Lessons from Egypt

Lessons from Egypt

Happening in the Middle East as a hint to ISAF

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The rapid pace at which the morally bankrupt regime in Egypt collapsed must have very little to do with a local sport like sailing. But the process of "people's revolution" is absolutely relevant for our sport now. The intricacies of Egypt's domestic politics have nothing to do with it, of course, but the Egyptian protesters have made one simple thing clear - they are fed up with being ruled by a despotic fat tyrant who surrounded himself with a secret police that everyone hates and closed the country to growth on the international stage. The fact that he himself was stealing billions for his family and his minions did not add to his popularity either.

I am not implying here that Goran Peterson and his henchmen at ISAF are stealing billions. I am saying that sailing is tired of being run by despotic functionaries who surround themselves with dubious personalities, claims to royalties, intrigues and nepotism on a global scale, humiliating and destroying the sport that is supposed to represent and support.

The crowd in Egypt's Tahrir Square was composed of intelligent, educated but intimidated and clogged (does it remind you of anything?) people who were also very good at accessing social networks, blogs and forums, which determined all the subsequent events. When these days hit the history books, the head can be cut off that Google (and especially Wael Gonim, a marketer from Google) will be mentioned there as an important reason for the coup. Mubarak was not aware of the change that was ripe for his country. Nor did Peterson understand that change is vital in sailing, especially at the Olympic level.

It is well known that ISAF looks at sites like Sailing Anarchy or Rule 69 Blog with contempt and fierce hatred and sleeps and sees them closed. They hate the criticism and calls for answers that come from there and think that the yachting community is so stupid that they can get away with anything. ISAF can push through measures that give it full power and the right to ignore the voices of its own members and entire subcommittees, and to look at the empty space, at those who dare to criticize its most important event (read - the milk cow) - the Olympic Games.

But the problem is that we are the ones who let the political lowlifes get away with it. The same yachting brotherhood, too intelligent to call things by their own names, is directly indulging ISAF in the destruction of our sport. You are the equivalent of the Mubarak secret police.

It is you, peacefully sipping cocktails in yacht club bars, who allow ISAF to spin the real murder. When are you gonna rip your ass off the couch and sell your change? What's gonna happen for that to happen? One day, when the sail will be expelled from the Olympic Games program for complete lack of spectator interest that on TV, that on the Internet, you suddenly open your eyes and start pointing your fingers towards ISAF. Except that those who run it now will have long gone by then...

Changes must happen. There's simply no other way. I can well imagine the desperation that will reign in sport after our exclusion from the Olympic program. There will surely be idiots who will start to freak out and fill the IOC with piles of delusional ideas... we don't need all that. We need to welcome new technologies, politely take them to the stage and put them under the eyes of millions of Olympic Games audiences. We need to encourage hard sails, kites, hydrofoils - everything we have good. If we do all this, the audience will be delighted to get a magnificent performance on the water that will attract fans and inspire the next generation of athletes.

Let's face it - even Olympic women hate the Elliot 6... so why is it still here? "The 470 and the Finns are rooted in a time that even I can hardly remember. "The Star is also a real dinosaur that's being chased by retarded people living in the past. It's just embarrassing to look at windsurfers, and (whispering) even "Laser" looks a little outdated...

About sailing classes too it is necessary to think still, but here ISAF should be rebuilt radically, systematically and methodically. It needs recognizable figures who are interested in the development of sport and are not burdened by politics. The current patriarchs in the Committee need to be thanked for their service and provoked to rise to the occasion. The projected image of the organization should focus more on technology and ordinary yachtsmen. The latter should feel united with those who represent them, and it is unclear who the elected lawmen, who whisper in the back during meetings and then openly rumble, confident in their full power (you know who I am addressing), should definitely leave.

Transparency and public debate must go back to the place of the current murky deals behind closed doors. The whole sailing sport is muddy about it - and because of it. We do not want and do not want a full copy of the corruption, scourge and scandals that are taking place at, say, FIFA and the IOC; we need change and strict accountability. Yachtsmen and yachting need to have a voice and there are many excellent candidates at the top of our sport who would do a great job even if they started from scratch.

I know a lot of great yachtsmen who have won medals at several consecutive games and who are fiercely critical of ISAF behind the golf course but will never say a word against it in public. Obviously, they are part of the system, but they come to me to make their point! I know world champions who hate to pay their dues to ISAF, but they never say a word. The list is endless and I receive thousands of letters supporting my desire to reform this outdated, dying, politically motivated monster who now rules the biggest quack in the history of world sport.

If Egyptian history teaches us anything, it is that ISAF, which thinks he gets away with everything and that "everything is calm in Baghdad", must understand that the voices of its opponents are gaining strength. If social networks are capable of driving down dictatorial regimes, then they will be all the more able to cope with a fine sailing balloon. Her death will be quick... the only question is who gets there first - yachtsmen or IOC? I hope that this coup will be led by yachtsmen - for their own sake and for the sake of sailing and its presence at the Olympic Games.

About the author: Magnus Whitley is a legendary yachtsman and sailing journalist who leads the Rule 69 Blog (temporarily closed).

The editorial's opinion may not be the same as that of the author...

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