Nations Receive Invites to the 24th Summer Deaflympics.

National Deaf Sports federations who have been invited to participate will now decide whether or not to send athletes and teams to the next Summer Deaflympics in Brazil.

Immediately after the ICSD Extraordinary Congress in Switzerland last week, The ICSD officially invited all its member nations to take part in the 24th Summer Deaflympics from 1-15 May 2022 in Caxias do Sul, Brazil.

There are 21 sports currently listed on the programme and ICSD President Gustavo Perazzolo writes ‘We look forward to having you come down..’ Perazzolo himself is a former Brazilian Deaflympian in volleyball and cycling.

Official logo 24th Summer Deaflympics

There is an official website for the games https://www.deaflympics2021.com

Questions to be asked

There are questions now facing National Deaf Sports Federations as they decide whether or not to participate in this event. Australia has already had to withdraw due to its government regulations on international travel which are already extended into 2022.

Travel restrictions will make it very expensive if athletes and their officials have to isolate at their own expense on return to their home countries. The outbreak of the new Omicron variant is set to have a severe impact on travel that could last well into 2022.

The state of Rio Grande do Sul does not have its own international airport and athletes will have to use internal flights to reach the local airport further increasing the risk of contamination by the virus and potentially the more transmittable Omicron.

Brazil currently has the second highest number of national recorded deaths due to Covid-19 and questions are being asked if the true number of deaths and cases are being recorded, the country currently at 615,570 deaths and 22.1 million cases nationally. President Jair Bolsonaro has told Brazilians to ‘stop whining‘ and has continued to downplay the virus. Brazil’s Supreme Court has opened an inquiry into claims made by Bolsonaro that Covid-19 vaccines may increase the chance of contracting Aids. One positive note to make in all of this is that the host state has one of the lowest number of deaths and cases so far in Brazil.

The official games website has a page showing some official Travel Insurance available, but neither that nor health insurance will give immunity to a virus – only a vaccine may do that.

For months now, national federation representatives have been asking the Deaflympic organisers to show that they are making arrangements to protect athletes from the virus as well as ensuring that the event will also have stringent Anti-doping checks and Audiogram checks in place.

Concerns about anti-doping and audiogram checks are long-standing as the CEO of ICSD, Dmitry Rebrov is Russian and has been found guilty by his country’s legal system of falsifying audiograms and ICSD have not followed the IOC and IPC in restricting how Russia can compete due to RUSADAs poor history of doping scandals. Last month’s World Short Course Swimming Championships had no in-competition anti-doping tests in place. When ICSD President Perazzolo was questioned about the lack of anti-doping tests he blamed the Polish organising committee and did not take responsibility for ICSD’s role in event planning oversight.

In recent weeks, CSD Head of Technical Commission, Martin Bogard has made presentations to his colleagues in the commission and to delegates at the Extraordinary Congress last week. We understand from comments being made by congress delegates that some of the sports sites may not be up to international standards which, if the claims are true, would make it difficult to validate any new Deaflympic Records set in the sports affected.

The IOC has continued to with hold its funding to ICSD in the wake of embezzlement scandals involving a former ICSD President and the umbrella organisation did not sanction the 2019 Winter Deaflympics and it remains to be seen what they will do for Caxias do Sul.

Key Points from the ICSD Extraordinary Congress in Lausanne Switzerland.

The information we have received has come from a variety of delegate sources and cross referencing between different national delegates gives us confidence that what we are sharing with you has happened this weekend in Lausanne.

Hotel Alpha Palmiers, Lausanne, Switzerland. venue of the ICSD Extraordinary Congress

Just as Congress weekend was about to get underway the world was alerted to the new highly transmissible variant of Covid-19 from the South African region. Because of this, Swiss border control placed a 10-day quarantine on any visitors from Belgium, Southern African region nations and elsewhere that deemed risky.

SUNDAY 28th November, Lausanne, DAY 1. 

  • ICSD has116 member countries registered but approx. 55 are fully paid up and allowed to vote.
  • After 2 hours of debate, Congress finally agreed to accept Kasper Bergmann as Congress Moderator.
  • A motion to include a vote for DIHF (International Deaf Ice-Hockey) as an Associate member did not get approval.
  • A final roll call confirmed the attendance to 53 delegates (3 or 4 accessing remotely), so the voting majority is set at 27 votes. (Exact numbers will be confirmed by ICSD minutes)
  • Congress voted to change the right to amend the agenda at any time during Congress
  • Financial Audits of Accounts for 2013-2019 were approved
  • The remainder of the day was spent on the Deaf Sport Reform debate. In summary, delegates voted in favour of:
  • Associate members gaining fundamental voting rights, equal as national members.
  • ICSD Board would be reduced or enlarged in size by including an athlete representative.
  • Regional Confederation representatives to get one vote each on the ICSD board

MONDAY  29th November, Lausanne, DAY 2. 

The day’s debates were on the current state of ICSD governance and the hosting of the 2022 Summer Deaflympics.

