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GAISF appoints first observer federations

The Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) has revealed details of the first seven sports bodies it has granted observer status to.

The World Armwrestling Federation (WAF), World Dodgeball Association (WDA), Federation for International FootGolf (FIFG), International Union of Kettlebell Lifting (IUKL), International Federation of (Match) Poker (IFP), International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF) and International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) have each been granted observer status, through which they will use the GAISF network to develop their respective sports.

The GAISF made the decision to introduce observer status for prospective members earlier this year during its General Assembly in Aarhus, Denmark. The GAISF Membership Commission then identified eligibility criteria and application procedures for achieving the status before sharing its findings with aspiring members.

The seven federations will be permitted to take part in the annual International Federation Forum and attend the General Assembly, but they will not be able to vote.

The GAISF said the new status has been established to act as a stepping stone for eventual full membership. The GAISF will work with the observer federations to ensure they meet the required criteria, such as becoming compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), and assist them on growing their members around the world and receiving the required recognitions by National Olympic Committees or by the highest national sports authorities.

GAISF president Patrick Baumann said: “We warmly welcome our first Observers. This is an exciting time for them and for us and we will do everything within our remit to help them realise their full potential as International Federations within the global sport’s family and, one day, maybe become part of the Olympic program. The new sports debuting at Tokyo 2020 and at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics are evidence that the pathway is there.”

Antonio Espinos, chairman of the Membership Commission, added: “GAISF supports a diverse and evolving sports ecosystem and the newly created Observer Status is central to this. Sport is constantly evolving, mirroring the world we live in and the Observer Status provides the opening many IFs representing new sports require to enable them to gain legitimacy and flourish. The Commission’s role is to support all those who qualify and have the potential to raise their sport to the next level and join all other GAISF members.”

The GAISF said that about 100 federations currently have membership requests pending at different stages, with about 15 having requested observer status. The Membership Commission evaluated the 15 files before informing applicants of their status, with the seven aforementioned federations proving to be the most advanced files.