With five days still remaining at the Summer Deaflympics in Brazil, Japan has decided to ‘abstain from all competitions‘ in order to prevent a spread of Covid-19 infections amongst everyone involved with the games and the local population.
Writing to the ICSD and all its members, the Japanese officials have explained that with their experience of hosting the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics, Japan incurred additional expenses to accommodate all its athletes and officials in single rooms and hired all their own private transport to move from hotels to training and competition venues. Furthermore, each of their sports team were isolated from each other to avoid any potential cross-sport infections.
Despite all these additional precautions, 10 of their athletes and one official are currently self- isolating after producing positive PCR tests. Japan is complaining that countermeasures against Covid-19 at sports venues is inadequate and that the number of Japanese athletes infected and the number of last minute withdrawal of athletes from other countries (for reasons unknown) suggest that there is likely to be a further increase of infection amongst those attending the games. To encourage people to participate, the organisers ensured that PCR checks/tests would be carried out on arrival at the airport to separate and isolate those who were infected, according to Japan, this did not take place.
They have written an official protest letter to ICSD and the host organising committee to complain that:
ICSD and the Organising Committee failed to fulfil their responsibilities to implement Covid-19 measures
ICSD and the Organising Committee did not carry out PCR test on participants
Japan should not be fined for late mass withdrawal from competitions
ICSD shall instruct its members not to discriminate or exclude anyone on the grounds of Covid-19
The final complaint was made because Italy’s volleyball team asked their opponents Japan to prove that their athletes had tested negative for Covid-19 without themselves being subject to the same testing. Italy apologised to Japan when they realised the discriminatory nature of their demands.
Japan concluded that due to ICSD and the organisers not having enough money to provide countermeasures, the games will be remembered as a Games of Fear.
All the above information was obtained from official Japanese letters on 11th May 2022.
Its has been a week since the ICSD called for peace ahead of the 2021 Summer Deaflympics in Brazil and many are wondering what is happening about its Russian staff and the ongoing Court case.
The ICSD Board met on 5 March and in solidarity with their Ukraine members, agreed to follow the IOC, IPC and demands from its own members by banning all athletes and officials from Russia and Belarus from invitations or taking part in any international competitions on the ICSD calendar until further notice.
This decision will have an economic impact on this Summer’s Deaflympic games to be held in Brazil and it has been decided to cancel the Bowling programme because the technical requirements will need a heavy financial commitment which has been lost due to the number of countries who are not sending teams to compete as well as the banishment of Russia and Belarus.
Taipei have written to ICSD to say that it was an ‘unwise’ decision to cancel the bowling because athletes have been preparing for 4 – 4.5 years for the competition and they have requested that the ICSD reconsider its decision.
Meanwhile, National Sports Federations have been consulting with their governments for advice on how they should engage with International Federations which have significant Russian influence in their leadership. The ICSD’s Chief Executive, Dmitry Rebrov is Russian and people have been asking what should be done about his influence on Deaf sport especially due to the fact that he has been found guilty of falsifying audiograms and recently took control of ICSD by preventing the previously elected board from accessing their official ICSD emails and servers.
The ICSD and its CEO are now facing a challenge in court over the validity of the recent Extraordinary Congress in Switzerland where the new board was elected. The latest updates with letters and videos on the court case are available on Facebook.
National Federations of Deaf sport are pleading with the ICSD Board to take action against its Russian and Belarusian members. Appeals have also gone out to support Ukrainian athletes.
Yesterday, 3rd March and overnight, after a request for support from the Ukraine Deaf Sports Federation, letters have been sent to the ICSD from national and regional associations including EDSO, Great Britain, Nordic Baltic Federation ( Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden,), Poland and Taiwan urging the ICSD to impose a ban on Russia and Belarus.
