In a bid to reverse the decision to throw windsurfing out of the Olympic Games, the RS-X class has lodged a request in the High Court in London for a judicial review of the vote by members of the International Sailing Federation.
There was much confusion after a close vote of 19-17 council members gave the slot instead to kiteboarding. The Spanish representative said he had made a mistake, a group of Scandinavian countries said their representative have voted against their wishes, a central American representative voted against the wishes of the national authority, and there was a worldwide scream of protest from the windsurfing community.
Many countries which have been investing heavily in training and development programmes as a pathway to Olympic participation were also dismayed by the wasted budget consequences and the difficulty of setting up programmes for the new discipline.
Initially, attempts were made to find the 75 per cent. majority needed to review the choice at the federation’s annual general meeting in Dublin in November. If successful, that would need a second stage simple majority vote in favour of restoring the windsurfer. And that would imply dropping two of the current 2016 events to stay within the limit of 10 imposed by the International Olympic Committee.
ISAF’s events committee had recommended to the mid-year meeting at Stresa, Italy, when it was voting on 2016 events and equipment on 4 and 5 May this year, that kiteboarding be included. The recommendation was approved.
The RS-X legal motion will assert that the procedures were not properly carried out. ISAF has rejected the legal move, counter-argues that the vote was conducted properly, and points to the opportunity to review that vote under existing ISAF rules. “ ISAF is extremely disappointed that this course of action has been taken, not least because responding to legal claims will incur substantial and unnecessary legal costs for ISAF and the class itself,” said the sport’s world governing body.