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Posts Tagged ‘IKFO’

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screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-2-53-05-pmAs you’ve likely read on these pages before, one of our biggest beefs with the folks who run ISAF World Sailing has long been their willingness to threaten those who compete in non-ISAF sanctioned events with a ban from competition.  We’ve long maintained that the rule allowing them to do this (ISAF/World Sailing Regulation 19.14 (a)(ii)) is illegal in much of the modern world, and it appears that the European Commission agrees wholeheartedly.

Acting on complaints from a pair of Dutch speedskaters, EU regulators have told the International Skating Union that its threat to impose lifetime bans on speed skaters for taking part in unauthorized events is anti-competitive, putting pressure on the ruling body and other agencies with similar penalties to back down.  The skaters said the ISU threatened them if they competed in a big money “ice derby” in Korea, and after a year-long investigation, the EU agreed that the ISU violated the anti-trust sections of EU law.

For a legal description of what exactly happened and what the implications are for the ISU and other bodies (like ISAF), check out the EU Competition Law Review summary here.  We can sum it up quickly though:  The EU investigated ISU for a year, and determined that the ISU rules (that allow up to a lifetime ban for competitors) unduly restrict athletes’ commercial freedom and effectively discourage them from participating in events other than those organized by ISU or its members.  In other words, the international governing body’s rules are an attempt to create an impermissible monopoly over all skating events…

ISU now must issue a response to the EU, after which point the EU will decide what penalties and actions they will take against the ISU, and if the ISU’s incredibly condescending and dismissive initial response is any indicator, the EU is going to have to take a swing.  ISU said it was “surprised” at the EU view, and that, despite their investigation, they ‘failed to understand’ the international sports world.  Perhaps they meant to write that the EU  “failed to understand how crooked our international sports world is…”

The smarmy Swiss-based org went on to write that “any allegation that the ISU’s rules are somehow anti-competitive appears to be based on a misplaced understanding of the governance structure of sport and the Olympic movement. A neoliberal and deregulated approach to sport could destroy the Olympic values underpinning sport.”

It’s the same response that insiders always give when challenged with their malfeasance, and it’s always bullshit.  Bodies like ISU and ISAF need to face the fact that their monopolies are ending, and organizations that dedicate their resources to improving the services they offer in a competitive world are going to succeed. Those who stick their fingers in their ears and complain that the government just doesn’t understand them?  Folks who are allergic to transparency and equality?  It’s time to go.

We’ll dedicate an upcoming podcast to the wider-reaching implications of this anti-competition ruling, especially as it effects ISAF’s unfounded attacks on IKFO kiteboarders and the non-transparent and anti-competitive equipment selection process for the next Olympics.  The kiters are in almost the exact position as the Dutch skaters so we’d expect the IKFO to be filing a complaint with the same EU body very soon if they haven’t done it already.  This one is getting good.

 

September 29th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 1.39.33 PMISAF World Sailing has happily continued with their attempt at “Word Domination”, attacking the first two events on the International Federation of Kiteboarding Organization calendar as “Prohibited” for one reason only: The IFKO are choosing to use their own rules, not ISAF’s.  Under the RRS, World Sailing believes it has the right to completely ban any competitor at these IFKO events from ANY future racing on the water.  This ban would include all junior boarders at the now-‘prohibited’ Junior Freestyle World Cup.

That’s right, folks: World Sailing actually believes it has the right to ban a 12 year old kid from racing his Opti for years solely because the kid entered a freestyle kiteboarding competition.  Or they can ban you from racing the Sydney Hobart on a cruiser because you did backflips on your kiteboard at the kitesurf world series.  Seriously!

