ICSD members still do not know who is leading them.

Members of the Deaflympic movement remain in the dark about who is in charge of their organisation and what is the progress on organising an Extraordinary Congress.

This week, Hungary and the Nordic and Baltic nations have written open letters to the ICSD asking the ICSD Board to organise an Extraordinary Congress.

The Nordic and Baltic Deaf Sports Federation which has representatives from seven nations (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have been waiting patiently for positive developments from ICSD. They have now written a collective letter asking the ICSD Board and Secretariat to answer four questions:

  1. How is ICSD being managed right now and is Dimitry Rebrov still employed by the organisation ?
  2. How is the IOCs financial contribution to the ICSD progressing?
  3. During the last Congress of Valtellina Valchiavenna, an extraordinary congress was promised. How has ICSD progressed with the work on this ?
  4. It was agreed at the same congress that the Deaflympics and Congress should be held separately. How does ICSD relate to this?

They still hope that the 2021 Summer Deaflympics will go ahead because the athletes ‘should not be made victims because the board of ICSD cannot figure out how to cooperate.’

Australia shares concerns about ICSD decision making.

DEAF SPORTS AUSTRALIA HAS RESPONDED TO THE ICSD APPOINTED ADVISORS AND THE REGIONAL CONFEDERATION CHAIRS. INSTISTING ON URGENCY TO ARRANGE A VIRTUAL EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS.

Kate Armfield, President and Phil Harper, General Manager of Deaf Sport Australia have written an open letter to all ICSD members:

“..Deaf Sport Australia fully supports the urgent need for an Extraordinary Congress (EC) – a suggestion we have recommended previously in recent emails.

We are very disappointed that the Board and the Executive team are dysfunctional and despite attempts to fix the problems, as shared by Adam and Donalda, they can only be solved at an EC. The future of ICSD is at risk.

We do not agree with the letter sent by the ICSD Regional Presidents – they do not have a mandate to make their recommendations or represent our independent views.

For an EC to be fully transparent, it requires co-ordination and meeting management from an eminent person outside of the ICSD.

We request an urgent EC managed online and conducted by an independent chair.  We recommend an IOC representative to conduct the EC and support / information provided by Donalda in her role as honorary member of ICSD.

We agree to the following agenda items:

– approval of Deaf Sport Reform,

– approval of accredited financial audits from past 5 years

– election of the new Executive Board

We ask that all member countries fully support this urgent action.”

The key issue that is concerning members is the impartiality and transparency of the ICSD leadership. Croatia issued a short statement recognising Ammons and Kosa as independent and impartial actors. Australia is calling for an external organisation, perhaps the IOC, to oversee proceedings with Ammons advising.

Regional Confederation Chairs assume control of ICSD

Chairs of the Deaflympic Regional Confederations say that they have taken control of ICSD and will delay the Extraordinary Congress until 2021.

In a letter to all national deaf sport federations today, the four chairs of the Regional Confederations appear to have taken control of the unstable leadership situation of the ICSD.

The four regional confederations of ICSD are Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and Pan America.

In an attempt to diffuse the tensions between the two rival leadership groups, they have declared that all members of the Executive Committee, who have split into two camps, will retain their positions until the Extraordinary Congress. This means that the Vice President of World Sport, Mr Perazzolo, will not be promoted to Interim President.

Not only have they removed powers form the Executive Committee, they have also overturned the decision to remove Dimitry Rebrov from his post as CEO and keep him in office ‘to maintain ICSD affairs‘ under the management of the Regional Chairs.

The letter also conflicts the resignation email message sent by former ICSD President Ms Ammons and former legal commissioner Mr Kosa (our earlier blog today). According to the Regional Chairs, the advisors were self appointed and not given direction by the Executive Committee to act as neutrals. Instead, the Regional Chairs claim that the advisors were ‘not allowed to get involved in current issues and discussion with them were stopped.’

The timing of the Ammons/Kosa email is interesting. Their email was received by ICSD members today – two hours before the letter from the confederation chairs. This could suggest that Ammons/Kosa knew its contents would be conflicting and may have decided to get their side of the story in first because the confederation letter is dated 14th October but not released until the 15th, giving Ammons/Kosa time to receive an alert and react.

