Etter uautorisert bruk av underskriftene til to av styremedlemmene i et brev til journalisten Tom Ehman i etterkant av et program på hans «Sailing Illustrated» der han urettmessig ble beskyldt for å ha spredt ukorrekt informasjon om WS økonomiske situasjon, etter sigende som en følge av sitater fra visepresidentene Gary Jobson og Scott Perry, gikk de to til det uvanlige skritt å anmelde sin president Kim Andersen til World Sailings Ethics Commission.
Det som har fulgt i kjølvannet til denne anmeldelsen har vært alt annet enn vakkert og har ført til at det er først nå at dommen fra den oppnevnte kommisjonsformannen foreligger.
Innsigelser fra Andersen
Det startet med at Kim Andersen gjorde innsigelser mot oppnevnelsen av kommisjonens formann, presidenten i det europeiske seilforbundet EUROSAF, Josep M Pla fra Andorra. Pla har vært observert i IOCs kontor i Lausanne sammen med presidentkandidaten Gerardo Seeliger og kunne derfor i følge Andersen ikke oppfylle kommisjonens krav om upartiskhet. Da denne klagen ikke førte frem, og etter at Pla´s rapport forelå i slutten av juli og deretter har vært tilgjengelig for partene, besluttet Kim Andersen gjennom et advokatkontor i London, å utfordre etikk kommisjonens legitimitet. Dette er oppsiktsvekkende ettersom det nettopp burde være World Sailing styre ved presidentens oppgave å sørge for at denne kommisjonen skulle være fungerende og beslutningsdyktig. Nå utfordret Andersen dens kompetanse ved at flere av kommisjonens medlemmer har trukket seg av ulike årsaker og den derfor ikke skulle ha kompetanse til å fatte vedtak.
Onsdag 19. august besluttet likevel Etikk kommisjonens fungerende leder, sveitsiske Dieter Neupert å publisere rapporten ved å instruere World Sailing CEO David Graham å sende den ut til medlemmene i council. Seilmagasinet sitter på denne rapporten og har fått tillatelse til å publisere den.
Rapporten konkluderer med en advarsel til Kim Andersen, men når man leser premissene for denne vil det fremgå at Andersen i realiteten er utsatt for sterk kritikk. Alvoret i denne advarselen blir tydelig når man legger til at det foreligger en ny klage på president Andersen. I case 3 (Wossala Vs. Andersen), den såkalte TSE saken, skal Kim Andersen ha brutt reglene om rapportering av inngåelse av kontrakter av en viss størrelse til styret, samt at han har unnlatt å erklære en mulig interessekonflikt i kjølvannet av at det var samme firma som bisto Andersen i valgkampen mot Carlo Croce (ITA) og som han få uker ette valget i 2016 inngikk den aktuelle kontrakten med.
I denne saken har Etikk kommisjonen oppnevnt en jurist fra CAS, idrettens internasjonale voldgiftsdomstol i Lausanne, Laurence Burger, hvis integritet og upartiskhet er hevet over tvil. Det arbeides nå på spreng for å få denne saken ferdig behandlet i god tid før valgene i begynnelsen av november.
At tilliten til Kim Andersen innenfor hans eget styre er temmelig frynsete understrekes ikke bare ved denne saken, men også ved at to av styremedlemmene Scott Perry (URU) og Quanhai Li (CHI) nå utfordrer Kim Andersen i kampen om presidentvervet i november.
Seilmagasinet gjengir her deler av Josep M. Plas rapport:
83. According to Rule 1.1.a of the WS Code of Ethics (the Code), the president and Board members “shall be bound by, respect and comply with” the Code as WS Parties. Furthermore, according to Rule 1.1.c, “any other regulations or provisions regarding ethics and conduct in respect of World Sailing Parties continue in force provided they do not conflict with the [provisions of the Code].”
84. The following Rules have a direct connection with the case at hand:
Rule 1.2.a: “Safeguarding the dignity of the individual is a fundamental requirement of World Sailing.”
Rule 1.3.e: “World Sailing Parties shall use due care and diligence in performing any function for World Sailing. They must not act in a manner that will or is likely to tarnish the reputation of World Sailing.”
Rule 1.8.a: “World Sailing Parties shall ensure that the principles and rules of the Code of Ethics are always applied.”
85. Therefore, the questions the EO endeavours to answer to form his opinion are:
1. Did actions referred to in the Facts section affect the dignity of individuals? 2. Were functions for WS performed without due care and diligence? 3. Did actions referred to in the Facts section tarnish the reputation of WS? 4. Did WS Parties fail to ensure the principles and rules of the Code of Ethics were applied?
86. The TE show was a minor point brought to the Board’s table, discussed briefly out of the “official” Board meeting, by a president weary of being constantly under attack and who mistakenly thought he had caught the attacker on the wrong tack. The matter did not raise particular interest from other Board members, most of whom did not listen to the show before the meeting. However, it would be inappropriate to charge those who did not listen beforehand with lack of due care and diligence: most of them were traveling to London from far-away places when they were sent notice and the three Board members who had listened beforehand failed either to understand what TE really said or to bring it to the Board table. GJ actually applied due care and diligence, and prudence, when he insisted on listening to the show before any letter was sent to TE, especially as the board decided he (and SP) had to send it. Together with the other Board members present but GJ, SP trusted KA’s assertions; he contributed to carry out the Board’s decision by later sending back a redraft of KA’s draft letter, a logical action as he (SP) was expected to send it too.
