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Solidarity, Progress underscore WDSF Extraordinary General Meeting 03/11/2022

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An Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the World DanceSport Federation was held on 30 October 2022 to consider a number of matters of importance to our sport, including eight separate motions that were put to vote.

The meeting, held virtually, was open to all WDSF National Member Bodies, WDSF Associate Member World Rock’n’Roll Confederation (WRRC), and other Honorary members.

Presided over by WDSF President Shawn Tay, the EGM opened with a landmark video message from the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, who praised the WDSF for “embracing change and modernizing DanceSport” in recent years.

“Working in partnership with the IOC, you have not missed a beat in making Olympic Agenda 2020+5 a reality,” President Bach said. “From promoting gender equality on and off the dance floor, to ensuring the joy of DanceSport reaches ever more and younger people, to innovating your sport with new formats – like you are doing with the Olympic Qualifier Series – to strengthening governance. These and so many other examples show DanceSport is fully committed to a path of modernization and progress.

“Your General Assembly is therefore a great chance to set the course for the future of DanceSport, to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and beyond,” he continued. “And you have every reason to look ahead with great confidence.”

Voting Members were asked to consider seven motions from the WDSF Presidium and one motion from a National Member Body.

The EGM voted overwhelmingly in favour of the WDSF granting jurisdiction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)’s Anti-doping Division (ADD) and revoking outdated parts of the WDSF Competition Rules, which have been replaced by more up-to-date governance documents.

Anti-doping references in the WDSF Disciplinary Council will be replaced in favour of the ADD taking full responsibility in this area.

The EGM also approved three Presidium motions to reject appeals by former WDSF Members Estonian DanceSport Association (EDSA), DanceSport Scotland (DSS), and DanceSport Wales (DSW) to overturn earlier Presidium decisions to expel them as Members.

Members voted to support the Presidium’s decisions on all three cases. The motion to reject the appeal filed by EDSA against the Presidium decision to expel it issued on 17th of May 2021 was supported by 65 votes for, 34 against and 8 abstentions; The motion to reject the appeal filed by DSS against the Presidium decision to expel it issued on 7th of May 2022 was supported by 85 votes for, 16 against and 2 abstentions.  The motion to reject the appeal filed against the appeal filed by DSW against the Presidium decision to expel it issued on 7th of May 2022 was supported by 83 votes for, 14 against and 4 abstentions.

The Presidium expelled EDSA for failure to fulfil its essential role of representing and developing the DanceSport community in Estonia, and for repeatedly acting in a discriminatory manner against its own members and athletes without any sporting reason.

The Presidium expelled DSS and DSW for failing to reasonably fulfil their essential role of properly representing their respective DanceSport communities. By refusing to cooperate with the United Kingdom’s modern Olympic funding requirement for a single, unitary governing DanceSport federation representing all parts of the UK, the two bodies obstructed outstanding UK government sport-funding opportunities and thus stalled the development of the sport without any sporting reason.

The Presidium very reluctantly took the initial decisions to expel these three members, in the best interests of DanceSport and our athletes everywhere, only after exploring all reasonable alternatives and after repeated serious attempts at negotiations based on sporting reasons.

With the rejection of the DSS and DSW appeals, a new unified UK WDSF DanceSport body representing all of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales is now possible.

The EGM also approved a prerequisite in the WDSF Disciplinary Council Code, which required that the Chair of the Disciplinary Council have a Swiss law degree. The removal of this requirement, supported by among others WDSF’s Swiss Member body, gives the WDSF Presidium greater scope in advertising for, locating and recommending qualified international candidates for the position.

The Swiss Member presented the only Member’s Motion at the EGM, proposing an amendment to the WDSF Statutes to add a different test for expulsion when a Member has “a different opinion than the Presidium.”

The Presidium indicated that it intended to consider potential evolutions of the presently applicable provisions in the context of an envisaged broader review of the WDSF statutes. The existing provisions were amended in 1999 and 2004 with a view to reinforcing the capacity of the Presidium to act effectively when this is required. This capacity is important and should not be put in question.

The EGM rejected the motion with 30 votes in favour, 67 against and 6 abstentions.

“We are extremely pleased with the continued solidarity and passion for DanceSport shown by our National Member Bodies at our Extraordinary General Meeting,” said WDSF President Shawn Tay. “It shows that our DanceSport family is united on the path to forging a better future together, one that is modern, progressive and above all at the service of our athletes.”