Malta Open 2010 Your Views
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 17:29
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Malta Open 2010 Your Views
Letter from the Troubled Many
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Here are a few letters regarding the upcoming Malta Open 2010.

If you would like your views published, please email the editor

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Regards,

Ed.


Dear Mr Editor,

I think now is the right time to inform everybody as to what appears to be happening with this years Malta Open.

I have correlated the information from a number of sources, some of it is hard fact from received e-mail correspondence and some is via word of mouth from telephone or face to face conversations, obviously conversations without witnesses can be denied or it could be suggested it was a misunderstanding of that conversation.

I will simply tell you what has been reported to myself and leave it to your readers to make up their own minds as to what they believe to be a true representation of the facts.

In his recent letter to the heads of associations the President re-stated some of the principles of the EKF, on this occasion the important reference is that of the "openness and transparency", and despite the fact they are feeling "the strain on their personal lives due to the hours spent onEKF work" perhaps just one of them would be prepared to make comment on the stance of the EKF on the Malta Open and also to fill in the gaps where we don't have full information or to correct the interpretation of any telephone conversations.

Chris Galea has been running a competition enjoyed and supported by not just EKF members, but by many across the world for almost 10 years. What is without any dispute is the vast majority of competitors are from national federation countrieswith membership of the WKF. Everyone that has supported this event over the years have recognised just what an excellent event it has become and this is underlined by the quality of athletes who have made repeat visits including many of our top homegrown karate-ka.

 

Chris Galea and his students have been invited to this country by a number of associations to compete or to just train, you can easily view photographs on members web-sites including the web-site of one our current board members. This man has made many friends and gained the one thing that is at the very heart of karate and the thing we constantly remind students, RESPECT, RESPECT, RESPECT.

Now out of the blue, (we will return to this) he is suddenly being treated as a "dissident group" under the inflexible and controversial Article 21.9. One of our group made enquiries to both the WKF and to the EKF and neither have actually stated this man fits into the category of "dissident", so we really have to ask, why now?

A reply was sent to one of our group from Mike Dinsdale on the announcement published on the EKF web-site. It contained the following:

"was to ensure that all EKF members were aware that this event was open to members from dissident world bodies, and as such should EKF members take part, it would breach the current WKF statute21.9. This would ultimately cause immense problems for our membership to the WKF, and that is something that the EKF cannot allow"

In reply to this statement from Mr Dinsdale a number of questions were put to him on his statement asking for clear guidance on the understanding of 21.9 and, as neither the EKF nor the WKF still hadn't actually classed Mr Galea as a "dissident" they were merely suggesting EKF members were not to go as there MIGHT be somebody there from a dissident world body.

As EKF members had attended over many years, including 2009, it was put to Mr Dinsdale this board were aware a long time ago of the status of Chris Galea and took no action so what has changed now.

Mr Dinsdale was further pressed on this because a number of families had already booked and paid for their travel and accommodation. All of you who have travelled to overseas competition are aware of the forward planning required and the need to ensure flights and hotels etc.

In reply to these points and a couple more Mr Dinsdale responded as follows;

"The EKF has made its feelings known to its membership regarding the protection of its WKF mandate"

(Please keep in mind these constant references to WKF mandate and 21.9)

In his reply to the point the EKF were aware of this competition in the past Mr Dinsdale said

"it may seem to you we were aware but that is your opinion"

What they knew or didn't know we will return to later. Moving on this is the full response to the issue of the prior planning and that people had already paid.

"As far as planning is concerned you should have made sure that this championship was a WKF and therefore EKF sanctioned event before committing yourself. Our duty is to inform our members when we are aware that some maybe considering a non sanctioned event"

This last section of this last paragraph needs to be read carefully;

"If it is not on our published calendar of events, then IT IS YOUR DUTY OR THE LICENSE HOLDER TO ASSURE THEMSELVES THAT ANY EVENT IN WHICH THEY ARE PARTICIPATING, IS SANCTIONED"

Mr Dinsdales comments were obviously replied to, although to date have not been replied to, so much for the EKF policy of courtesy and respect.

