Multi Day OCR's

As this story develops we will bring you updates - Last updated 21/12/2023 @6:16am with letter from Ian Adamson dated 

 

Today 20/12/2023  a letter was sent to every athlete that competed in the recent World Championships in Belgium this Year, have a read!

 

Recap first official world OCR championship FISO UIPM Belgium 2023
First of all, we the organization of WC23, would like to thank you for your presence at the World Championships in Belgium.
You as athlete, champion, federation member, trainer , marshal or technical official
We received massively your reactions, mails, messages and we thank you for this.
And for this reason we send you this mail. To thank you for your presence, but especially to reflect on this great weekend.
Many have questions or comments about the organization, about the course of the race or about the financial aspect.
Why haven't podium prizes been shared yet , why still no official TO has been paid? What has been promised, by whom and how?
Therefore, we owe you an explanation, because everyone who participated is entitled to the explanation of this.
I wrote this story in English which is not my native language as well as 90% of you . It's not about the writing, it's about the content.


The beginning.
After the plans of Sochi Russia in 2018/2019 ( COVID19) and Moscow 2022, there were plans with Costa Rica 2023.
Costa Rica , for this beautiful country with great people, 2023 came a little too early as the organization of the first ever official World Championship.
Therefore, a solution was sought for a region that had a little more feeling and a little more experience with our sport. Central Europe is a nice start, and Belgium could be a host country.


The entire organization is in the hands of World Obstacle led by president Ian Adamson, elaborated by the competition committee and technical delegation , head TOs, head PARA ...
Myself, Ronny Hofenboom , took the decision to seek a solution as vice president of the competition committee.
From my position within the organization and with the necessary experience in Europe it is an obvious choice to start on my own soil.
World obstacle has no VAT number, no bank account number and thus no mandate, so there must be a solution to organize an event. That solution can only be found by using a host country.
Belgium and its national federation BOCRA acts as host country and provides local support , permits , applications , grants , and local solutions for volunteers and accommodation.
Unlike another intercontinental championships where a host country bears the full organization and final responsibility ( LOI) this falls into the hands of World Obstacle.
This means that signatures on contracts can only be placed by the board of WO. Important decisions and responsibilities fall to the board of WO. And of course the expected profit goes to WO, with a fee on registrations for the local federation as an effort and their commitment.


PROMO and announcements
Many times there was local signal to announce this event, and keep repeating it.
Time after time, week after week, month after month but without much result. The city of Genk asked up to 5 times to be allowed to use photo and video material. Without result.
Costa Rica 2024 is announced every week and that is how it should be.


The registration platform
A solution was sought and quickly found at My Next Match. This forum has proven functional in the sport in the past and in addition, there is a great possibility to accommodate through this platform all federations worldwide, all athletes, all organizations directly related to WO , world series. There is also a possibility to set up a global ranking system through this system.
If each participant pays a small fee ( not determined nor decided) both MNM and WO can generate income from which it can work and further build the organization of the world federation and further develop the sport .
Many of you questioned the WADA file, why so difficult, why spend so much time on questions. 90% of the participants are age-group . Is there no distinction in elite here? This was massively considered unnecessary or too complex.
The medical file also caused many questions.
Is this mandatory for everyone?
If so, from what age? Do adaptive athletes require an additional file?
Does this have to be done every year ? With a sports doctor or a regular doctor? With a test or just at check-ups?
This was unclearly worked out and many of you rightly had a comment on this.


The course and the obstacles
In agreement and consultation with WO and BOCRA, a perfect location was sought locally.
For the obstacles a combination of permanent suppliers ( TOROZ Poland, Urban Sky Holland) and local suppliers Klimber BELGIUM and GOLAZO as supplier logistics was chosen.
For the 100m, WO chose Hannibal's Crossing. Laser shooting came from ECO AIMS from Finland which has already proven itself as a loyal partner of UIPM.
A conscious decision was also made to involve Spartan to strengthen cooperation. To build a bridge between these two globally big organizations. Despite the fact that Spartan has NO race in Belgium it was chosen to build some Spartan obstacles.
The president's quote:
Spartan must be present, they are our partner and all contact is through me only!


The competition directors
A race of the highest level deserves only a leadership of the highest level. So the competition committee was expanded to include some experienced people from different countries.
Philippines, Italy, Hungary, UK.......
In case of discussion, sufficient members of the race committee are present .
The president's quote:
" I decide what can happen, the reason is because I am the president!".


