THE MEDITERRANEAN GAMES
The Mediterranean Games, celebrated every four years, constitute for the countries of the Mediterranean Basin the most important multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.
To this end, they bring together the sports delegations of the Mediterranean National Olympic Committees which are members of the ICMG in more than 25 disciplines.
The Mediterranean Basin is the meeting place of three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe. It is the birthplace of the three great monotheistic religions. It is also the cradle of the Olympic Games... Yet, it is a region regularly shaken by unrest and conflicts with dramatic effects on its populations. However, despite the problems, particularly political ones, the Mediterranean Games are always held on the fixed date in the selected place, bringing together young athletes from the Mediterranean countries in a convivial atmosphere conducive to strengthening the bonds of friendship and solidarity, despite cultural, religious and linguistic differences.
History of Games
The idea of organizing Games for the Mediterranean countries was conceived by the President of the Egyptian NOC and Vice-President of the IOC, Mohamed TAHER PACHA with the help of the Greek Ioannis KETSEAS, also an IOC member. At the 1948 Olympic Games in London, during a period overshadowed by tension between the great powers, he presented the project to IOC members, supporting the peace-making and unifying dimension of sports.
The first Mediterranean Games were held in Alexandria in 1951. The Games count more than half a century of existence and are in their 19th edition. The table below shows:
- An increase in the number of participating countries in every subsequent edition, resulting in a substantial increase in the number of athletes.
- The participation of female athletes since 1967 in Tunis.
- A change in periodicity in 1993 with the organization of the Games in France only 2 years after the Games of Athens in 1991. Indeed, due to the congestion of the international sports calendar during the pre-Olympic year, most NOCs expressed their wish that this event take place the year after the Olympic Games so as to better prepare the new Olympic teams.
- A balanced alternation in the organization between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean, at least until the 2001 edition.
During the 3rd edition of the Mediterranean Games of 1959 in Beirut, the head of the organization and President of the Lebanese NOC Gabriel GEMAYEL, also an IOC member, realized that the existence of the Games was too fragile and therefore proposed the creation of an International Committee of the Mediterranean Games which was officially established on June 16, 1961.
This international non-governmental and non-profit organization composed of affiliated NOCs and the IOC members of these countries, had as its first President Gabriel GEMAYEL and then Mohamed MZALI (Tunisia), Claude COLLARD (France) and, since 2003, Amar ADDADI (Algeria).
After Ioannis KETSEAS, Epaminondas PETRALIAS, Nikos FILARETOS, Minos KYRIAKOU, Isidoros KOUVELOS and, since October 31st, 2018, Iakovos FILIPPOUSIS, all Greeks, have served as Secretaries General.
The headquarters of the ICMG are located in Athens. They were hosted by the Hellenic Olympic Committee until 2005; at present they are installed in premises put at the disposal of the ICMG by the Greek Government.
The ICMG is the owner of the Mediterranean Games and designates, every 4 years, 6 years before each edition, the city that will be entrusted with the organization of the Games.
Currently it consists of 26 member NOCs, namely: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain Syrian Arab Republic, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkiye.
Besides its essential role in organizing the Mediterranean Games, the ICMG:
- Contributes to the propagation of the ideals and principles of Olympism as defined in the Olympic Charter and of Olympic education in the countries of the Mediterranean Basin; the Mediterranean Games are held under the patronage of the IOC.
- Contributes to strengthening the bonds of friendship and peace between young people and Mediterranean athletes by promoting understanding, dialogue, cooperation and solidarity among the NOCs of the Mediterranean Basin.
- Organizes development and cooperation activities in the field of sport, in particular for the countries that are most in need, in order to raise the level of practice and contribute to the development of Mediterranean Sport.
Its emblem consists of three interlocking rings, representing the three continents, reflected in the sea, a common and unifying element. It was presented for the first time at the Games of Split in 1979.
The ICMG Charter, inspired by the Olympic Charter, defines its mode of operation, its objectives and everything that is related to the Mediterranean Games.
Its official languages are French, English and Arabic.