RS:X Class Association to take ISAF to court
The guns are out between the RS:X Class Association, ISAF and the International Kiteboarding Association with the former looking to get a Judicial Review of the decions by ISAF to replace the windsurfing discipline at Rio 2016 with kiteboarding.
The RS:X Class' Rory Ramsden writes:
Since the ISAF Mid Year Meeting and the narrow vote to deselect windsurfing and the RS:X for the 2016 Olympic Regatta in Rio de Janeiro, the class has been working on many levels to get this decision reversed under the direction of its crisis management group within the Executive Committee.
The opinion of our legal team is that the decision was perverse and unfair and so accordingly we have issued a claim for Judicial Review [dated August 1st 2012] in the High Court in London which had to be lodged within 3 months of the date of the decision on May 5th.
28,385 people from around the world have signed the on-line petition against the ISAF decision. 18,812 have joined the 'Appeal against kitesurfing in the Olympics' Facebook Group. 13,209 are following the 'Vote Windsurfing' Facebook page.
The tone of the discussions in these forums has been one of disbelief that two colorful, dynamic, media friendly global events could be so easily discarded. Disbelief that such a strong pipeline of Youth and Junior windsurfing classes could be discarded in favour of a discipline with no such pipeline. Disbelief that a class, the RS:X, which is second only to the single handed men's and women's Laser Class in terms of size, diversity and global reach could be discarded. Disbelief that a class that has such a high level of women's participation in terms of numbers and quality of competition could be so lightly ignored in favour of an event where only 12 women from 10 countries took part in the last kite course racing world championships.
The RS:X equipment by Neil Pryde Windsurfing was selected in 2004 by ISAF after an open evaluation and was the supplied equipment for the men and women 'boards' events in the 2008 Olympic Games and is now being raced in the ongoing 2012 Olympic Regatta.
ISAF issued the following statement:
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has been notified of a legal challenge by the International RS:X Class Association Ltd to the decision taken at the ISAF Council meeting in May 2012 to select Kiteboarding for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition.
ISAF intends to fully defend the decision of the ISAF Council, which was made in accordance with the ISAF Regulations and the defined decision making processes of ISAF.
ISAF expects the normal submission process to be used in order to ask Council to reconsider its decisions and therefore ISAF is extremely disappointed that this course of action has been taken, not least because responding to legal claims will incur substantial and unnecessary legal costs for ISAF and for the Class itself.
This was backed up by a statement from Markus Schwendtner, International Kiteboard Class Association Executive Secretary:
We have been informed that the International RS:X Class Association Ltd is taking legal action against the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), based on the fact that ISAF has selected Kiteboarding and not Windsurfing as Olympic sailing event for the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
We feel shocked that an international class, being bound by ISAF constitution, rules and regulations, is even considering legal action against the world governing body because of a decision that has been taken in a democratic process and in full accordance with the defined decision making processes of ISAF .
Initiating legal action in the middle of the Olympic Games might damage not only the performance of the affected sailors but also the reputation of sailing in general.
The International Kiteboarding Association is fully aware of the ongoing discussions about Olympic Events and Equipment and is respecting ISAFs internal processes.