The volunteer staff
Marshal and TOs -Nayibe Statia, head of TOs FISO decided in consultation with the Competition Committee for a nice compensation for all TOs level 3.
50€ daily allowance, breakfast and coffee, lunch and drinks, For a commitment of at least 2 days also a night allowance of max 50€.
A nice initiative because without TOs no race.
The president's quote:
marshals and TOs should not be paid, but provide meals, transport shirt, etc. after all they are volunteers!


The medals.
Beautiful medals were ordered but due to miscommunication the ribbon was printed with COR instead of OCR,
Sufficient podium medals were provided for all groups and for all ages. Due to miscommunication, some had to hand their medals back after ceremony to be immediately handed back to another athlete. After the event, there were still 2 boxes of podium medals in the race office. A few were sent back to the other side of the world on BOCRA's own initiative but not all podium athletes will ever see their precious metal again. The cost of sending them is 5x the value of the metal.


The rulebook
Keep it simple, that was the message months in advance. Long discussions were held about small details with great impact. Decisions were made and changed again. This could have been done more clearly and quickly.


The accounts.
All income comes in through MNM only, this amount must be estimated to fund a full event.
This means that there MUST be a clear financial plan in advance .
To put on a wonderful event you need money, a lot of money. Therefore, it was decided (later) to allow more than the proposed 5 athletes per category. To give more chance to equal athletes, and to cover the expenses.
World Obstacle has no money, no account, no VAT number. So the organization was obliged to find a local solution An account number was opened in the name of WC23 for which 2 members of BOCRA were made responsible. In and out. Paying people, placing orders and making appointments. 100% transparency .


The European federation
The European federation has never received a single penny from all its European championships.
2 X Holand, Denmark , Poland, Italy and not Hungary either.
Never was there a financial agreement which is bizarre to say the least.
But for the World Championships money is miraculously handed out. Not for Asian federations, not for African or South American federations.
Yet another decision of World Obstacle without consulting BOCRA, or yet another proof of the right of decision


Change of plans.
More people had to be invited, people from far, stays had to be paid for.
Buses for federations had to be ordered which were never paid .
Suppliers who allow free obstacles to be used yet have very high expenses, people flown over to set them up and take them down. Contracts that are not fulfilled, equipment that was not delivered must be looked elsewhere. Somewhere else it has to be rented, transportation arranged, extra people, extra costs, extra loss.
Promised weekly payments are not forthcoming, money is lost due to exchange rate of US dollars to Euro, and on top of that has to be settled after a fee that is not fixed in advance.


Hannibal's Crossing
According to contract, this obstacle provider provides not only the obstacles , but also for the mats for safety. These were not present so the organization was obliged to rent mats
from a local provider. Dirty and damaged mats were subsequently charged along with the rental fee. Hannibal's Crossing is avoiding responsibility here.
The president's quote:
" now the problem is local, a solution must be reached"


The announcers
The best event requires the best announcers. Stuart and Brian are the best people in this business, alongside Spartan hero Kevin .
Brian is willing to volunteer to support the sport and this young organization, which immediately makes him my personal hero.
Stuart still demands a fee which is understandable, but we have to cut back so I kindly decline him.
The president's quote:
Both of them will get a 1300€ compensation because they are the best and they deserve it!


Investment in a future
Every organization knows that organizing a first edition is often not profitable .
Equipment was purchased to be used for several years. TO' vests, national flags, staff clothing, bells,....
These materials are not just charged for 1 event .
The major consequence is loss instead of profit
When it appears that there are suddenly far more expenses than income and bills cannot be paid, there is a massive look in the direction of those making the disbursements.
Responsibilities are dismissed or shifted. People demand their earned pennies, suppliers expect invoices to be paid.
Some even send extra invoices for expenses, unexpected costs, alleged damages deemed unproven, unfounded and unexpected.
World Obstacle distances itself completely and refers only to the so-called local organization.
Any new organization can make mistakes and that is normal as long as you learn the lessons from it for a next edition and above all take responsibility to solve it
This small federation has existed since 2017 and has been successful with its athletes. There is a small amount of money over the years, saved by organizing a national league and negotiating with local sponsors.
These self-earned financial resources serve to support athletes, develop the sport domestically, reimburse its own marshals at races, and most importantly support youth toward a great future in the sport.
This federation is now given the impossible task of filling the giant financial well with an empty bank account. Lawyers and receivers must now decide in court the further fate of this federation .Years and thousands of hours of volunteer work will now be completely lost due to wrong decisions and misjudgments.
With this letter, I do not want to attack anyone personally nor offend anyone. People make mistakes and that's OK. Transparency is the key to a great comunity
Ronny Hofenboom
Event Director WC23 Belgium
EX vice president competitions committee World Obstacle
President Luxembourg Obstacle Sports Association

 


 I reached out to Ronny to asked  a few question see below

Who is footing the bill for event losses?

