User login

ISA to Hold Governance of SUP at Olympic Level

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) regarding the governance of the sport of Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). The CAS Panel has decided that the ISA shall be the International Federation (IF) governing and administrating the sport of SUP at Olympic level but 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 programme 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. 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.

The CAS Panel appointed to decide the matter was composed of Mr Patrick Lafranchi (Switzerland), President, and Mr Jeffrey G. Benz (USA) and Mr Nicholas Stewart QC (UK), Co-Arbitrators.

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.