Kiteboarding: IKA and IFKO are sailing in rough waters | Photo: Red Bull

The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) and the International Federation of Kitesports Organisations (IFKO) continue to trade verbal attacks over the legitimacy to govern the sport of kiteboarding.

When IFKO was founded in 2015, IKA decided to ignore it. But things have changed, and the organization led by Mirco Babini and Markus Schwendtner is now counter-attacking the latest IFKO statements.

IKA is currently recognized by World Sailing (WS), the governing body for the sport of sailing, as the legitimate organization for regulating kiteboarding. IFKO is contesting IKA's legitimacy and has been publicly questioning its transparency.

As summer rolls in, the heated debate is becoming a personal war between leaders of both organizations. The timing couldn't have been worse - kiteboarding one step away from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In the latest episode of kiteboarding's most embarrassing soap opera, IKA says "there is no possibility under the SportAccord constitution that IFKO could even be considered as a member before the year 2020."

"IFKO is the correct instrument to kitesports become a sport recognized as an independent sport. Study more, make your homework. Where is your Rio 2016 you promised in exchange for being independent? Go run your business of Gibraltar just to Formula Kite with World Sailing," responded Sofia Guerreiro, general director of IFKO.

"You were selling IKA as a kite association, and that is the biggest fraud in our community. Your associates - the national associations - paid their annual fee to the bank of the Windsurfing International Association! The invoice has the Gibraltar fiscal number!"

IKA accuses IFKO of not convening the five general annual general meetings (AGM) needed to meet the SportAccord criteria, and not having 40 national federations as full members of IFKO. Once again, Sofia Guerreiro strikes back.

"IFKO has now four AGMs. IKA has zero. Why? Because private companies don't have AGMs. AGMs of IKA are a fraud. IKA is not an association, and the ISAF/WS legitimacy to oversee our sport does not exist," underlines Guerreiro.

"We were never governed by any other sport, and we will never be. Markus [Schwendtner], do you kite? Do you really love to kitesurf? I do. I love to ride my kite. I love kitesports, and I have pride in my sport."

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