When the money runs out , which is the case, BOCRA will have to explain this in court. And the remaining funds will be seized.

Obviously, bankruptcy is the only outcome

 

If World Obstacle called the shots and took the profits (if any), why don't they pay the bills and should they, in your opinion?

World Obstacle should take responsibility here and pay the vendors they ordered to carry out assignments

It is not my intention to hold 1 person responsible. I don't want to go to war, but people have a right to the truth. First and foremost

This young organization must learn from its mistakes and draw its conclusions to move forward

 

The question on our lips is :- will Ian Adamson "The president" and FISO let BOCRA go Bankrupt?

 

Today 21/12/2023 we have received further correspondence, this time it is in the form of a letter that was sent from World Obstacle and signed by Ian Adamson (the president of World obstacle /FISO) to the Technical officials

 

Re: 2023 OCR World Championships

December 12, 2023

 

Dear Technical Officials,

Thank you for your hard work supporting the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWCH) in Belgium under challenging circumstances. Your dedication to the sport was critical to the success of the event.
I am aware that the promised payments for expenses and other commitments were not fulfilled, and World Obstacle has been working hard to find a solution.

To provide clarity on the revenues for the OCRWCH, BOCRA received all income from race entries, photographs, food, beverages, grants, and merchandise. My Next Match sent athlete registration revenues directly to BOCRA’s bank accounts, to which World Obstacle has no access, so we have no clear understanding of how the money was managed. We believe that registrations exceed €300,000 and those revenues should have been used to pay the creditors including Spartan, EcoAims, Hannibals Crossing, announcers, the TOs, and me (100m event branding.)

Although BOCRA claims they were not the event hosts, they proposed hosting the world championships after Costa Rica was postponed to 2024. 

 

On 9 Jul 2022, BOCRA Vice President and board member Mr. Ronny Hofenboom wrote:

 The world championship should take place in 2023. 
If it cannot take place in Costa Rica I want to offer an alternative.
We can let it take place in central Europe. Belgium.
We can work out a collaboration with the Strong Viking organization, they have a loan model for the race. We do everything ourselves, I know sponsors, I know people who can arrange the accommodation. We do the time tracking. Drinks and food are under our control. Merchandising you name it. 

 

On 10 July 2022, Mr. Hofenboom wrote:

How about the weekend of September 15/16and 17, 2023? 

That's the weekend after strong viking in Belgium. Then the whole circus will be transformed into a WC course. 

Everything can remain present, and supplemented with the things we need to receive international athletes.

I will start the discussions and keep you posted.

 

World Obstacle (FISO) accepted BOCRAs bid provided they guarantee they fulfill the host obligations, including:

Please see the LOC obligations in the attached host requirements document. 

 

FISO Event LOC Requirements
PDF – 716.0 KB 53 downloads
FISO Event Host Requirements
PDF – 219.5 KB 51 downloads

 

BOCRA’s claim they were not the hosts is false because of their bid, their control of the venue, event and finances, and their collaboration on announcements, e.g. news published on 6 January 2022:

https://www.worldobstacle.org/blog/fiso-2023-ocr-world-championships-announced/

Follow the above link and see the screen shot below.

 

WO was not confident BOCRA co

On 7 November 2022 Deputy Secretary General Mr. Michel Cutait wrote to Mr. Hofenboom:

I would like to emphasize the importance of financial resources, otherwise we won't be able to fund the games, staff, equipment, travel, etc. It would be important to work on a plan to raise funds for this event. Before the event, obviously. Normally the city contributes the Host Fee, which guarantees the cost of the federation. Without the Host Fee, who will pay for this?

Mr. Hofenboom replied on the same day:
There will be sponsors, grants will be obtained. But I can guarantee you that we will get everything done nicely, and still make a good profit.

