The Events Committee of the International Sailing Federation has voted to re-instate Windsurfing for the 2016 Olympic Regatta in Rio de Janeiro.
The meeting is the first by the ISAF Committee since the ISAF Council decision to drop Windsurfing and substitute the new sport of Kiteboarding.
In May, at its Mid-Year Meeting, the Events Committee voted by a 17-2 majority to retain Windsurfing as an Olympic Event, however that was overturned by the ISAF Council, who decided to insert Kiteboarding into the Olympic program.
On the basis of such an overwhelming vote in May at the Events Committee, the latest decision is hardly surprising. It will go onto Council for review.
In the end, despite a raft of submissions from national authorities and other bodies for the return of windsurfing, the Events Committee selected and approved a single submission 055-12, from the International Raceboard Class Association which would see Men’s and Women’s Windsurfing back in the 2016 Olympics and using the RS:X. The full submission can be read http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/055122016OlympicEventsandEquipmentRegulation23.1.4-.pdf!by_clicking_here
Under ISAF regulations, the Council will first have to vote to re-open the issue of the 2016 Olympic Events by a 75% majority. It is not clear if that threshold will be reached, in which case the Events Committee recommendation will be of no effect and the decision reached in May will stand.
It is expected that proponents of the Kiteboard will oppose the re-opening of the May decision, however if there is substantial support for the matter to be re-opened (well above 50%) it seems hard to believe that supporters of an Event would be so lacking in confidence in that Event, that their best course of action is to shut down further debate.
This year being the quadrennial, the ISAF Annual General Meeting is held and as the the ISAF itself noted in a recent media release the final twist in the tail could be seen at the Annual General Meeting of the ISAF Member National Authorities on 10 November. The members present at the AGM review any Regulations made or amended in any substantive way by the Council since the last Ordinary Meeting which was in November 2011. As defined in the Articles of ISAF, decisions at the General Meeting shall be taken by a simple majority of votes of those present and entitled to vote.
Moves to block the matter being re-opened at 36 member Council level, would if successful trigger a discussion by all national authorities present at the next and final level, being the ISAF Annual General Meeting.
Against this backdrop lobbying continues ahead of the ISAF Presidential election, with three candidates from Europe, South America and Australia, all seeming to be involved in a close contest. That matter too will be considered at the Annual General Meeting, as well as the election of Vice Presidents for the World body. There are 14 candidates vying for the seven positions, which are usually determined with a strong regional flavour.
by Richard Gladwell