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  KOI - W.K.F News

World Karate Federation News

Tommy Morris is now WKF Presidential Advisor
In March 2010 Tommy Morris announced his retiral as WKF Referee Committee Chairman, a position he has held since 1986. President Antonio Espinos then announced that Tommy would be appointed to a new position of WKF Presidential Advisor.

WKF Karate and the IOC
As you will know by now the IOC decided in favour of golf and rugby sevens. So much for their published aims of universality of sport and availability to all. I wonder how many poor kids in the world will ever have the chance to play golf, and as for seven a side rugby, what is that all about? WKF has a membership of 180 countries and many millions of karate-ka, but unfortunately after karate seemed to be winning the vote against golf, it finally emerged that we lost. Looks like the huge income from TV is still more important than a sport practised world-wide by millions. Well, we are no worse off than before and we can still devote our energies to further developing what we already have.

The President of WKF Antonio Espinos and General Secretary George Yerolimpos and many WKF members have devoted an immense amount of time, effort and expense, into the drive for Olympic acceptance. Our heart-felt sympathies go out to them... and to the millions of young karate-ka who have been denied their chance to aspire to be Olympic Champions. Seven sports made their bid for inclusion in the Olympic Programme.

The WKF Presentation to the IOC Executive Board
A WKF delegation led by the WKF President Antonio Espinos, composed of the General Secretary George Yerolimpos, the Sports Director Tommy Morris and the members of the WKF Athletes Commission, Tessy Scholtes and Davide Benetello, presented the candidature of the WKF and Karate for the 2016 Olympic Games to the IOC Executive Board in Lausanne on the afternoon of Monday June 15th. The team arrived on Saturday in Lausanne and worked the whole weekend on the final details of the presentation. On Sunday, a rehearsal took place in the IOC Headquarters where all the technical details and other issues were finalised.

The presentation itself was well received by the IOC Executive Board; it covered all aspects of both the World Karate Federation and of the sport of Karate, such as; 180 countries in membership of the WKF, World Championships in Tokyo where 98 countries participated, the universality of karate where everyone including children from even the poorest and most isolated regions can practice, a sport which is drugs free and which has all the components that other combat sports lack, such as kicking, punching and striking, sweeping and throwing and where injury rates are extremely low. The presentation was so well put that there was only one question of a technical nature which was well answered by Tommy Morris.

The years of effort put in by Antonio Espinos and George Yerolimpos could be seen in the friendly and familiar way that many of the IOC members greeted them. Six other sports, golf, rugby, roller sports, softball, baseball and squash were also putting their cases for inclusion but based on the IOC requirements, karate has to be in a very strong position. The IOC Executive Board will meet again in Berlin on the 13th of August and will decide which two sports from the seven candidates will be proposed and which will then be submitted to the Copenhagen IOC Session for approval on the 9th of October 2009.

Davide Benetello, WKF Sports Director Tommy Morris, WKF President Antonio Espinos, Tessy Scholtes and
WKF General Secretary George Yerolimpos outside the IOC Offices after the presentation

Competition Rules Update Version 6 January 2009
Some amendments have been made to WKF rules. You can download these from the WKF web site or you can download the latest updated version here. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open them. Download V6

Change in WKF Theory Examination
The WKF theory examination will be conducted only in the three official languages of the IOC. This will allow the questions to be changed for every examination.

Changes in the Examination Procedures
Continuing his initiative to have all WKF referee candidates receive the same fair treatment from the Referee Committee Tommy Morris proposed to President Antonio Espinos that an entirely new system of examination be adopted. The proposal was accepted and was put into practice in Monterrey Mexico at the WKF Championships. A presentation outlining the new system was given to the WKF Executive Committee and to the Congress where it was warmly received. The new system resulted in the highest ever passmark with a higher than 50% pass in kata and kumite.

What was proposed was that each examiner must act independently in future and will have an evaluation form on which the candidates scores are recorded. Immediately after the examination of a candidate the examiner gives the form to the Referee Commission Secretary. When all the forms have been collected the highest and lowest scores are discarded and the remaining scores are averaged to give the final score. The WKF President and RC Chair decide the actual pass-mark which is not known to the examining panel. The candidate will receive the result via a pass/fail form which in the case of failure outlines the reasons. The National Federation will be notified of the result.

