Copenaghen– C’è del marcio in Danimarca… O, meglio, se anche il suo Paese, la Danimarca appunto, lo molla, significa che il cerchio attorno al presidente di World Sailing Kim Andersen si sta stringendo sempre di più. Gran parte del mondo velico internazionale ne invoca le dimissioni, prima dell’Assemblea elettiva, prevista ad Abu Dhabi l’1 novembre prossimi ma che potrebbe invece svolgersi con una votazione certificata via posta.
Dopo l’articolo della rivisata norvegese Seil, anche la danese Baad Magasinet pubblica oggi un articolo contro Andersen (traduzione in inglese disponibile a fine pagina). “La pressione sta aumentando sul presidente Kim Andersen”, è il titolo del pezzo che, partendo dall’inchiesta di Seil arriva chiaramente a mettere in discussione non solo le decisioni di Andersen “ma anche la sua credibilità, apertura e comunicazione con il resto del mondo velico”.
Dopo il caso dei quattro voti contestati al Council di fine 2018 che adottò la Offshore Mixed Keelboat, arrivato alla Commissione Etica di WS, una sorta di probiviri, si è aggiunto il caso numero due: i due vice presidentei Gary Jobson e Scott Perry che sono ricorsi alla stessa Commissione Etica, dopo che le loro firme erano state messe, senza la loro approvazione, in una lettera inviata a Sailing Illustrated per confutare alcune affermazioni fatte da Tom Ehman.
A questi fatti etici, si aggiunge la crisi finanziaria in cui versa World Sailing, arrivata ben prima della pandemia Coronavirus e del resto ammessa dallo stesso Andersen. Il caso della sede storica di Southampron, lasciata per trasferirsi nel carissimo centro di Londra, si è trasformata in un aggravio per le casse di World Sailing stimato in oltre un milione di sterline, quando i vecchi uffici di Ariadne House a Southampron erano ancora disponibili a buon prezzo. Su questa vicenda Andersen mentì al giornalista norvegese Mikkel Thommessen di Seil, affermando che World Sailing era stata invece costretta a lasciare Southampton. Su questo fatto, Seil ha trovato la testimonianza dell’ex segretario generale dell’ISAF Arve Sundheim, che ha smentito quanto affermato da Andersen.
Altra mano nella partita di poker a perdere in cui si è trovato invischiato Andersen è quella del caso della costosissima consulenza alla società di marketing sportivo, con sede a Losanna, TSE Consultant, di cui abbiamo parlato in un precedente articolo.
Baad chiude l’articolo ipotizzando le dimissioni anticipate di Andersen. Il dirigente danese si è ufficialmente ricandidato ma avrà comunque a che fare con la quotata candidatura alternativa dello spagnolo Gerardo Seeliger.
Secondo quanto risulta a Fare Vela, dopo aver sentito fonti interne a World Sailing, Andersen avrebbe ormai perso anche l’appoggio di gran parte del Board direttivo e della maggioranza delle MNA (le federazioni nazionali) che saranno chiamate a votare il nuovo presidente della vela mondiale e i vicepresidnetei, tra cui figurano i tre candidfati italiani Luca Devoti, Riccardo Simoneschi e Walter Cavallucci.
Traduzione in inglese dell’articolo di Baad Magasinet
“The president of World Sailing, Danish Kim Andersen, is under increasing pressure, after a number of burdensome cases and charges. World Sailing’s economy is in crisis, and part of the explanation is divestments made by Andersen and former CEO Andy Hunt. Norwegian seilmagasinet.no has brought a series of articles that question not only Andersen’s decisions, but also his credibility, openness and communication with the board and the rest of the world.
Wrong recorded votes?
The turmoil surrounding Andersen’s leadership came to the surface for the first time in the fall of upcoming Olympic classes in the fall of 2018. The vote was rushed using an online product that was not intended for actual voting, and four voting council members subsequently claimed that their vote had been incorrectly registered. The criticism was dismissed and the result maintained – the management’s proposal was adopted despite the problems. In the wake of the criticism, Andersen and Hunt hired a consulting firm that acquitted them of all errors. A subsequent case in the World Sailing Ethics Committee also ended up acquitting Andersen.
Ethical case number two
Last week, case two against Kim Andersen was brought to ethics committee, this time brought by his own two vice presidents, Gary Jobson and Scott Perry. They complain that Andersen has placed their signatures on a letter to Tom Ehman and the sailing media Sailing Illustrated – according to themselves, without their knowledge or approval. In the letter, Ehman is accused of misinforming in his criticism of Andersen, and charged with apologizing and correcting. Neither Jobson nor Perry agree with that assessment and feel that their names have been abused by Andersen. Perry has even sent Ehman an unreserved written apology. So now they bring in their own president to the ethics committee.
