KNOW MORE - "Exclusive interview of Diogo Paes Fernandes, president of the IFKO"

in Press
18 January 2016

Exclusive interview of Diogo Paes Fernandes, president of the IFKO

The kitesurf crosses an unprecedented international crisis! THE IKA is questioned by certain organizers who decided to create a Hydrohydrofoil Tourin parallel of KiteFoil Gold Cup, the conflict IKA / VKWC reached its paroxysm with the announcement of two different world champions in freestyle and the IFKO (international federation of kitesurf) was born and positions in all the disciplines as the inescapable authority.

For, Portuguese Diogo Paes Fernandes, president of the IFKO, was kind enough to explain that was this international federation by answering our questions:

Diogo Paes Fernandes : The sports with kite are going through very large changes that are reflected in the emergence of new aspects of the Sport, material development, in the official Sport structure/organization, and its competition.

IFKO is the International Federation of Kitesports that is occupying an empty place since many years in the official and autonomous process of recognizing a new Sport, democratically giving back to practitioners and athletes and rest of the community, the destiny of Kite.

For the global Kite community interest, we need to climb all the stairs. Only then we can come up with a credible Olympic candidacy or to the real development of all disciplines of Kitesports with real appreciation and respect for their athletes and practitioners.

Much has been done, much has been hidden, much has been repressed without respecting the own identity and the common interest of the Kitesports. Kite is not Sailing nor will ever become! Possibly, only greedy people don’t realize that this is already a cultural issue.

ISAF regulates Sailing Sport, does not regulate Kitesports. Disagreements that exist are because few are the ones that bother themselves to increase the deep of their knowledge about what’s officially and not. And many are the ones into believing what they read coming from entities with no official recognition that may invent and subvert the truth for their self-interest.

Truth is that IKA is an entity with lack of transparency ruled without democracy pretending a position it never had. This way, they tried to make Kite identified as “racing”, put “Kiteboard racing” inside ISAF …in a very questionable process itself. Also, organizers of events, industry associations and sponsors do not rule/regulate a Sport, nor should try to do so, for their own profit interests in time.

A sport is a Sport when officially has its own International Federation (IF). One for each Sport. Kitesports alone are already a sport too complex to be just a discipline of another Sport. The IFKO is the legal and neutral platform that is available to all Kite organizations to associate it and giving it strength as regulator of Kitesports in the world. Being an International Federation is not a name, it is a status! Being a Sport is not the same of being other sport discipline. Different status here!

Kitesports have reached massiveness and won their own energy, lifestyle, media, industry and requirements as any other Sport that already exists. We need our own self-determination to see it grow with dignity, prestige and recognition like it deserves.

. : What is IFKO?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : IFKO is the shortcut of “International Federation of Kitesports Organisations” that is an “International Federation” (IF) …and this is not just a name, it´s a statute. ISA, the International Surfing Association, is an IF. Only IFs are governing bodies of Sports, one IF per Sport. A sport is officially a Sport when has its own IF. IFKO is now the governing body of Kitesports.

As any other IF or entity of the World of Sports it´s legally constituted as a non-for-profit association, meaning this, with real associative constitution and non-profit, NOT a “private company”.

. : What is a “non-for-profit organisation”?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : It´s about money: It´s an organisation that, not being a “private company”, does not have the objective of making profits for itself (and owners). All the money that is surplus, in the end of the year, MUST be distributed. How? The General Assembly decides by fair principles, voted by National Associations (one country = one vote). Profits and its possible greediness of some does not rule a Sport.

. : Why was created?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : As an IF, IFKO was created to unite all the organisations of Kitesports to, together, manage our Sport and protect our own community interests. An IF exists to serve its Sport community and to be its reference under the values of the Olympic Movement.

. : What does IFKO bring that is new for Kitesports?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : IFKO brings for the first time in the history of Kitesports the official identity as a New Sport, self-management, and official status to decisions, bringing rights and direct funds to National Associations … and to Athletes, the main priority of any IF.

Brings the end of few people pretending that manage our Sport. Now the Kitesports community has a correct and neutral platform (IF) to be able to be managed for itself and decide its own future, not by another Sport community and/or persons.

Transparency, fairness, impartiality, protection and identity are the values brought by IFKO. : Who are the Members?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : The Full-members are the National Authorities, Kite associations or federations, one per country, that are the ones that can vote in General Assemblies Meetings (AGMs once a year). With the IFKO international structure axis settled, National Associations will negotiate directly with their country sport government representatives and become National Federations, meaning national authorities of a Sport. This brings law benefits and funds.

