The IFSC Athletes' Commission has released an open letter in response to the federation's decision to sign a 3-year deal with US-based sports livestreaming company, Flosports to host IFSC World Cup climbing events on its platform via a paid subscription. The decision met with an overwhelmingly negative response from unconsulted competitors and IFSC event fans on social media and the petition created against the decision has exceeded 12,000 signatories. Read the Athletes' Commission response below.
'The last few days have been dramatic - never before has the climbing community been so vocal and united in opposition to a decision involving our sport.
The IFSC rightly states that it values good governance and transparency, and that its athletes are included in decision making processes at all levels. However we would not be where we are today if this were completely true:
- rule changes have been introduced with little communication or debate, and in our view without proper consideration of the consequences;
- the media rights for our sport have apparently been sold with no consultation, and with no apparent consideration for the effects on athletes, sponsors, organisers or the community that ultimately makes climbing the sport we love.
We are saddened that the IFSC has chosen not to be open, not just with us but with the climbing community at large. To us, this is opposite to the spirit that defines our sport.
We are speaking up now because we are disappointed and frustrated; we feel that we have reached a dead end in trying to influence the IFSC quietly from the inside.
If we believed that it was too late for the IFSC to act in accordance with its stated values we would not be writing this, but we have to call for a change in behaviour.
We are concerned that the IFSC will try to manage its way past this crisis and then go back to business as usual. This is not a course of action that we can agree with.
To make our voices heard, starting at the Meiringen World Cup, we have asked the athletes to withdraw cooperation with the livestream media until changes are made.
Our aims are to have:
- effective consultation on (rule) changes that affect the athletes;
- a free livestream on an IFSC platform indefinitely.
We are speaking out publicly because we believe that the IFSC and its board members will rightly be judged by their action or inaction. We hope our actions will help the IFSC hold itself accountable, not to us, but to the climbing community at large. As athletes, we want to see our sport grow and prosper, but success must be measured in more than financial return.'