlikely that the eventual name for the eventual Tokyo 2020 mascot will reverberate with quite such vivacity.

It is equally unlikely, unfortunately, that Tokyo 2020 will produce any populist version as a lampoon to the official merchandise, as did the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

By the time those wonderful Games were over their unofficial mascot - jointly created by Sydney cartoonist Paul Newell and the uber-droll comic pair of Roy and HG - had earned itself a place in the Olympic history books: Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat.

Fatso turned up on the podium with a number of Australian gold medallist swimmers, including Susie O’Neill, Grant Hackett and the men’s 4x200m relay team. The Australian Olympic Committee tried to ban athletes appearing with their large-rumped furry friend, who was regularly upstaging the official mascots.

And after a period of ridicule, it stopped.