Olympic Summit stakeholders have called for all Athletes' Commission to be elected, like the IOC one ©Twitter/IOC

All sports organisations have been once again urged to elect Athlete Commissions in order to "respect the principles of democratic legitimacy, universality and diversity" following an Olympic Summit meeting.

The call was made following the meeting here chaired by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

It can be interpreted, however, as an implicit criticism of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whose Athlete Committee is still appointed rather than elected.

"The Olympic Summit discussed the issue of athlete representation within the Olympic Movement," read a communique published afterwards. 

"The Summit agreed that any athlete representation should respect the principles of democratic legitimacy, universality and diversity.

"The Summit encourages all IFs (International Federations) and NOCs (National Olympic Committees) which are not yet doing so to organise athletes' representative elections in the appropriate manner and guided by these principles.

"The Summit noted the democratic and representative nature of the IOC's Athletes' Commission, with representatives elected at the Olympic Games by the Olympic athletes and with representation on the IOC Executive Board."

A project by the IOC Athletes' Commission to develop a "Charter of Athletes' Rights" in consultation with "athletes and athletes' representatives from the entire Olympic Movement" was also praised.

IOC Athletes' Commission chair Angela Ruggiero, left, alongside IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images
IOC Athletes' Commission chair Angela Ruggiero, left, alongside IOC President Thomas Bach ©Getty Images

All National Olympic Committees and International Federations are now under pressure to form an Athletes' Commission - with very few still to do so.

The chair of these panels ordinarily sit on the executive body of the respective organisations.

It also comes at a time where sports bodies are receiving criticism for paying lip service towards listening to athletes but without actually giving them little real influence. 

Sabre fencer Max Hartung, chair of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) Athletes' Committee, has even spoken about forming a breakaway group separate to the DOSB in order to enhance their influence.

The apparent dig at WADA also follows tensions between their respective athlete panels.

Ruggiero and IOC Athletes' Commission vice-chair Tony Estanguet distributed a statement last month in which they criticised WADA counterpart Beckie Scott for calling for Russia to compete neutrally at Pyeongchang 2018 following alleged evidence of institutional doping at Sochi 2014. 

Ruggiero and Estanguet claimed it was inappropriate to recommend such an action until the two ongoing IOC-commissioned investigations into possible Russian wrongdoing are published in December.