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Cork's Marcus Spillane Elected as World Sailing Vice President

2nd November 2020
Marcus Spillane - World Sailing Vice President Marcus Spillane - World Sailing Vice President

Marcus Spillane, Ireland's candidate for one of seven new vice president roles in World Sailing has been successful in his election bid it was announced today at World Sailing’s Virtual General Assembly.

Quanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing President.  In a closely contested election Li will lead the organisation for the next four years.

At the same election, Ireland's Spillane was elected to serve as one of seven World Sailing Vice- Presidents.

Li was originally elected a vice- president in 2012 and is a former Secretary-General of the Chinese Yachting Association.  He played a large role in the planning and execution of the sailing event at the 2008 Olympics and has been an International Judge.

Spillane, originally from Cork but now USA-based, becomes the first Irish Vice-President since Dubliner Ken Ryan who held the role from 1998-2004.

Spillane, a chartered accountant, is the Treasurer of the Olympic Steering Group of the Irish Sailing Association.

Spillane sailed Mirrors and Laser 2s as a junior sailor before graduating to the 49er. More recently he has competed offshore in various events.  Administratively he has served as International class president of the Laser 2, 49er and Nacra 17 classes.  He has been Ireland's nominee to the World Sailing Council since 2016.

Spillane was sixth of the seven successful candidates. The new eight-person Board (President and 7 VPs) has a five to three male to female gender balance, with four Europeans and one each from Asia, Australia, South Africa and North America. 

Four Presidential candidates were up for election in the first round and no candidate received more than 50% of votes. A second round of voting was required between the top two candidates. Kim Andersen (DEN) and Li advanced to the second round.

Quanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing PresidentQuanhai Li (CHN) has been elected as World Sailing President

In the second round of voting, 128 Member National Authorities, in good standing with World Sailing, sent verified votes to the Independent Scrutineer. Receiving 68 votes, Quanhai Li was elected as World Sailing President. Andersen received 60 votes.

World Sailing Member National Authorities, in good standing with World Sailing, were eligible to vote and when casting their ballot, they were required to vote for at least two male and two female candidates for Vice President.

Li upstaged the incumbent, Kim Andersen (DEN) in a run off-vote following the elimination of two of the four candidates.  The transfers proved crucial, as Li gained 29 of the 36 available votes to win by 68 votes to 60.  It is believed that holding the conference virtually, allowing for many more than normal MNAs to vote, favoured Li whose campaign addressed those MNAs who traditionally did not attend AGMs.  The electorate of 128, easily exceeded the previous record of the 106 delegates who attended (in person) the 2012 election in Dun Laoghaire.

The election process for Vice-Presidential candidates concluded on 16 October with no run-off voting process required. MNAs were invited to vote for seven Vice-Presidents, of which at least two votes for male and two votes for female candidates were required.

Joining World Sailing President Quanhai Li on the Board of Directors will be:

  • Tomasz Chamera (POL)
  • Sarah Kenny (AUS)
  • Philip Baum (RSA)
  • Yann Rocherieux (FRA)
  • Duriye Özlem Akdurak (TUR)
  • Marcus Spillane (IRL)
  • Cory Sertl (USA)

There is a serious work programme ahead.  In addition to the problems caused by the pandemic, World Sailing's finances are precarious and new CEO David Graham confirmed a hiring and salary freeze until stability has been achieved.

While the conference was run successfully on-line, it was understood that the combination of time zone differences, the lack of face-to-face meetings on the fringes and the technical lapses in internet connections will result in a hybrid of physically present and virtual meetings in future. 

David Graham, World Sailing CEO, commented, “I warmly welcome Mr Quanhai Li as President of World Sailing; it is a great advantage having already served for eight years on the Board. Our new President is joined by a very strong set of Vice-Presidents who have a wealth of experience as former Council and Committee members. The future of World Sailing is in very capable hands and I look forward to working with our new Board. World Sailing’s elected Board work incredibly hard and I take this opportunity to thank the outgoing members for their huge efforts over their term.”

The Chairman of the Athletes' Commission will join the Board of Directors as a permanent voting member. In addition, the World Sailing Presidents of Honour, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway and His Majesty King Constantine are entitled to attend and participate in Board of Directors meetings, but they do not hold a vote.

The newly appointed Board of Directors will serve a four-year term up until the 2024 General Assembly.

World Sailing's 2020 Election of Officers was overseen by an Election Committee, chaired by Philip Cotton and supported by Melanie Willmore and David Kellett. KPMG (UK) LLP were appointed as the Independent Scrutineer and accepted and validated the votes on behalf of World Sailing.

Published in World Sailing
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World Sailing Information

World Sailing is the world governing body for the sport of sailing, officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Founded in 1907, World Sailing's vision is for a world in which millions more people fall in love with sailing; inspired by the unique relationship between sport, technology and the forces of nature; we all work to protect the waters of the world.

World Sailing is made up of 144 Member National Authorities, the national governing bodies for sailing around the world and 117 World Sailing Class Associations.

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