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ISAF Annual Conference - President's report delivered in Muscat

by ISAF on 16 Nov 2013
ISAF President Carlo Croce addresses ISAF Council ISAF ©
ISAF President Carlo Croce delivered the President's Report earlier to the ISAF Council members at the 2013 ISAF Annual Conference in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

Read the President's Report below….

Your Majesty, Members of the Council.

I would now like to advise you how the day is organised – President, Vice-President, Secretary General (CEO).

As you know we have shortened the time of the whole conference and also we need to finish our agenda today and tomorrow, so I had better keep my opening remarks short too!

I do realize that it has been a challenge for our committees, committee chairs and staff to make it work; I would like to thank everybody for your contribution – a special thanks to Jerome, the staff and G?ran. It is now one year and the Executive Committee is in charge and really a lot of work has been done and I would like to thank all the Vice-Presidents for the support they give me. Each of them has been assigned a responsibility list; I have asked each of them to tell us what they have achieved. This is an impressive list but please, only four minutes.

First of all let me start with the new IOC President's manifesto – what unity in diversity means………. All aspects of different cultures, gender, social backgrounds, perceptions, attitude and opinions have to be preserved. The fact that we are all here today perfectly suits this meaning.

But what it also means is that future evaluation of all sports will consider this as a priority. We are a relatively small Federation; we need to work in getting new MNA's into our organisation. All our other values – legacy, diversity, universality, innovation, life style and environment – they are all there. We also have fair play, discipline and respect of the rules.

The latest America's Cup events demonstrated this. I would not like to lose the occasion for thanking our outstanding Race Officials in San Francisco. David, you and your team gave a wonderful image of integrity and neutrality. I cannot tell you how many people came to me to congratulate ISAF. We have actually proved ourselves as a 'Super Partes' institution, this is most important.

The other manifesto point is marketing and TV, Weymouth TV coverage was outstanding enabling us to get more support from ISAF. All credit for this goes to the previous work of the Executive. But the fact that we have been overtaken by Shooting, Archery, Badminton and Judo means we still have a lot to do.

What is our answer to this?

The answer is to have a product that shall be easy to promote on TV and attractive to sponsors. The new World Cup is one of the possibilities for us to achieve this goal. I want to be very clear on this issue and not only because it was point one of my election programme.

2014 shall be seen as a start-up and a transition moment – an event that we shall call a 'Super Final' will be held at the years end probably in Valencia. A number of teams per class shall be taking part, with live TV coverage, prize money for the athletes; visibility is all sailors want and need to have to make sailing a 'normal sport.

We will proceed by organizing a system of qualifying events in 2015 slowly moving in the next couple of years to an easy, more understandable ladder system. Continental Qualification shall become available thus helping the emerging Nations to build their athletes focusing on the ladder and trying to become National Sporting Heroes.

I have been asked about ISAF's risks on this project. The Executive Committee and Secretary General (hopefully our CEO after the AGM decision) is formed by a group of professional people with a lot of skills in Administration; I find it a little offensive to pose such a question – the risk is absolutely minimal for ISAF. We shall have a gate in 2014 where we shall consider our sponsorship research position.

On this matter we have appointed a professional USA organisation who has worked in the past for the IOC. They are working closely with Gary and me personally, on a commission basis, – always a good guarantee they will be working well.

We have already three important meetings within the next 30 days. We shall not lose any money. Our goal is working to build the brand value to where it should be and thus also creating future income. We have lots of good ideas and proposals in the pipeline like Olympic connection and maybe a final race for class winners, a sort of Champions of Champions. We shall all benefit from this including Classes, personal or local sponsors and other partners.

Other important issues include Governance which I am sure Scott will talk about in his short presentation and IFDS. An important proposal before you is the merger of ISAF and IFDS. IFDS have already supported this. We believe this is a great step forward for sailing and beneficial for all MNA's. A plan to go forward is in the submissions and I hope this will have your support.

Hopefully the Olympic Classes will stay the same until 2020 to help the emerging nations who have already been investing in their boats. We do not see any point in changing for the sake of it.

We want to support the Kite as an extra Olympic Medal in 2020. The new so called urban sports category would be the perfect platform for Kite – we want Kite to be in all our important sailing events; we were asked by the IOC not to change their system of evolution events. Again added value sports are needed for TV and this will be our answer. Just let them demonstrate as much as possible.

Academies are another way of helping young sailing nations and Valencia is a good example. An important sailing centre is to be built, land has already been bought from the Club Nautico with a substantial investment. It should be ready in 2014, the idea being no only to offer established sailors a great platform of top logistics and coaches but mainly to help emerging nations athletes to improve their performance in a way they could not manage at home.

The Italian Sailing Federation has built to an even smaller scale a similar structure on Garda Lake. After a few months of being opened it is always overbooked.

Academies are a good opportunity for sponsors; they seem to like getting a good image by helping young sailors from new sailing countries. This is a part of our programme, an important vision we do really need to support. I would be very grateful should we get it – the ISAF brand has a lot of potential it is up to us to exploit it for the benefit of sailors.
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