ICF cancels SUP championships in Portugal after court ruling
The International Canoe Federation has been forced to cancel this month’s inaugural Stand Up Paddling World Championships in Portugal, an expected move after a court in the country ruled that the national surfing, and not the canoeing, body is responsible for the SUP discipline.
The ICF said it still hopes to stage the championships elsewhere, claiming that "several countries have made contact expressing interest in hosting an event and we will examine all options."
The ICF and the International Surfing Association have been at loggerheads for two years over control of SUP, with the matter recently referred to the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The ICF said in a statement: "Unfortunately the ICF was left with no choice following the court challenge by Portuguese surfing and the International Surfing Association. The decision to cancel this event has not been taken lightly. With close to 200 athletes from more than 40 countries having already registered to compete, along with volunteers, sponsors and organizers, this court decision has impacted a lot of people."
It added: "The ongoing campaign by the ISA against the ICF has left hundreds of people disappointed. The ICF can assure the SUP community it has done everything possible to enable this event to take place, but ultimately the determination of the ISA to prevent paddlers taking to the water has prevailed."
Last week, the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the FPS, the Portuguese Surfing Federation, is the only national federation with a remit to organise and authorise StandUp Paddle events within Portugal, meaning that the ICF SUP World Championship, scheduled for 30 August to 2 September in Esposende and Viana do Castelo, is deemed illegal.
That meant the Portuguese Canoe Federation would have been prohibited from involving itself in the event, while national judges would have banned and the event was unable to draw from public support granted by the Sports and Youth Councils of Esposende and Viana do Castelo.
Fernando Aguerre, president of the ISA, said in a statement today: "The ISA is the only International Federation that has ever organised StandUp Paddle World Championships and, together with the Association of Paddleboard Professionals (APP), we have worked tirelessly to ensure the best conditions are in place for the sport to flourish at both elite and grassroots level.
"Unfortunately, due to the interventions of the ICF, SUP athletes have been denied the chance to compete at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aries and the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego. We, at the ISA, believe that the athletes are the most important aspect of any sport, and we look forward to continuing to work in their interest.
"The ISA has provided clear and unimpeded means for SUP athletes to compete for more than a decade, and has been saddened by the continuation of this situation, created by the ICF. We now look ahead to a swift and appropriate resolution, in the interests of the athletes and the Olympic Movement, at the Court of Arbitration for Sport."