On 27 January 2023 Mr. Hofenboom wrote:

I will take the final responsibility as overall event director and will be the glue between the building uld host the event on short notice (the practice is two years preparation) and questioned them on their capabilities.

The FISO LOC Requirements Manual states:

Although BOCRA claims it was WO that promised the payment to technical officials, it was Mr. Hofenboom, who wrote on 7 Nov 2022:

What do you think we can offer marshals for the World Cup. My idea is as follows

Tshirt/food&drinks/goodie bag

50€ per day allowance

Accommodation per day( if in bungalow park in a bungalow at least per 4)

 

On 9 November 2022, Ms. Nayibe Statia replied

If you can afford it, then definitely do it. If it becomes a bit difficult for the cost, then it is more important to cover the basic amenities of accommodation and meals and equipment.

 

In summary, BOCRA committed to and functioned as the event host, they made the agreements (service providers, contractors, suppliers, vendors), and promise to pay TOs, took all revenues (athlete registrations, merchandise, food, beverages, grants, sponsorships), controlled the bank accounts (income and expenses), but failed to provide financial transparency when World Obstacle asked if it could assist.

BOCRA’s failure to uphold their obligations as the event host and their failure to take responsibility for their lack of financial controls has put many of us in a difficult situation.

While WO would like to provide financial assistance to cover BOCRAs commitments and debts, it has no income, no assets, and no bank account. This is because WO does not charge national federations membership fees, it allows event hosts to keep all income, and provides sport functions such as coach development, anti-doping, safe sport, and officials training for free to its members, and at its own cost.

 

The Central Board and committees of World Obstacle have worked hard to understand how this situation came about and how to prevent a similar situation in the future. Attached for reference are requirements and guidelines provided to event hosts

Yours Sincerely,

 

Ian Adamson

President

 

What's your thoughts on it?

Who has all the reported $300,000 from entry fees? 

 

 

In the public interest we felt it was the right thing to share this document which was reviewed earlier today, we have reached to the author and also World obstacle for comments, we will update this article if and when official comments are received


About the author:

Alan Aka Muddy Duck

Founder of UKOCR, Winner of a Wolf Run and a Tight Yorkshireman

 

 

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Comments

Philip Airey
2 months ago

WO can't be held financially accountable in this situation but it should hold itself accountable in every other respect. Its not acceptable to appoint the organiser and then wash your hands clean after. What matters for WO and our sport is what happens next to improve things and make sure it doesnt happen next. Call me sceptical but if the answer is that WO should take control of the finances, then maybe that isnt the best idea either. So in hindsight what could WO have done to prevent this? Things that i can think of are:
A proper contract with the local federation setting out how the relationship will work.
This to include open book access to finances, open to WO but also maybe more widely to all participating federations.
Ring fenced funds/budget for WO which they can use at their discretion for certain pre agreed activities, like marketing or medals etc. If they want more then it will have to be agreed via commitee not summary 'presidential' decree.
Better communication to all from start to finish, its clear they have been forced into making a statement, on the back foot, demonstrates a tendency to hide from, not confront issues.
On the £300k funds and who has it I would say, is it £300k? Could be less could be more... cant be cheap to hold such a high profile event. A lot, and perhaps all, could have been spent legitimately, but we dont know for sure. Looks like the courts will help decide on this?
On BOCRAs response, I would 1st like to welcome the fact some of this is in the open, it is probably ultimately better for our sport. But....the message I'm getting is one of an unprofessional way of working. Taking responsibilty for decisions when it suits and pinning the blame on WO when it doesn't. I strongly object to naming individual contractors and having a view on whether they accepted no payment or not. Every one that was contracted to provide a service, deserves the amount that was agreed on.
Just a thought but could an organisation be set up on behalf of participating national federations to organise these events, sharing the liabilty but also any potential profits? The host nation could take a higher % of both? That will help professionalise the organisational side of things with paid for staff member/s. Dream job for someone.....maybe.

Mark Logan
2 months ago

Well done UKOCR for putting this out, first and most important question which will go a long way to answering the whole thing is surely where is the money ? simply put whoever has it or what is left of it should be paying the bills.
I see a comment about a potential solution for the TOs publish the meeting and be transparent stop with the secret meetings

Matthew Kirk
2 months ago

I have just come out of a Zoom call with Ian regarding the financial loses of the TO's and a potential solution moving forward.

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