SAN FRANCISCO (#1104) – Sailing's application was submitted ahead of the 9 July 2018 deadline and World Sailing have been informed by the IPC that Sailing is not in compliance with one or more of the core criteria for Games inclusion as stipulated in the IPC Handbook. World Sailing will meet with the IPC's leadership as soon as possible to further understand the details of the decision taken and the analysis by the IPC management team. "We worked tirelessly to ensure sailing met the IPC criteria and our application was of a high standard and everyone at World Sailing is deeply saddened by the news from the IPC," said Andy Hunt, World Sailing CEO. "Sailing is one of the most inclusive sports and caters for all athletes. Regardless of their classification, sailing's athletes compete on a level playing field and we have reiterated this message to the IPC." So much has been achieved over the past few years in developing Para World Sailing and we will continue to provide a programme of events for the sailors that compete regularly at a national and international level. "Sailing was removed from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Sports Programme in January 2015 for failing to meet worldwide reach criteria. –Excerpt from a World Sailing press release issued today (14 September 18).
Read the full press release on World Sailing's convoluted and difficult-to-navigate website here.
For the record, your Ed. shares the disappointment widely felt in the international sailing community over this continuing exclusion of sailing from the Paralympic Games. Surprised? Given the ineptitude of World Sailing's management? Not in the least.
For details on this IPC decision, and from a source other than World Sailing, read today's article on the authoritative and widely-read (by Olympic aficionados and beyond) "Inside the Games" website entitled, "Sailing fails with bid for Paralympic Games reinstatement...."
Then read Richard Gladwell's insightful and pithy perspective in an article he wrote today as editor of the New Zealand edition of Sail-World.com. Entitled "Angst as Sailing misses Paris 2024 Paralympic inclusion," Richard's photo-essay is a MUST READ for anyone concerned about the misguided governance (to say the least) of our sport by World Sailing, as are your Ed. and many others of long-standing in the international sailing community – a large and growing group working with Member National Authorities and International Class Associations to "Return World Sailing to the Sailors." An except from Mr Gladwell's article:
The [Paralympic] decision is a body blow for the beleaguered world controlling body, which over the past month has had two key management staff resign, and is facing a litany of issues.
Concerns have also been expressed over the organisation's financial situation and sustainability following the head office move from Southampton to London - ranked as the fourth most expensive commercial rental location in the world by London-based estate agency Knight Frank in a study of property values across 40 major cities for the Knight Frank "2018 Global Cities" report.
The world body is also in hot water with anti-trust agencies based in Italy over monopoly supply agreements that it has allowed to be negotiated for many of the Olympic classes it controls.
It has also initiated processes to review seven of the ten Olympic events and classes for the 2024 Olympics - a move which has caused widespread dismay in the sport, compounded by a shift to have four mixed gender events of the 10 events on the 2024 Olympic Regatta. These include several relay and combined score events for mens and womens fleets - which are not practiced as recognised events at world championship level.
The changes in Olympic classes come at the expense of two classes outside the Italian anti-trust investigation - the Finn heavyweight mens singlehanded dinghy which has been in the Olympic regatta since 1952, and which still attracts a very strong following with 90 entries in the combined Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, DEN last month. World Sailing has also put the second oldest Olympic class, the two handed 470 on the skids, with moves to drop the mens and womens two-person dinghy events and replace them with a single mixed gender doublehander, with the class yet to be selected.
The recent inclusion of e-Sailing and Kiteboarding as part of World Sailing has been widely criticised by the many in the sport who believe the organisation should remain true to its roots - being the administration of racing yachts.
Frustrations with the governance in the sport has led to moves to pull control of the sport away from a Board which seems to lack the will or ability to control the Executive, and return to a previous structure which gave the Council of the Sport a much greater degree of control over the direction of Sailing. That matter will be voted on at the organisation's Annual Conference in USA, next month.
Earlier this year World Sailing set up a governance review, saying after the first report had been presented to the Board that "the Board agreed that without improvements to its governance by the end of 2019, World Sailing faces a significant risk of losing credibility and influence, declining interest and membership in sailing federations, and an inability to effectively and efficiently deliver on its strategy, including developing the sport." The intention of the Review is to present and consult further at next month's Annual Conference, with a final report mid-2019 and implementation at the end of 2019. However that timeline may get overtaken by events.
For another thoughtful and interesting perspective on all this, read this post that went up today on the front page of Sailing Anarchy by "Shanghai Sailor."
Racing in the Norlin OD 2.4 Class during the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Photo by Richard Langdon, courtesy of World Sailing via Sail-World.com. World Sailing was "shocked" to learn today that Sailing will not be included in the 2024 Paralympic Games, after already having been excluded from 2020.