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Reforming governance of World Sailing

Published on May 3rd, 2019

World Sailing’s Board of Directors has approved and published for consultation its Proposal for wholesale governance reform of World Sailing.

The Proposal has been prepared by World Sailing’s Governance Commission following over a year of consultation, feedback, and research with Member National Authorities (MNAs), Class Associations, Council, committee and commission members and the wider sailing community.

The key themes in the Proposal are:
• Simplifying and making decision-making more open, timely, and transparent.
• Reconstituting the Council as an Olympic Council.
• Cementing MNAs as the ultimate owners of World Sailing with greater powers.
• Introducing greater checks and balances on the Board.
• Streamlining the committee structure.
• Increasing the ability for members to engage and participate in decision-making.
• Ensuring suitable skills and expertise on the Board and other bodies within World Sailing.
• Increasing the sailors’ voice and presence in the decision-making structures.
• Securing gender balance on the Board and other bodies within World Sailing.
• Including mechanisms to ensure regular turnover of people in decision-making positions.
• Having more independence on the bodies responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations.

Introducing the Proposal, World Sailing President Kim Andersen said on behalf of the World Sailing Board of Directors:

“At World Sailing, we are committed to promoting and developing our sport and our values worldwide in line with our ambitious vision to create a world in which millions more people fall in love with sailing inspired by the unique relationship between sport, technology and the forces of natures.

“There are many aspects of our current structure that are impeding our ability to realize our vision and to grow the sport. If we are to deliver our vision, we need to refresh the foundations of World Sailing. To make better decisions for our future, we need strong and robust foundations in our governance structures and decision-making processes.

“As a member of the wider global sports movement, there are also increasing expectations from our key stakeholders to maintain high standards of governance, integrity and conduct – including the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, partners, suppliers and governments. We must refresh our foundations and implement measures to live up to these expectations.

“This Proposal will strengthen the accountability between the members of World Sailing and the governing bodies within it. In turn, this will increase trust and confidence in our sport and our ability to achieve our shared vision for the future.”

The Governance Commission is independently chaired by Maria Clarke, a sports lawyer and sports governance expert. “Since the Commission shared its preliminary findings with the World Sailing community in November 2018, we have valued all the feedback given,” said Clarke. “There are a number of changes in this Proposal from the initial ideas we had including many of the ideas and comments submitted by members.

“We have consulted extensively along the way including conducting interviews with Board and Council members, undertaking a survey of members in September 2018, sharing and receiving feedback on our initial ideas at the November 2018 Conference, Council, and AGM meetings in Sarasota, and keeping open the opportunity for comments via the governance review email.

“This Proposal is not for voting on at this time but is documented to enable further discussion, feedback, and deliberations. It contains the principles and concepts which the Governance Commission and the Board consider will best achieve the objectives of the reform.

“No proposal will be acceptable to everyone. However, it is a starting point from which World Sailing can evolve and develop into the future.”

The Proposal is available in English now and will be published in French and Spanish shortly. It will be discussed by World Sailing’s Council at the Mid-Year Meeting in London in May 2019 with further feedback sought and wide ranging consultation to be undertaken with members and World Sailing’s stakeholders afterwards.

Following a review of that feedback, the Commission will adjust the Proposal as necessary and make its final recommendations to the World Sailing Board, which, if approved, will then prepare and finalize a whole new Constitution for voting on. This is expected to occur at the Annual General Meeting in November 2019.

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, is undertaking a governance review and the Proposal marks another step on World Sailing’s governance modernization plan.

For an English language version of the Proposals for World Sailing Governance Reform… click here.

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