Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Reactions in Spain

After the March 27 decision taken by the board of roller sports’ international governing body FIRS to officially recognize a federation representing roller hockey, roller inline hockey, speed and artistic roller skating at the regional level, an important precedent has been established. Catalan national teams – in the strict sense of the word – will now be entitled to enter the World Inline Roller Hockey Championships in Canada and the B-Pool World Roller Hockey Championships in China.

The reactions from the Spanish government and media didn't take long.... the moment the Spanish Supreme Sports Council (CSD) found out that Catalonia could have an official skating team, it got down to work.
On the 29th of March Juan Antonio Gomez-Angulo, the Spanish Junior Minister for Sports, said that the CSD would be filing an appeal against the approval, and announced that it would be sending letters to all the federations that belong to the International Federation. With these letters the CSD aims to get Saturday’s approval suspended. The decision is provisional at present and the International Roller Skating Federation (IRSF) will have to give make it permanent on November 26 in Fresno (USA). In a repetition of what happened with the Basque pelota team of the Basque Country, Spain now wants to influence the vote of the other international federations. The CSD said yesterday, “We are going to explain to them that according to Spanish regulations it is impossible for Catalonia to have an official team and they are going to be asked not to admit Catalonia.”

Is the FIRS going to be ruled by Spanish regulations from now on? Is the FIRS going to become a political apparatus used by the Spanish government to preserve their "national identity"?

On the 28th of Match, the president of the Spanish federation Antoni Martra stated that as a member of the FIRS they assumed the decision of the FIRS but that they will agree with whichever position the Spanish Supreme Sports Council (CSD) takes in this matter.

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