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ISA and ICF’s StandUp Paddle battle heads to CAS arbitration

The International Surfing Association (ISA) and International Canoe Federation (ICF) have agreed to send their long-running battle over ownership of the StandUp Paddle (SUP) discipline to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) arbitration process.

The two international federations have been engaged in a lengthy dispute over SUP, with the ISA claiming that it and its national federations have invested considerable time and money into the sport since 2008; organising the annual ISA World StandUp Paddle Championships, growing the discipline in new markets, and working for SUP’s inclusion in a range of multi-sport events.

SUP athletes use a surf board and paddle to navigate courses and the ICF feels the use of a paddle classifies the discipline as a form of canoeing.

ISA president Fernando Aguerre said: “Since we were regrettably unsuccessful in our efforts to find a solution through CAS mediation, the ISA has now submitted the necessary documents to CAS to begin the Arbitration procedure.

“Ultimately, the athletes are the most important aspect of any sport, and we will continue to do all we can to serve their best interests. We believe that ending the current dispute through CAS is a sensible way forward and we hope to proceed swiftly to a resolution, for the good of the StandUp Paddle community.”

The ICF added in a statement: “The ICF has deliberately chosen not to engage in a public debate on this issue. Instead we have continued to work to build the sport, culminating in the first ever ICF SUP World Championships in Portugal later this year. This event has attracted sponsors, media partners, and many of the world’s top SUP athletes.

“We are happy to allow the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on the question of whether the ISA is legally entitled to exclusive control over the sport of SUP. The ICF has always been in favour of using CAS to resolve this dispute under the Court’s usual legal processes.”