Sailing World Cup Under Review
Published on March 3rd, 2016
At the February 2016 meeting of the World Sailing Executive Committee in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it was agreed that a strategic review would be undertaken of the Sailing World Cup from 2017-2020 in order to ensure that the event series remains the best possible showcase for the sport on the journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The review will be concluded and proposals presented at the World Sailing mid-year meeting in Lausanne in May 2016.
The comprehensive review will include considering continental representation, calendar and venues, events, sailor quotas, ranking points, Para World Sailing and the role of known and future Olympic venues within the calendar. Sailors will continue to be placed at the heart of the Sailing World Cup, ensuring it is attractive to athletes, commercial partners, and the media.
It was agreed that any existing World Sailing contracts with Sailing World Cup Organising Authorities for 2016 would be honoured.
The 2015 World Cup season included events in Melbourne (AUS), Miami (USA), Hyères (FRA), Weymouth and Portland (GBR), Qingdao (CHI), and Abu Dhabi (UAE). The 2016 season was to follow the same schedule, but now the event in Abu Dhabi has been cancelled.
World Sailing Chief Executive, Andy Hunt, and World Sailing President, Carlo Croce, met with Abu Dhabi organisers at the end of February. Following the World Sailing Executive Committee decision in November 2015 to host the 2016 World Sailing Annual Conference in Europe rather than Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority took the decision to withdraw their financial support of the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final and future editions of the event.
The Sailing World Cup Final was inaugurated in 2014, wherein only 20 elite entrants would be invited in each of the ten Olympic events and an open IKA Formula Kite event. Prize money would be awarded to the top three overall finishers in each of the Olympic events from a total prize purse of US$200,000, increased to US$220,000 in 2015.
Both events were held in Abu Dhabi, and were the only World Cup events with prize money. However, neither edition lived up to its billing as the events struggled to fill the 20-boat fleets. Remote location and scheduling conflicts were often the cause.
While not stated as a reason for event cancellation, United Arab Emirates also has a history of discrimination in sport, and the event may not have been able to guarantee full and equal participation by all, in accordance with World Sailing’s Regulations.
World Sailing will seek a venue partner for the 2016 Sailing World Cup Final and contractual discussions are ongoing with an alternative venue. World Sailing expect to confirm dates for events in the final quarter of 2016 by the end of March.
Source: World Sailing, Scuttlebutt