World Sailing: Digging out of a hole

Published on May 16th, 2021

World Sailing was not financially well positioned before the COVID-19 pandemic as ambitious management decisions failed to deliver. While there are now new hands on the wheel, the postponed Olympics meant a delay in funding that Olympic sports receive following the games.

With a new CEO and Board of Directors, there is optimism that solvency is achievable but there are no quick fixes in the forecast. Here are some updates:

• World Sailing chief executive David Graham has admitted the embattled Federation would have gone into liquidation without financial assistance provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the coronavirus-enforced postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Sailing’s worldwide governing body is thought to have received a loan of around $3.1 million as part of the IOC’s support package, designed to offset the financial impact of the decision to delay Tokyo 2020 by a year on Federations and other sports bodies. Without that, Graham said, “we would have gone into liquidation.” – Full report

• World Sailing has delayed the approval of its financial statements pending a confirmation it has requested from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that this year’s Tokyo Olympics will go ahead. World Sailing council officials has requested a confirmation from the IOC regarding Tokyo so as to include the expected revenues from the Games in their accounts. However, the IOC has yet to respond. – Full report

• World Sailing’s hopes of negotiating an early exit from an expensive lease on its London offices have taken a knock because of COVID-19. Financial forecasts for this year and next, available on the financially-stretched governing body’s website, include the following update: “The forecast for 2022 now includes the cost of full rent and business rates, which is $271,000 over budget. It was previously assumed that the London office would be sublet by end of 2021. However, due to the lockdown, the demand for office space has contracted significantly and tenants are demanding significant incentives to sublease properties.” – Full report

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