The World Curling Federation held its first virtual Annual General Assembly on Sunday (6 September) where its Member Associations ratified a new international championship, several changes to the Rules of Curling and elected two positions to the Board.
A new curling discipline was added to the international calendar after the Members voted to create the World Wheelchair Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
The first edition of the championship will take place in Lohja, Finland, in January 2021 and will also be proposed as a discipline to be entered into the Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026.
The combination of the Pacific-Asia Curling Championships and the Americas Challenge was also discussed and the concept was strongly supported, however the proposal to form the Pan-Continental Curling Championships was withdrawn to allow the Competitions and Rules Commission to provide detailed proposals for the championships before bringing it back to the Members.
The position of Vice-President (Pacific-Asia) and a Board Director position were both up for re-election at the conclusion of their four-year terms.
Hugh Millikin, from Australia, was voted in by acclimation after standing unopposed, to the position of Vice-President (Pacific-Asia). Millikin, who was first elected to the position in 2014 will now stand until 2024.
Cathrine Lindahl, the two-time Olympic Winter Games gold medallist (2006 and 2010) from Sweden, was re-elected to the position of Director. Lindahl, who was first elected to the position in 2016, had just completed her initial term. Having won re-election, Lindahl will serve on the World Curling Federation Board for four more years, until 2024.
The Polish Curling Association was officially suspended as a Membership Association of the World Curling Federation by an overwhelming majority vote on Sunday afternoon. The statement regarding the suspension can be found here.
During the Annual General Assembly, the Members voted to alter the Governance Style of the World Curling Federation Board and for the creation of a Board Nominations committee.
In alignment with the Federation’s Forward Plan, the Board has been changing from taking an operational, hands-on approach to a more strategic, directional role.
These changes have now been incorporated into the World Curling Constitution and will see the Board remain responsible for the strategic direction of the World Curling Federation, while delegating the day-to-day operational authority to the Secretary General.
This change is designed to improve organisational efficiency and effectiveness towards achieving the strategic plan set out by the Board.
As part of these constitutional amendments, a new Board Nomination Committee will be created.
The committee will ensure Board candidates are eligible to stand, to increase the number of candidates by actively seeking people to stand and to open up the Board nomination process.
The committee will be made up of three elected members and two appointed members — one appointed by the Board and the other appointed by the Athlete Commission.
The committee will be responsible for recruiting candidates who may address a skills gap on the Board and will provide information to the Membership to assist them in the election process.
No Member of the Nominations Committee will be eligible to stand for election to the Board, while also serving on the committee. Elections will take place for the committee every two years and each elected member will serve a four-year term. No Member of the committee may serve for a period of more than four years and no former Board members may serve on the Nominations Committee.
Changes to Coach Interaction Rules
During the General Assembly, the Members voted to alter the rules surrounding Coach Interaction with Teams (Rule C6).
After work by both the Competitions and Rules Commission and the Athlete Commission it was determined that there was no reason why coach interaction was limited to time-outs and breaks at the halfway stage of games.
After passing a majority vote, the rule will now be changed to allow teams to communicate with their coach, alternate player or any other team official during end breaks if the venue layout allows.
The next edition of the Annual Congress will be held in Saint Petersburg, Russia in September 2021. Saint Petersburg was scheduled to host the event in 2020 until the ongoing situation caused by the global pandemic forced the Federation to instead hold a virtual General Assembly.
To read more about the work of the World Curling Federation in the past season, you can download the 2019–2020 Annual Review, which was published on Sunday.