The IFSC has released a statement back tracking on the decision to outsource the coverage of World Cups to American company FloSports. The move received widespread criticism after it was revealed there would be a high subscription fee to view the competitions. This decision comes after the IFSC athletes' commission called for competing climbers to withdraw cooperation with the livestream media - a decision thoroughly welcome by the climbing community.
The IFSC statement reads:
"It was made a mistake and we apologize for that.
The live streaming for IFSC will remain free of charge, the same as it was at the 1st World Cup in Meiringen, Switzerland and in previous years.
The deal - despite having been announced - has not been signed and thus has not been concluded.
Any possible future variation of this policy will be discussed inside the IFSC and subject to the approval of our key stakeholders.
Let's keep climbing together."
After announcing the decision to charge viewers $20 per month or $150 per year to view the World Cups, the climbing community ralied together across websites and social media to protest the decision. The move appeared to have been made without consulting the IFSC Athletes' Commission, individual governing bodies and advertisers. The IFSC received further criticism when it was revealed that FloSports has received extremely negative reviews and feedback from the communities of other sports - leading many to believe that the deal was badly researched.
A petition was set up by Peter Crane, calling for the IFSC to cancel the subscription fees stating "Competitions have now become less accessible to people around the world – not everyone can travel internationally to physically attend events or afford a costly recurring fee. The IFSC has also been working hard to make sport climbing Olympic, which aims to "encourage the regular practice of sport by all people in society, regardless of sex, age, social background or economic status."
The past week has been a success for direct action, from individual athletes protesting the decision, to governing bodies stressing their disapproval. The IFSC must now reflect and discuss alternative routes to make live streaming their events financially sustainable.