The Russian Yachting Federation (RUSYF) have released a statement claiming the sport’s world governing body cannot discuss political matters after the Sailing Federation of Ukraine (SFU) asked World Sailing (WA) to ban them for holding competitions in Crimea.
The disputed territory was taken over by Russian backed forced in March 2014, after the Peninsula’s largely Russian-speaking residents voted in favour of re-joining the Russian Federation.
Ukraine and the United Nations (UN) declared the vote illegal, however, sparking an international diplomatic crisis.
Since 2014 RUSYF have held several events on the disputed Peninsula including National Championships and National Cups, which the SFU claim should see them banned.
In their official request sent to World Sailing, they revealed they have repeatedly appealed to RUSYF not to organise events in Crimea.
They said organising authorities in Crimea "must be affiliated to the national authority of Ukraine" but that, despite this, RUSYF held a national windsurfing championship in Sevastopol in September 2017 in the face of a direct request from World Sailing not too.
In a statement provided to insidethegames on October 11, World Sailing confirmed a potential ban would be discussed at their Annual Conference in Florida between October 27 and November 4.
RUSAF’s President Vladimir Silkin has now released a strongly worded statement of his own, claiming World Sailing have no right to ban RUSAF.
Silkin insists Crimea was not annexed as the SFU, UN and Ukrainian Government claim, but rather voted legitimately to become part of Russia again.
"The population of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol voted with 96 percent in favour to be incorporated to Russia," Silkin said in his statement.
"The request of Crimea to be incorporated was accepted by Russia.
"Therefore, Crimea was not annexed, but incorporated to Russia."
He goes on the say that as Crimea was not annexed, Crimea is, therefore, a legitimate part of Russia and that sailing on the Peninsula should be governed by RUSAF and not the SFU.
"The World Sailing regulation 19.16.b and 33.7 has rulings on the eligibility of a competitor and for a Race Official in the case if a part of an existing country is incorporated into another country in that way that a competitor or Race Official may represent the new country,” Silkin said.
"These rules shall be applied analogue also for the organizing authority in the meaning of RRS 89.1."
Silkin also claimed RUSAF had nothing to do with the controversial windsurfing championships held in 2017 and that five of seven 2018 events, which World Sailingrequested were not held in Crimea "were voluntarily cancelled".
The other two he says were events “of the National Sailing League Ltd. which is a private company on which the RYF [RUSAF] has no authority.”
Based on these points and others, he argues that World Sailing have no basis on which to ban RUSAF.