We are now into the second half of 2017 and I am happy to provide you all with some updates regarding the continued work of World Sailing in making our sport stronger across the world.
This last month, the major topic on everyone's mind in the sports world has been the Olympics. On an international level, we have seen the decision of the IOC to select the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic venues together at the forthcoming congress in Lima, subject to negotiation with the host cities Paris and Los Angeles.
At World Sailing, as we prepare for our Annual Conference in Mexico in November, it has become clear that we are not as prepared as we should be for strategic discussions regarding recent developments in the Olympic Movement.
Sailing is about a lot more than the Olympics, but you will have to excuse me for reflecting on our process for the Games almost exclusively in this newsletter. The reason for this is that the processes are fundamental to our work and our responsibilities and, once these are sorted, we can focus on other topics of great importance.
Preparing for the Olympic Games in 2020
For any sailor (and MNA) wanting to compete in the Olympics, there are three main questions which need addressing: What are my chances? How can I qualify? And where can I qualify? There is no reason why World Sailing shouldn't have the answers to these questions ready by the beginning of a new cycle. For example, quotas, qualifiers and the venues leading to the next Olympics in 2020 should have been clear after the annual meeting in 2016. Today, sailors don't know the quotas, nor the mechanisms for qualifying. To provide all sailors with some clarity in this regard, the Council will be asked to clarify this during the coming two months.
Planning ahead for 2024
Ideally, we should have spent time between last November and the coming November to prepare for the Games in 2024, so when the IOC announces the 2024 host, World Sailing would have a calendar plan in place that could be discussed with various stakeholders, to secure proper planning for our sailors. By clarifying the timing and processes for each Olympic Games during our Annual Conference in November, we will also minimise the potential of mixing submissions and decisions regarding the Games.
Sailing and the Olympic Movement
In line with the IOC's Olympic Agenda 2020 and its emphasis on gender equity and the development of mixed events, in addition to the quota reduction imposed on Sailing at the Olympics, World Sailing's regulation that monitors the evaluation of Olympic disciplines has become somewhat outdated. Regulation 23 currently envisages a process which would have commenced in 2016 and would only have provided the ability to evaluate between 1-3 Events & Equipment for the 2024 Games.
In discussions with the Board, we believe that such a process is too restrictive, not because wholesale changes of events are required, but because any future developments should be determined by the best interests of the sport, not restricted by regulation.
The important thing now is to get a solid and transparent process in place and catch up for lost time. Accordingly, The debate at the November 2017 conference for the 2024 Olympic Games will be focused on how we would like to develop our sport in the future, by addressing strategic issues such as gender equity, mixed classes, multi-medals (without increasing the quota) and new disciplines which are not on the Olympic programme today. This should set the frame for the development of our future instead of focusing solely on equipment as has been done in the past.
World Sailing Headquarters Relocation Update
As you know, we have begun the process of moving our headquarters from Southampton to Paddington, London; a decision which was made in the best interests of World Sailing as we prepare for the future. I am also pleased to report that by the time you read this Newsletter, we will have left the offices in Southampton, and are currently transitioning to make London our new home. I would like to especially say a big thank you to the staff at World Sailing for putting in the extra effort of continued service to the entire sailing family while managing the transition in the best possible way. More information will be provided shortly on the official opening, and we look forward to welcoming you to our new Headquarters as soon as possible.
Meetings with the World of Sport
This past month, I had the great pleasure of attending various meetings on behalf of World Sailing. Two in particular were of great significance for our sport. The first being the IOC Session and 2024 Candidate City briefing, where I had the great pleasure of discussing the future of our sport with IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach. And the second meeting being with the team at Vendée Globe and their President Yves Auvinet. Both meetings provided excellent opportunities for open and productive discussions about future collaborations.
Thank you to our Event Organisers and Volunteers
Lastly, and to end on a very positive note, I must mention that the month of July has seen a great deal of very successful sailing events in many international classes. I would like to thank all of the event organisers and volunteers across the world for making this possible, your work is so valuable to our sport and is hugely appreciated. I hope you all get some time for sailing and relaxation in the months ahead, and I hope to see many of you in Mexico in November. Should you have any feedback or issues to raise in the meantime, please don't hesitate to let me know.