There’s plenty of background on this issue in the story we ran in February, but the long and the short of it is this: Under the laws of MANY countries in which it functions, legal experts agree that World Sailing is prohibited from disciplining sailors for competing in events that contravene the bizarre prohibition against non-RRS events using the word “World” in their titles.  The claimed reason?  “Eliminating confusion” amongst sailors and the public about what is a ‘World’ level event.  The real reason?  ISAF sells the use of the word for thousands and thousands of dollars.  The bigger reason?  ISAF absolutely MUST control the introduction of kiting to the Olympics or they lose millions.

Those same experts said that they can’t find any other sport that claims this type of control over a common word, in some cases because they were told by their lawyers long ago that it wouldn’t fly.  But because yacht races are largely run by Yacht Clubs rather than transparent, publicly accountable organizations, the status quo has endured.  Don’t rock the boat, old boy.

Read the World Sailing press release if you want to see just how out of hand ISAF has gotten.  They are actually threatening junior sailors with a ban on all racing activities solely because these kids want to go freeriding at a cool event.

As we’ve said before, we encourage IFKO competitors to stay strong and continue to buck the bullshit artists trying to extort and threaten them into submission.  And of course you need to send us any and all correspondence you receive from ISAF World Sailing or the IKA on this issue. Only sunlight can cure this infection.

 

March 30th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.05.30 PMAs seems more and more common lately when it comes to ISAF and the regulation of the sport, the more you dig, the uglier it gets, and so it has gone with our reporting on the International Federation of Kitesports Organizations and its battle for survival against the might of World Sailing and its delegate, the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA). 

IFKO was formed by French and Portuguese kite associations to specifically address the governance of the 90% of kiteboarding that wasn’t neatly sucked up by ISAF and the IKA under the guise of ‘sail racing’, and with kiting on the agenda when the IOC has their big meeting in Rio this summer, never has control of kiteboarding been more important than now. 

We find the reason for IKFO’s creation compelling, and they’re saying all the right things in public, so we asked them to bring us up to speed on the situation.  Sofia Guerreiro, IKFO’s Director General, responded, and rather than losing her written flavor, we largely left her response ‘as is’:

Yes, IFKO is a real and official organization! Legally registered on the Notary, on the Justice Ministry, with a number of registrations, with sport statutes and all parameters created by the rules of the World of Sports under the direct guidelines of SportAccord.  IFKO intends to give Kitesports its own self-determination as an independent Sport! We are kiteriders, we are not sailors or tennis players. We have our own culture, identity and our own athletes!

Last week’s IKA press release and statement, like any other in the past, is their style move. They have no legal authority, but they try to push people into believing it and fake it.   IFKO simply applied like any other new sport for recognition at SportAccord. After SportAccord’s analysis of our process and legitimacy, we decided to open a platform to start the recognition process. Now ISAF and IKA will have to deal with it and with what they have done in the past!

In 2012, ISAF’s AGM registered one single discipline “IKA Formula Kite” in a self-named “Kiteboarding Committee”.  None of the other 17 kiting  disciplines were registered, and therefore SportAccord recognized the legitimacy of IFKO to apply for recognition of a new sport, bringing together members of those other 17 disciplines and achieving the Full Membership thereafter.

IN DETAIL:

– IFKO does not recognize IKA authority anywhere, nor will we engage in bad vibe discussions with this private company

– IFKO recognizes ISAF as the IF of the sport: Sailing;

– IFKO is the IF of the sport: Kitesports;

– Last AGM of ISAF was in 2012;

– Only IFs AGMs are official stages, so any decision taken, meetings or whatsoever taken in the middle are internal affairs (we do not have to respect it or even read it);

– ISAF legal reach of actions is written in 2012 AGM minutes, where the only discipline registered was “IKA-Formula-kite”;

– IKA is an undefined structure of ISAF, not recognized by SportAccord or IOC;

– IKA company can only work under official decisions settled at last ISAF AGM 2012; saying different is not legal.

– IKA and ISAF would be right to complain if IFKO used the Racing Rules of Sailing or any other property of ISAF, and/or if IKFO organized ‘IKA-Formula Kite’ competitions as registered by IKA.  IKFO does not do either of these things.

