THE COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORT (CAS) DECIDES THAT THE INTERNATIONAL SURFING ASSOCIATION SHALL BE THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION GOVERNING AND ADMINISTRATING THE SPORT OF STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD AT OLYMPIC LEVEL
Lausanne, 6 August 2020 - The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the
arbitration procedure between the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Canoe
Federation (ICF) regarding the governance of the sport of Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). The CAS
Panel has decided that the ISA shall be the International Federation (IF) governing and administrating
the sport of SUP at Olympic level but has dismissed ISA’s request to be recognized as the sole
governing body of SUP at the world level.
This decision does not imply any recognition of SUP at Olympic level. Its inclusion in the Olympic
programme or any kind of official recognition within the Olympic Movement for which the CAS Panel
had no jurisdiction or power to exercise belongs exclusively to the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) and, in particular, to the IOC Session. It should also be noted that the ICF remains entitled to
conduct all types of SUP activities outside of the Olympic movement.
Both the ISA and ICF considered that the governance and administration of SUP at Olympic level fell
within their respective fields of competence. Prior to the initiation of the CAS arbitration in July 2018,
the ISA and ICF had attempted to resolve the matter for a number of years through conciliation and
mediation procedures which were ultimately unsuccessful. During the CAS proceedings, both IFs put
forward detailed arguments, both written and oral, as to why they should be responsible for governing
The CAS Panel appointed to decide the matter was composed of Mr Patrick Lafranchi (Switzerland),
President, and Mr Jeffrey G. Benz (USA) and Mr Nicholas Stewart QC (UK), Co-Arbitrators.
In coming to its decision, the Panel was guided by the IOC Rules "International Sports Federations
requesting IOC Recognition Procedure" (the Recognition Rules) which establish qualitative and
quantitative criteria in order to recognise an IF as the non-governmental organisation governing one
or more sports, in line with the Olympic Charter. Having analysed the parties’ submissions in light of
the Recognition Rules, the Panel found that, of the two parties, the ISA should be the IF to govern and
administer SUP at the Olympic Level.
The Arbitral Award will be published on the CAS website in due course.
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