There have been various queries raised to the association recently about what our position is related to the upcoming World Championships Mondial in Siberia in August, and how we are dealing with our Sponsored Athletes given the unprecedented circumstances we are currently facing. These items have been under constant review and I wanted to share the outcome of some recent decisions made by the British Skydiving Council, and the Elite Performance Committee.
The Mondial is scheduled to take place from the 10th to 22nd August at Tanay, Siberia. Currently, the event is going ahead but will be reviewed by the organisers and ISC in May to determine if it is still tenable given the status of the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic. Even if it does go ahead, British Skydiving will have to make a decision as to whether to support it and send a delegation, given our Duty of Care to our delegation with the risk of further Covid-19 infections or travel issues. For now, Council has decided to continue with the preliminary registration as no financial commitment is made until the final registration deadline in June.
With regards to Sponsorship, we have contracts in place with all of our sponsored athletes and it is not possible to simply void all sponsorship immediately, nor would it be fair to the teams and individuals who have made financial commitments and plans on the basis of this sponsorship being in place. However, it is not right to keep paying out our membership funds if there will be no return, i.e. if the Mondial is cancelled or we don’t send a delegation to it, while the British Skydiving family of members and PTOs struggle. For those that aren’t aware, sponsorship is only paid out on training already completed, upon presentation of receipts and other evidence, and it’s quite limited what it is paid out far. At this point in the skydiving season, a relatively small sum has been paid out so far, with only a few further claims expected for training already completed. At an emergency meeting on Wednesday 1st April, the Elite Performance Committee reviewed the situation to consider our approach to the current situation, and we tried to take an approach that balances doing the right thing for the athletes, the association and the membership, while aiming to ensure no-one is unfairly disadvantaged or left out of pocket.
As such, the EPC unanimously agreed on the following points:
- Due to the current Covid-19 Pandemic, and government restrictions in place that limit the safe undertaking of training, all sponsorship is frozen from 3rd April 2020 for future training undertaken. Any team wishing to undertake sponsored training after 3rd April 2020 must seek the approval of EPC first, due to British Skydiving’s duty of care for athletes training in a sponsored capacity. Outstanding claims for training undertaken prior to 3rd April 2020 will be paid in good faith, and there will be no requirement to repay any sponsorship already claimed.
- If the FCE 2020 is cancelled any unclaimed sponsorship will not be available, but all claimed sponsorship will not need to be returned to British Skydiving.
- If the FCE 2020 is postponed, our next steps will be entirely dependent on a number of variables which are unknown, such as when it will be delayed until, will it replace or run alongside other events etc. As such, we will delay any decision related to this, until (and if) it happens. Note however, again we will strive to avoid leaving anyone out of pocket and don’t intend to reclaim any sponsorship already paid out.
- If the FCE is not cancelled, but British Skydiving does not feel it can support it due to ongoing concerns about Covid-19 infections, or travel issues etc, we recognise some teams may still want to compete. This would be a complex scenario and therefore we will review in more detail in the scheduled EPC meeting in May.
- If the FCE is not cancelled, and British Skydiving do still send a delegation, all athletes have been made aware that if they withdraw from the event due to the known pandemic Covid-19, any training post 3 April that is then claimed for must be in compliance with their signed contract obligations and therefore subject to being reclaimed should the team/individual then withdraw.
- In light of the many cancelled roadshows and shortened season, EPC are removing the obligation for all sponsored athletes to host or coach at a roadshow or event this year. However, we have asked that coaches signed up to events that are still going ahead, do attend these, assuming they are not later cancelled. We have also asked that all sponsored athletes continue to contribute to the association in alternate ways, such as writing magazine articles, hosting online seminars etc. This is particularly important in these challenging times, and in just a few days since this request was put to the athletes, we’ve had a number of people step forward already.
Hopefully this information answers some questions you may have, but if there are any still outstanding, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe, and fingers crossed we’re back in the air before long.
Council Member – Chair of Elite Performance Committee