In attempts to clarify these issues these points were put to the Vice President.

"I sense a reluctance to clarify as to whether you are saying this competition organiser is a 'dissident' and , as a board member, if you cannot how can we be expected to fully understand 21.9"
"You appear to claim that you were not aware of EKF members attending"

Here is some information which has come to light, some of it may need confirming or denying by the people mentioned or from a board member and some of it is beyond doubt as we are now in possession of the results from previous years, a number of newspaper articles, there is photographic evidence and for the visitors to 'YouTube' you can see clearly who, from England, attended in the past years, some sporting their EKF badges.

We know as a matter of fact that a sizeable number of both the junior and senior squads have been, it might be unfair at this time to name them all. Within the list are a number of important names which bring us directly back to exactly what the management board knew and for how long.

So let's look at this list and include a couple of other points and your readers can make up their own minds as to what was known by this management.

Everybody knows the name Jonathan Mottram, the current EKF kata coach, you know the name Debbie Sell the EKF admin. officer whose children can be traced back to the Malta Comp for about 6 years. Board member John De Bono who has some very strong links with Chris Galea and has competed himself as well as his students at the event.

This is somewhat of a guess but as Ishinryu members have attended for several years as competitors and as officials, including 2009, and it has been pointed out that the head of their association does not allow attendance at any event without his consultation we can therefore connect another director to who knew of this comp.

In 2008 there was a Four Nations Comp between Malta, Scotland, Ireland and, yes, England organised by Chris Galea, it contained a high profile English team. What is even more telling is the Chief Referee for that event, and in fact for the 2009 Open,was a WKF Chief Referee.

So with all these people attending these events there was more than enough evidence to suggest to all those travelling this year it was clearly an approved event.

What else have we found out, it seems before last years competition John De Bono warned members of Ishinryu not to attend as it was not WKF, but despite this warning they did attend as both competitor and official

This brings us right back to Mr Dinsdales defence they were not aware last year, maybe he didn't, maybe he did, but we have established that some people linked to, or were part this board did know.

So why wait till a few weeks before the competition to declare EKF members cannot attend when it is apparent people did know. If this decision was to be made, and we have to agree the mandate to the WKF has to have some protection, it could have and obviously should have been made a long, long time ago thereby avoiding this problem.

It has raised a much bigger problem for this board, one they now have no choice but to act on. Remember the constant references made by Mr Dinsdale on 21.9 and the protection of the mandate and if you look at the minutes of an AGM you can see during the discussion on 21.9 our WKF representative said there is "NO LEEWAY WHATSOEVER"

There are many of you that will remember around 2005 a number of Association members were firstly threatened with disciplinary action for breaching 21.9 and if memory serves me right the FSK were expelled for failing to adhere, FEKO did and a couple of others and retained their memberships.

So as not to show any favouritism this board must take action against each and everyone that has attended this competition since that date at least. Remember Mr Dinsdale made it perfectly clear

"it is the license holders duty to assure themselves that any event in which they intend participating is sanctioned".

The competition organiser has never claimed to be a member of the Malta Federation nor a member of the WKF, in fact he is open and honest in declaring the exact opposite, he is not a member of any world organisation and simply runs his own independent school trying to avoid the ugly politics the EKF has dragged him into.

This seems radical but apparently 21.9 comes much higher on the list than courtesy, respect and friendships.

There must be a better solution and some common ground which will help all, this board should now make representations to the WKF to give 'special' permission for all those who have already committed to this years event and if after a full and thorough investigation by the WKF it can be established beyond doubt that this competition does fit into the "dissident groups" then in the future we should not attend. The Copenhagen Open 2009 seems to have set a very big precedent for this to happen.

