Laser chaos! So the world’s most popular boat risks sinking in court

Laser_191113Friday, Feb. 20 is the decisive day for the Laser in Italy, the most numerous boat in Italy and the world. The IVF Federal Council will be decisive for its future. The decision to be made by the councilors concerns the choice between supporting the newly formed Italian Laser Class Association or restoring status to the “old” class
which last May was “commissaried.” The latter has been bringing members together for more than 30 years and has as many as 1,300 members and, figures in hand, can boast of being the Italian Olympic class with the largest number of members. Amazingly, there are currently two associations for the same boat, the Laser.
In the “inner sanctum” of the federal council, it is decided whether to keep the newly born one alive or let it die. How did it come to this paradoxical situation that threatens to create great problems for the class, putting in serious difficulty the athletes who as of today do not know which of the two associations to join, with the regatta season just around the corner? The main cause is the exit of some coaches and race judges who disagreed with the “old” association. These founded a parallel Italian association, with the Sailing Federation, meanwhile, commissioning the one officially recognized by the International Sailing Association (ILCA).
A situation of paradoxical uncertainty one year before the Rio Olympics, which is putting the athletes’ season in serious question. Because that is what we are most interested in: figuring out what the future of laserists will be for this 2015. But let’s go in order, waste some time and you will understand what a mess they have gotten themselves into.

Assolaser (the official Laser class) was founded in the early 1980s and has grown from that time forward to over 1,300 members in 2014. An all-time record for a bi-Olympic (male and female) class, not only in Italy but also in the rest of the world. In fact, Assolaser is the ILCA (International Laser Class Association) district with the largest number of members. An important, irrefutable result. This success has resulted in a level of organizational self-sufficiency rare and foreign to other Italian Olympic classes, which has increasingly distanced it from the “control” of the Italian Sailing Federation.
Assolaser is an association based on a statute filed in 1984, which is certainly outdated and has some points that need to be changed: and herein lies the key point: the IVF has asked the class to update some parts of its internal statute. But how? In a questionable manner, both from a formal and substantive point of view: that is, he commissaried the Laser class, a fact, to our recollection never happened, by appointing an ad acta commissioner in May 2014.
But does the IVF have the right to commission a class? Probably not. In this specific case, Assolaser is the Italian district of EurILCA (European Region of International Laser Class Association), it is not a society affiliated with the IVF, but it is an association of persons that has its own autonomy and that the Federation could not commission from a civil code point of view. Lawyers’ matter. Perhaps instead, meetings between the FIV and class secretary Macrino Macrì, who had immediately declared himself willing to revise the bylaws (and the demands regarding ranking), would have sufficed to resolve the issue without risking ending up in court.
Something doesn’t add up. Definitely Macri, in office for more than 30 years, does not enjoy the support of all members. Those who know him know that his stormy personality often creates ill-feeling. But there are those who are jealous that he has succeeded in making the class independent and autonomous, albeit very personalistic. But one cannot fail to recognize its merits: the Italian class is the largest class in the world.
So what is behind this “war”? Probably more than just amending the bylaws, not an easy thing to do, since it requires a 2/3 vote of the membership, and thus can only be done in the early days of the year when the membership can be counted on the fingers of two hands. As of today, in fact, an amendment to the Assolaser bylaws has already been made based on that of EurILCA and the requests of the IVF, but due to delays in processing the same, it could not be approved at the beginning of the year.


Our appeal to both the IVF, Assolaser, and the newly formed Association is to look first to the interests of the athletes one year before the Olympics. To find a common and collaborative solution that will ensure that Italian laserists can participate in all top-level regattas in 2015, including those outside Italy. Quayside noises , well explain the “mess” that is about to happen.
ILCA (in the person of President Jeff Martin), an ISAF-recognized association, stated that the only association they intend to recognize is AssoLaser (the “old” association) as their district.
And if ILCA does not recognize the “new” association our athletes will be excluded from all international regattas.
And so, goodbye Olympics. This is why we are concerned about the season for Italian laserists, because to participate in international regattas requires class recognition by ILCA.
During the council meeting on Friday, Feb. 20, it is decided which of the two is the Laser class secretary in Italy. And since we lack the approval of the already amended bylaws of Assolaser according to the Federation’s requests (also due to delays by FIV itself) we expect the Federal Council to recognize the new Association.
So Assolaser has agreed to the IVF’s demands, but has not been able to stay on schedule (the bylaws will likely not be approved until early 2016), so the problem is not the bylaws but their approval. Is this reason enough not to recognize a class with more than 1300 members and internationally recognized by the relevant association (the ILCA)?
We will see what the decision of the IVF will be for its athletes, which we hope will be under the banner of cooperation with the protagonists and not of internecine warfare.
Otherwise, the risk of implosion of the Laser in Italy, the world’s largest fleet, is almost certain. And from the sea the matter will end up in court.



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