Word Sailings omdømme i fare
Saken som kunne vært løst i minnelighet mellom en president, en journalist og to styremedlemmer er nå i ferd med å utvikle seg til en absurd sak om juridiske spissfindigheter.
Hadde World Sailing president Kim Andersen lagt mindre prestisje i saken om de forfalskede underskriftene, og kalt inn til et forsoningsmøte mellom de fornærmede parter, Scott Perry, Gary Jobson og journalist Tom Ehman, hadde denne saken vært løst for lengst. Nå har Kim Andersen dratt saken ut av enhver fornuftig proporsjon. Tid og penger brukt til denne prosessen står ikke på noen måte i forhold til det saken handler om og seilsportens høyeste internasjonale organ er i ferd med å komme i vanry.
Da Seilmagasinet torsdag 20. august som de første publiserte deler av innholdet i Josep Plas rapport til World Sailings Council, om saken to av visepresidentene hadde anlagt mot presidenten Kim Andersen var dette mulig fordi den fungerende lederen av forbundets etikk kommisjon, Dieter Neupert hadde frigitt dokumentet til offentlig benyttelse. Da hadde World Sailings CEO David Graham, trolig etter instruks fra Andersen holdt tilbake rapporten som ifølge Neupert skulle ha vært sendt til council medlemmene allerede 18. august. Isteden, som en reaksjon på Seilmagasinets artikkel, instruerte Andersen David Graham 21. august til å sende følgende skriv til council, signert av presidenten, her gjengitt i sin helhet:
Statement by the World Sailing President
Following reports in several media sources, regarding allegations of a breach of the World Sailing Code of Ethics by the President, a statement has been prepared to address the situation.
“My intent as President of World Sailing over the last four years and throughout my entire time in this sport has always been to make sailing stronger and doing good things for our sport.
That is why it is extremely disappointing to see our sport being misused by a small group of sailors to smear the name of World Sailing and personally attack me with false claims. To grossly misuse the World Sailing Ethics Committee as a political tool and put into disarray the image of World Sailing by fabricating claims and using a misunderstanding as an ethics claims is unacceptable.
Over the past few months, the World Sailing Ethics Commission has been investigating a complaint by two World Sailing Board members. From the very beginning of this process, I made it clear that the events in question did not in any way justify an investigation before the Ethics Commission. It was an unfortunate misunderstanding between Board members, which had been blown entirely out of proportion and has been used by some as a political tool.
It has been disheartening to see questionable actions coming from within the Ethics Commission itself. The Ethics Commission, unfortunately, chose to appoint an Ethics Officer – Mr. Josep Pla - who was clearly not independent or impartial in this case. When I sought to Schallenge this plainly political and inappropriate appointment, my objections, which followed due process, were ignored by the Chairman of the Ethics Commission – Mr. Dieter Neupert. Mr. Pla proceeded to issue a clearly flawed, biased, and one-sided report on the matter which, despite his best efforts to portray me in the worst possible light, ultimately concluded that no further action needed to be taken against me aside from the issuing of a warning.
As a direct result of the improper and political manner in which Mr. Neupert and others have misused the Ethics Commission in this case, 3 members – Mr. Nicolas Hénard, Ms. Jo Keen, and Mr. Ùlfur Hròbjartson - have all resigned in protest. Once again, it is very unfortunate that there are some individuals who are clearly attempting to misuse the Ethics Commission for their own political purposes - the Ethics Commission has lost three excellent and impartial members because of it.
In the last months, there has been a blatant disregard of the World Sailing Rules, due process, and principles of natural justice within the Ethics Commission. From the improperly constituted Commission to having the interim Ethics Chair personally reaching out to MNAs to nominate new members (breaking Regulations 8.14.2) to the appointment of Ethics Officers that are neither independent nor impartial has led to members of the Commission resigning in protest.
As the Ethics Commission now has only 4 members, when it requires a minimum of 7 in order for it to be properly constituted and issue decisions, the matter is, therefore, being sent before the World Sailing Judicial Board who I hope will refer the matter to an Independent Panel.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your words of encouragement, I very much appreciate the support from the Sailing community.
As I will be actively participating in the process mentioned above, I will be making no further comment on this matter until that process has been completed.”
Dette brevet ble sendt til councilmedlemmene før de hadde mottatt Josep Plas rapport. Andersen viser blant annet til World Sailings regel 8.14.2 som omhandler sammensetningen av Ethics Commission. I sin fortolkning overser han imidlertid at det er styrets ansvar at EC til enhver tid er beslutningsdyktig. Det er også påfallende at Kim Andersen i sitt brev fastslår at saken skal videresendes til World Sailing Judicial Board for bedømmelse av en uavhengig dommer. Ikke bare angriper Kim Andersen det styret han selv leder, men han instruerer de facto styremøtet som skal holdes dagen etter, der han selv er inhabil og ikke kan delta, til å fatte vedtak. Det er også interessant at Kim Andersen ikke på noe tidspunkt angriper innholdet i rapporten, bare formaliteter rundt Ethics Commissions sammensetning.
Kim Andersen har i denne prosessen fått bistand fra advokarfirmaet Mills & Reeve LLP i London. Ingen vet hvem som betaler regningen for deres arbeid for Andersen.
Dieter Neupert, lederen av Ethics Commisson, er selv en svært erfaren jurist og han har tatt sterkt til motmæle mot påstandene fra Kim Andersens advokat. Idag har han skrevet et meget skarpt brev til World Sailings CEO.
Dr. Dieter Neupert brev
The Ethics Commission (EC) had to realize that you - and the President - are totally misunderstanding the Ethics Code and the functioning of the Ethics Commission as a quasi-judicial Independent Body regarding Ethic MattersTherefore we state and direct you to proceed as follows:
1. The fact that you - and the President - chose to issue an offending Presidential Statement in order to „neutralize“ our Report and the Findings/Decision of the EO before sending out our Report (and before the Board even authorized your actions ) constitutes clearly a violation of the principle of the separation of powers and an abuse of the Powers of the President
2. We direct you thus to send out our Report with the Findings/ Decision of the EO to all MNAs until Wednesday 26 August 6 p.m. London Time - without any comments from the President, the staff or external advisors
3. We ask you to send us the minutes of the Board Meeting / ConfCall dated 21 August (including the Notice of Meeting) also until Wednesday 26 August 6 p.m
4. We instruct you to send the retainer to Laurence Burger, the EO in the 3rd case not later that Tuesday 25 August 6 p.m.
Finally please note that the Ethics Commission reserves its rights to
A) Eventually start investigations ex officio regarding the above (including the eventual misuse of funds and / or staff for the „Fight“ of the Executive against the EC (Reg. 8.14.8 c)
B) Information of the Election Committee to look into the matter of „Unfair Campaigning“ (Art. 76 b of the Constitution)C) File a Complaint with the Judicial Board according to Reg. 35.6.12
C) As the Board did not care about the human resources of the EC for 2 years since our then Chairman John Faire reported to Council - the EC itself will now identify new members for the EC for approval by Council (if the Board will not support our proposals we shall get the support of 5 % of the NMAs to call for an extraordinary Meeting according to the Manx Company Law to deal with pertinent submissions)
D) Last but not least would you be so kind as to point out to your external advisors that the EC is still properly constituted to take decisions (Reg. 8.5.2)
For den spesielt interessert er det mulig å følge Tom Ehmans samtale med Seilmagasinet fra 15.30 inn i programmet til 1.06.00
Det er grunn til å følge nøye med på det som skjer i World Sailing de neste ukene.