With Comité Paralímpico Costarricense having been suspended by the International Paralympic Committee on March 4, Federación Paralímpica de Costa Rica (FPCR) and Comité Paralímpico Costarricense (CPC) are going to court over the matter of who is Costa Rica’s National Paralympic Committee. After calling people in Costa Rica, ParaSport News was told no hearing date has been set yet for the case to decide the matter.
The two are competing organizations both claiming to be Costa Rica’s National Paralympic Committee: Federación Paralímpica de Costa Rica and Comité Paralímpico Costarricense. Because of the lack of clarity on this issue, the IPC suspended Comité Paralímpico Costarricense on March 4.
In a letter dated March 26, Comité Paralímpico Costarricense responded to rumors swirling in the Costa Rican Paralympic community. According to the CPC, they support and have the largest number of associations and athletes affiliated with them in the country. They go on to say the public administration has been making judgements they consider poor, ignoring their trajectory in favor of other organizations that do not represent the majority of Costa Rican athletes and associations. The CPC said the IPC temporarily suspended them to give them time to take judicial and administrative action to defend their rights. The CPC insists the situation is temporary, and that as far as they know, the IPC has not and will not accept any other national organization as a member of the IPC.
The CPC said that in the same resolution, and after ample documentation provided by them, the IPC agreed to maintain the CPC as the only authorized Costa Rican NPC and affirmed they were in charge of managing sport and everything related to Costa Rican participation at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto in August. The CPC went on to clarify that it is their believe that nobody should be obligated to join any association or federation under threat or coercion, not imply that if they do not join, they will not be able to participate in Toronto. The CPC asks that if athletes face this situation, they contact the CPC for advise. They conclude by stating it is time to fight for the rights of Paralympic sport in Costa Rica, and make the decision of the majority felt.
One day later, on March 26, the Federación Paralímpica de Costa Rica responded with a letter of their own by their president, Domingo Arguello.
According to the FPCR, they never thought differences in philosophies between the FPCR and CPC would end up with this hatred and level of confrontation. They state the FPCR and CPC are headed in different directions, and that the FPCR has sought to unify the adapted sport community in Costa Rica. They said they want to make clear that FPCR would never retaliate against athletes who belong to are affiliated with another organization.
The FPCR accuse the CPC of lying. FPCR claim that people who claim affinity with their organization have been threatened with being unable to participate at the Parapan American Games, including members of the Costa Rican sitting volleyball team. According to the FPCR, the sitting volleyball team had qualified but are no longer accredited for Toronto. The FPCR goes on to say that they have worked to unite FPCR with the CPC through sending several e-mails and letters, but did not recieve a positive response. The FPCR claims they tried to talked to the Director of the ICODER, but had a negative response to that inquiry.
The FPCR then go on to make eleven points. The first is that the CPC is actually registered as the Asociación Comité Paralímpico Integral because legally they cannot include the words “costarricense” ir “Costa Rica” or “Nacional” in their names. The second point says the FPCR is the only organization in compliance with Ley 7800 del Deporte Costarricense, which makes them the legally recognized NPC inside Costa Rica. In point three, FPCR claims this means they are the only ones who are legally able to name members of the Costa Rican national teams.
The fifth point says the CPC suspension by the IPC is final, and the only way to regain status is for an appeal to be made, and unequivocally prove the IPC decision was wrong. Point six says the organization recognized by the IPC as named Comité Paralímpico Costarricense is the only one who can inscribe athletes to compete in Toronto. Point seven says that the FPCR cannot registered players. Point eight says Costa Rican legislation says inclusive sport organizations cannot affiliate to another organization.
Point nine says the FPCR claim they have worked to demonstrate that they are the true representative of disability sport in Costa Rica. Point ten says that for the first time, relationships have been created with other national sport federations to create and develop new adaptd sports in Costa Rica. The last point is that the only time they ask people to publicly affiliate with them is for the purpose of ICODER scholarships.
FPCR concludes by stating they plan to take legal action to clear their name, while trying not to impact any Costa Rican athletes. They go on to repeat that all athletes are welcome in their organizations and with any association they work with. The FPCR concludes by threatening to make the situation public in the media, a situation they have been trying to avoid.
In a phone call to Instituto Costarricense de Deportes y Recreación (ICODER) today, an ICODER said they were unaware of the situation involving Costa Rica’s Paralympic committee.
Meanwhile, in a correspondence from International Paralympic Committee’s Director of Media and Communications Craig Spence to ParaSport News today, he said that options were being explored to allow athletes from Kenya, Costa Rica and India to qualify for and compete in the 2016 Summer Paralympics, saying, “[W]e always look into solutions for them to compete in events. We have already assured Costa Rican athletes that they can compete in August’s Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and are looking into the possibility of how athletes from all three countries can be potentially accommodated for the upcoming IPC World Championships in various sports this summer.”
Thanks to Luis Manuel Madrigal for assisting with on the ground reporting in Costa Rica.