World Sailing has condemned Malaysia and released new ‘no discrimination’ laws after Israeli athletes were forced to withdraw from a competition in Malaysia after the host nation placed unfair restrictions on Israel.
In December, the Israel Sailing Association (ISA) was forced to withdraw its competitors, Yoav Omer and Noy Drihan, after Malaysia set terms for granting visas. The organisers demanded that the Israeli windsurfers could not compete under the Israel flag and wouldn’t be allowed to use any symbol identifiable with Israel on their clothes, sails or boards.
The hosts also said that should an Israeli win a gold medal the Israeli national anthem would not be played.
Yoav and Noy both won gold medals in the previous competition in June and were due to defend their titles in Malaysia. However, the restrictions put on them denied them this opportunity.
The case was reviewed in an extraordinary meeting by the World Sailing Executive Committee in London on 8 January 2016. The report was published on 13 January 2016.
World Sailing said Malaysian authorities were guilty of forcing Israel’s windsurfers to withdraw from the 2015 Youth World Championships and added that they would impose sanctions in the future event of a breach of the “no discrimination” regulations at a regatta.
Possible sanctions include: non-selection as a future venue, denial of appointment of World Sailing race officials to future regattas in the country, and/or cancellation of membership of World Sailing.
“The conditions required by the Malaysian authorities breached Article 7 of the World Sailing constitution,” the statement read. “The late starting of the process to enable Israeli sailors to participate, delays and poor communication by all parties during that process, and the late notification of the conditions, contributed to the outcome and made it impossible for World Sailing and IOC [International Olympic Committee] to resolve the incident before the championships.” In conclusion, World Sailing wrote that “all World Sailing championships involve an element of country representation, and at all these regattas, flags shall be displayed and winners’ anthems played.”
The new rules will ensure that all competitors can represent their country equally and without discrimination.
/Christians United for Israel UK