Recently the Olympic Classes Sub Committee posted an article on the 49e Class Association website outlining the new fees on Olympic sailors equipment that World Sailing is introducing without a vote of council.
This outlined the new Olympic contracts, which each Olympic class for 2024 must sign by 1st August, to introduce a new 1% fee on all equipment sales, that it was claimed would pull an estimated $300,000 annually from the pockets of Olympic and non-Olympic sailors.
The article also claimed that, ‘In order to bypass the normal system of debate and discussion, the World Sailing Board of Directors has instead added this new fee to the Olympic contracts which include confidentiality clauses once signed.’
It further stated that, ‘In bypassing the normal system of debate on all Olympic matters, the World Sailing Board is side stepping the transparency, safeguards, and debate that normally occurs.’
And that, ‘All of the stakeholders within Olympic sailing should be debating this new fee, and council should ultimately decide if it is in the best interest of the sport.’
This stirred World Sailing to issue their explanation of what it refered to as:
‘World Sailing implements new independent quality control processes to secure and improve the quality and consistency of Olympic equipment’.
This document claimed that, ‘As part of the process of finalising the equipment for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, World Sailing is introducing new quality control processes for all Olympic Classes to ensure the technical integrity of the sport can be assured.’
And also that this was, ‘Based upon feedback from Sailors, Coaches and Member National Authorities (MNAs) it has become clear that one-design equipment is not always being delivered to an absolutely consistent standard, when one-design is meant to ensure that the equipment is identical.’
And that, ‘MNAs first raised this at the 2016 Annual Conference and at subsequent meetings, as a result World Sailing are committed to addressing this issue to reduce costs and to protect the integrity of the sport for all stakeholders.’
There then followed a description of the convoluted process that will control how the up to 1% fee is levied on the manufacturers and that . . .
‘The independent quality control is to ensure that sailors and MNA`s are getting what they are paying for. World Sailing is confident that these steps will further protect the integrity of the sport.’
It did not mention anything about any debate on the matter, apparently considering it a done-deal as . . .
‘All Olympic Classes have already signed a version of the Olympic Classes contract that includes the provision of the manufacturers fee and contracts are being updated to include the Olympic equipment FRAND principles that have now become World Sailing policy.’
Following the World Sailing posting, the 49e Class Association has issued a further statement via email today:
The Olympic classes sub-committee on behalf of the future 2024 Olympic classes and builders would like to express their united position regarding the latest correspondance from the World Sailing CEO on the 1% fee set through the Olympic contract to all equipment used for the 2024 Olympic Games.
As much as the present Olympic classes understand and support the objective to ensure optimum quality across all Olympic equipment, we feel a 1% fee set by the Olympic contract is not the best way to ensure this goal.
We welcome a more transparent and clear process through regulation 10.3 (c) as well as a process that would not impact all the sailors using olympic equipment, nor the manufacturers that are already complying with the expected quality level.
We believe there are multiple ways to achieve this objective in a more simple, effective, transparent and fair process.
This is the reason why the Olympic classes sub-committee through the World Sailing classes committee is proposing a submission to openly debate this point with Council at the next November Conference.
We welcome your feed-back and look forward discussing this important matter next November.
Olympic Classes Sub-Committee
On behalf of the 2024 Olympic classes and associated builders.