Voting in the World Sailing election begins tomorrow ©ITG

Members of World Sailing are preparing to cast their vote in the Presidential election following a truncated and bitter campaign for the top job at the organisation.

The first round of voting in the intriguing four-way battle between incumbent Kim Andersen, World Sailing vice-presidents Quanhai Li and Scott Perry, and Spaniard Gerardo Seeliger begins tomorrow.

It follows a week which has seen ethical concerns from the IOC over two of the candidates made public, World Sailing criticising a senior IOC official for interfering in the election and an ethics complaint filed by Andersen, where the Dane accuses some within World Sailing of launching a coup to remove him as President.

World Sailing has 145 Member National Authorities (MNAs), but 14 are suspended and will be ineligible to cast their vote as it stands.

insidethegames understands any which do regularise their situation before voting closes would then be able to vote.

The election, where a one-country, one-vote system is in operation, is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic and is set to be overseen by KPMG.

MNAs have until October 16 to vote and if no candidate secures a majority in the first round, there would then be a run-off between the top two, with the winner scheduled to be announced at a virtual conference on November 1.

Kim Andersen, right, is battling to retain his position as President of World Sailing ©World Sailing
Kim Andersen, right, is battling to retain his position as President of World Sailing ©World Sailing

The first round is set to be keenly contested and a scramble to get into the decisive run-off may well be in prospect.

Much of the campaign has focused on World Sailing's financial situation, with the recently-published 2019 accounts disclosing a deficit of just over £2.5 million ($3.2 million/€2.75 million) and year-end net assets of just £1.84 million ($2.4 million/€2 million).

Uncertainty has since increased owing to the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, but the organisation has received a $3.1 million (£2.44 million/€2.64 million) loan from the IOC.

The IOC's involvement in the election came to light after insidethegames published details of an email sent by IOC vice-president Ng Ser Miang to a member of the Ethics Committee, which revealed ethics concerns over Andersen and Perry's candidatures.

Three ethics issues facing Andersen and Perry being banned from the United States were highlighted in the email, where Ser Miang, a member of the World Sailing Ethics Commission, relayed comments from IOC chief ethics and compliance officer Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, who warned the two officials being elected could cause damage to the body's reputation.

World Sailing in response publicly slammed Ser Miang's conduct, claiming the former sailor had tried to "compromise" and interfere with the election.

The governing body also said Ser Miang had "misused" his position "in order to intervene in the election and politics of an autonomous International Federation".

Separately, an ethics complaint filed by Andersen against Ser Miang accused him of actively supporting Seeliger in his Presidential bid.

The impact of this week's event on the electorate is unknown, but could become clear when the first results trickle out.

It seems likely the result of the election will be revealed before the Annual General Meeting on November 1.