I would first like to thank you for your active participation in our 2010 Annual Council Meeting and ICU World Championships. Despite challenges presented mainly by the volcano in Iceland, the meeting and the competition were hugely successful, and we are already looking forward to even greater things next year.
The ICU has had remarkable success in building its membership and addressing its primary goals, which are to assist and support the global development of Cheer, and to be an effective voice in representing the athletes, coaches and officials who make up our sport.
As a National Federation member of the ICU, we want to assure you that we will continue to be available to assist you as you develop our sport in your country. For the overall good of our sport, it is also imperative that we stand together as we continue the development of Cheer globally. This means that each country must not only be supportive of our international organization, but must also aggressively take steps to properly represent our sport within their own respective countries.
If it has not already done so, each National Federation must promptly and actively establish a true, legal non-profit federation that is properly registered in its respective country, including pursuing the necessary steps to be recognized by the sports commission designated by the government. This means also taking the necessary steps to be inclusive in your federation by involving all groups who are active in Cheer within your country. Our ICU office, as well as your continental regional council member, stands ready to assist you in any possible way. However, it is indeed up to each National Federation to take the initiative in this particular area.
Next, I would like to report on our annual meeting of SportAccord, which we attended last week. ICU Secretary General Karl Olson and I were assisted at the meeting by Alfredo LaMont (ICU International Consultant), Liv Uggerhoej of Denmark (Athletic Representative for the ICU General Council) and Shing Fang of China (ICU General Council Member for North Asia).
During the meeting we met with SportAccord representatives to review our newly approved statutes. They were extremely complimentary of our progress in this regard, but have also requested several minor changes going forward. We will address these requests and prepare recommendations to present to the General Assembly as soon as is practically possible.
Because this was our first time to participate in SportAccord, our membership was questioned by DanceSport (whose primary discipline is Ballroom Dancing), which we feel strongly should have no role in Cheer. However, at the meeting FIG (Gymnastics) also asked for time to meet with us and review how we can more clearly establish differences between our two sports. We have agreed to actively and in good faith work with them to achieve that in the coming months.
In light of these developments, we felt (and were advised by our friends within SportAccord) that we should request a one year delay in actually submitting our request to SportAccord for a vote to become a member. This additional year will allow us the proper time to make the necessary minor changes to our bylaws and to constructively work with Gymnastics to settle any differences that might exist.
We did have the opportunity to make a presentation to the full membership of the 100+ International Federation members of SportAccord. Our presentation, which included facts about the ICU, a full description of how our sport operates, and a three minute highlight video of our World Championships, was extremely well received and served as an exciting introduction of Cheer to various sports organizations from around the world. We believe our participation at the meeting has created excellent understanding and support of the ICU, which will be extremely valuable as we move forward.
As we discussed in Orlando, I want to emphasize that the most important thing we can do for our sport is to remain strongly united and resolute in our commitment to move forward together. We now represent 87 different countries and 3.5 million athletes. If we remain united, and if we continue to work tirelessly toward our objectives, the future for our sport, our organization and each of our member Federations is extremely bright.
Thank you again for your support and I wish you the very best as you continue to build Cheer in your country.
Jeff Webb, President
International Cheer Union