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11 November 2009, 12:27 pm
Olympic And World Cup Focus For Events Committee Meeting At ISAF Annual Conference
The Events Committee at their meeting in Busan today
The Events Committee at their meeting in Busan today

ISAF Annual Conference 2009
Busan, Korea

The ISAF Events Committee and Oceanic and Offshore Committee met in Busan, Korea today at the ISAF Annual Conference, with the Olympic Games and ISAF Sailing World Cup feature points of the discussion.
The ISAF Events Committee is the expert Committee with responsibility on making recommendations to the ISAF Council on both the sailing events at the Olympic Games and ISAF's own events. During the morning session of the meeting, the Committee took a discussion-led approach, incorporating an in-depth review of their strategy and priority, focussing especially on the Olympic Games and its qualifying events and the ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Chairman Chris Atkins (GBR) introduced the discussion on the Olympic Sailing Competition by pointing to two main themes: "The role of the Olympic Commission and how we use the Olympic Commission to do our job better. Then there's how we improve the spectator experience."

Following on from the chairman's introduction, Phil Jones (AUS) gave a presentation on the early work of the Olympic Commission, set up at the start of this year. "One of our challengers is we're looking a wide range of issues," he explained, saying the early focus of the Commission had been to gather data, particularly in relation to the IOC's evaluation criteria for Olympic sports. Based on this information the Commission intend to report back to the Executive Committee in May 2010 with their first set of proposals relating to Olympic sailing.

Major areas of discussion in relation to the Olympic Games were Medal Race Redress and the format of the Women's Match Racing event. The Committee reviewed a Working Party report on the issue of redress and there was considerable debate on the issue. Carolijn Brouwer (BEL) summed up what seemed to be the majority view, "It's a tough decision. My opinion is to go no redress. It makes it most clear and simple way to go forward." The Committee voted to pass on their recommendation on to Council that there should be no redress for the Medal Race at the Olympic Games except under Rule 62.1(c).

In relation to match racing, the Committee recommended a framework for the format of 12 teams competing in a single round robin, followed by quarter finals, semi finals, petit final and final.

Along with the Olympics, another topic which provoked considerable debate was the ISAF Sailing World Cup, the new series incorporating seven existing events which was launched in 2008-09 and starts up for its second season in Melbourne this December. Much of the discussion centred around the position of the World Cup in the current sailing calendar and the main aims of the series.

Jones provided the Olympic Commission's take, "They key for us is we clearly need a series or a set of ISAF events that link together in the four years outside the Olympics. The aim here it to promote Olympic sailing outside of the Olympic Games. We don't think we should look at the World Cup in isolation from the Olympic Games."

Whilst there were a few dissenting voices, there was general agreement the World Cup's main role was to promote Olympic sailing and sailors between editions of the Olympic Games. The Committee also looked at several ideas on how to improve this promotional aspect of the championship, with a presentation by Committee member Kim Anderson (DEN) on tracking and its successful use at multiple events in Denmark this year. There was also a review of the World Cup scoring system and discussion about whether or not discards should be introduced into the World Cup Standings.

Qualification systems were also high up on the agenda, with the systems used for both the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships and the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition discussed. Gary Bodie (USA) presented a proposal on Olympic qualification to increase the entry quota in the One Person Dinghy and Windsurfer events, which would increase the number of nations from 62 in Beijing to a goal of 75 at London. The aim was also up the percentage of female sailors to around 38% of the 380 entry quota. After discussion, the Committee voted for a slightly revised version of the original proposal, with some of the increased one-person entry quota returned back to the two-person events. The Committee's recommendation will now go forward to the ISAF Council, who will vote on the qualification system during their meeting. The final qualification system will then be forwarded to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for approval.

The Oceanic and Offshore Committee covered a wide range of areas including the Offshore Special Regs, the Classification Code, the ISAF Offshore Team Racing Worlds, Advertising Code and more. The possibility of ISAF International Rating Systems World Championships was discussed but was deferred by the Committee, whilst on the subject of Sailor Classification, the Committee supported the Submission to remove the Group 2 Classification. The Offshore Special Regulations were discussed with the recommendations of the Special Regulations Sub-committee supported. The updates to the Offshore Special Regs will be published on the ISAF website later this month.

Tonight all of the recommendations made by the ISAF Committees in Korea over the past seven days will be collated and published in a Recommendation Booklet produced for the ISAF Council members. This provides an overview of the key arguments, debates and decisions made at this year's Annual Conference to aid and inform the voting of the Council members.

Tomorrow morning there is a short break in the meeting schedule, to allow the Council members a chance to prepare for the first of three scheduled days of meetings for the ISAF Council which begin in the afternoon. Amongst the agenda items for the Council tomorrow is the report from the ISAF President Göran Petersson (SWE) and a review of financial and administrative matters.

For more on the ISAF Annual Conference, including news, interviews, meeting papers and schedules visit the ISAF Meetings site at www.sailing.org/meetings.

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