Should we join IFA as a member nation?
I would like anyone who has competed or refereed in a PAA UK & IRELAND competition to read this page & answer:
Should we join IFA as a member nation?
We have been invited to apply to join IFA as a member nation. IFA allow individuals to participate in their championships which is what we do at present.
The PAA encourages new armwrestlers to join a club so they can learn how to pull safely & learn the basic rules of competition. We hold regional tournaments to give pullers competition experience & opportunities to advance to pro status by winning or placing.
National championships for Novices create new pros. The Pro Nationals award champion status which can be used as a springboard for further opportunities. Having a national title holder participate is attractive to promoters of supermatches.
WORLD CHAMPION STATUS & POLITICS
The World Armwrestling Federation holds an annual championship as does the International Federation of Armwrestling. WAF is bigger.
IFA was formed as an alternative to WAF.
WAF bans those who participate in IFA competitions or events they do not endorse.
IFA do not ban those who participate in other competitions.
Individuals from PAA UK & IRELAND have participated in IFA. Those of us who did were banned by WAF.
Denise Wattles, General Secretary of IFA published a statement on 19th January 2023 about the reason why IFA was formed:
Engin Terzi gave some insight from his perspective in a post & further in replies to comments on 12 June 2023 on his facebook page:
Those of us who have participated in IFA championships have been banned from competing in WAF.
I have been told by two WAF referees that they were threatened with being banned & stripped of their referee status if they associated with us (the PAA).
UK & IRELAND pullers have competed (& won) WAF competitions in the past. Since lockdown I'm only aware of one UK & IRELAND puller who has competed in WAF.
Joining IFA supports their cause & provides a smoother structure for competing in their events with further progression for our pullers.
WHATS IN IT FOR US?
To the casual puller disinterested in politics with no ambition to travel, the answer is nothing. It does not affect them.
For those interested in progression, the opportunity to pull the other nations of the world is valuable. If WAF has no opposition the choice is be humble, pay the fine & sign acceptance of the WAF version of reality. That's not something I will be doing. I was banned by WAF before I ever pulled as I'd joined the URPA registration system which they instantly took a dislike to.
Joining IFA takes some work & commitment from me & the few others motivated to providing opportunites for the rest of you. We have been afforded the status of a nation in the team standings in the past few competitions despite being actually a group of individual entries. This was a courtesy, as was the invites to participate in the Congress. Our referees get trained free of charge. To most pullers that is of little or no interest. For some of us it is valuable.
I will declare my interest & future ambitions here. I took over as PAA UK & IRELAND President to relieve Paul Maiden who needed space to pursue other projects. It was not something I would have volunteered for if advertised. My plan was - & still is _ to be on the Master referee panel of IFA.
This has taken somewhat of a back seat now I have bigger concerns but if the PAA grows enough & a better organiser than me emerges who wants to be President I'll support them & stand down. Doing so would give me more time to pursue my own progression as a puller & referee. Being president costs me in time & financially - I don't claim any expenses or draw salary. I like doing it at the moment - at first it was a matter of survival not to collapse what Paul & others had built. It takes a lot of time & thought to continue & there is a constant stream of enquiries & complaining to deal with. Any takers?
It will cost us a 100 Euro administration fee to join.
If we were to apply to join it would need to be democratically voted on at the AGM by the members with voting rights.
Information on the requirements from IFA are here:
Here in the UK & IRELAND we have no drug testing & it is not against our rules to take them. Part of our culture & banter is to casually accuse anyone who has improved to be "roided up to their eyeballs." I made number six on the top ten roided armwrestler list last year which I took in good spirit as a testament to my improvement. Some pullers openly talk about their usage, others scorn the thought of it. I personally do not care what my opponent chooses to do. It takes commitment & additional risk & it's not cheating if not against the rules.
Why isn't it against the rules?
1) Cost. Testing is expensive. In 2022 I enquired on the costs for a report for the board. One test done by an independent lab would cost us £440. If proved to be done incorrectly the joint legal ramifications would be equally against us & the testing company. If we joined the WADA scheme the cost is changing our Constitution to be acceptable to Sport England & adhering to all sorts of things outside our interest. Becoming recognised by them as a governing body has been suggested to me a number of times. We aren't big enough. To adhere to their requirements means having a person answerable to them with the power to override the board/committee. They must be available to attend the mandatory training courses & conferences as required & to enforce whatever rules are made. That's just the drugs. There has to be one for child protection, equality & diversity etc. Other governing bodies have paid employees to do this & they often have underlings & admin staff under their direction. It's a full time job. Does anyone fancy doing that for free cos I don't. The lowest estimate I can find for such a job is £15000. That's 375 membership fees. We need double that number to consider it. We would have to make membership andatory for every competitor. Currently there are about 560 armwrestlers in the UK & IRELAND who have competed in something (not necessarily PAA) in the last 5 years. Of those there are about 150 regulars & of those 41 have paid a membership fee this year. As can be seen the costs are to high for the numbers involved.
2) Drug testing would reduce participation in this country. Independent promotions will always put on non drug tested events & our numbers will reduce if we test currently.
3) Effectiveness. "Test for anything you want, I'll beat it," has been said. I don't know if it's true but it's possible.
IFA DRUG TESTING.
IFA & (WAF) do random drug testing at their events & ban/sanction those who are positive. If we joined IFA & one of our team tested positive we would be expected to exclude them from competition also. I would hope my roided friends will respect this & not go, otherwise, expect to be excluded by us too so we can play IFA happily.
If you've read this far, well done, you're one of the few. It is my opinion that we should join. Originally I did not think this as I felt it would be better remaining neutral. This year restrictions were put on East vs West by WAF via the Turkish Federation. That doesn't affect me or most of our pullers, but it could for a few. Some of our champions might be asked to declare they won't pull for us in future. They will have to choose their own path, but will remain welcome to compete in our tournaments whatever they choose. Reports of poor treatment from other national presidents at the IFA congress changed my mind. I still hold the grudge for banning m e& I say we stick it to WAF.
So if you have pulled or reffed in a PAA UK & IRELAND tournament please use the GET IN TOUCH button to tell me whether we should apply to join IFA as a member nation & give your reasons. Also state the last PAA event you took part in.
Fans/trolls/pullers who have not pulled in the PAA - I don't need your opinion.
The next AGM will be in January 2024. Proposals & considerations for the agenda close after 31st December 2023. The question may be considered to be put to the full members to vote on if there is support for it.
Dan Earthquake, PAA UK & IRELAND PRESIDENT - 11th July 2023.