Friday, January 15, 2016

World Sailing holds back Youth Worlds report promised for Tuesday

World Sailing holds back Youth Worlds report promised for Tuesday

by Richard Gladwell, NZL Jan 12, 2016, 11:52:00 (Pacific Standard Time)
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Three sailors - Four World Champions from Israel - Mens U-19, U-17 amd Womens U-17 and U-19 World Champions - 2015 RS:X Class Youth World Championships, Gdynia, Poland
World Sailing, previously the International Sailing Federation, has held back a report into the exclusion on political grounds of two current world champions from the ISAF Youth Worlds in Malaysia. 

The Chief Marketing Officer of the world body, Malcolm Page sent an email to sailing media on Tuesday evening referencing the report that had been promised to be released at that time. It's release followed an emergency meeting of the World Sailing Executive Committee, late last week after which it was promised that the report would be released publicly. 

The statement reads: 

I know we indicated that the 2015 Youth Sailing World Championships report was going to be ready and published by this time Tuesday 12 January. 

The report was completed approximately 24 hours ago. With the decisions and changes that the World Sailing Executive and Council has decided on, it will set a precedent within all sports. So to ensure that the correct procedure is followed, the report has been forwarded to ASOIF and the IOC for their consideration. As soon as we have their opinion and guidance on the report it will be finalised and sent to you. 

I assume you understand the importance of getting this right so that these situations in the sport have every chance do not happen again, and, in turn, understand the slight delay. Sailing has the opportunity to be leaders in this area.

It is not clear whether the report will echo the statement issued at the end of the Executive Committee Meeting which did not take any action against Malaysia and instead was forward looking and talked of sanctions against national sailing bodies for any repetition of the exclusions. 

Sail-World Image
Andy Hunt, former CEO of the British Olympic Association now CEO of World Sailing -
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Previously five major world sailing nations had called for transparency in the matter and for the world body to take decisive action. Those nations included US Sailing, Yachting New Zealand, Danish Sailing Association, Royal Yachting Association and Yachting Australia. The public pronouncements by these national bodies on a matter under consideration by World Sailing are unprecedented. 

In the furore following the exclusions, it transpired that sailors from Israel had been excluded from three World Championships in 12 months for political reasons, and no action had been taken by the then ISAF. Further, the world sailing body was a co-organiser of the World Youth Championships and had known of the possibility of exclusions of some competitors since 2011 when it awarded the prestigious world championship to Malaysia. The Malaysian government does not have diplomatic relations to Israel and makes a regular practice of excluding competitors in world championships staged in its territories. 

Since the conclusion of the World Youth Championship the Malaysian government has withheld visas from Israeli competitors at a world table tennis championship to be staged in Malaysia, however the world table tennis body has taken a far more aggressive stance and has threatened the host with sanctions if they persist in withholding entry visas from Israeli or any other competitors, or require that they not compete as an Israeli national team and impose conditions around their participation that are not applied to any other country. 

At the same Executive Committee meeting, the appointment of Andy Hunt (GBR) was confirmed as the new CEO of World sailing. He becomes the third CEO of the world body in 14 months.
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