What will surprise ICSD members is that the substitute leaders have insisted that an Extraordinary Congress cannot be held because of the coronavirus and they are now planning to hold the event in 2021. Many will see this as a stalling tactic and wonder why the meeting cannot be held virtually.

Some are likely to argue that 2021 is a Summer Deaflympic year and elections to appoint a new President can wait until next December when Congress meets one week before the Summer Deaflympics in Brazil.

There is no guarantee that the 2021 Summer Deaflympics will take place as the pandemic could restrict nations from competing and prevent delegates from attending Congress. Earlier this year many ICSD member countries asked for the games to be postponed or cancelled on health and safety grounds but the ICSD chose not to respond. If 50% of the membership are not represented, the Congress will not be quorate and an election cannot be held.

Why did the ICSD Executive remove Rebrov from his post?

Why are the ICSD Executive fighting amongst themselves?

ICSD Legal Advisors Quit

For several weeks now, leaders in the ICSD have been arguing amongst themselves in an attempt to maintain control of the Deaflympic movement. Today Donalda Ammons, Honorary ICSD member and Adam Kosa, member of the European Parliament announced their resignation as advisors to the ICSD. They have shared their decision by video message and their translation is available in full here.

To ICSD community,

Please see attached video statement made by Dr. Donalda AMMONS and Dr. Adam KOSA about ICSD.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/n9fbgxxwecf6dlr/DAAK.mp4?dl=0

Translation/Description of this video:

(DA: Donalda Ammons AK: Adam Kosa)

“DA: Hello everyone! I am Donalda Ammons, retired university professor, former president of the ICSD, now honorary member of the ICSD and member of the Deaf Sport Reform commission.
AK: Hello everyone! I am Adam Kosa, lawyer, former member of the ICSD Legal Committee, member of the European Parliament.
DA: One month ago, we were shocked about president of ICSD, Kang Chen’s resignation, then some unclear announcements made by Dimitry Rebrov CEO, Gustavo Perazzolo VP, and members of the Executive Board – members- national sport federations are very confused until now.
AK: Donalda and I received request from Executive Board to help them as advisers. We agreed and prepared some proposals.
DA: I and Adam accepted their request. I as chief adviser and Adam as legal adviser. Important: we advise ONLY FOR ICSD, not for EB nor CEO/VP.
AK: We made a clear and sustainable strategy for our advisory work, but before starting our effective work…
DA: We requested written pledges from all stakeholders (VP’s, CEO, EB and president of 4 regional confederations) with same text for trustworthy cooperation.

AK: Sadly, after one month we receive only 7 pledges (include ours) – only from ICSD EB member at large and VP youth sports. No pledges from 4 regional confederation presidents,
DA: and, no responses or reflections from Gustavo Perazzolo VP and Dimitry Rebrov CEO. After one month, we decided to step down as advisers for ICSD: we cannot work without trustworthy cooperation. We are very disappointed.

And now?
We propose only one way: setting up an extraordinary congress as soon as possible in accordance to present pandemic situation with following agenda: approval of Deaf Sport Reform, approval of financial audits from past 5 years, election of the new Executive Board.
AK: now ICSD has no clear leadership. We call all stakeholders – VPs, member of the EB and CEO – for cooperation to save our deaf world sport movement.
DA: ICSD has a very rich past. We are very trouble about ICSD’s future. Dear Members- National Sport Federations, please cooperate and save ICSD!”

We remain at your disposal,

with best regards,

Dr. Donalda AMMONS and Dr. Adam KOSA

Turf War breaks out amongst ICSD Executive Board members

Members of the ICSD Executive Board are battling with each other for overall control after the resignation of their president.

In our last post we explained that the ICSD Executive Board had removed its CEO and also explained that their Vice president of World Sport was unable to succeed to the vacant post of president according to its constitution. Instead, Mr Kihtir, a member at large, was appointed as chairman to prepare for an Extraordinary Congress and ensure continued business.

Immediately, the interim Vice President Mr Perazzolo e-mailed to complain publicly and argue on a technicality that the minutes of the Board meeting had not been signed and that he had been “…grossly removed from the post of ICSD Vice President by these 4 members at large.”