Chris Galea has earned over the years a huge amount of respect and at this moment his 'friends' are deserting him and you know who you are. After the many years he has provided a very good, very well supported comp by many federations worldwide he deserves all our support. Those of you hiding behind the curtains should be ashamed of yourselves.

To conclude I repeat some of this will require response from either those mentioned or some "openness and transparency" from a board member, to clarify exactly what is or what isn't fact. I can only take the word of the people providing the information it is wholly accurate, it is accurate as they recall but as we know there are always two sides to every story and it's important to hear the other side on something of this magnitude, the integrity of English karate is at stake.

Here is a nice sentiment to finish on:

" Sport equity is about using the power of sport to engage, unite and motivate people",

and is about

"individuals responsibility to challenge discriminatory practice and promote inclusion"

Source of quote EKF Equity Policy, it doesn't seem to support 21.9

Yours,

The troubled many


Dear EKF Committee,

I refer to the letter posted on your website signed by “The Troubled Many” that can be viewed on page two of this thread

Firstly, I would like to commend the EKF, for its stance to fully support a partner National Federation that is similarly a member of the WKF. It gives me great joy to see that our plea to support us in this matter has been taken up seriously by your federation, and I am purposely copying the WKF for them to be aware of this support.

Besides thanking you for your help, I would also like to make some comments on the letter shown on your site.

Chris Galea has truly been promoting this event for a number of years. I have no problem with this and this can be seen in my answer to his email (attached). I will also possibly visit his competitions, simply because I enjoy Karate, and have this art/sport close to my heart. However, as pointed out in the same email, he has no affiliation whatsoever to our Federation, and we all know that without affiliation one cannot expect to benefit from using WKF name as he deems fit.

I read with interest that Chris has made a number of friends and gained respect. Probably very true, and over the years, expected, and I sincerely could never have anything against this.

However, unfortunately he has failed to gain respect from those who matter most at home, in his own country. I have personally approached him myself to give him the opportunity of joining the Federation initially as an indirectly affiliated member, this to give him scope to benefit from being part of a serious world organization, however my attempt has been met with scorn and total disrespect.

He actually insisted with me that the MKF should remove affiliation with WKF so that he can have the opportunity to seek this affiliation afresh. As mentioned in my recent email to him, he might think people are naive, however this is not the case with the MKF Executive Committee.

In 2008 he then made an attempt to speak to us again (email attached), and after discussing this at executive committee, had decided in the affirmative, but our request to inspect his premises to see whether he operates on the lines established by MKF went unheeded.

With respect to being treated as a “dissident group”, WKF is pretty clear that to be considered as a part of the WKF family, any organisation must have approval and affiliation to the National Federation. I need not expand any further because whereas ignorance might to a certain degree be accepted, stupidity truly annoys.

The fact that allegedly EKF members attended in the past does not strengthen the argument in favour of attending now.

This issue has now been brought to your (EKF) attention and if in the past there was some anomaly, it does not mean that this can continue especially now when it has been brought to light, and once again I commend you for the strong stance taken.

“The competition organiser has never claimed to be a member of the Malta Federation nor a member of the WKF, in fact he is open and honest in declaring the exact opposite.”

Which part of

“WKF rules will apply”

quoted in the brochure is exactly honest and not misleading to anyone?

There can be NO special permission granted by WKF to attend this event as this will set a dangerous precedent. There is no need for ANY investigation to be undergone as the facts are clear.

This person has misled hundreds of people into thinking that his event is WKF approved and this has to stop. Any members who want to attend can obviously do so but will naturally risk jeopardizing their position with WKF.

We are part of a fabulous organization that is very strong worldwide. If we want to benefit from this affiliation, we have to respect its rules, and this is one of them. Anyone not wanting to honour his or her obligations towards the World Governing body is clearly free to leave.

Once again, I thank the EKF publicly for helping a colleague affiliate. Finally, please feel free to publish this letter to your federation on your website.

I trust that the position of the MKF has been made clear.

Yours sincerely,

Kenneth Abela

President
Malta Karate Federation