As a result of the many questions and concerns with regard to the legitimacy of the newly formed International Pole Sports and Art Federation (IPSAF), and in response to our own National Federations asking for our official stance on the situation, the IPSF would like to issue the following statement to clear up any confusion:
In January of this year, the President of the Swiss Pole Sports Federation, Sylvia Bignoni, chose to cancel Switzerland’s IPSF Federation Membership without consulting the members of the Swiss Federation. At the same time, Davide Lacagnina left the IPSF to set up a new international federation and competition using a very similar name to the International Pole Sports Federation’s (IPSF) and the World Pole Sports Championship (WPSC). Statements made by Davide Lacagnina also stated on the FISAC social media page that he would be using the IPSF Code of Points, minus the bonus criteria, and all IPSF judges would only need to do a recertification training course with them as his code would be very similar. This breaches international copyright law as well as a contract that was signed by both Davide Lacagnina and Sylvia Bigoni with regard to not using the IPSF Code of Points outside of IPSF jurisdiction. Davide Lacagnina has been very vocal against the IPSF since leaving including contacting many judges, federations and endorsed competition organisers to discredit the IPSF, offering them to join his federation and become officials of his organisation if they would leave the IPSF.
The IPSF would like to clarify that Davide Lacagnina left the IPSF because he didn’t agree with many of the rules the IPSF has incorporated for the development and progress of pole ‘as a legitimate sport’, and believed that some rules should not have to apply to him; including rules that all head judges and master trainers have to undergo regular training and assessment to ensure their skills are at the highest level, regardless of when they joined the IPSF or their role within it. We would also like to clarify that Davide has highly exaggerated his role within the IPSF. He was a member of the technical sub-committee along with 15 other members, each with different and individual roles in the annual updates of the Code of Points. Throughout his two year period, Davide worked on the development of minimum requirements for elements and finding videos for training purposes; although the work that he and all the technical sub-committee members undertake is greatly valued, he did not hold the substantial role within the IPSF that he falsely claims.
Davide Lacagnina continues to be vocal about the position of the IPSF and its Olympic bid, which is confusing for us as his position at the IPSF did not include being part of the committee organising SportAccord or Olympic recognition; therefore he would have no knowledge on the position of the IPSF and its bid for Olympic inclusion. In reality, Davide Lacagnina’s statements are completely contradictory to the facts. To confirm the IPSF position as to Olympic recognition; the IPSF have already made all the initial steps of application to the International Olympic Committee and are waiting for the IOC to confirm our next point in the timeline process. The IPSF have also been invited to SportAccord on 20th April to discuss the application along with 10 other new sports that are in the same process of application. The main discussion point for the IPSF will be gaining 40 federations, each with government recognition, and how SportAccord will be assisting new federations to achieve this; the most recent correspondence the IPSF has received on this matter states the IPSF “is close" to recognition.
To clear up any misinformation given in unofficial public statements regarding the IPSF, Pole Sports has as much chance as any sport to become an Olympic sport, however it is a long process that requires the dedication of the Pole Sports community alongside the IPSF. The IPSF’s short term goals have always been to grow and assist Pole Sports to reach its full potential, along with becoming a member of SportAccord and the IOC with Pole being recognised as an official sport. This is now closer than ever. Once this goal has been achieved, the IPSF will continue working on the long term goal of inclusion into the Olympic Games. One thing we can clearly state is that IPSAF cannot become a recognised federation in place of the IPSF as they are 5 years behind with the criteria required. According to the IPSF lawyer, who is defending the copyrights of the IPSF Code of Points and legally challenging the use of the likeness of the IPSF and WPSC names and acronyms, “IPSAF is not registered legally or financially in Switzerland as erroneously stated on their website.”
As to the status of the IPSF’s legal action currently being taken against IPSAF for copyright infringement, the IPSF has been successful with a Cease and Desist Order and IPSAF must now create their own code. In addition, IPSAF and their WPSC infringed upon IPSF and WPSC established trademark rights as well as breaching the ‘unfair competition law’ in Switzerland. Despite this, the IPSF would like to state that whilst we believe there should be choices within the Pole Sports industry, each organisation should have its own name and criteria and not that of an existing federation or organisation. The IPSF has worked hard for many years to create a federation for Pole Sports and will continue to protect it and the athletes from the confusion that IPSAF is causing. We hope that IPSAF will work on their own merits and not continue using the IPSF name to further them.
IMPORTANT WPSC QUALIFICATION NEWS FOR SWISS ATHLETES
Over the last three months, many Swiss athletes have been communicating with the IPSF to express their concern and disappointment at the turn of events with the decision made by Silvia Bignoni for the Swiss Federation to leave IPSF and join IPSAF; concerns arose further with the announcement that Silvia was to be vice-president for IPSAF. Communications increased this week after an announcement that the competitions planned to be held in three weeks’ time were abruptly cancelled; with no regard to the expenditure and hard work of the Swiss athletes, and to the utter dismay of many Swiss athletes.
We understand that a new committee has stepped in to try to salvage the frustrating and confusing situation in Switzerland and we look forward to a democratic vote by their members. The IPSF offers its full support to the new federation and to all Swiss pole athletes and enthusiasts and wishes the best for the future of pole in their country.
In response to the disappointment and frustration felt by Swiss athletes in the midst of the recent events, the IPSF have taken emergency measures to offer assistance in qualification to the World Pole Sports Championships. The executive committee elected to offer Swiss athletes the same opportunity as the USA athletes with a similar federation crisis. Swiss elite athletes may now officially apply to the IPSF to be included in a select video submission to compete for IPSF World Pole Sports Championships qualification. Athletes may find the WPSC Qualification Application here. The IPSF recognises the commitment, sacrifice, and expense of all athletes in preparing for competition, and it is our goal that the Swiss athletes are afforded the same opportunity as all other federation athletes to participate in the World Pole Sports Championships.