International organisations can be Organisation-Members that cannot vote in AGMs but can bring ideas and propositions to be voted, also part of the structure.

The membership of Members is 200USD per year.

. : Who is the IFKO Team?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : Each new IFKO-Member is invited to integrate one or two heads to be part of the Working Committees. The goal is to have plurality in international IFKO Team. Who are the faces of the IFKO Team is not relevant. Important is that all are Kiteriders and love their Sport. Important is their functions, competences, experience and their selflessly contribution. : How is the IFKO work organized inside?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : The Committees are working teams, under specific thematic that study, work and take decisions. Decisions taken, each Committee Director gives the document to the General Director and, if it is ready, sends it to the Council. The Council approves it, signs it and the document is ready for the AGM approval, the official stage of any IF. The General Assembly Meeting (AGM) is the supreme organ of IFKO decisions with its minutes.

. : What is the relation with IKA, ISAF and WKT?

Diogo Paes Fernandes :

About IKA:

IFKO still didn´t invite IKA to be an Organisation-Member because 2 reasons: the first because, under a small investigation about “public entities” provided generally by Countries governments, we could not confirm the existence of a “non-for-profit association” with that name anywhere, which would make sense with its “sport structure” self-denomination. Only non-for-profit organisations are allowed to be structures of the World of Sports. Companies are not. Companies have “owners” and not “AGMs” with power to vote of “members”. Nor even studying documents we could define clearly the legal nature of IKA. So IFKO needs to clarify this legal point, before an invitation.

The second reason is that we still had no time to find the best diplomatic way to make the invitation to an entity that all these years claims to be a “governing body” of a sport and “gives” Titles to Athletes without being an IF (and never tried near SportAccord). Also Mr.Mirco Babini, when asked about IFKO by was not very correct and made some kind of self-isolation to “IKA”.

After the study of minutes of AGMs of ISAF (which official stages are every 4 years) IKA (or company with other name?) has a positioning in Kiteboarding as a IKA Formula Kite discipline Competition Organizer, that is reflected in some of its heads working inside a Windsurfing and Kiteboarding Committee. IKA so is an entity to whom ISAF, the IF of the Sport Sailing, gives the right of co-organizing Championships of Formula Kite discipline as our understanding.

Even so “IKA” can be proposed to IFKO Organisation-Membership, that I would gladly defend, but it is not my decision, it´s a decision for IFKO-AGM. I say gladly because, even not being a structure mainly made by Kiteriders and not quite legally transparent, “IKA” has a value in the work provided to Kiteriders organizing events these past years before IFKO. IKA is welcome and defended for its interests inside IFKO.

About ISAF:

I, as the president of IFKO, formally informed Mr.Carlo Croce, (Director of ISAF) by letter the IFKO creation and explain the will of self-determination for Kitesports, with “CC” to Mr.Thomas Bach, the President of IOC, to whom also a letter was sent informing the creation of the IF of Kitesports. This was done in order to inform and avoid any rivalry issue with the Sport of Sailing as already was developing this only discipline “IKA Formula Kite” before IFKO was created (IF of all Kitesports). IFs are friends and sometimes have to work together because they share Athletes. For example, if Kite Athletes want to go to the ISAF IKA Formula Kite World Championship, and go to the IFKO discipline of Hydrofoil World Championship, we IFs together must combine not colliding dates and help the participation of Athletes.

. : What do tou think about WKT, ex-VKWC, ex-PKRA, ex-PKT:

Diogo Paes Fernandes : This entity has a lot of value to the community and competitions however never could and cannot give Titles because is not an IF.

ISAF “Special status” is just a figure that I personally don’t understand how it fits in the World of Sports or to be given in a Sport this IF doesn’t rule. ISAF does not give rights to organize World Championships, competitions or to give Titles of a Sport they don’t rule. IFKO will respect and support this IF for its only Kite discipline named Kiteboarding with its 3 only registered competition formats “Ika-Formulakite” “Ika-open” and “Ika-twintip racing”.

Titles and Podiums are sacred for the World of Sports, and, in my personal point of view should not be promoted to frivolous use by companies or posted as official Titles when they are not.

When an event is not correctly presented to the Athletes something fraudulent is being given to them, the Heroes of any Sport, and to their sponsors.

Also would be interesting to find out who are the shared owners or investors of former PKRA-WKT, GKA, KiteBrands, KitePatents because we would like to know if there is, or not, conflict of interests in opposition with the values of impartiality and fairness.

WKT should be proposed for an IFKO-Organisation-Membership and ask IFKO for the right of co-organize World Championships. The informal invitation to one of those transversal owners was already made in middle 2015, but making “competitions” with ISAF with no official Titles involved and non-legal sport recognition was preferred (for Freestyle and Kitewave). Probably there is a why, but we don´t know it, just imagine.