87. KA rushed a flawed matter based on a false premise. He ordered a letter be sent that had not been approved by one of its signatories, without their explicit consent (in fact, with the explicit lack of consent of GJ and only the assumed implicit consent of SP) and without their knowledge. In doing so he disregarded GJ’s explicit request for time to check the alleged information and for control over the content of a communication he was meant to sign. He also exposed both GJ and SP to public embarrassment: the assertions in the letter were incorrect and therefore their demand for redress absurd, and the letter was sent to a media outlet overtly critical of KA and WS that used it to continue discrediting them, with good reason this time. In so doing, KA disregarded
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GJ’s and SP’s dignity, failed to apply sufficient due care and diligence in performing his presidential duties, and brought disrepute towards himself and towards WS.
88. When confronted with these facts, KA repeatedly failed to recognise his mistakes, escalated an email-based conflict with GJ and SP, blamed them—especially SP—for his own unwarranted actions, and arrogantly and defiantly attempted to close the matter on his own terms. Furthermore, with his actions KA showed lack of empathy towards GJ’s and SP’s feelings and opened a chasm in the Board at a difficult time for WS. The fact his own feelings were maybe bruised by the constant attack he was enduring from outside WS could be an explanation for some of his actions, but not a valid reason to avoid recognising his own errors and bear the brunt of them in front of his Board colleagues. By trampling GJ’s and SP’s rightful feelings he disregarded their dignity.
89. Although KA asserted he listened twice to TE’s show, he did not grasp what TE really said and stormed into action on a hint; he did not listen to GJ and rashly followed his line of thought; he disregarded GJ’s absolute right to control what was said in his name; and he dented GJ’s and SP’s credibility. Therefore, he did not apply sufficient due care and diligence in performing his presidential duties.
90. As a result, WS appeared on several media around the world in connection with a letter containing false assertions and the subsequent clash among Board members. Therefore, KA opened himself, the Board, and WS to scrutiny and criticism that tarnished their respective reputations.
91. After the letter was sent to TE, the escalation of the conflict between KA and GJ and SP spilled out on different media outlets. GJ and SP made known their difference with KA and their submission of a complaint to the WS Ethics Commission. Although their actions were in response to KA’s failings towards them, they fed the scrutiny and criticism the president and WS faced.
92. KA, GJ, and SP, as a group of knowledgeable and experienced adults, expectedly working together towards a common goal in favour of sailing and sailors, failed to stand the pressure and solve their differences internally. They collectively acted unbecomingly and applied an insufficient level of due care and diligence in performing their WS functions as Board members.
93. A minor item, “clumsily handled” (as KA reportedly told a media outlet, see 35) by KA himself, grew out of proportion and out of hand because of KA’s mistakes, ill judgement, haste, stubbornness, and arrogance. Therefore, he did not apply sufficient due care and diligence in performing his presidential duties.
94. Regardless of his right to it and to a revision of any action or decision by all available legal means, when threatening “to ultimately have matters determined by the Courts of England and Wales by application of English law” KA showed a distinct distrust in, and disrespect for WS institutions, he undermined their authority and effectiveness, and he weakened the presidential stance, all deeds incompatible with his presidential role. In doing so, he failed to ensure the principles and rules of the WS Code of Ethics were applied.
95. Therefore, the EO’s answers to the questions in 85 above are:
1. Yes, actions referred to in the Facts section affected the dignity of individuals.
KA’s actions, as explained in 87 and 88.
2. No, due care and diligence was not always used in performing functions for WS.
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By KA, as explained in 87, 89, and 93; collectively, and to a much lesser extent, by KA, GJ, and SP, as explained in 92. It is to note that GJ did apply due care and diligence at an early stage, as explained in 86.
3. Yes, actions referred to in the Facts section tarnished the reputation of WS.
KA’s actions, as explained in 87 and 90; GJ’s and SP’s actions, to a much lesser extent, as explained in 91.
4. Yes, a WS Party failed to ensure the principles and rules of the Code of Ethics were applied.
KA failed, as explained in 94.
96. KA failed on all four accounts analysed. Furthermore, he bears the brunt of responsibility of the whole development because he caused it by his premature and unwarranted actions and aggravated it by an escalation in the unseemliness of his responses. Contempt of the institutions of the very organisation he presides over is arguably the most unbefitting of them.
97. It must be noted, however, that there is no evidence that KA doubted GJ’s and SP’s loyalty, that he wanted to hurt either of them, or that he wanted to tarnish anyone’s reputation.
98. Mainly out of frustration with KA’s actions and lack of proper response, GJ and SP also failed, to a much lesser extent, on two accounts.
99. Therefore, with due consideration of the full exposition above and following Regulation 36.10, the EO hereby decides:
A) To issue a warning to KA and thereafter take no further action. B) To take no further action towards GJ and SP.
100. WS, as any organisation, needs internal rules or procedures, and awareness of their existence, to ensure the safekeeping and proper use of Board member’s signatures by the staff, such as requiring verifiable and storable confirmation before using them. Had such rules or procedures existed and been known and applied by the staff, they would have constituted a procedural protection against the episode under scrutiny. This is a matter the organisation must address urgently.
101. The preceding saddening report must not make forget that all parties mentioned contribute voluntary work to reach a worthy common goal: to promote the sport of sailing, to make it more relevant and attractive, and to help sailors around the world fulfil their dreams.
102. This document, together with its four annexes, presents the EO’s findings, grounds for a decision, and decision, for want of more information or better criteria.
Encamp, Andorra, on 31/07/2020.