Sports authorities order removal of skating association official

Taipei, The Sports Administration on Friday ordered the secretarygeneral of the Chinese Taipei Skating Union (CTSU) to be removed from his position to punish the group for giving up the right to host a figure skating event later this year in Taipei.

The order came after a Ministry of Education (MOE) task force completed an investigation into the controversy over the right to host the 2019 Asian Open Figure Skating Classic and found that Eddy Wu had not followed proper procedures in handling the case.

The CTSU was originally set to host the event at Taipei Arena from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, but its hosting rights were eventually switched to Hong Kong, with the competition now scheduled for Dongguan in China's Guangdong province.

According to Sports Administration deputy head Lin Chehung the investigation task force found that the ISU asked the CTSU in June for its agreement that Hong Kong could host the event.

When the association received the request, Wu did not follow the union's regulations to bring an issue as important as the hosting rights to a board meeting for discussion, Lin said.

Instead, he decided on his own to give his consent because of his alleged fear of an international boycott of the competition, Lin said, explaining the Sports Administration's rational for making its move.

Beyond ordering Wu's removal, the MOE also issued a warning to the CTSU and suspended some of its public funding for a year, Lin said.

The controversy surfaced on July 23 when the CTSU released a statement saying that Taiwan's right to host the competition had been revoked by the International Skating Union (ISU).

At that time, the CTSU claimed it received a letter from the ISU saying that the current international situation is unsuitable for Taiwan to host such an event, but it was later discovered that the ISU did not use those words.

The ISU, the international governing body for competitive ice skating, said in a statement on July 24 that it received indications from several ISU Asian Member Federations including the Chinese Taipei Skating Union at the end of May that it would be preferable to host the event in another Asian country.

The ISU did not give any explanation why members would feel that way, but added, without giving a specific time, that it was finally decided that the event would be hosted by Hong Kong.

At a press conference on July 25, Wu confirmed that the CTSU did propose to the ISU in May the option of another Asian country hosting the event, but said it was done out of fear of athletes from other countries boycotting the competition.

The inconsistency of the statements made by Wu and the CTSU also figured in the Sports Administration's decision announced Friday.

Lin said the statements mislead people, triggered a social disturbance, and hurt (Taiwan's) international reputation.

There was some question whether a government agency could interfere in the operations of a private sports association.

But Lin said that because of the seriousness of the case, the MOE opted to discipline the CTSU based on the National Sports Act, which he said empowers relevant authorities to deliver a warning to an association or suspend its operations if it violates the law or jeopardizes the public interest.

Based on Article 43 of the act, the MOE is giving the CTSU a warning and suspending part of its funding for one year, as well as ordering Wu's removal, Lin said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel