In April 2016, SportAccord, the governing body endorsed by The International Olympic Committee, invited the IPSF along with a select number of other International Sports Federations (International Kitesurf Federation, E-games, International Practical Shooting Confederation, International Roll Ball Federation and several Martial Art sports) to attend a ground breaking first-of-its-kind meeting to discuss official recognition under SportAccord for new sports.


At this exclusive meeting, Mr. Stephan Fox, and his colleagues Charlotte Van Den Booren from memberships and Matteo Vallini of WADA memberships, at SportAccord, fervently addressed the International Sporting Federations, all in the same application process as the IPSF, but many at different levels of application. A very clear explanation was given as to the path that every sport must follow to become officially recognised by SportAccord. The three main requirements for membership are (1) to have convened five general assemblies under SportAccord criteria, (2) to have membership of forty National Federations with National Governing Body (NGB) status within their countries (3) to have obtained membership to WADA. In these requirements, it was noted that the IPSF and Pole Sports is in the front of the pack and is delighted to have already convened five qualifying general assemblies, as well as already received its approval from WADA as we undertake anti-doping testing, which means the only requirement the IPSF has left to fulfil is that of expanding our National Federations membership.


The presenters were very forthcoming in their discussion of the National Federation “chicken and the egg” situation which is currently affecting new sports under SportAccord application: governments are not giving National Governing Body (NGB) status to National Federations unless the International Federation is a member of SportAccord, and SportAccord is not giving membership to International Federations unless they have the correct number of NGB status National Federations. This is a conundrum, however, the SportAccord is a fluid organization, and each invited International Federation was reminded of its importance just by virtue of its invitation to this meeting, and repeatedly told throughout to keep working, keep pushing, and keep applying, even if faced with rejection. SportAccord application is a process that requires unwavering determination. Stories were repeatedly recounted by the presenters of dogged determination resulting in ultimate success. Mr. Fox declared that for those in attendance, “giving up is not an option” and went on to give an extremely enthusiastic and inspiring speech to keep the attendees motivated. Mr. Fox specifically encouraged the IPSF and Pole Sports stating, “In my eyes, you have big credibility [as a sport]” and went on further to say that, “it’s a new generation” and “Pole Sport, it’s a new sport, we must move with the times.” Mr. Fox also related his advocacy with regard to breaking barriers for cultural understanding. This is a clear concept with which anyone in Pole Sports is in complete agreement and the IPSF is grateful to know that Mr. Fox shares this belief. We are in further agreement with Mr. Fox’s stated belief in the “power of sport” and that the mission is always for the benefit of the athletes; and that “if we put our objectives on the sport, then everything will work itself out in a good way.”


Mr. Fox and the other insightful presenters further went on to advise they are committed to assisting us in any way possible through the application and recognition process. It was advised that SportAccord recently went through a transition period and specific assistance will now be given to each applicant in an effort to move quickly to reach a complete application for all of those in attendance.


The entire meeting was very constructive, extremely informative, and genuinely positive throughout. There are many, often arduous and lengthy, steps to be followed in order to become fully recognised, and the IPSF is elated to report we are unequivocally headed in the right direction. We have the commitment of both AIMS and the SportAccord to assist us, on an individual basis, in every way possible, and were advised we have their full support in the application process, Mr. Fox even going so far as to say that he will lobby for us if appropriate and necessary.


We sincerely thank the presenters for their time, their knowledge, their compassion and their assistance in our understanding of the recognition process. Many questions were answered, and all doubts alleviated, through an extremely generous and informative open question and answer session. We are now fully and confidently equipped to continue the application process in an effective direction over the next year. Application decisions by the SportAccord committee will take up to a further year after submission of a completed application, and may require further documentation or processing, however, these are monumental steps for our sport which we are proud to continue as part of our long term goals and mission. As a result of the meetings we have had with the SportAccord since 2014, we can confirm that the IPSF will be the only pole federation to have an umbrella membership with SportAccord as the governing body of all of Pole, including Pole Sports and all other disciplines under Pole Sports, such as Pole Art, Urban Pole, Ultra Pole and others; disciplines which the IPSF has been working on for more than a year, and is very excited to be officially launching for you in the very near future.


In summary, this was the most eventful meeting yet with regard to SportAccord recognition and the long terms goals of the IPSF and the future of Pole Sports. During this convention, many new and important contacts were made, and relationships cemented, which will only serve to further the growth of our sport as a whole. And the most important and invigorating message trumpeted to each Federation in attendance was do not give up. “Even if you fall, get back up stronger.” This motivating message was accompanied by a heartfelt promise to assist us in reaching our goals and we are now more confident than ever for the future of Pole Sports and its athletes.   

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© International Pole Sports Federation 2015