  • Over the past two years, ICSD members and followers of Deaf sport have been confused over who is leading the ICSD, is it EB5 – the elected Board members or the RCs who broke away with ICSD Exec Officer Dmitry Rebrov.
  • Both groups (EB5 and RCs) were given the opportunity to make statements to the floor and then a vote was taken that accept the Extraordinary Congress as legal.
  • After further afternoon discussions on the legitimacy of the ICSD leadership, Congress voted to approve the establishment of an Investigation task force to look into the facts of the whole situation since 2019 and report its findings to the next Congress.
  • It has been confirmed that Caxias is now the preferred host for the Summer Deaflympics 2022, this decision was made by the Brazil Deaf Sports Federation and accepted by Congress.
  • There appear to be plans in place for Summer Deaflympics 2025 in Japan and Winter Deaflympics 2027 in Korea, Taiwan also plans to host the 2027 Youth Games.
  • The final act was the election of an Board to work with limited powers to oversee the Deaflympics, organise Congress and have oversight of the Investigation task force until 2022 when Congress is usually held just before the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Deaflympics in Caxias do Sul, Brazil 1-14th May:
  • President – Gustavo Perazzolo
  • Vice President World Sport – Yutaka Osugi
  • Vice President Youth – David Lanesman
  • Members at Large – Yakup Khitir, Kristian Lantto, Adam Kosa and Alexandra Polivanchuk

DIBF Update on WADA Compliance

Deaf International Basketball Federation share the latest update on their work to become compliant. with WADA ‘Clean Sport’ code

It’s a busy time for Deaf Martial Arts!

Both the Deaf Karate and Taekwondo World Championships are taking place alongside each other in Tehran, Iran.

Details of schedules, competitors and competitions can be found on their websites.

We must make a caution, that our browser indicates that both websites are not secure, so visiting will be at your own risk.

Also, the 1st World Deaf Judo Championships took place last month in Versailles, France. This was also a shared-venue completion, held along side the 1st CISM championships.

CISM ( International Council of Military Sports) See video clip at foot of page.

Two Big Ears are very pleased to see International Deaf Sports organisations working closer to their International Federations and being included with parallel events – makes good use of resources and creates opportunties to raise the profile of Deaf athletes.

deafkarate.com

ICSD Blame Poland Organising Committee for Doping Omission

Last night, ICSD Interim President pointed the finger of blame at the Polish Organising Committee for lack of anti-doping tests at Swimming World Championships.

Yesterday we reported on the concerns from Christof Niklaus, a technical representative at the 1st World Deaf Short Course Swimming Championships that there are no arrangements in place to test swimmers to ensure there are no doping violations.

WADA have been made aware of the situation and the concerns that ICSD and Russia may have colluded to avoid the testing.

At last nights technical meeting, Christof asked Gustavo, the ICSD Interim President if he could explain why there was no anti-doping at the championships to which he replied to email the ICSD office.

Christof Niklaus asked ICSD to explain why there have been no anti-doping test in place. (photo by Christof Niklaus)

Christof repeated his question “because he is the ICSD representative at these championships and therefore should answer my question.

In his second reply, Gustavo blamed the Poland Organising Committee for not organising anti-doping tests.

Christof considers Gustavo’s reply to show that he is “A very poor president, not fit for office.”

We understand that all Deaf World Championship organising committees are obliged to follow all regulations for hosting sports events if they wish to be sanctioned by the ICSD. In the process, ICSD should have appointed its Technical Director of swimming to work closely with the Organising Committee to ensure that arrangements were in place to meet WADA regulations. Therefore ICSD cannot deflect the blame on the Organising Committee, it must also accept that it is also responsible and if necessary withdrawing its stamp of approval to a non-compliant event.

The ICSD Chief Executive Dmitry Rebrov continues to hold the office of Secretary General of the All-Russian Sports Federation of Deaf Sport. He would also be responsible, on behalf of the ICSD Board, for overseeing the work of the Technical Commission to ensure that the WADA code of practice is implemented. This blatant conflict of interest does nothing to safeguard the protection of clean athletes especially when Rebrov has also been found guilty in a Russian court of falsifying audiograms.

After Valery Rukhledev was removed from office, the ICSD Board attempted to deal with the misdemeanours and subordination of Rebrov which would have had a part to play in the leadership split that we now have in the organisation.

Special Video Report ‘ICSD Leadership and Deaflympics’

Yesterday H3 World TV released a video report to try and explain why ICSD leadership is split into to camps.

Video is shared here with expressed permission from H3.

ICSD Accused of Double Standards with Anti-Doping Regulations

Observers at the World Deaf Short Course Swimming Championships are wondering why the event organisers have not arranged anti-doping testing for the swimmers whilst also declaring the IDBF of non-compliance.

Photo by Christof Niklaus

Christof Niklaus, former ICSD Technical Director for Football has been observing events at the 1st World Deaf Short Course Swimming Championships taking place in Poland this week and he has reported his concerns to WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) because there have been no doping tests.

Christof Niklaus, GB swimming official at WDSCSC 2021 (photo by Christof Niklaus)

Christof is at the event as GB’s technical officer supporting swimmer Nathan Young. His complaint comes as the ICSD has released a statement this week declaring DIBF (Deaf International Basketball Federation) non-compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. This means that players and officials of the DIBF are not allowed to hold office or take part in competitions (regional and international) until they make arrangement to meet WADA requirements.