WKT is precious to the Kitesports promotion and organization structure and is most welcome inside IFKO.

IKA and WKT as events co-organizers should share points in IFKO World Championships, as organisations that want the same success for athletes and sponsors. Both are bigger inside IFKO.

Both “IKA” and WKT are welcome inside IFKO, we all as KITE should be united and everyone will gain.

. : What are the Olympic goals of IFKO?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : As any other Sport, IFKO can decide in AGM if and what discipline/s is/are to be built as candidate/s to the Olympic Games. This decision is to be taken between Kite National Associations in AGM between all IFKO Kite Disciplines, and not inside an internal IF meeting, voted among Sailing disciplines/associations/committees where just few representatives’ persons of an entire community are present.

The existence of an IF brings the power of decision, the self-management, made as community. The creation of IFKO was made already with the required standards to be recognized by IOC in the future. To be a Sport the first recognition is SportAccord´s, not IOC, as many think, and as Mr Mirco Babini and Mr Markus Schwendtner (maybe) do not know.

. : Who is invited to be part of Kitesports future?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : National Associations (or Federations) to be Full-Members and Kite International Organisations to be Organisation-Members. IFKO is to protect their interests but National Authorities have always priority in case of conflict of interests.

Athletes have a special place for them inside the IFKO: the Athletes Committee, to receive any suggestion, complaint, and idea, anything (with confidentiality if required) … and bring it to the attention of AGMs decisions.

The main priority of IFKO, as any IF, is the Athlete.

IFKO is Home for any kind of Kiterider, any kind of Kite-International Organisation and all the National Associations. : What is the relation with International Competition?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : As the Titles of Champions and the sanctioning of World championships only can be made by IFs, IKA cannot and never could give Titles or sanction competitions (ISAF yes, only for their Kiteboarding 3 racing formats) because it is not an IF. IKA can co-organize World championships under IFs umbrellas.

WKT/VKWC versus IKA mess and wars are not good for the Sport and for Athletes revealed some arrogance and clearly that someone lost their head and values.

Every organisation has its own place in the community of Kitesports, just have to understand what it is and correctly/responsively act accordingly.

IFKO will publish 2016 World Championships Calendar of Kitesports in the end of January. Mr Olivier Mouragues, the Technical Director of the Competition Committee and the Committees Teams are working hard on this building. Team is naturally growing.

IFKO does not organize “Tours”, IFKO organizes World Championships of Kitesports with co-organizers (or not). Also National Authorities can organize stages of World Championships, under IFKO umbrella: IFKO sanctioning.

Brands, Companies, City-Halls, Local Clubs, Schools etc., can be co-organizers or sponsors of the organizers: IFKO or National Authorities.

The construction of our Sport has started. And every Kiterider is called to be part. Joining to your National Association and vote decisions democratically is a very helpful start.

. : What is a Title? What are the implications of a Title to the Kite Athletes?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : When the Athlete wins a place in the Podium or a good place on the World ranking, that fact is provided as a document to the Athlete by the IF. The Athlete with that document takes the Title home and shows it to his National Authority and this is when Sport glues with civil laws because the Athlete will have access to special rights, funds and protection, provided by its Country government. This only can be triggered for the Athlete when there is an IF for the Sport and his National Associations is IFKO Full member.

. : What are the IFKO Kitesports Disciplines?

Diogo Paes Fernandes : Please visit IFKO registered 17 disciplines of Kitesports. All are to be developed equally.

Hydrofoil is one of them, like Freestyle and Wave. Hydrofoil is Kite and not an evolution of Formula (!). Formula is a well-defined Discipline by its IF (ISAF), with a very precise gauge (and limited size of fins). Formula Athletes are Sailors now. Hydrofoil Athletes are Kiteriders, like Freestyle Athletes and Wave Athletes. Different Disciplines of different IFs.

IFKO 2016 General Assembly will be at Muchaxo Hotel, Guincho, Cascais, Portugal 12th&13th March. All interested, please contact Mr François Collin that will preside the Meeting –

To go further, the Kite community needs to know its exact positioning, otherwise someone can take advantage on this and make wrong irreversible way choices for us. Look at Windsurf destiny, go and study the ISAF minutes, and see ISAF meetings decisions to development submissions to other Windsurf formats that are not Olympic: “not approved”. Think about it!

IFKO started to officially build from the beginning our Sport as any other New Sport under the World of Sport regulations, building all steps of concrete recognition, to give us our own self-determination.

Kitesports community must be united now.











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