A protracted dispute is ongoing over the running of stand-up paddle ©ISA

The International Canoe Federation (ICF) could be forced to move their planned Stand-Up Paddle World Championships from Portugal after a court in the country ruled that the national surfing body has exclusive control of the discipline.

This decision, made by the Portuguese Court of Arbitration for Sport, has been hailed as an "important" breakthrough by the International Surfing Federation (ISA) in their long-running feud with the ICF over the governance of stand-up paddle - which features elements of both sports.

Only the Portuguese Surfing Federation have the right to organise and authorise events in the discipline within the European nation, it was ruled.

This means that the Portuguese Canoe Federation is prohibited from involving itself in the event, scheduled to take place from August 30 to September 2 in Esposende and Viana do Castelo.

National judges are also forbidden and the event is unable to draw from public support granted by sports and youth councils in the region. 

The ICF admitted it was "disappointed" with the ruling and said it was "considering all available options with regards the 2018 ICF SUP World Championships".

"One of the options being explored is a possible challenge to the Portuguese court decision," they said.

"However, the ICF can confirm it has also already been approached by other countries who are willing to host the 2018 ICF Stand-Up Paddling World Championships."

Stand-up paddle athletes during an ISA-organised event in Copenhagen ©ISA
Stand-up paddle athletes during an ISA-organised event in Copenhagen ©ISA

insidethegames understands that a final decision over whether to move the event is due to be made over the next 24 hours.

The ISA insist that they have longstanding experience in stand-up paddle and have only faced interference from the ICF since they tried to add the discipline onto the programme for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

This is denied by the canoeing body, however, who claim no organisation should have a monopoly over a specific sport.

Both bodies disagree over whether the decision affects Court of Arbitration for Sport proceedings between the two bodies.

"While the ICF understands the decision of the Court, it is important to note it does not have any bearing on the ongoing discussions regarding the future international governance of stand-up paddling," insisted the ICF.

The ISA, on the other hand, emphasised how the Portuguese Court "noted in its decision that the record clearly shows that the ICF has never organised any SUP World Championships, and that the ISA has organised every World SUP Championship in history".

ISA President Fernando Aguerre reacted jubilantly to the announcement in Portugal ©Getty Images
ISA President Fernando Aguerre reacted jubilantly to the announcement in Portugal ©Getty Images

"This news is important to the ISA as it, once more, reinforces our standing as the sole governing body for stand-up paddle," said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.

"Ultimately, the facts speak for themselves and that has been shown here. 

"There can be no doubting the long history that stand-up paddle has with surfing, as both the surf and racing disciplines of SUP where created by surfers. 

"In addition, the ruling further underlines the importance of exclusivity within world sport -an idea that is important to the Olympic Movement - and gives the ISA momentum as we continue to move through CAS arbitration. 

"With this ruling, we move one step closer to a resolution and ultimately, ensuring the athletes can be best served by a single governing body."