World Sailing condemns Malaysia for barring Israelis

Possible sanctions include: non-selection as a future venue, denial of appointment of World Sailing race officials to future regattas in the country.

January 14, 2016 00:56
2 minute read.
Windsurfer Yoav Omer

Windsurfer Yoav Omer . (photo credit: AMIT SHISEL/ISA)


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World Sailing said Malaysian authorities were guilty of forcing Israel’s windsurfers to withdraw from the 2015 Youth World Championships and added that they would impose sanctions in the future event of a breach of the “no discrimination” regulations at a regatta.

Possible sanctions include: non-selection as a future venue, denial of appointment of World Sailing race officials to future regattas in the country, and/or cancellation of membership of World Sailing.

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Israel’s Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan did not have an opportunity to defend their titles at the championships in Langkawi, Malaysia earlier this month after the Israel Sailing Association (ISA ) said that it will not be participating in the event due to the demands made by the organizers and the fact the surfers had yet to receive visas.

The ISA claimed that it was told the surfers would not compete under the Israel flag and wouldn’t be allowed to use any symbol identifiable with Israel on their cloths or surfboards. The hosts also said that should an Israeli win a gold medal the Israeli national anthem would not be played.

World Sailing’s investigation which was reviewed by an extraordinary meeting of the executive committee in London on Friday confirmed the ISA ’s claims, with the sport’s governing body saying on Wednesday that it “deeply regrets that two sailors from the Israel Yachting Association (IYA ) were unable to compete at the 2015 Youth World Championships due to the conditions imposed by the Malaysian authorities.”

However, World Sailing did say that the ISA’s conduct also contributed to the unfortunate outcome.

“The conditions required by the Malaysian authorities breached Article 7 of the World Sailing constitution,” the statement read. “The late starting of the process to enable Israeli sailors to participate, delays and poor communication by all parties during that process, and the late notification of the conditions, contributed to the outcome and made it impossible for World Sailing and IOC [International Olympic Committee] to resolve the incident before the championships.”

In conclusion, World Sailing wrote that “all World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners’ anthems played. They shall be displayed and played equally for all competitors.

“Organizing Authorities who are not able to meet this requirement should not bid, and will not be selected, to host future World Sailing championships.”

ISA chairman Gili Amir threatened last month to file a lawsuit against World Sailing and the host country.

“The Malaysians’ demands are unacceptable, and as we haven’t received the visas, we decided not to participate. We condemn the unsporting conduct of the organizing committee. We will not agree to be humiliated,” Amir said at the time.

Omer claimed the gold medal in the boys Under-19 competition in the previous championships in Gdynia, Poland last summer, while Drihan won the girls U17 and U19 events.

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