More than 25 million more expensive
The next stressful story is also about ethics and morals. As many will know, the agenda of the World Sailing is right now centered on the ruined economy. One of the reasons is the cancellation of this summer’s Olympics – a decision that has high costs for all sports associations worldwide.
But even before the Corona crisis, it was crazy about the economy of World Sailing. Just over two years ago, the organization moved from relatively cheap premises in Southampton, to extremely expensive premises in central London. Norwegian seilmagasinet.no has dug into the case of World Sailing’s financial bankruptcy, and can tell that the organization’s ten-year lease in London resulted in an additional cost of at least three million pounds, corresponding to 25 million Danish kroner. Furthermore, there have been moving costs of £ 1.1 million, equivalent to somewhere between nine and ten million.
Old offices still empty
Faced with criticism of the decision on the extremely expensive move, Kim Andersen defends himself by saying that World Sailing was forced to relocate as their lease on the Southampton lease expired. They therefore had to find new offices at short notice. “I didn’t know that the rental contract expired as early as April / May 2017, so we had four to five months to move”, Andersen said in an interview with senior chief reporter Liam Morgan of insidethegames.org. The article was also brought to the acclaimed boating blog Scuttlebutt here.
Would even move
Sail magazine’s journalist Mikkel Thommessen, in an interview, asked Andersen if they were really forced to move from Southampton. He confirms that. Andersen also says that the decision to move was made by the previous management.
But is that now also true? Thommessen has investigated this. It turns out that World Sailing’s old offices in Southampton are still empty, almost three years after the organization moved out.
Mikkel Thommessen has contacted Norwegian Arve Sundheim, who was Secretary General of the WS (then under the name ISAF, ed.) In the years 1995 to 2007. It was Sundheim, who in his time created the contract for the lease in Southampton. It was a contract that really ended in 2017 but could easily be renewed, says Sundheim. To get it confirmed, he recently contacted the manager of the lease, who could tell that the reason for the move was that management thought an international organization such as WS should have offices in London – and thus not that they had been terminated from the lease. The contract expired yes, but it could be renegotiated and World Sailing was not forced to relocate.
Million contract outside the board’s approval
In recent days, pressure on Andersen has increased further, after Mikkel Thommessen revealed that a million contract with the PR agency TSE was signed, according to Mikkel Thommessen, without the approval of the board, shortly after Andersen took office as president. TSE had previously helped Andersen with the election campaign, which ended with him getting the post of president. Subsequently, TSE was given high-paying jobs for World Sailing. This was done without the assignment being tendered – something the WS rules, cf. Mikkel Tommessen, otherwise requires.
“The contract was signed on November 24”, writes Thommessen, “and as early as December 2016, the first payments to TSE were made, without the board’s knowledge. Only after the World Sailing Audit Committee, a body set to monitor, among other things, the association’s incomes and payments, discovered the transfers to TSE some time in 2017, the board was informed of the case.” The article can be read in its entirety here.
Hævder at bestyrelsen kendte til aftalen
However, in a follow-up article, Kim Andersen claims that the board knew of the agreement and that there is documentation of all payments to TSE. However, the documentation has not yet been presented and rather no minutes or other material from the board meetings has been presented, which shows that the board was officially informed or had an influence on the decision.
The Olympic Committee of Denmark paid the bill
Vice President of the Danish Sports Federation, Hans Natorp, was Secretary General of the Danish Sailing Union when Kim Andersen was elected President of World Sailing, and was involved in the work on the election campaign. He tells the Sailing Magazine that it is the Olympic Committee of Denmark and the Danish Sailing Union that paid TSE for help with the election campaign.
However, the question remains how TSE subsequently got high paid jobs from World Sailing. Who helped make that decision, and how was it informed?
May Andersen resign?
Kim Andersen is officially running for re-election this fall, against Spanish counterpart Gerardo Seeliger. Right now, it is hard to see how a re-election should be possible. Sources The Boat Magazine is in contact with, says that right now there is a strong pressure on Andersen, to make him resign already, and that he no longer has the support and trust of the majority of his own board.
We are following up on the case with reactions to the situation, and hope to get answers to the many questions that arise –partly from the Danish Sailing Union and partly from Kim Andersen himself”.