He argued that a proposal from the four regional presidents had been ignored and felt that it had been an “usurpation of power by members that are ready for everything to keep their seat in the EB (Executive Board).”

What we have seen since then is an outpouring of letters from national Deaf sport organisations lending their support to either camp. The majority are supporting a motion put forward by America and Germany that the post of president should be left vacant and and the chairpersons of the Regional organisations should take control until the next Congress.

Yesterday, Mr Perazzolo sent round a video message and a letter (neither appeared to correlate). In his letter he is arguing that he has the right to sucession according to article 3.2.f in the ICSD Byelaws:

f. order of Succession.

In the event of vacancy for the office of President, the Vice president of World Sports will assume the presidency, and the Vice President of World Sport position then be selected by the Executive Board.

This appears to be a reasonable argument to uphold, but our investigations suggest that if people want to argue on technicalities then we understand from our sources, that Mr Perazzolo was interim Vice President World Sport in name only and the post was not ratified by the 47th Congress in December 2019. It has been suggested that when Mr Chan was formerly accepted as interim President, then Mr Perazzolo’s appointment should have been endorsed too – but this did not happen.

However, a draft copy of the 47th Congress (2019) Minutes issued in May 2020, states:

Mr Mather (attorney) pointed out that at the next Board meeting, they will pick a Vice President – World Sports until the next Congress in 2001.

The Hungarian Deaf Sport Federation, have written a letter, signed by their president Dr Gergely Tapolczai who has been an MP since 2010 and also a member of the European Parliament and Vice President of the European Union of the Deaf;

“…Considering the proposals and suggestions made by either the ICSD Office or either some ICSD members we have to notice, that none of the proposals would solve the critical situation or any of the problems what the community is currently facing.

We do think that under the current circumstances the only way in terms of good legal acting is the chance of an Extraordinary congress, what must be held in the shortest period of time what is possible, so the fact of the election of the new board could save and protect deaf sport family for keep moving forward.

For the upcoming time till the Extraordinary Congress and election,we strongly and definitely recommend to reduce and restrict the power of the current board to a simple and easily supervised operational level, to avoid any acts or decisions (financial or professional) to prevent further miscarriage acts.

Summarising the written above, we still believe that the only chance to solve this critical and unacceptable situation is a new election what the Extraordinary Congress could give us.”

Thank you for reading, we will keep you updated.

ICSD Board removes its CEO

The Executive Board of the International Committee of Sport for the Deaf has decided to act swiftly amidst recent controversy and remove Dmitry Rebrov from his position as chief Operating Officer.

According to a copy of the minutes, which appear to be genuine and circulated to all national deaf sport organisations, the following decisions have been made:

  1. After accepting the resignation of Chen from the office of Interim President, Mr Yakup Umit Kihtir has been appointed as Chairman of the Board to ensure stability and continuity of ICSD activities and a continued smooth connection with the IOC.
  2. An interim president has not been appointed because the ICSD Constitution does not allow it to happen at this time.
  3. They have suspended Mr. Dmitry Rebrov, from duties as CEO due to unauthorised email correspondence which damaged the reputation of the ICSD due to some serious allegations that have been raised against him.
  4. Rebrov has also been removed from signing any financial papers or access to bank accounts
  5. Rebrov’s authorisation for access to all ICSD platforms including email, website and social media accounts has been shut down.

The Executive Board has decided that it will immediately begin hiring new staff to ensure continuity of activities.

The new chairman has been set the immediate task of arranging an Extraordinary Congress that will discuss the missing financial audits that have not been presented since 2018 and review the progress of the latest reform package as requested by Congress in December 2019. Congress will also elect a president since Mr Perozzolo, Vice President of World Sport is not eligible to be automatically appointed.

The Deaflympic Movement is changing its leadership as often as a Premier League football club

The ICSD (International Committee of Sport for the Deaf) has had a third president resign in less than two years.

From 1924 – 2018, the Deaflympic movement enjoyed a relatively strong and stable leadership under the steerage of nine presidents. With the exception of Eugene Rubens-Alcais (1924-1953) and Jerald M. Jordan (1971-1995) the other seven leaders have served an average of 5.8 years between them.