What is worrying Christof is that the Russian swimmers are ‘dominating in all events with no testing to provide confidence in their performances’

The question is how ICSD can remain compliant to the WADA code if it is allowing a sanctioned event to take place without doping testing. ICSD’s lack of control and compliance is due to its lack of support to Deaf sport federations with ‘historical under-resourcing and under-education.’

A WADA representative has quickly responded to Christof by email ‘we are fully committed to supporting DIBF, and ICSD, in making sure that the protection of clean deaf athletes is safeguarded, and strengthen if needed, at all times.’

Christof is picking up ‘word here in Poland of collusion between ICSD and Russia, to avoid having the Russian team be the subject of anti-doping tests.’ He has asked WADA to pass this information on to its own Intelligence & Investigations team. There remains a serious conflict of interest as the ICSD Executive Officer Dmitry Rebrov also remains Secretary General of the All-Russian Sports Federation of Deaf Sport.

WADA sent another reply to this news ‘Your email has been taken very seriously and already been forwarded to the relevant departments of WADA for follow up. We are also following up very closely the situation at DIBF which has been provided all the necessary support over the past few months.’

Photo by Christof Niklaus

Christof’s role in Poland is to function as official support and representative for GB’s only entrant Nathan Young who has been sharing his frustrations that there is still a lack of performance funding for Deaflympic athletes in the UK and blames the DCMS, Sport England and UK Sport for ignoring them.

Christof and Nathan at WDSCSC 2021
(Photo by Christof Niklaus)

ICSD Members Hope for Integrity at Extraordinary Congress

As preparations are made for the ICSD Extraordinary Congress in Lausanne Switzerland, delegates are still uncertain about the integrity of governance.

Ever since the resignation of ICSD President Kang in 2020, the Deaflympic movement has seen the leadership plunge into confusion and uncertainty. It is hoped that at the end of this month (November 28-29th) actions will be made to stabilise the organisation. If this is not done, many are fearful for its future.

Hotel Alpha Palmiers, Lausanne, Switzerland. venue of the ICSD Extraordinary Congress at the end of November 2021

The governing board of ICSD has split into two camps with both claiming to be in control, both sending out conflicting bulletins and counterclaims leaving members uncertain about who is in charge.

There are mixed messages coming from Brazil, the host nation of the next Summer Deaflympic games – delegates in Congress will be asking which organising committee is viable and it is expected that they will then vote to decide which city will host the games, Rio de Janeiro or Caxias do Sol.

The finances of ICSD have not been agreed by congress since 2013 and somehow the extraordinary meeting will try to approve a financial report covering the 2013 -2019 period.

If that was not enough, the agenda also includes the long awaited ICSD Reform document. The aim of this work was to create a new IDC – International Deaflympic Committee to be recognised as similar in function to the IOC and IPC with each nation having its own National Deaflympic Committee. This work was started in 2008 and observers are concerned that this has taken too long to get ratified that it may be an irrelevance in the current situation.

Whilst these are the main points of concern, the leadership dispute between the group of regional representatives and the CEO versus the remainder of the board has produced TWO alternative agendas with both sides claiming legitimacy and control over congress procedures. An option open to Congress is the election of new leaders.

Congress will also listen to evidence about the legal standing of CEO Rebrov, who has isolated the opposing board members by removing access to their ciss.org emails and office servers. These board members are insisting that Rebrov has been removed from his post and has no legal standing in the organisation.

Because of Covid regulations and restrictions delegates will either be attending in person or on-line via the internet. It is expected that two neutral scrutineers will be appointed to take control of proceedings and ensure integrity.

Onlookers are concerned that the situation is being observed by officials at the IOC and its membership of the Olympic movement is at risk. However, there are several other International Federations in mainstream sport that are also facing governance challenges of corruption, insubordination, abdication, and dereliction of duty etc. The IOC policy is not to get involved with internal conflicts and encourages the federations to resolve their own problems.

The question being asked is:  Will a two- or three-day meeting be enough to get things in order?

ICSD Chair of Technical Commission Sets the Record Straight

After viewing our interview with former ICSD President Craig Crowley, the most senior Technical Director in the ICSD has come on record to give you information about some of the concerns raised in our interview with Crowley

This post replaces the original which we had to remove due to video tech issues. We apologise for the earlier trouble you may have expereinced in trying to download.

This interview was recorded on 30th July 2021. It is accessible partly in BSL and International Sign and supported with English subtitles.

Former ICSD President Responds to Interim Presidents Letter

Last week Gustavo Perozzolo, ICSD Interim President wrote to national members to request ‘calm and focus’ in response to ongoing concerns and criticisms. In reply, former ICSD President Craig Crowley has made a video reply to the letter to raise concerns about its content and the current situation of next year’s Summer Deaflympics.

Craig Crowley approached Two Big Ears and requested that we publish his concerns. This video interview is presented in BSL, International Sign and supported with English subtitles.