In the past some candidates were upset to receive a "B" qualification when others went directly to "A" level. This has also been changed so that the qualification system is now as follows:

A "B" licence is required before an "A" licence can be attempted. Candidates must progress through each level. However those with "B" qualifications may now officiate at that level in all WKF events and a new examination can be attempted every year, it is no longer required to wait 2 years before moving from Kumite Judge A to Kumite Referee, so the progression is;
Kumite Judge B and/or Kata Judge B
Kumite Judge A and/or Kata Judge A
Kumite Referee B
Karate Referee. This is a new qualification and replaces Kumite Referee A.
Karate Referees are qualified in both Kumite and Kata to "A" level. Those who currently hold Kumite Referee A will require to obtain Kata Judge A by 31 December 2008.

The new system has been warmly received with a number of National Federations requesting further details with a view to implementing the same method in their national examinations.

Karate competition requires exceptional referees and the movement towards more and more professionalism in sport karate makes the job even more difficult and extremely stressful. Charges of bias against officials even when they are completely unfounded only adds to the strain of officiating and after the World Championships in Madrid, Tommy Morris proposed changes to Antonio Espinos the EKF/WKF President. Here are the changes.

Referee Selection

In future the selection of the referees and judges who officiate in the finals and repechage will be chosen by the Tatami Chiefs (Match Area Controllers) as follows.

1. Each competition area is supervised by two Match Area Controllers (Tatami Chiefs) who observe and monitor the performance of the officials under their control.
2. A Selection Committee consisting of one MAC from each Tatami will be responsible for the choice of officials for the finals and repechage.
3. As far as possible the Members of the Selection Committee will all be from different Continental Unions. (In the case of the European Karate Federation from different countries.)
4. When a team or individual competitor has the same nationality as a member of the Selection Committee then that member will automatically be excluded from the process.
5. The actual choice of officials for the finals will be made by three to five MACs depending on paragraph 4 above.
6. When the choice of Referee Panel had been made it will be recorded on the official form and signed by the Selection Committee.
7. Once made only the Selection Panel that made the choice has the authority to change the composition of the Referee Panel chosen.

Team Kumite Changes

In order to relieve stress, ensure fair play and competent and unbiased officiating the following method is to be adopted for all Kumite Team Finals and Repechage (for the 3rd places) matches.
1. Only qualified referees will be used, not judges.
2. The centre referee will change after each bout.
3. At the end of each bout all the members of the referee panel will move in a clockwise direction to their next position (without an exchange of bows).
4. Each official including the arbitrator (Kansa) will act as centre referee once, excepting female matches and those matches that are decided according to Article 7 paragraph 6 of the Competition Rules.
5. In the case of a draw (Hikiwake) between male teams and a deciding bout be necessary then the first referee will take the centre position once more.

National Referees May Go Direct to WKF Exams

When the first WUKO World Championships and refereeing examinations were held in 1970, nationally qualified referees were eligible to take the examinations and this situation continued right up until quite recently although the European Karate Federation (formerly EKU) was an exception in that its members had to be qualified Continental Union referees before being allowed to participate at World level. However there were so many people attempting the examinations often without effective and proper preparation that the WKF DC decided that all candidates to the WKF examinations must be Continental Union qualified referees so that, in theory at least, only the best would actually attempt the WKF examinations. Unfortunately the time needed to qualify first as a National Referee, then as a Continental Referee, then as a WKF Judge, and then as a WKF Referee, was so long that some candidates were well past their best by the time they finally arrived at the WKF examinations. This long process together with the added complication and expense of air travel within Continental Unions to attend the examinations was prohibitive for many and so some prospective candidates could never get to the WKF at all. WKF DC decided to remedy this and in a directive issued on 23 July 2001 all Nationally qualified Kumite Referees and Kata Judges supported by their National Federations may once more attend the WKF courses and examinations. Visit the WKF web site for more information.

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