Since Valery Rukhledev resigned in 2018 under controversial circumstances alleging financial misconduct in Russia, there has been a very quick succession of substitutions. Rebecca Adam stood in temporarily until she was removed by the ICSD Executive Board in 2019 for reasons which remain unknown and was replaced temporarily by Vice President Kang Chen until formerly sworn in at the Winter Congress last December.

The surprise announcement on social media this week has come as shock to the Deaf sports community. The recent departures are not recorded on the news feed of deaflympics.com

President Kang Chen’s hasty departure comes immediately after he released a statement regarding the publication of allegations of criminal activity carried out over a number of decades by another ICSD Executive Board member who has personally denied the allegations against himself. The story deepens as he claims that his accuser is somebody impersonating his own brother who supposedly holds a grudge against him.

Chen’s statement (5th Sept) reads

This is to let you all know that ICSD conducted an internal review of the same situation about Mr. Grigor Grigoryan last July.

As a result, ICSD is satisfied with official documents provided to ICSD by the Armenian government and agreed to let Mr. Grigoryan to resume his ICSD responsibilities but on a condition that his situation be further reviewed by the ICSD legal Commission which is in process of being established soon.

By the way, intervening in domestic disputes is not within ICSD’s jurisdiction. What ICSD has done is to ensure it’s neutrality.

Thank you

Kang Chen, President.

Email: The Truth about Grigor Grigoryan, sent to ICSD members 5th Sept 2020.

The allegations that were circulated to all ICSD national committees, technical directors and officers implied impropriety both inside and outside Deaf sport. The accuser has threatened to send his files to the IOC if the ICSD fail to take action. So everyone will have to wait and see if the threat is carried out depending on the ICSD Legal Commission’s decision that is expected soon.

The statement put out by the ICSD announcing Kang Chen’s resignation yesterday was short. It simply reads:

Mr Kang Chan just resigned his post as ICSD president effectively now due to personal reasons. we on the ICSD Executive Board wish him the best of luck in his future pursuit and really appreciate his outstanding contributions to the ICSD sporting community.

Deaflympics.com social media 8th Sept 2020

Whether true or not, the allegations of criminality, suggests that blackmail was apparently used to force Rukhledev to make decisions about Executive Board appointments. People are left wondering if they are witnessing the results of an internal a power-grab at the very top.

Whatever is going on, whatever becomes the truth, this news draws further controversy to the door of the ICSD who rely heavily on funding from the IOC which was withdrawn in 2018 and will not be reinstated until ICSD is able to satisfactorily meet governance and operational standards befitting an member of the IOC family.

Coronavirus and International Deaf Sport

Life for Deaf and hearing people has changed this year, the Coronavirus has taken away our plans and forced us to rethink what we are going to do in the future. One thing for sure is that we cannot go back to the way things were before, we have to change – many people are afraid of change, but change, we must.

Covid 19 Golbal
With the exception of Belarus, sport across the globe as been cancelled or postponed. On the whole, people who play sport are optimists. A few weeks ago, very few events were cancelled, preferring to postpone and play again as soon as possible. But now, we have seen how dangerous Covid-19 is and governments and international sports federations are having a rethink. It is looking increasingly likely that no international sports events will take place in 2020.
This week, Yoshiro Mori, the former prime minister of Japan and now president of the Tokyo Olympic Committee has suggested that if a vaccine is not ready for the Olympics in 2021, then the event should be cancelled.

Yoshiro-Mori-696x364

Yoshiro Mori (Source: daily Mail)

