World Sailing passes governance reform

Published on October 29th, 2022

After World Sailing failed to secure the sufficient votes to reform its governance at the 2019 Annual Conference, the international federation gained a 93.85% majority vote to approve changes to its governance structure.

This will enable the federation to be more efficient and increase transparency in line with the requirements of a modern global sporting body.

The vote to pass new constitution and governance proposals, taken on October 29 at the Annual General Meeting during the 2022 World Sailing Annual Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE, needed 75% approval to pass.

World Sailing’s Board, Council and Committees will now begin the process of changing the structure and processes, and establishing the additional elements stipulated in the new constitution. The changes will be fully implemented from the 2024 AGM.

“This is a decision which has united the World Sailing family and marks an important step in our journey,” said World Sailing President Quanhai Li. “I am very pleased that we have seized this opportunity to modernize the sport’s decision-making. As we have grown, and will continue to grow, we require a structure that is designed with the future in mind.

“I am grateful to the tireless efforts of the Board, Executive Office and Board Governance Sub-Committee, chaired by World Sailing Vice-President Philip Baum, and to the Member National Authorities for trusting us to lead the sport into a new era.”

Philip Baum, World Sailing Vice-President and Chair of the Board Governance Sub-Committee, added: “The new structure promotes collaboration and supports richness of discussion by bringing more voices into the process at an early stage.

“We now have two years to prepare for integration and deliver the new structure. During this time, we will continue to listen and adapt to the needs of our members and ensure there is the flexibility required to be successful.”

David Graham, World Sailing Chief Executive Officer, believes these changes will enable the organization to deliver a better service for its members. “This builds on excellent work in the last two years to strengthen trust between World Sailing and our stakeholders inside and outside of the sport. The result of 93.8% speaks volumes.”

Key elements of the new World Sailing governance structure:

These are the changes, approved by the 2022 World Sailing Annual General Meeting, which will be fully implemented from the 2024 AGM:

General Assembly
The General Assembly will meet once a year. It is the annual general meeting of the company. As such, it will continue to have the powers set out in the Constitution and under Isle of Man law, as amended by the new proposals.

Council
Council will be responsible for relevant decisions arising from the new submissions process and deciding World Sailing policy. It is expected to meet up to four times a year, at a minimum once in person. There will be an emphasis on Council debating and deciding policy to give effect to World Sailing’s strategy.

Board
The Board will continue in a non-executive capacity providing oversight and monitoring of World Sailing activities, especially that of management. It will continue to comprise nine directors including the President, seven elected directors and the Chair of the Athletes’ Commission. There will be gender equality amongst the elected directors. The President will be elected first (from either gender) and then the seven elected directors will be elected in a manner ensuring gender equality.

Chief Executive Officer
The Chief Executive Officer leads the staff and executive management team of World Sailing. The relationship between the Chief Executive Officer and the Board is governed by the Board Charter. The Board may delegate its authority to make certain operational/management decisions to the Chief Executive Officer and, through the CEO, to the staff.

Growth and Development Committee
It is intended that an enhanced Regional Development Committee suitably resourced will focus on the growth of the sport across the globe but especially in emerging nations.

Specialist Sailing Committee
A new Specialist Sailing Committee will promote greater co-operation between the sport’s major events (including World Sailing Special Events) such as the America’s Cup, SailGP, SSL Gold Cup and other forms of top-level sailing. The group will provide expert input into the development of World Sailing’s strategy, particularly with regards to the promotion of the sport, as well as advise Council on non-Olympic top-level events.

Committees and Working Groups
All existing Committees, Sub-committees, and Commissions will be carried over into the new structure, albeit with a change of name and broadening of remit in some cases.

Integrity and Disciplinary
A new independent Disciplinary Tribunal replaces the existing Judicial Board and Ethics Commission. Panels of the Tribunal will hear, decide, and impose sanctions for all breaches of the revised Code of Ethics, or breaches of any rule or regulation.

Conference details: https://www.sailing.org/inside-world-sailing/organisation/governance/conferences/upcoming-conferences/2022-world-sailing-annual-conference/

Source: World Sailing

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