IOC vice-president and Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission chair John Coates has suggested another body could organise an Olympic skateboarding competition ©Getty Images

International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) President Sabatino Aracu has accused International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates of being "not really in the loop" over the proposed introduction of skateboarding at Tokyo 2020. 

The sport was one of five disciplines proposed by Tokyo 2020 for inclusion at the Olympics last month - along with baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing - with a final decision due to be made by the IOC at its Session in Rio de Janeiro next summer.

Park and street events were proposed, as part of an application by FIRS, who oversaw the process on behalf of skateboarding due to the lack of a recognised international governing body. 

Roller speed skating, also proposed by FIRS, was not recommended by Japanese officials, meaning the governing body would organise only skateboarding events.

Gary Ream, President of the International Skateboarding Federation (ISF), told insidethegames he hoped his body, which organised the Sports Lab skateboarding competition at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, would be appointed to organise the cometition instead of the FIRS.

The rival World Skateboarding Federation (WSF), led by Tim McFerran, is also campaigning to be involved. 

Speaking following the latest IOC Project Review inspection, Coates, head ofthe IOC Coordination Commission. claimed "there are a number of Federations that conduct skateboarding events internationally, and we are in discussion with them, and I would expect that one of the Federations will be identified in the near future that we will work with and recognise.

He added: “I’ve seen tremendous support from international and national skateboarders on the basis that there will be a new Federation representing them."

FIRS President Sabatino Aracu has defended his sport's right to organise an Olympic skateboarding competition ©Getty Images
FIRS President Sabatino Aracu has defended his sport's right to organise an Olympic skateboarding competition ©Getty Images

This, however, has angered Aracu. 

I am really astonished about the declarations I read today coming from John Coates, one of the most prominent figures inside the IOC, in his role of vice-president and chair of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 in Tokyo," he said.

"Despite his numbers of appointments inside the IOC, it looks like John Coates is not fully aware of the situation around skateboarding.

"His words...sound like a threat to the process Tokyo 2020 presented during the last months, considering that the International Roller Sports Federation has been invited by Tokyo 2020 to participate to the additional events process and its proposal, after months of work, has been rewarded."

Aracu claimed that "apparently Mr. Coates is not really in the loop of latest information, considering that FIRS has been directly in contact with his President Thomas Bach, who is the guarantor of sports values as well as the reference point of all the International Federations recognised by the IOC".

He added: "Indeed, President Bach has been formally asked to clarify this confusion around skateboarding that it is generating a lot of misunderstanding that could seriously compromise skateboarding's inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

"Surprisedly, vice-president Coates seems also to be a bit confused on what a Federation is, considering that when he says 'there are a number of federations that conduct skateboarding events internationally', he calls 'federation' some commercial promoters that see the Olympic as a good way to expand their current business."

Skateboarding's inclusion would encourage more young people to watch the Olympic Games, it is hoped ©Getty Images
Skateboarding's inclusion at Tokyo 2020 would encourage more young people to watch the Olympic Games, it has been claimed by senior officials ©Getty Images

Unlike FIRS, neither the ISF nor the WSF is recognised by the IOC, nor is a member of other international bodies such as SportAccord. 

There are concerns, however, that skateboarding could lose its identity if it is absorbed within another sport, rather like how snowboarding supposedly suffered after being integrated within the International Ski Federation following its introduction onto the programme for the Winter Olympics at Nagano 1998. 

A petition, accessible here, has been set up protesting skateboarding's inclusion in the Olympics, with almost 6,000 signatures. 

The petition's founder "Clarkie" Clark, editor of Real Skate Magazine, has told insidethegames that she believes FIRS "will do a good job".

She claimed she is more opposed to those who, she claimed, who are trying to use the prospect of Olympic inclusion for their own benefit.

Clark's confidence in FIRS is due to the presence of experienced German Titus Dittman, who in coordinating their campaign as chairman of its Skateboarding Committee.

Leading figures within the IOC, including Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi, as well as Bach, are thought to be keen on the inclusion of skateboarding within the Games due to its perceived popularity with youth groups, a key target audience of the IOC's Agenda 2020 reform process.

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