The World Sailing governing body has today (October 31) announced significant changes to its governance structure.

These changes were voted through at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the 2022 World Sailing annual conference, passing with a 93.85% majority.

They have been brought in with the intention of enabling World Sailing “to be more efficient and increase transparency in line with the requirements of a modern global sporting body.”

The World Sailing executive side will now begin the process of changing the governance structure and processes, in line with the new constitution. The changes will be fully adopted after the 2024 AGM.

Key elements of the proposal cover World Sailing’s general assembly, council, board, chief executive, growth and development committee, specialist sailing committee, other committees and working groups, and integrity and disciplinary issues – where one of the most significant proposed changes will be made.

A new independent Disciplinary Tribunal will replace the existing Judicial Board and Ethics Commission, while the various conduct rules will all “be consolidated into one code of ethics to set out the standards of conduct required of all World Sailing participants, officials and other representatives.”

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The governing body has been discussing the possibility of governance reform since 2017. An initial vote amongst member associations, in 2019, saw less than 75% vote for the proposals (the percentage required to pass changes), which meant they fell through at that point.

The first stage of these reforms being enacted was negotiated successfully in July when the changes were voted through by the individual member national authorities.

Philip Baum, vice president and chair of the board governance sub-committee at World Sailing, said: “The new structure promotes collaboration and supports the richness of discussion by bringing more voices into the process at an early stage. We now have two years to prepare for integration and deliver the new structure. During this time, we will continue to listen and adapt to the needs of our members and ensure there is the flexibility required to be successful.”

Quanhai Li, World Sailing’s president, added: “This is a decision which has united the World Sailing family and marks an important step in our journey. I am very pleased that we have seized this opportunity to modernize the sport’s decision-making. As we have grown and will continue to grow, we require a structure that is designed with the future in mind.”