Despite condemnation of the invasion from the World Federation of the Deaf, close bonds of the Deaf sports community have been highlighted in expressions of regret that the athletes of Russia and Belarus have to suffer for the actions their governments and heads of state. Lebannon requested that ban should not go ahead because:
“We believe that we should separate the political situations of the world and the sports athletes. it is in our opinion that it is entirely not fair to blame the Russian Deaf athlete for what is happening in Ukraine; the problem is to do with the Russian Government.” (Lebanese Federation of the Deaf)
The ICCD, International Chess Committee of the Deaf, explained why sanctions have to be imposed:
“The Russian and Belarusian deaf athletes have nothing to do with the Kremlin’s decision yet they are tarred with the same brush and face severe consequences. ICCD finds this extremely sad for politics have gotten in the way of deaf sport where there is strong unity between deaf sportsmen. Yet this has to be actioned for the ICSD cannot be exempt from IOC and other sporting authorities.” (ICCD)
Ivan Kulakov, Executive Sport Director of Ukraine Deaf Sport Federation has been sending thanks to those who have shown their support:
“Very grateful for your support for the sanctioning of the occupying countries for the ICSD. We believe that the global deaf community will come to the right conclusion about stopping the war. Sport is a competition between peaceful nations!” (UDSF)
The U-turn of the IPC yesterday to ban Russia and Belarus from the Winter Paralympics was largely a result of pressure from athletes already in the Paralympic village. The ICCD have warned the ICSD not to ignore the situation:
“The ICSD should take into account the Ukraine Deaf Sports Federation’s depleted preparation for the Deaflympics and other major sporting events (chess included). Furthermore, it may seem unlikely that Ukraine will be represented at the Deaflympics; if that is the case, then it would reflect badly on ICSD of both Russia and Belarus are allowed to participate. The would cause uproar from the other ICSD countries.”
The impact on international deaf sport events is already being felt. the European Chess Championships at Cordoba in Spain has been relying on a large number of players from Russia and Ukraine and has now been ‘thrown into chaos’ according to ICCD.
As we wrote earlier this week, Canada is hosting the World Deaf Curling in Banff, Alberta. According to announcements, the Ukrainian curlers have had their entry visas approved and are now on their way to Warsaw to collect he visas and fly out from there. Both the Canadian and Alberta Deaf Sports Associations have agreed to sponsor the expenses of the Ukrainians and they are appealing for donations to support this fund. Any donations can be made by contacting email@example.com
The International Olympic Committee have asked all International sports federations to stop flying the flags of Russia and Belarus at sporting events.
Federations are being asked to cancel all planned sports events in Russia and Belarus or move them to alternative venues..
Leading figures have condemned the attack by Russia and are offering their support to members of the sporting communities in Ukraine.
The European Union governments are uniting in their condemnation and placing sanctions on key people and organisations in Russia and Belarus. As the representative of ICSD in Europe, the EDSO have yet to show their hand.
The ICSD is an international Federation. Will they comply?
Earlier this month, some national representatives inspected the facilities and venues of the 24th Summer Deaflympics.
With less than 4 months remaining, the organisers of the Summer Deaflympics have released videos and pictures on their social media pages to inform of the preparations
Extract from Video Introduction
The Technical Congress of the 24th edition of the Summer Deaflympics was held at UCS Teatro. The event was attended by international delegates representing participating countries, as well as technical directors of the International Committee on Sports for the Deaf (ICSD).
The meeting had plenary sessions, discussions and presentation of the competition manual book in Caxias do Sul – a reference for the delegations. Visits were also made to the game facilities, such as competition venues, training camps and the organization's headquarters, in the Festa da Uva pavilions.
The Summer Deaflympics take place from May 1st to 15th this year, in Caxias do Sul.
Following concerns ICSD members, Caxias 2022 Organising Committee have issued provisional plans for safeguarding Deaflympic athletes against the Coronavirus.
International news sources have been highlighting the political stance of Brazilian President Bolsonaro and his unconventional attitudes towards tacking Covid-19, this has raised concerns from ICSD members that the Caxias 2022 organisers will not be able to provide adequate Covid security for athletes and officials attending next year’s 24th Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul in Southern Brazil.
Local Organising Committee CEO Richard Douglas Ewald and his team have issued health safety protocols for participants in an attempt to reassure people that it will be safe to attend the games without getting infected. Because of the constant change in the impact of the virus, the protocols are issued as if ‘the competition would be today’ and a final decision on protocol will be issued on 20th March 2022.
What are the Safeguards?
The protocols currently in place state that ten days before departure, Chef de Missions must send a list of all participants who have been vaccinated at least 2 weeks before departure and everyone must have proof of negative PCR results 72 hours prior to departure.
Travel instructions direct teams to travel to a regional airport Porto Alegre Salgado Filho International Airport where everyone will have to test negative on a Rapid Antigen test before receiving a Welcome Pack and transportation to the Accreditation centre in Caxias do Sul.
