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Paris 2024: Laser Performance has a spray at ILCA

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz 20 May 12:04 BST 20 May 2019
Josefin Olsson (SWE) - Laser Radial - Rio Olympic Regatta 2016 © Richard Gladwell

Laser Performance the predominant builder of the International Laser dinghy, until they had their building licence revoked last March, have hit out at the International Laser Class Association (ILCA), the day after the class was provisionally confirmed as the Mens and Womens One Person Dinghy for the 2024 Olympic Regatta.

In a statement on its Facebook page Laser Performance labels ILCA's actions as "Incompetent" and "mismanaged representation".

For its part, World Sailing confirms in its report of the meeting that all 2024 Olympic classes have just over two months to get their contracts agreed by August 1, 2019.

This is believed to include FRAND (Fair Reasonable And Non Discriminatory) compliance - effectively compliance with the requirements of European Union anti-trust regulations.

Laser Performance has stuck to its original calls for ILCA to relocate from USA to Europe, and to appoint a "professional executive team to run class operations".

If the two organisations are not able to reconcile their differences by August 1, 2019, and/or if ILCA is not able install a new builder network that is FRAND compliant, then it is expected that World Sailing will move unilaterally and overturn the vote of the World Sailing's Council and insert the RS Aero as the equipment in the One Person Dinghy Event at the 2024 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

The Laser Performance statement reads:

Despite the incompetent and mismanaged representation by ILCA at the World Sailing mid-term meeting, resulting in the WS Equipment Committee overwhelmingly voting for the Aero, the WS World Council voted today to retain the Laser Standard and Laser Radial for the 2024 Olympics.

The positive vote reflected the World Council’s clear understanding that the Laser is the most popular racing dinghy in the world and with a base of over 216,000 boats sailed globally by committed Laser enthusiasts, Laser’s exclusion will be a serious setback to world-wide dinghy sailing and very difficult to replicate with another sailboat. Congratulations to all Laser sailors. Thank you to the Laser sailors, MNAs, Class Members and World Sailing members whose strong voices resulted in this positive outcome.

Given their recent performance, Laser Performance calls for: A. ILCA move back to Europe where the majority of Laser sailors live and sail. B. ILCA appoint a professional executive team to run the class operations paid for by increased plaque fees charged to the builders.

In its summary of the meeting concluded on Sunday May 19, 2019 World Sailing stated:

Before Council made its decisions on the Paris 2024 Equipment, the Board of Directors updated Council on its current plans for the Olympic Classes Contract. This included the position on implementing World Sailing's Olympic Equipment Strategy (FRAND) agreed by Council in November 2018. In order to provide certainty for MNAs, sailors and teams, the Board will engage in contractual discussions only until 1 August 2019.

If by that time no agreement is reached, the Board will report to Council that no agreement has been concluded and Council will then have to select new Equipment for the relevant Event.

Before the Mid Year Meeting, Laser Performance announced that it had agreed factory inspection dates with World Sailing and ILCA for the inspection of LP's Banbury factory (May 28,29 or 30), however that was cancelled and instead turned into a visit to attach Builders Plaques to the Lasers that Laser Performance are supplying for the Youth Worlds In Gdynia, Poland in mid-July.