Posted on August 04 2014
Like skateboarding folklaw, stalwart of the scene Andrew Currie has released a statement on the recent Am Series cancellation via his personal Facebook page. Please read it below, and do what you can to take action now. Repost from the crew at SBA.
THE 2014 AUSTRALIAN AMATEUR TITLES - CANCELLED: THE FACTS
The official press release about the cancellation of the 2014 Nike x SbA Am Titles seemingly voids SbA’s (Skateboarding Australia) parent organisation, Skate Australia (the government funded organisation responsible for the "growth and development of all skate-sports" including skateboarding and roller-skating), of any apparent responsibility in this matter, squarely placing the blame on the Federal Government’s May budget.
The Federally funded ASC (Australian Sports Commission) were willing to look at adjusting Skate Australia’s second funding instalment of FY15 (moved forward from January 2015 to October 2014) to assist with any cash flow concerns, and to ensure the Am Titles could be seen to completion, whilst SbA sought to find a suitable sponsor to replace the loss of funding from it’s partnership with Anpha (the Government’s anti-binge drinking campaign).
The presenting commercial partner of the Titles, Nike, were also eager to explore all available options, including the possibility of contributing additional funding, to ensure the event was delivered to completion.
The people who, despite both the ASC and Nike’s generous efforts to help, still determined the completion of the Titles an "unacceptable risk to the organisation", are a newly-appointed CEO (having been in the position less than one month), and a Board Of Directors with no connection (with the exception of one) to skateboarding at all. Said CEO has no previous experience in the role of Chief Executive Officer, and had never attended a single SbA event of any kind.
Despite having completed six of eight stops, with 48 skateboarders qualified (many of whom had already booked and paid for flights and accommodation for the advertised Final in October), and only the Queensland and New South Wales Qualifying stops remaining, the Skate Australia CEO and Board Of Directors determined that, in a year when a major financial partner (Anpha) has been lost, the pursuit of a surplus budget (for a non-profit organisation) was paramount to completing the Titles.
Completion of the event would have demonstrated the benefits of the Am Titles to new potential sponsors to see 2015 have a chance. Instead, they have opted to destroy the reputation of SbA as any kind of reliable event delivery platform, cancelled all plans for a National Amateur series for 2015, and made the majority of skateboarding staff redundant to the organisation. Meanwhile, all of Skate Australia’s "traditional roller-sports" will continue with their National Championships unaffected, with Australian teams for Inline Hockey and Artistic Roller Skating still being sent off to World Championships.
At this stage the ASC will continue with current funding levels to Skate Australia as the NSO (National Sporting Organisation) best positioned to service Skateboarding in Australia. It would seem evident, in light of Skate Australia’s recent disregard for Australian skateboarders, that the new CEO and Board Of Directors are shifting focus away from skateboarding, and towards "traditional roller-sports". Moving forward, it is highly unlikely that skateboarding will prosper under the archaic umbrella of Skate Australia and it’s newly appointed CEO.
Currently SbA gets only just over half of the total allocated ASC funding to Skate Australia, even though it’s obvious from SbA’s 62,580 Facebook followers (compared to Skate Australia’s 3,260) that there is an overwhelming majority of people skateboarding in Australia compared to those roller skating. Furthermore, there are over 1300 public skateboard parks in Australia, compared to 30 privately operated roller-skating rinks nation wide, which would again suggest that there are considerably more skateboarders than roller skaters in Australia. In the ASC’s own words (during a participation presentation), "Not every kid at a skateboard park is a registered participant, yet they are a participant none the less".
Skateboarding continues to be grossly under-represented in the Skate Australia constitution. In light of SbA’s significant growth from 4000 registered participants in 2010, to its calendar year membership of 12,500 in 2013, a document was tabled with the ASC (Australian Sports Commission) in April recommending that skateboarding would greatly benefit from standing independently, completely separate from Skate Australia, as its own NSO (National Sporting Organisation) with a 100% focus on skateboarding. To date there has been no formal reply, nor any actionable outcomes, from the ASC in response to said document.
Lacrosse, Orienteering and Bocce are just some of the "sports" the ASC recognise as being deserving of their own organisations, though they continue to insist, that despite being one of the fastest growing "sports" in the world, skateboarding should for some reason be "governed" by roller skating.
Whether you’re a skateboarder, a parent of a skateboarder, or somebody working in the skateboarding industry, if what you have read here alarms you, please direct your concerns regarding the practices of Skate Australia, in writing, to the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission:
PO Box 176, Belconnen