Anyone who tests positive in the Rapid Antigen test or has been unable to get PCR tested before travel (or claim to have lost proof of tests in transit) will, at their own expense, have to take a PCR test upon arrival at the airport and be held in isolation until the result is issued. If they test negative, they can travel on to Caxias. Anyone testing positive will be referred to hospital for treatment following Brazilian medical protocols.
Travellers without a valid vaccination Certificate will be quarantined for 5 days in the ‘final destination city’ and then they will have to produce a negative PCR test at the end of isolation otherwise they will be referred to hospital for treatment.
There are further special rules for people originating or passing through South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. (No details were given in the protocol) it can be reasonably assumed this may related to the Omicron variant.
Will this information satisfy Chef de Missions?
Chef de Missions, Medical and security officers will now examine the content of the protocol and determine whether this gives them reassurance that their athletes and officials will be Covid secure.
One possible question that will need to be answered will be the concern of cross contamination between athletes of different nations who are likely to board planes taking the domestic route to the local airport and then how are they going to ensure that there is further protections from those athletes/officials who will have been unvaccinated whilst everyone is waiting in the arrivals terminal, for example, to collect personal belongings at the luggage carousel and then in the airport when waiting to be tested.
There is a second Travel Package communication declaring that five days before the Opening Ceremony special buses will be laid on to transport accredited persons from their hotels to a central transit and information point which has been named Deaflympic Square which will be accessible by accredited persons for central information and also serve as a transport exchange hub between the sports venues.
There is no further information explaining how athletes and officials will be safeguarded against infections by the local population. The Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games protocols strictly forbade any ‘tourism’, sightseeing or shopping by athletes in order to protect their health. There was no ‘hanging around’ after their events had concluded as people travelled home immediately afterwards. Reading the Travel Package clearly shows that athletes will be housed in local hotels and they will be have access to a sightseeing and shopping app which suggests that there are currently no plans to further isolate anyone once they have tested negative on arrival at the local airport.
ICSD Extra Ordinary Congress actions and decisions should be null and void according to Rebecca Adam and Marijo Lusic
In a communication released yesterday by the ICSD Secretariat, it was announced that Rebecca Adam is taking ICSD to court in Lausanne, Switzerland on 22 December to argue that decisions and actions taken at the 48th ICSD Extraordinary Congress are null and void.
This week we have been asked to publish the following statement from the ICSD Executive Board, the same document has been forwarded to all national Deaf sport federation offices.
MEDIA STATEMENT ICSD Executive Board’s Statement regarding the 48th Extraordinary Congress (‘Congress’), taken place on November 28 and 29 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Due to concerns regarding the integrity and transparency of the recent ICSD Extraordinary Congress, the following ICSD Executive Board Members, Rebecca Adam, Grigor Grigoryan and Marijo Lusić reiterate comments that were provided at the recent Extraordinary Congress:
• The ICSD Board (Rebecca Adam, Grigor Grigoryan, Marijo Lusić, Jack Lamberton & Yakup Umit Kihtir) suspended Dmitry Rebrov in September 2020 and confirmed this in 2021 however he refused to cease his activities at ICSD. • Mr Rebrov removed the ICSD Board’s access to their ICSD emails and refused to hand over access to ICSD’s Facebook and website. The Board had no way of communicating with Members. As a result, the Board set up gmail accounts, a temporary Facebook page and YouTube channel to keep communication lines open with Members. • In addition, Mr Rebrov made it very difficult, if not, impossible for the ICSD board from accessing bank accounts and statements. As a result, the Board were unable to monitor financial transactions at ICSD. • The Board made many attempts to co-operate with Mr Rebrov however, we received no acknowledgement or response to any of our letters or emails. Instead, he chose to collaborate with Gustavo Perazzolo and the Regional Confederation Presidents (Mohamad Madoun, Mohammad Pargar, Iosif Stavrakakis & Pedro Bonnassiolle) to further undermine the ICSD Board. • Gustavo Perazzolo was never appointed as Vice-President. If so, why isn’t he registered with the commercial register? What is the basis for his claim as President of ICSD? There are no minutes to this effect. • Mr Rebrov and Mr Felli claimed that the former Board were suspended; by whom? Mr Rebrov is neither entitled to do it, nor Mr Perazzolo. It is illegal to suspend a board mid-term and there was no provision in the Constitution that allows for an unusual and undemocratic procedure to take place. This sets an undesirable precedent for ICSD in that future Boards serve at the whim of the Secretariat. • Country Member Countries were confused and frustrated at who was running ICSD because Mr Rebrov continued to represent ICSD while suspended.
