A proper international body not driven by commercial opportunities must run skateboarding, Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) President Francesco Ricci Bitti warned here today.
Skateboarding was one of five proposed by Tokyo 2020 for inclusion at the Olympics last month, in addition to baseball and softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing, with a final decision due to be made by the International Olympic Committee at its Session in Rio de Janeiro next summer.
The sport's proposal to include street and park skateboarding was overseen by the International Roller Sports Federation (FIRS) because it currently lacks an internationally-recognised governing body.
The International Skateboarding Federation, run by Gary Ream, and the World Skateboarding Federation (WSF), led by Tim McFerran, are both lobbying to be the main body in charge if the sport is chosen for Tokyo 2020.
FIRS also want to retain control of the spot.
Ricci Bitti, speaking at Beyond Sport’s “Beyond the Field of Play” event, believes there needs to be credible governance to take the sport forward.
“Obviously there is not a clear international body and we have put the conditions to the IOC that all sport has to have an umbrella to be included in a multi-sport Games,” Ricci Bitti, the former President of the International Tennis Federation, said.
“Otherwise it is run by promoters and directors, which does not work long term.
“In this case, now they have applied, we have to work to make the governance more credible, because there are many organisations.
“Some organisation has good skaters, some organisation has good organisation.
“The IOC are working to put that together and I am informed day by day.”
Ricci Bitti's comments come only a week on from a the IOC vice-president John Coates, head of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission. was attacked by FIRS President Sabatino Aracu for claiming “there are a number of Federations that conduct skateboarding events internationally” and that he “would expect one of the Federations will be identified in the near future that we will work with and recognise.”
In response Aracu had accused Coates of being “out of the loop” and stating 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."
Unlike FIRS, neither the ISF nor the WSF have been recognised by the IOC, while neither are members of other international bodies such as SportAccord.
Ream previously 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 competition instead of the FIRS.
insidethegames understands attempts for the bodies to work together have so far proved difficult, while a petition, accessible here, has been created to protest against skateboarding's inclusion in the Olympics, with more than 6,000 signatures.
In the event that all five sports of the recommended sports are approved by the IOC it would take the total number on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme to 33, representing an increase on both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, which had 26 and 28 respectively.
Ricci Bitti claimed that the distribution of television money between all sports present at the Games would not be affected should the sports be added.
October 2015: IOC vice-president John Coates attacked by head of International Roller Sports Federation over skateboarding
October 2015: Petition unveiled campaigning against skateboarding being added to Olympic programme
October 2015: No problem for Huston as American wins men's street title at Skateboarding World Championships
October 2015: Wilkins defends vert title at Skateboarding World Championships
September 2015: Exclusive: International Skateboarding Federation still hoping to manage Tokyo 2020 competition if sport selected