|Announcement to the membership
The USPSA Board of Directors has approved the release of the following statement in order to inform the membership of an issue which may affect USPSA’s participation in international IPSC competition, including the IPSC 2017 Handgun and Rifle World Shoots.
USPSA has for years allowed non-US clubs the opportunity to affiliate with USPSA. These Foreign Club Affiliates (FCAs) are authorized to conduct Level-1 USPSA matches and may submit classifier results so their members can obtain a USPSA classification. The initial affiliation is authorized by the signature of the country’s IPSC Regional Director. There are multiple FCA clubs outside the United States and our parent organization, IPSC, has never had an issue with this practice.
There is now an issue where IPSC objects to the activities of a USPSA-affiliated FCA club, and has demanded that USPSA revoke the affiliation. As the club has not violated the FCA agreement, the initial agreement was duly signed by the Regional Director, and USPSA has long had tacit approval from IPSC for foreign affiliates, we have declined. Frankly, we think it would set a very bad precedent to revoke a valid agreement between USPSA and any club simply because of the demand of a third party.
In response, at the 2016 General Assembly IPSC leadership created a new “sovereignty” clause in the IPSC Constitution which gives them authority to punish any region which supports non-IPSC practical-shooting activity in another region. IPSC leadership has indicated that they crafted the new language specifically to compel USPSA to comply with their wishes. Invoking that new clause, IPSC leadership has threatened to revoke USPSA’s standing as the affiliated region of IPSC within the United States unless we disavow the activities of the FCA club and end our relationship with them.
USPSA President, Mike Foley, has tried for months to reach a mutually-satisfactory agreement with IPSC to resolve this issue. We have offered a number of compromises and solutions, and have been rebuffed. In fact, to date USPSA has not even received the courtesy of a reply from the IPSC President himself. At this point we believe we have no choice but to fully inform the USPSA membership of the situation at hand and the serious potential ramifications that will occur if IPSC continues to reject reasonable compromises and follows through with their threatened action.
If IPSC proceeds with sanctions against USPSA in this matter, our athletes would not be eligible to compete in the 2017 World Shoots. Such action could take place months in advance of the World Shoot, by action of the IPSC Executive Council, or it could take place as late as the day before the Handgun World Shoot begins, by vote of the Regional Directors in attendance at the 2017 General Assembly.
We are making this public statement now for two reasons:
- Our athletes have the right to know that their eligibility to compete in the 2017 World Shoot is at risk, through no fault of their own. We understand that participating in international competition is an investment of time and money, and we want to make sure you have the facts so that each competitor can decide whether that investment is worth the risks, given the threat to USPSA’s standing in IPSC.
- If you choose to compete at a World Shoot, you should know that if this issue is not resolved your eligibility to compete in the match could be revoked even after you arrive in France. We are advising each competitor to make a decision which reflects his/her own priorities and tolerance for that risk.
- This statement is to notify our membership that we intend to continue to seek a mutually satisfactory resolution to this matter. We were there at the founding of IPSC and we are, at present, still a fully-affiliated member of IPSC in good standing. We intend to do what we reasonably can to ensure that our status remains in effect and our competitors continue to enjoy the benefits of competing on the international stage.
We do, however, believe that it is manifestly unfair and unsporting for IPSC to punish the athletes of USPSA in this way. USPSA has done nothing wrong, yet our international standing and our athletes are being used by IPSC as a lever to solve an internal issue between two clubs in another country.
If IPSC proceeds on this path and our athletes are not allowed to compete, potentially on as little as one day’s notice, it would not only diminish the validity of the competition at IPSC world championships, we believe it would severely diminish IPSC’s standing in the community of shooting sports organizations around the world. This is a black eye the shooting community does not need, and it is eminently avoidable.
We will be moving forward in processing World Shoot slots and registering teams, just like any other region in good standing, in the hope that this can still be resolved. We want to make sure our members fully understand that our participation in the two upcoming World Shoots is at risk, and encourage each competitor to evaluate that risk for themselves. USPSA will not be able to help you in the event that IPSC's action results in financial losses or legal complications arising from international travel without valid competitor credentials. Some team members signed competitor agreements prior to December 22, 2016, and those agreements are null and void. USPSA will contact the team members to again accept their commitments.
We will be publishing details about the slot acceptance and payment processes soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please contact your Area Director or the USPSA President via their official USPSA email addresses. