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World Sailing Presidential Newsletter: July 2020

by Kim Andersen, President World Sailing 9 Aug 19:30 BST
Back to (the new) normal © World Sailing

Back to (the new) normal

For some time now, we have been talking about the "reopening of society" and the "post COVID-19 world." As we are seeing, the world is making considerable progress; of course, with each country going at its own pace.

During our virtual Townhall meetings, we talked about having to focus all efforts locally and regionally in order to best restart our sport.

The fact that the restrictions between countries are being changed daily brings two major challenges: the planning of events and making sure they are conducted safely, as well as making sure that sailors from all over the world can participate despite national restrictions.

The main task here is to provide as much certainty as possible. In order to do so, the Board are currently discussing and make decisions regarding the competition schedule for 2021, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games taking place mid-year. This new schedule will be communicated as soon as it is confirmed.

Tokyo 2020 Sailing schedule confirmed for 2021

The 136th IOC Session was held virtually, with President Thomas Bach emphasising the unique power of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peace and solidarity - and without any form of discrimination.

We, all International Sports Federations, should stand ready to contribute to the recovery of the fragile post-COVID-19 world through the unifying power of the Olympic Games.

That is why it is with great joy that I can share with you that the Organising Committee of the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo are reporting positive progress on their preparations. Updates were also given by the Chairs of the Coordination Commissions.

Additionally, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced that it has secured all venues for next year's Games and confirmed the competition schedule. For Sailing at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour venue, the competition takes place from Sunday 25th July to Wednesday 4th August.

New Olympic events slate for Paris 2024

World Sailing has had the first conference call with the IOC Sports Department about the new events slate for Paris 2024 decided by the World Sailing Council.

There is a clear understanding of the changes amongst the Olympic family, the OBS and our host Paris 2024. During the meeting, the framework and timeline for the process was set.

We have received information that some of our members are trying to bypass the democratic process set out in the regulations of World Sailing regarding the decision for Olympic events and respective equipment. It is important to stress that it is inappropriate to raise questions according to due process, without previously consulting World Sailing and the national authorities of individual members.

The virtual Townhalls over the last few months have given MNAs regular opportunities to raise concerns both directly and through Council members; this, of course, in addition to the standing invitation to raise issues at any time.

A proper process would imply a discussion within our own sport first, not ignoring the decision process agreed by World Sailing members. World Sailing has a democratic process set out in its regulations when it comes to deciding on Olympic events and equipment. It is the World Sailing Council and the MNAs that have taken decisions on the 2024 events in accordance with this process - and not the Board of World Sailing.

World Sailing dealt with the situation with a message to all World Sailing Member National Authorities.

World Sailing Annual Meeting 2020

We were looking forward to the sailing community meeting in Abu Dhabi at the end of October this year, and we have worked in great cooperation with our host in Abu Dhabi to prepare the venue. In parallel, we had to develop a plan B in case the in-person meetings could not take place in autumn 2020.

In order to make sure we could act in line with our rules and regulations, a resolution was passed by our members to accept electronic voting as part of this plan B.

Taking into considerations the latest global developments around COVID-19 and the continuing uncertainties whether in-person meetings could take place in a couple of months' time, we have decided to go with plan B: the World Sailing Annual Meeting 2020 will take place virtually. The regulations on virtual voting are being circulated already.

Our annual meeting, gathering all the committees and deciding bodies together with all the members to discuss our sport, is an important part of the World Sailing DNA. But this year, unfortunately, we do not see any other option than to conduct the conference virtually.

We are very grateful to the city of Abu Dhabi who have agreed to host the World Sailing Annual conference in 2021, and the Board will now seek Council approval to confirm this.

Vendée Arctique: the perfect countdown to the Vendée Globe

I had the immense pleasure of going sailing on the Charal Imoca 60 with Jérémie Beyou and his team a year ago in Lorient.

To watch the team winning the Vendèe Arctique this year, and to be able to follow the performances of all the participants, was absolutely fantastic.

A 3,566-nautical mile race over 10 days, with a close finish to boot, serves as a perfect countdown for a new record-breaking Vendée Globe later this year.

In this spirit, let's look ahead, ensuring that the global sailing family sets an example of a modern sports organisation making the best of a difficult situation in a collective and united way.

All the best.

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