New championship formats to headline sixth World Curling Congress

  • Photo: © WCF / Christopher Hamilton

The sixth World Curling Congress will begin on Thursday 14 September in Bled, Slovenia with new championship formats the primary topic of discussion and decision making.

Representatives from the World Curling Federation’s 56 Member Associations will decide on the future of the World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships, with two alternative formats being proposed.

Also, changes to the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship will be suggested; an increase to the number of teams for the World Wheelchair Curling Championship will be proposed and an update will be given on the new multi-event World Series of Curling which is scheduled to begin after PyeongChang 2018.

Both options for the world women’s and men’s championships would see an increase in the number of teams competing, from 12 to either 13 or 16, from the 2018 editions onwards. The primary reason for this is to increase the Pacific-Asia representation at World Curling Championships. These also include an option to introduce a pre-qualification event from 2019.

A vote will be taken on increasing the number of World Wheelchair Curling Championship teams from ten to 12 – the same as at the Paralympic Winter Games – and for mixed doubles, Curling Canada and the Royal Caledonian Curling Club have both proposed alternative formats to the open entry system currently used.

Additional competition recommendations are a pre-qualifier for the 2021 Olympic Qualification Event; a change to the Free Guard Zone rule; increasing Thinking Time in mixed doubles and changing the Page play-off system to a new six-team play-off system.

World Curling Federation President, Kate Caithness, said: “The recommendations being put to our sixth Annual General Assembly continue to show the strong position our sport finds itself in. Many of the changes and new competition formats to be decided are arising out of growing levels of competition at the elite level and more Member Associations joining our Federation and seeking to fulfil Olympic and Paralympic ambitions.”

Members will also vote for two positions on the World Curling Federation Board. Vice-president for the Americas zone, Graham Prouse, stands unopposed, as does Hew Chalmers for his position as director. The Board will consider four new Member Associations seeking conditional membership. They are Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal and Saudi Arabia.

The World Curling Federation will also look to bring its Anti-Doping and Sports Betting and Manipulation of Results rules closer in-line with those of the International Olympic Committee ahead of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, in the Republic of Korea.

As usual Open Meetings will be held throughout the Congress, with a particular focus on how Member Associations can capitalise on the increased exposure for curling from the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The Annual General Assembly will be held on Sunday 17 September 2017, where all elections and voting will take place.

More news from the Congress and AGA will be posted on www.worldcurling.org and Twitter, Instagram (@WorldCurling) and Facebook (/WorldCurlingFederation) along with the hashtag, #curling