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Did You Know...

... that Italy still had a good reason to "put its mind to rest" in February 2005?

New topic in the NSL Forum
posted Jun 14th, 2005 - The NSL News has recently covered the topic of international eligibility for first-category events in the Sporting Code of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which involves the Italian national 4-way team, Sinapsi PD, and the team's new member in the tail position, Pete Allum.

The case was first covered and completed by the NSL News in December 2004, then picked up again with the NSL News story on June 9 and continued with the story on June 11, which included a comprehensive feedback provided by IPC President Patrice Girardin.

More missing pieces of information have been added with this story, and others will still follow. Interested visitors now have the opportunity to provide additional feedback, information and opinions at the according topic in the NSL Forum, which is already available and includes a poll on the question whether the FAI/IPC should allow Sinapsi PD to compete with Pete Alum at the world meet in 2006 or not.

Italy's IPC Delegate Sara Sacchet judging at the World Cup 2000
The Italian side in this conflict over the FAI rules for international eligibility has based its position on previous understanding and the interpretation of the according written language, which was originally confirmed by the highest executive FAI level, FAI Secretary General Max Bishop.

Italy's IPC Delegate Sara Sacchet recently added more evidence for her position. FAI's Max Bishop confirmed the positive interpretation for the Italian side in December 2004, which was then reversed by Bishop with an official fax message on May 27, 2005. Bishop referred to his message of December 2004 when he asked Italy's Sacchet in May "...kindly to take note that this ruling over-rides guidance I had previously given."

However, the same interpretation as Bishop's of December 2004 was still officially maintained and confirmed by the FAI in February 2005. Ian W. Strachan is the Secretary of the FAI Air Sport General Commission (CASI), the same commission that reversed the original interpretation during its May meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

As Bishop in December 2004, Strachan confirmed the same interpretation and the same proposed new language of the according rule with a message to Sacchet in February 2005:

Dear Sara,

After you raised the question last year, this was put on the draft agenda for the 2005 CASI meeting with a view to showing in this GS para how the three years was to be calculated.

Meanwhile, since you want a ruling now, I understand that the Secretary General gives guidance based on the few previous cases that have arisen in the past and that he believes that the case you mention is within previous precedent. I have no doubt that Max and others will put your mind at rest about your 2006 championships in Germany.

In terms of any future clarification of this GS para, the latest version of this item in the draft CASI agenda (not yet published) is as follows. This was as a result of correspondence between Max and CASI Bureau members last year, after you had raised the matter. As always with such agenda items, improvements in the proposed wording are invited.

------- Draft CASI 2005 agenda, Annex A on the GS --------

GS - Representation.

A case has arisen in Parachuting where a person wished to compete for a different country in a world championship in the third year. However, because the dates of the championship in the third year were earlier in the year, three years had not elapsed if the period is taken to the nearest day. The FAI Secretary General states that it was never the intention to take the three years "to the day" but to apply it to the relevant championship in the third year, irrespective of its exact dates.

It is suggested that this para now reads:  "A citizen of a country may be issued with a FAI Sporting Licence to represent the NAC of that country. If a person wishes to represent a different NAC in any FAI airsport activity, the new NAC shall not be represented until 1 January of the third year after that in which the previous NAC had been represented. (AL9)"

Ian W Strachan, Secretary FAI Air Sport General Commission (CASI)

Copies of this message went to the FAI's executive board members and also to Secretary General Max Bishop whose original message to Italy was obviously supported by other FAI representatives. Italy's IPC Delegate, Sara Sacchet and her national 4-way team Sinapsi PD, both had a good reason to "put their minds to rest" in February 2005 and continue with the athletic preparations for the world meet in 2006.

World Meet 2006 in Germany
There seems to be a conflict between the FAI interpretation and the IPC position, which was currently explained to the NSL News by IPC President Patrice Girardin. Strachan as the Secretary of the FAI Air Sport General Commission (CASI) explained that " was never the intention to take the three years to the day but to apply it to the third year after that in which the previous NAC had been represented."

Much to the contrary, IPC President Patrice Girardin insisted that "...this rule needed a clarification, of course, but not about the period of three years: three years are three years, not two years and a half or three years and two months."

Obviously, the IPC position ended up over-riding the previous FAI interpretation and also the proposed new language that was posted on the agenda for the CASI meeting in May. The minutes of this CASI meeting have still not been published yet, however, they might be helpful to understand what caused the change of mind in the FAI quarters.

The NSL News will continue to provide more information and explain how the conflict was caused. The NSL Forum is now open for comments and feedback on this topic.

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