Defeated World Sailing Presidential candidate Gerardo Seeliger has, in effect, endorsed China’s Quanhai Li in the continuing race for leadership of the governing body, calling for “a fresh start”.
The Spaniard used a letter to Member National Authority (MNA) Presidents to offer the “guidance” he said many of his supporters had asked for.
He emphasised that World Sailing needed to “regain the trust and respect of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)”.
Li is the sole surviving challenger to Kim Andersen of Denmark, the incumbent President, after a first round of voting which brought the elimination of both Seeliger and Uruguay’s Scott Perry.
The second round of what is an electronic ballot got under way today (Tuesday) and will run until Friday (October 23).
The significance of Seeliger’s gesture in what has been a bitter and keenly-fought contest is difficult to gauge, since first-round vote tallies have not been released.
The salient part of his letter reads as follows: “Many of my supporters have asked me for guidance.
“I believe World Sailing needs a fresh start.
“I have passionately stood for and supported the following:
“-Help develop sailing, youth programmes, in emerging nations around the world.
“-Develop a close, trusted and fluid relationship with the IOC.
“World Sailing needs to regain the trust and respect of the IOC.”
Seeliger continues: “-Design and execute immediately an effective, successful sponsorship programme to put the World Sailing finances back afloat and on a straight course, which I feel we did not manage to achieve before.
“-Rebuild trust, transparency and a continuous communication with MNAs, sailors, clubs and classes.
“We need leadership that can promise and truly deliver.
“I would like you to please consider these unique key skills, experiences, qualities and commitments of the two final candidates when you make your final choice for President of World Sailing.
“I believe that you will make the right choice so that we can have a change for the better.
“I hope we can all look forward to a President that has the strategy, experience and commitment to build a brighter future for World Sailing and sailors everywhere.”
The first-round result signified that Andersen’s quest for a second term had not been blown off course by concerns within the IOC regarding himself and another candidate, vice-president Perry.
These had come to light in an email to the World Sailing Election Commission from Ng Ser Miang, an IOC vice-president and former vice-president of the International Sailing Federation, and revealed by insidethegames.
This purported to relay comments by Pâquerette Girard Zappelli, the IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer, about “the current [World Sailing] President who faced three consecutive issues brought to the [World Sailing] Ethics Commission – this situation which might tarnish the reputation of [World Sailing]”.
Andersen, who denies wrongdoing, has filed an ethics complaint against Ng, who has also been accused by World Sailing of intervening in the election.
The IOC, meanwhile, has emphasised that the comments set out in the email were “not the statement of an official position”.
The final results of the election are scheduled to be announced on November 1.