AIPS Secretary General
MADRID, September 22, 2009 – President of the World Karate Federation Antonio Espinós has written an open letter to the Olympic Movement suggesting the IOC’s decision to recommend Rugby Sevens and Golf for inclusion in the Olympic programme was a financial one and questioning the values and priorities of the Olympic Movement’s leadership.
Sent to AIPS, as well as to all players in the Olympic Movement, the letter written in English, French and Spanish also questions the outcome of the vote by the IOC’s Executive Board at its Berlin meeting on August 13.
“During the first round of voting in Berlin and after Rugby 7s was selected as the first sport, Karate had a clear lead of votes for selection for the second sport. At that moment the outcome clearly showed that Karate would follow Rugby 7s as the second sport, thus maintaining a balance between elitism and popularity in the two new additions to the Olympic Program. Yet a different outcome was announced only a few moments later, which was the same for all candidates other than the two selected,” the letter states.
The results of the August 13 IOC vote as published by the IOC
Overruling consideration "income potential from sponsors and television rights"
“To overlook the possibility that the overruling consideration for acceptance in Berlin was income potential from sponsors and television rights rather than social benefits for youth and athletes associated with National Federations that depend on inclusion into the Olympic Program for public funding is difficult. To reflect on the apparent values of the Olympic Movement versus the actual priorities of its leadership tends to cause confusion and promote disillusionment with the Olympic ideal.
President Espinós has called for further scrutiny of the entire process that concluded in the selection of two sports from the seven candidates and suggests that no matter what his and the other international federations could have done in their campaigns, the final outcome would not have been altered.
“Having only one slot available for 2013 creates the perception that these IFs, as well as the over 30 other IOC-recognized IFs and the new IFs that expect to gain forthcoming IOC recognition have little or no hope of entering the Olympic Programme.
“Yet, this does not mean that nothing can be done. In fact, only the political determination of the IOC decision-makers is required to change this situation”.
Expand to 28 sports
Espinós suggests that the Olympic programme be expanded to 28 sports and claims sports such as karate should be given the opportunity to show how they add significant value to the Olympic Games. He also suggests that the sports for consideration be voted on individually and not “en bloc”.
“Universal sports with millions of supporters and many inherent social values that are highly popular among the youth of underdeveloped, developing and developed countries must be given an opportunity to show how they add significant value to the Games.
“Such changes would help to reduce stagnation and the feeling permeating the non Olympic IFs that the rigidity of the system is what prevents their incorporation to the Olympic Programme irrespective of their merits; these changes would also favour Fair Play and give the IFs the right impression that the IOC supports the concept of “Improve to enter, improve to stay”.
Karate sought inclusion into the Olympic Programme in 2005 but failed to gain the two thirds majority needed. Baseball, Roller Sports, Softball and Squash are the other sports which lobbied to be accepted by the IOC in Berlin.
In August AIPS Members participated in an online poll in which they were asked to choose two sports from the seven in contention. Karate was the top choice with 20.48% of the vote, followed closely by Rugby 7’s which attracted 18.94%.
A total of 305 journalists from 83 countries registered their vote.
Karate 120 (votes) 20.48%
Rugby 7's 111 18.94%
Golf 94 16.04%
Squash 86 14.68%
Baseball 83 14.16%
Softball 54 9.22%
Roller Sports 38 6.48%
Open letter to the Olympic Movement English