On the occasion of the partial decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the writing of certain media and internet portals about this decision, we bring you the official statement of the IFAF Secretary General sent to all IFAF member federations.
La Courneuve 29 September 2017
Dear National Federation,
It has come to our attention that Richard MacLean has sent a letter to you yesterday informing you of the partial award rendered by the CAS on 22 September 2017. For the record, Mr Wiking and his lawyers strongly believe that this decision is manifestly wrong, and they will decide on a potential appeal against the award as soon as the grounds have been issued.
Apart from this, Mr MacLean has concealed a very important fact from you: Despite being requested to do so by the Claimants (Mr MacLean et al), the CAS has thus far refrained from making any declaration that Roope Noronen was elected interim IFAF President in 2015, and that Mr MacLean was elected IFAF President in 2016. Both elections have been challenged in the CAS proceeding, and for reasons that have nothing to do with the question whether or not Mr Wiking resigned as IFAF President in 2015. As one example of many, the invitation to the meeting in New York in September 2016, in which Mr MacLean was allegedly elected IFAF President, came almost two months after the deadline foreseen in the IFAF Statutes. This uncontested breach of the IFAF Statutes left the National Federations with almost no time to submit proposals and nominations within the deadline provided in the IFAF Statutes, thus severely impairing their membership rights.
As the CAS has not yet ruled on the challenged validity of the elections of Mr Noronen and Mr MacLean, there is currently no clarity as to who is the IFAF President, or whether there is any validly elected IFAF President at all. Accordingly, it is premature and incorrect for Mr MacLean to now assume the role of IFAF President, and it is even more incorrect to suggest that IFAF and its members move ahead under what he calls “the new IFAF Statutes” allegedly passed in Vancouver this year. If Mr Noronen and/or Mr MacLean were not validly elected President, those “new IFAF Statutes” never came into legal force, given that the respect Congress would have been summoned by someone who was not the IFAF President. In fact, until today, those “new IFAF Statutes” have not been registered with the competent authority at the seat of IFAF in France.
Furthermore, more than half of the member federations never received any invitation at all to the so-called Congress at Vancouver, which also seriously calls into question the validity of any decision taken in Vancouver, irrespective of who is IFAF President.
Some of you have also been invited to request for reinstatement of your IFAF membership. This also shows a severe lack of respect for the IFAF Statutes: Your acceptance as members has never been challenged in court, and as a member you cannot be expelled without any grounds and without due process.
There is also information being spread that some party already know what the final CAS award will say. That is of course utterly nonsense. As in every other CAS case, the final ruling is never communicated to only one of the parties. At this moment, the final ruling is most probably not even been decided yet, so it is even more ridiculous for anyone to claim that they know the final award.
In the current situation, regardless of what anyone might say, no one should take any steps that depend on who is IFAF President, or what are the valid IFAF Statutes. There is no other option than for us all to wait until there is a complete and final CAS award in this matter. After that we will be able to decide on the way forward.
IFAF Secretary General