Argentina, France, Ghana and Holland have cancelled their 2019/2020 Soccer Championships and the UK Premier League is thinking about it. France’s policies also put the postponement of the Tour de France in jeopardy, the UCI meets this week. The Ryder Cup could be postponed to 2021 and played without spectators.
What should Deaf sport do?
Back in March, many organisers of international Deaf sports events were optimistic and postponed events to late summer or later in 2020, but is this possible? The World Deaf Golf Championships of 2020 has been postponed, new dates to be discussed. ICSD wants to carry on and go to Brazil for the Deaflympics in 2021.
Can we honestly expect Brazil to host a Deaflympics in 2021? There is no strategy from ICSD, no funding in place. The Brazilian President has put his people at risk, calling Covi-19 a “measly cold”.
ICSD is in a very weak position internationally with the IOC and IPC. When the ICSD president was placed under house arrest in 2018, all funding taps from the IOC to ICSD were turned off. Even now after two interim presidents have been appointed, the funds are still withdrawn.
Russia has been banned from international sport, yet ICSD have stood by its Executive Director Dimitry Rebrov and continued to allow the Russian to run its affairs despite the fact that he has previously been found guilty of falsifying audiograms. Despite all of this, ICSD carries on as normal with no audited accounts, so IOC continues to withhold funds.
The IOC has asked ICSD to move forward and come up with Deaf Sport Reform, first developed by President Donalda Ammons and then restructured by President Crowley with a unanimous Congress approval to go ahead in 2013. Has ICSD gone to sleep, does it think it is immune from sports politics or is it just afraid of change?
International Deaf sport is on a ventilator, it may not survive.

What should deaf sport do?

Should ICSD comply with WADA regulations?

On December 9th 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency Executive Board will meet in Paris to decide whether or not to ban Russia from the global sporting world for four years. The ban not only covers Russian athletes but also events hosted by Russia and any officials who currently sit on governing bodies of sport.

images

The WADA Intelligence and Investigations department has a 26-page report that accuses RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency) of removing positive samples from its database as well as deleting and/or altering other files dating back to 2015. The report also alleges that fabricated evidence was planted in the database to discredit Dr Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who now lives in the USA under a witness protection programme.

If the ban goes ahead on 9th December, the recommendations include:

  1. No Russian Government officials or representatives to sit as members of boards or committees on any code-compliant organisations (such as Olympic sports, FIFA etc)

2. Russian government officials or representatives may not participate or attend and major sports events, including Youth Winter games, Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

3. Russia to be prevented from hosting any major international sports events during the four year ban

4. With draw events already planned unless it is legally or impractical to do so

5. Russian flag to be banned from all major events

6. No senior officials (President, Secretary General and CEO) of the Russian Olympic Committee or the Russian Paralympic Committee be allowed to attend any major sporting event; and

7. Russian athletes only allowed to participate if they can prove they are not implicated in any way by the non-compliance findings.

All of the above information from

There are voices within the Deaflympic Movement who also want to see ICSD comply with this ban because they are a WADA-compliant organisation. The ICSD CEO, Dimitry Rebrov is Russian.

Russian officials have been speaking out against the WADA recommendations and it is expected that some within ICSD will also argue that Russian athletes and officials have not been involved in doping activities.

One of the reasons WADA is recommending such a ban is because of the fraudulent behaviour of Russian officials towards its own athletes and officials, fabricating evidence to try and discredit people. This blog demonstrated in April 2015 that the Russian Committee of Deaf Sport is also guilty of such behaviour, when the current ICSD CEO Dimitry Rebrov falsified the Audiogram of one of its own wrestlers Eugene Golovanov to get him banned from European competitions – this case went to court in Moscow, who found Rebrov guilty and later his appeal was overruled by the Court of Appeal. He remains guilty of conspiracy to fraud audiograms, the fundamental basis of classifying Deaflympians is their audiograms.

Dimitry Rebrov

Dimitry Rebrov, found guilty of falsifying Audiograms

If this ban does come into effect on 9th December, it will be three days before the start of the ICSD Winter Deaflympics in Italy where ICSD Congress will be overseen by its Board and Russian CEO. It is unlikely that the Russians will be banned from this Congress or the events themselves because the ban would have come in at very short notice. But what about the next four years?

What will ICSD do next ? What decisions will ICSD members make next month?

Here are some comments from Facebook:

“ICSD really has to stand and be counted for the rest of our Deaf athletes worldwide.” Craig Crowley, ICSD President 2009 – 2013. President UK Deaf Sport.

“Sad for Russian athletes” Greg Ophel, Deaflympian, Volleyball

“It’s all money, money, money….” Graham Banks

“And what about the Chinese?” Mark John Obrien