With efforts to get the sailing reinstated on the 2020 Paralympic Programme appearing to have coalesced around Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games and infighting taking place inside that group, sailors and the disability sailing community are trying to bring the fight to the IFDS to hold them accountable and thus change the minds of the International Paralympic Committee about their sport.
Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games affirmed this position earlier today in a post that in part said, “It is our strong belief that with the current Exec still in office, then IPC will NOT reconsider the case for Paralympic sailing for 2020, and that we will be at a significant disadvantage for 2024. Therefore the approach taken by IFDS to bury their heads in the sand and only pass comment when it suits them, will not do our cause any good at all! We wish to reiterate the call made by the page owner amongst others on numerous occasions for the IFDS Exec to step aside and allow new, young blood to take the sport forward.
“There is not only that, but also since the last ISAF statement released on 16th February (4 weeks ago) the silence has been painful. We wish to call upon ISAF President Carlo Croce to provide the sailing community with a comprehensive update on how their challenge is progressing, and a realistic outlook on the future. Without this, individuals and groups cannot campaign effectively for the reinstatement, and the futures of thousands of sailors and their support staff hangs in the balance.”
The efforts for the group going forward appear problematic, as they have chosen to keep membership anonymous because of personality clashes and potential personal attacks that they do not want to overshadow their efforts. This decision has led to some criticism because some in the sailing community allege it means people behind the effort cannot be held accountable even as the group strives to hold IFDS leadership accountable.
Earlier this month, Eugene R Hinkel who had been a member of the IFDS Technical Committee for over ten years and serves on the Advisory Board for the disability sailing club Team Paradise said, “ISAF EXCOM has requested the IFDS officials to step aside so they can deal direct with IPC.” This came in response to Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games claiming, “An anonymous message has been received to this FB page informing us that ISAF have dismissed the IFDS Executive.” Reinstate Paralympic Sailing into 2020 Games responded to Hinkel’s comment by stating, ” ISAF have stated that they have received resignations from a few of the IFDS Executive and the ISAF Executive committee “are deciding whether to accept them”. Surely that decision is made in a non-second. “Yes – we accept your resignations and take your fellow Exec with you“. If not, the ISAF Exec should sack the remainder.”
There have been no new official statements from ISAF regarding this decision and their response to it since mid-February. The sport is not alone in this, as leadership in the 7-a-side football community also appears to have been relatively silent following the decision made at the same time to cut their sport from the program.