– IKFO does not care if IKA tries to make Formula-Kite in the Olympics.  IKFO has 17 disciplines of kitesports to develop and will focus on that.

MORE:

– “IKA”, the legal figure “association” with the name “international kiteboarding association” does not exist, this name doesn’t legally exist;

– IKA said in their “AGM” openly that they are a private company registered in Gibraltar with the name “Kitesports LTD”;

– Private companies have owners, and share holders, do not have “associates”;

– Private companies are made for money self profits objectives and therefore will not have the kiteriders’ interests as their first objective. Profit motives can help explain the motivation behind IKA’s threats to riders and judges and IKA’s goals over the past four years.

– We cannot find any legal contract between Ika and Isaf in the public minutes of Isaf. Is it secret? Who signed it? What does it says? Does it exist?

AND:

– IFKO will not use World Saling Rules, officials or whatsoever sailing stuff – that was something decontextualised and absurd said by new WS/Isaf CEO ;

– IFKO uses Kite rules, Kite directors, Kite identity dynamics, and our own sport identity to our competitions;

– IFKO does not ban Athletes that is blackmail, VERY wrong and ANTI-SPORT;

– SO IKA/ISAF IS BANNING ATHLETES OF COMPETITIONS THEY DO NOT HAVE LEGAL RIGHT TO ORGANIZE!

ABOUT IFKO:

– Our process of recognition of a new sport was accepted by SportAccord and now is opened to receive our reports to build it;
– IFKO just gets “recognition” after a proper stage of building (World Championships, WADA compliance, youth anti-doping seminars, actions of equality for women, actions for disabled Athletes, etc.);

– It is supposed we organize Worldchampionships because SportAccord demands reports of it, to submit evaluation if are being properly organized by Olympic movement standards;

– We have guidelines to prepare the process already with standards to Kitesports be able of recognition by IOC.

RESUMING:

– IFKO will not officially answer IKA’s threatening letter, IFKO has no duties to this private company;

– Our letter to the ISAF CEO is ready and may be public soon,

– Actually, if ISAF continues to threaten our riders and judges, it will help our argument to SportAccord.

– We believe IKA is engaging in fear tactics, trying to scare athletes at the moment of registration not do it, because they could have fear of IKA’s procedures.  The spread of fear is unacceptable.

– IKA strategies to our community always were, are, and will be lies, fear, threat, blackmail and abuse…and the most incredible is that community is believing it for years. IKFO does not accept it, and supports the end of secrets and back room deals.  Sport should be transparent, with decisions made democratically between representative national associations.

It´s time to for IKA to prove that it: 1st -exists?, 2nd- have any authority in what?, 3rd- has legal connection/contract with ISAF, made when? Who signed it? What was signed for us all? Where are these papers that should be public documents? Are they hidden or do they even exist?

Why during these 5 to 8 years the Kite community had no access to public documents decided by IKA?

Even more irregular: if ISAF bans Riders from other sport competitions, why is selling “special statutes” to others (and not only for WKT) to organize competitions??

ISAF seems to “sell” world championships: to WKT, to IKA and someone told us there is a 3rd client soon. Amazing. (it does not matter if they are going to court with each other, important is to sell and pretend you have the authority to sell it)
(By the way ISAF is also a private company and not a non-for-profit association, as SportAccord membership demands and demanded to IFKO).

All this is why the Portuguese and the French associations joined energies: to give Kitesports a fair chance inside Sport correct values to be regulated by itself and not to be submitted to this subversion and disorder that damage athletes and sport.

Kitesports wants to take the way Surf did, we all kiteriders should join in community and just follow the correct path other sports already did. IFKO is working against this sailing fake fear campaign that, even totally agreeing with IFKO, is keeping many national associations quiet and still.

Yes we have our wallet ready and a team of lawyers and sporting specialists. Now it’s up to the President.

-Sofia

 

February 5th, 2016 by admin

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