Managing concerns with World Sailing

Published on October 21st, 2018

The World Sailing Annual Conference, the biggest gathering of the world governing body for the sport of sailing, comes to the USA in 2018 to hold its meetings on October 27 to November 4 in Sarasota, Florida.

In advance of the 2018 meeting, Scuttlebutt editor Craig Leweck spoke with World Sailing President Kim Andersen on a number of topics to be discussed in Sarasota. In this segment, Andersen responds to the attention and concerns regarding the governance of World Sailing.

I think there’s two levels of attention. One is a level of attention that is coming motivated by a lot of other things to cause some stir and destabilization. And then there there’s a serious level that was addressed at the October council meeting where councilors was asking us how it’s looking because they knew that in 2016 at the council meeting there was a burden of proof that was pretty aggressive.

That was before my election, but that was based on some commercial assumptions being done. And then it was also based on some existing sponsor contracts that we were already having at that time. And the council knows that, of course, the sponsorship with Gazprom came to an end, and also that some of the commercial assumptions had been materializing later.

I cannot say we have been in fantastic shape because of losing a sponsorship, so that is a real concern, but a lot of the other things you are seeing on the web is not a real concern because that’s a lack of understanding of budgeting. That’s something which I’ve tried to clarify lately, but that’s how it is. And that is motivated by people not agreeing to how the sport is growing, what class is going into the Olympic, etc.

So unfortunately there’s a bit of spam going around, and it is a pity for the sport because we don’t have any issues with doping or a lot of other problems like many other sports have. But apparently we have a lot of sailors not really knowing what’s going on in World Sailing and then for different reasons they’re trying to put World Sailing in a situation where they need to defend themselves when there’s not really anything to defend.

Why I can say is that all the council members have the full information pack on the finances, and now resolving any difficulties is the job of the board to take care of that, and that is what they’re doing. And this is also why they are adjusting accordingly, but also that they’re trying to, of course, commit sponsors. And that has been quite successful until now, but definitely later than expected.

So I think that a lot of the noise that you are referring to is probably – it’s very much coming from another source, but you can say the real concern is what’s valid and that’s coming from the council members, and they have got their answers and they were okay with that feedback.

Regardless, there are some of the people on the outside heating it up, but they don’t have the knowledge about how the finance is actually based in World Sailing, and they have the information that the only source of income is basically, you could say, the Olympic income.

The model we are working with is to try and create a much better balance between only having Olympic income and also getting all the sponsors. It takes a little bit longer time, and let’s say all the spam is not really helping that issue, but it’s going the right way.

So you can say since 2017, we have been getting major sponsors onboard, sponsors like SAP, Volvo, Rolex, and then we are announcing a new sponsor at the 2018 annual meeting. So on that level, you could say the balance in our income versus only having income from the Olympic venue from IOC, which is actually getting much better than it’s ever been before. So that’s very fine.

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