Parkour Earth has been officially established as the International Federation for the sport of parkour.
The move comes after the international federation for Gymnastics, Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG), announced earlier this year it would govern parkour by creating a new gymnastics discipline proposed for Olympic inclusion.
FIG have been at the centre of controversy regarding parkour, however, with the governing body accused by various parties of “encroachment and misappropriation” of the sport. Multiple parkour national federations and other organisations have issued open letters criticising FIG’s interest in parkour – these include NZ Parkour, Australian Parkour Association, Parkour UK, Polish Parkour, Parkour Argentina, and Parkour Singapore. The Finnish, German, Swedish and Swiss communities have also issued their condemnation of FIG’s actions.
Parkour UK has issued multiple open letters to FIG, which set a deadline to reach a Memorandum of Understanding by July 26th. “The initial deadline for a response from the FIG in relation to our legitimate and fundamental concerns lapsed on the 26th July therefore, we are now taking all necessary and appropriate steps to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the sport of Parkour/Freerunning, our sport”, said Parkour UK’s Chief Executive Eugene Minogue.
In what appears to a response to the lapsed deadline, Parkour Earth was launched after a number of national parkour federations reached an accord on the 4th July 2017. The six founding national federations are Parkour UK (GBR), Fédération de Parkour (FRA), New Zealand Parkour – Tauhōkai Aotearoa (NZL), Australian Parkour Association (AUS), Parkour South Africa (ZAF) & Polska Federacja Parkour i Freerun (POL).
In an initial press release, Parkour Earth describes its intentions as being the “sole governing and administering body for the Parkour/Freerunning/Art du Déplacement internationally to protect the rights, freedoms and promote the interests of traceurs/traceuses, freerunners, practitioners, members & the international community.”
FIG remains ontrack with their plans to bring parkour into gymnastics however, recently approving the first Parkour World Cup to take place this November in cooperation with the International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE) in Chengdu from November 3 to 5. Workshops and educational events will also be held at the Parkour World Cup.
FIG also recently confirmed a Parkour Commission will be formed and a sports manager for the discipline has been employed. David Belle, a key figure in the founding of parkour, has been confirmed as chair of the FIG Committee. Charles Perrière, President of the Mouvement International du Parkour, and other parkour experts will also be included on the Committee, including two athlete representatives, one male and one female.
The founding member National Federations, have elected and appointed a transitional Board of Directors on phased initial terms of office. The Transitional Board consists of four Elected Directors – Damien Puddle of New Zealand Parkour – Tauhōkai Aotearoa, Eliot Duffy of Australian Parkour Association, Paul Gray of Parkour South Africa & Sacha Lemaire of Fédération de Parkour.
In addition to two Independent Directors – Stuart McInnes MBE as Independent Chair & Dr Belinda Wheaton. Additionally, Eugene Minogue of Parkour UK has been nominated and appointed as transitional CEO on an ex-officio basis.
Parkour Earth is now beginning the process of on-boarding other National Federations and communities from around the world. The first AGM (Congress) will be held within 210 days of incorporation, therefore in early 2018.
Just 24 hours after the launch of Parkour Earth, the International Parkour Federation (IPF) have said their application to be recognised as parkour’s official International Federation is still pending with the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF). “Official recognition can only be bestowed by GAISF or by the IOC,” an IPF statement on Facebook read. “The only parkour federation with a pending application for GAISF or the IOC is the IPF. The application has been pending for three years.”
Minogue believes the IPF does not boast the same ideals as Parkour Earth and that backing for the newly formed organisation has been enormous. “The IPF is closely linked to another organisation called the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation which is a for-profit organisation that has shareholders,” he said. “A lot of those shareholders are on the board of the IPF. The IPF does not have principles of governance, it does not have elections but a self-elected Board.”
“One of our founding key principles is National Federations federating and that has not happened under the IPF or any other bodies out there. The community have embraced Parkour Earth overwhelmingly because it has come from that democratic viewpoint.”