The AC Statement to the BMC on Competition Climbing and the IFSC
The AC supports competition climbing being part of the 2020 Olympic Games, and believes it is essential that UK competition climbing continues to remain under the umbrella of the BMC. The AC also fully supports the BMC doing all that it can to ensure that our competition climbers achieve the success they deserve, but not at the expense of all the other important work that is carried out by the BMC for its wider membership. The AC would like a guarantee that there will be no decrease in the time, effort, or finance the BMC puts into the rest of its operations, despite the inevitable and probably substantial rise in interest in competition climbing in the coming years.
With respect to the IFSC, the AC requests that the BMC reviews the current remit of this organisation. When the IFSC broke from the UIAA in 2006 it took the name "Sport Climbing", and is now claiming to "govern" leisure and recreational climbers. Representing leisure and recreational climbers is of course the role of the UIAA. Whilst the IFSC assures us that its own approved competitions will not take place on natural rock, it appears that it would condone competitions on natural rock approved by other organizers, as long as these organizers "take reasonable precautions to avoid any impact on the environment". The BMC should assure us that it will not endorse outdoor competition climbing on any natural feature.
Response to the Paper from Rehan Siddiqui, BMC President
Many thanks for sending me a copy of your proposed statement, which was circulated to the BMC Board of Directors (Executive Committee) for discussion on 19 October 2016. The board welcomed the statement and I can now respond to the specific points you have raised:
1. Management of competition climbing: we agree that competition climbing should stay under the umbrella of the BMC. This specific point was debated at the BMC National Council meeting of 17 September and was agreed with a vote of 15 for; 2 against; 1 abstentions.
2. BMC support for core work: the BMC remains 100% committed to continuing our core work for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers and will not allow this to be negatively impacted by the inclusion of climbing in the 2020 Olympics. The BMC's core work and services (including that related to access & conservation, International, technical, heritage and safety aspects of mountaineering) will remain unaffected by the Olympics. In the short term it is likely that some senior staff and volunteer time will be needed to establish the necessary structures and procedures to deal with competition climbing as an Olympic sport; this will include such matters as submitting an application for UK Sport funding and establishing the necessary relationships with the British Olympic Association. Regarding finances, we are hopeful (given that we have a current world champion in Shauna Coxsey) we will be able to attract a degree of UK Sport funding, and we also feel that Olympic status will make climbing a more attractive prospect for commercial sponsors. We are hopeful that such support will cover the great bulk of the costs and at this point we have no formal plans to increase the amount of financial support from the BMC.
3. IFSC: we are in full agreement with the points you raise. Dave Turnbull has now been asked to write to the IFSC seeking clarification of the meaning of its claims (regarding recreational climbing etc), and I have also personally agreed to attend the next IFSC Plenary Assembly in my capacity as BMC president to state our position viz the IFSC's and that of the UIAA, and also to seek reassurance on the issue of outdoor competitions.