Kitesurfing: is it a sailing sport? | Photo: IFKO

The president of International Federation of Kitesports Organizations (IFKO) attacked World Sailing's legitimacy to manage the sport of kiteboarding.

Diogo Paes Fernandes expressed his wish to "stop World Sailing's illegal abuse of dominant position which is causing great harm to the kite structures and their competitions at a national and international level."

"Like IFKO, World Sailing [WS] is recognized as a single-sport federation, therefore neither can provide nor govern activity outside their social object and goals they were founded for. Europe and the United States have laws to define, limit and protect the scope of action of private associations as well as companies, like WS," underlined Fernandes.

Without revealing whether they plan to proceed with a lawsuit against World Sailing, the IFKO president continues his attack against the world governing body for the sport of sailing.

"In 2017, IFKO became the first entity to formally and legally register, at an international level, kite sports. This is a small legal detail that easily reveals that kite sports are not sailing," Fernandes states.

"We want to demonstrate the high level of permeability to illegal influences over the sport that takes place inside in several countries like France, Italy or Spain, and in major private entities, like the IOC - International Olympic Committee or the Global Association of International Sports Federations."

A Cartel With a Close Relationship With Brands

IFKO stresses that hopes to "restore legality in each country, and prove that World Sailing's Member National Authorities can never control water-based kite sports."

"Everything was done to use our sport for not so proper purposes. Even the artistic creation of a ghost entity like the International Kiteboarding Association [IKA] in 2008," adds Diogo Paes Fernandes.

"This group of people only lives from the hype and the acceptance they receive after using fear, threats, as well as favors returned from event organizers and those responsible for local city halls."

IFKO says that the authorities should "investigate the past and who controls the activities of 'Kitesports Limited,' the company that hides behind IKA and if there is a relationship with those who financially control the main kitesurfing brands."

But there's more. Fernandes believes that there is a sports cartel that involves World Sailing, IKA, and the Global Kitesports Association [GKA], "buffering and delaying the success of IFKO as the rightful governing body it is and its IOC recognition."

IFKO considers three main kite disciplines: kitesurfing, land kiting, and snow kiteboarding. In March 2016, World Sailing prohibited IFKO from organizing kiteboarding events.

Dimitri Maramenides, the founder and owner of Epic Kites, rode his kite a few hours before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the United States.

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