ISA is the official governing body for SUP at Olympic level

August 6, 2020 | Surfing
SUP: the sport is governed by the International Surfing Association at Olympic level | Photo: ISA

The dispute between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) is over.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has decided that the ISA shall be the official governing body for the sport of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) at Olympic level.

However, the CAS Panel has dismissed ISA's request to be recognized as the sole governing body of SUP at the world level.

This decision does not imply any recognition of SUP at Olympic level.

Its inclusion in the Olympic program or any kind of official recognition within the Olympic Movement for which the CAS Panel had no jurisdiction or power to exercise belongs exclusively to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and, in particular, to the IOC Session.

It should also be noted that the ICF remains entitled to conduct all types of SUP activities outside of the Olympic movement.

Both the ISA and ICF considered that the governance and administration of SUP at Olympic level fell within their respective fields of competence.

Prior to the initiation of the CAS arbitration in July 2018, the ISA and ICF had attempted to resolve the matter for a number of years through conciliation and mediation procedures, which were ultimately unsuccessful.

A SUPerb Decision, Says ISA

During the CAS proceedings, both IFs put forward detailed arguments, both written and oral, as to why they should be responsible for governing the sport.

In coming to its decision, the Panel was guided by the IOC Rules "International Sports Federations requesting IOC Recognition Procedure" (the Recognition Rules) which establish qualitative and quantitative criteria in order to recognize an IF as the non-governmental organization governing one or more sports, in line with the Olympic Charter.

Having analyzed the parties' submissions in light of the Recognition Rules, the Panel found that, of the two parties, the ISA should be the IF to govern and administer SUP at the Olympic Level.

The ISA welcomed the decision.

The outcome allows the ISA to further focus and fully accelerate the international growth and popularity of the sport, as the international sports federation responsible for SUP at the Olympic level.

"At the end of this long and difficult paddle, we are both relieved and gratified by this important decision by CAS," notes Fernando Aguerre, president of the ISA.

"Our long-term ambition and plan is to see the sport included in the Olympic Programme under the leadership and authority of the ISA."

"For us, there's never been any question that the governance of SUP at the Olympic level derived rightfully from the history, tradition and culture of surfing."

"Today, we feel validation and recognition for all the years of active effort and hard work the committed teams at the ISA and around the world at a national level have invested to ensure SUP's continued growth," concluded Aguerre.

The ICF also claimed victory, but opened the door to an agreement with ISA.

"We are pleased and feel vindicated. It's an opportunity for two Olympic federations to work together to promote the sport," noted Jose Perurena, president of ICF.

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