World Sailing is close to agreeing a contract for new offices in London ©World Sailing

World Sailing is set move into smaller offices in London after releasing itself from a long-term lease agreement that had left the organisation with a "huge overhead".

David Graham, chief executive of World Sailing, told insidethegames that the governing body had left its Paddington headquarters and was in the process of securing a new premises in the English capital as it looks to keep its finances under control.

After leaving the coastal city of Southampton, World Sailing moved into swish offices in central London in 2017.

insidethegames understands that there was still more than five years remaining on that lease, but World Sailing managed to assign it last month.

Graham said the costs of staying proved too expensive and that World Sailing needed to leave.

"We have managed assign our lease in Paddington, so we no longer have that huge overhead," said Graham.

The lease was seen a significant contributing factor to World Sailing’s challenging financial situation that left Graham fearing the worst.

As insidethegames reported in May last year, financial forecasts for 2022 included the cost of full rent and business rates which World Sailing claimed was £192,000 ($271,000/€233,000) over budget.

Graham conceded at the time that World Sailing would have gone into liquidation without financial assistance from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after being hit hard by the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

It is thought to have received a loan of around $3.1 million (£2.2 million/€2.6 million) as part of the IOC's support package, designed to offset the financial impact of the decision to delay Tokyo 2020 by a year on International Federations and other sports bodies.

Almost a year after his damning report to the World Sailing Council, Graham claimed the organisation was in a "much better situation", adding that "our cost basis is under control".

World Sailing is expected to finalise the contract on the new offices for mid-May.

World Sailing had been based in its former headquarters in Paddington since 2017 before assigning its lease last month ©World Sailing
World Sailing had been based in its former headquarters in Paddington since 2017 before assigning its lease last month ©World Sailing

"If your federation is running smoothly and everything is alright then it would be a nice office to have but we had higher priorities to have such a big office in central London," said Graham.

"We have still got a nice office, but it is a fraction of the price and we are focusing on what is important for our sport."

Graham also cited a new working model that had been adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was another reason for moving into a smaller premises.

"What we are seeing like many businesses all over the world is that we won’t be going back to five days a week [in the office]," said Graham.

"We are going to have a hybrid working for some time yet and we are in the middle of a consolation process with our colleague.

"Everyone thinks that hybrid working works, so that is another reason not to have such an expensive space that you are not utilising.

"It was a fairly easy decision."

Graham added: "We have gone through our tough times, and we are really have turned the corner now.

"We are on in build mode and it is really great to be on the other side of that."