By Nick Butler

Skateboarding is hoping to build on its showcasing at Nanjing 2014, but is not going to push the agenda on Olympic inclusion ©Nanjing 2014International Skateboarding Federation (ISF) President Gary Ream has reacted to news, revealed by insidethegames, that the governing body remains ineligible for SportAccord membership by insisting they will not push to enter a "closed club" of international sporting organisations.

Following the showcasing of skateboarding - along with sport climbing, roller skating and wushu - at the Sports Lab held during the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing last month, the sport is increasingly seen as being in a strong position to be added to the Olympic programme, possibly even in time for Tokyo 2020.

But its campaign faces being weakened by the fact the ISF, the body set up in 2003 following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a group to globally represent the sport, is not a member of either the Association of IOC Recognised International Federations (ARISF) or SportAccord, the umbrella organisation for all International Federations. 

The ISF claims it is yet to hear back from ARISF after applying for membership earlier this year, and has not reapplied for SportAccord membership since launching an unsuccessful attempt in 2010. 

According to the SportAccord Statutes, the requirement for summer sports is to have at least 40 Member National Federations, with Article 7.A.5 defining that a "National Federation is a body representing a sport or a number of sports in a country that is recognised by the NOC (National Olympic Committee) and/or the highest sporting authority of the country".

SportAccord director general Vlad Marinescu told insidethegames that "currently the ISF does not fulfil this criteria as today they have under 25 National Federations which are recognised by their NOC or Highest Sporting Authority".

Marinescu added: "When they will fulfil this criteria and apply for membership, according to our statues, an Ad Hoc Commission may be appointed by the SportAccord Council to examine the new membership applications in respect to the justification of the existence of the sport and to the existence of rivalry issues with SportAccord members".

The ISF is a member of neither ARISF nor SportAccord, the two organisations run by respective Presidents Raffaele Chiulli (right) and Marius Vizer ©ARISFThe ISF is a member of neither ARISF nor SportAccord, the two organisations run by respective Presidents Raffaele Chiulli (right) and Marius Vizer ©ARISF

Ream claimed his sport is locked in the "ultimate catch 22 situation" because National Federations, such as USA Skateboarding, cannot be recognised by NOCs as they are not members of international organisations.

"It is a problem with the system," he told insidethegames.

"They have closed their club and they want us to join with another Federation."

Ream claimed the ISF will not sacrifice the values of the sport in order to achieve the Olympic ambition, and will certainly not join up with another sport, such as roller-skating. 

He insisted the ISF "have never forced the agenda, won't sacrifice the independence of skateboarding and will not give in to the political process".

He added: "We are not going to change our way of doing things.

"We believe it [Olympic membership] is going to come and, when it does come, we are going to be ready and they are going to be ready."

Yet there are other problems which could potentially harm the sport's Olympic bid.

Not only are some groups within the skateboarding community against joining the Olympic programme - including an online petition "No Skateboarding in the Olympics!" signed by 3,498 being among the leading opposition - other groups are campaigning independently of the ISF.

This includes the World Skateboarding Grand Prix that organises the annual Kimberley Diamond Cup event, due to place in Kimberley, South Africa, from October 1 to 5.

Major events such as the Kimberley Diamond Cup are run separately to the ISF ©TwitterMajor events such as the Kimberley Diamond Cup are run separately to the ISF ©Twitter

Ream, though, claims to remain confident that huge steps are being taken, with major brands, ranging from NBC to ESPN to Tony Hawk, having recognised the authority of the ISF following the signing last month of a major partnership with Street League Skateboarding.

He also claimed that since the conclusion of Nanjing 2014, representatives from "six or seven" new countries are showing an interest in developing the sport, which would build on the existing number of ISF member countries, 78, even if very few of these are NOCs. 

"If there is any sport that embraces the youth values, it is skateboarding," Ream told insidethegames.

"It is a truly athletically and physically unbelievable sport and we were taken aback by the strength of the positive reaction we got in China."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2014:
 We will "do our best" to repeat innovation of Nanjing 2014 at future Olympics, says Bach
August 2014: Exclusive: Skateboarding must retain "unique" identity even if it joins Olympics, they claim
August 2014: IOC President pays visit to "fantastic" Sports Lab at Nanjing 2014
August 2014: IOC President reiterates commitment to reforming Olympic sports programme
August 2014: New partnership hailed as boost for skateboarding's Olympic ambitions