WPPA and UIM reach agreement

The International Offshore Team Association (IOTA) has welcomed the signing of an agreement of cooperation between the WPPA (World Professional Powerboating Association) and the UIM (Union Internationale Motonautique) putting an end to the rift between the sport’s two organizations. It clears the way for the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship to compete under the aegis of the sport’s world governing body.

“We are delighted that this agreement has been reached – it was absolutely vital for the future of the sport,” said IOTA General Secretary, Marco Sala, who played a key role in bringing the two parties together. “The way is now clear for all involved in the Championship, the institutions, teams, event organisers and competitors to look forward to a sustained period of growth and stability.”

The agreement reached in Dubai on Wednesday between WPPA President, Saeed Hareb and recently elected UIM President, Raffaele Chiulli, ends months of negotiation and speculation about the future of the Class 1 Championship. The key criteria for reconciliation give the WPPA the exclusivity to continue to manage Class 1 under the UIM with the WPPA recognising the UIM as the sole International Governing Body for World Powerboat Racing.

“I can assure all parties that the conflicting situations and mistakes which determined the choice of the WPPA to independently organise Class 1 racing for one year have been overcome,” said UIM President, Raffaele Chiulli. “We are now jointly protected for future challenges and the great opportunities that lie ahead, and I am happy to say that this cooperation will start with the first race of the 2008 season in Doha – Qatar, next week.”

After signing the agreement, WPPA President, Saeed Hareb said. “I am delighted that we have reached this amicable agreement for the future of our sport. I believe that with a new strategy and the clear approach of Raffaele we can achieve professional and ambitious objectives together. Both of us are convinced that what has been achieved will take the sport in the right direction and will block any attempt to damage our solid and long lasting cooperation.”

This agreement means that Class I series can now return to countries with UIM recognised national authorities such as the RYA in Britain. The recent dispute between IOTA and the UIM was one of the main reasons Class I did not appear at Plymouth last year. The RYA, having representation at the UIM in Monte Carlo, meant that any event organised by an unapproved organisation such as the WPPA, would not be sanctioned. However assuming the necessary level of financial backing can be found, there is now no reason why the British offshore calendar could have a Class I fixture added in 2009.