The Board would like to outline that at the Extraordinary Congress: ~ ICSD had 116 Members on the list, however 55 Countries were represented at the Extraordinary Congress (51 physically and 4 online). It was impossible to achieve an accurate quorum due to inconsistencies with ICSD Membership status. The Board did not have access to the complete list of Members as well as had no knowledge of which countries had paid to date (even members were not aware that they have not paid their membership fee); ~ Several paid Members were blocked from accessing the Extraordinary Congress in Lausanne or via Zoom Livestream event; ~ Grigor Grigoryan and Rebecca Adam clarified that it is the Board’s responsibility to manage staff including the position of the CEO, not the other way around. Ms Adam also outlined Mr Rebrov’s inability to manage the organisation in the spirit of the IOC’s universal standards of good governance and accountability. For example, whilst working as a CEO at ICSD, he organised an Extraordinary Congress without the mandate of the elected Executive Board. This represents a significant governance risk to the organisation that demands disclosures to maintain trust and confidence of ICSD members. ~ Members voted to adopt the Financial Reports despite the Board not having received and approved the audited reports. The Board made several attempts to clarify they had not received bank statements and audited reports and were not able to verify if they are true records of ICSD’s financial status. They objected to the adoption of the Financial Report on the basis there was no clear transparency and accountability around the management of ICSD Finances. ~ It is agreed that representation and ensuring that all have voting rights is healthy, however the amount of corruption made the new processes untenable. ~ Congress voted to approve Mr Rebrov’s new Constitution. Ms Adam requested a symposium to review and discuss each clause to ensure each were appropriate for ICSD’s needs. Instead, only a few clauses were discussed; the rest were adopted without even a cursory glance at its contents. This is completely unheard of and sets a dangerous precedent for the future of the ICSD. ~ Even though the topic of “Elections” was not endorsed to be added to the Agenda, the Members supported Mr Rebrov’s request to vote in a new ICSD Board on the basis that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a request for this to occur. ~ Despite the Board’s objections, the elections went ahead and as a result, Rebecca Adam, Grigor Grigoryan, Marijo Lusić and Jack Lamberton withdrew their nomination because they did not want to be part of a compromised Congress or an election where public integrity, governance and corruption was much more significant than for many previous elections, and possibly ever. ~ The Brazil Deaf Sports Confederation unexpectedly withdrew their 2022 Rio de Janeiro Deaflympic Games bid during the morning of the second day of the Extraordinary Congress. As a result, Caxias du Sol ended up being chosen by Members despite several sports venues not meeting international standards (including Athletics, Basketball and Swimming). In addition, Mr Perazzolo resides in Caxias du Sol therefore he personally stands to gain from the hosting of the Deaflympics in his home city whilst also acting as ICSD President and President of the Deaflympics Organising Committee. ~ Congress also voted to launch an investigation into the above matters. Ms Adam requested that this be led by an external law firm to ensure impartiality of its investigations. However, at Mr Rebrov’s request, this will now be an internal investigation managed by the Secretariat and the new Board and composed of members from within the ICSD membership who have many ties to the current Board and /or the Secretariat, making it untenable for such initiative to be neutral or free of bias.
A Way Forward We are committed to protect the mission of the organization by strengthening the ethical foundations and help create an efficient and effective organization that promotes democracy, transparency and dialogue within ICSD. Governance begins with a shared commitment to define and implement the applicable rules in a coherent and equitable manner. Good governance requires rigorous due diligence. Further factual inquiry and purposive analysis of organizational conduct are required. This is particularly important because the difference between good governance and poor governance almost always results from inadequate application of the rules that have been adopted or from deliberate misapplication of them. Ms Adam, Mr Grigoryan and Mr Lusić are deeply saddened at what transpired at the Extraordinary Congress and strongly believe that the two day Congress do not meet the universal governance standards mandated by the International Olympics Committee. We want to see the establishment of a good governance to lead the ICSD into a healthy future guided by independent professionals Deaf and hard of hearing athletes deserve so much better through strong governance, ethical leadership, transparent communications, and collaboration that puts them at the heart of Deaf Sports.