IWRF Membership votes for Independence
IWAS President Paul DePace supported the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation's membership in their unanimous vote for independence. The vote took place during the IWAS Wheelchair Rugby Sports Assembly held in Vancouver, Canada on June 24th. "The IWRF has been working towards becoming an Independent Paralympic Sport Federation (IPSF) since 2000, and now that the membership has given approval, we can begin to put the final pieces into place that will allow us to do so," stated IWRF President Brad Mikkelsen.
Both, the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS), and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), support the principle of sport independence. At the most recent IPC General Assembly, a motion was passed to establish target dates for all IPC governed sports to either achieve independence as IPSFs, or to join with an appropriate able-bodied international sport federation (IF). Given the unique nature of the sport of Wheelchair Rugby, there are no IFs that would be a good match for the sport. The IWRF Executive Committee believes that achieving IPSF status is the appropriate move for the sport. This is also in line with the Paralympic movement, where many sports are leaving multi-sport organizations for the disabled to join with able-bodied international sport federations, or to establish themselves as independent Paralympic sport federations.
There is still much work to be done by the IWRF before independence can be achieved. A detailed plan will be finalized to include a draft constitution and by-laws, as well as a strategic plan, a business plan, and a financial plan. The IWRF will continue to work closely with IWAS and the IPC during this process to help assure that all necessary steps are followed, and that the required documents are properly prepared. Once completed, a motion will be brought forward at the IWAS General Assembly in fall of 2009 to recognize the IWRF as an Independent Paralympic Sport Federation. When passed the IWRF will begin a transfer of governance with IWAS, and assume the responsibility of governing the sport of Wheelchair Rugby. The IWRF plans to ratify all documents of independence during its next General Assembly to be held at the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Vancouver, Canada.