The echos of enthusiastic enjoyment from the players in the first Americas Cup had scarcely faded from the Swannee sports halls, yet on Monday morning, 26 October 2009 six National Organisations of Powerchair Football gathered in a conference room in nearby Gwinnette Place for the biennial governing body of FIPFA (Belgium, Canada, England, France, Portugal as well as our host the US Powerchair Soccer Association). While six attended, four sent apologies for absence (Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland). Members of the Secretariat, Commissions and Departments were also present, all under the chairmanship of Hervé Delattre, FIPFA President.
By large majorities in a secret ballot, Cheryl Epp (Canada) was returned as Treasurer, and Chris Finn (USA) as Vice-President. Mary Coleman (USA) was welcomed as the first Medical Director. Robert Thomson took over as Secretary General from fellow Swiss Ingrid Schwegler, who was warmly thanked for her work since even before the formal establishment of the federation in 2006. The appointments of Kevin Grice (England, Finance and Administration) and Terrie Moore (Canada, International Relations) were noted, along with the move of the Secretariat to Saint Genis, a French locality on the border with Geneva, Switzerland.
The organizational relationship with the International Paralympic Committee, which might in due course lead to recognition and membership, were reviewed with great interest, as were sporting developments concerning Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore. The Zone Presidents, Department and Commission heads all made their reports. The balanced books and improved financial protocols presented by the Treasurer and Finance Director were appreciated by the members of Congress, who also thanked the volunteer accountants for their valued contribution to FIPFA.
Technical matters were carefully discussed, especially concerning health, medical eligibility, safety and security of athletes and others involved in the sport. Congress was especially grateful for the progress made on norms and standards for player classification. Plans for further training of referees and refinements in sports rules were approved, and the improvements in the communications tools, accounting system and resource mobilisation were welcomed.
It was agreed to test the realignment of FIPFA zones with the regional structure of the IPC, and minor corrections in the (English-language) text of the Constitution were approved.
The World Cup 2011 bidders (France, USA) were given until Monday, 16 November 2009 to present their written submissions to the Secretary General, in view of the selection visit in December 2009 and Executive Committees decision one month later. Sketches of proposed designs of a new World Cup trophy were examined and one favoured for further artistic and technical development by a University Fine Arts Faculty.
Complete minutes of the meeting of Congress will be posted on www.fipfa.org/fr in due course.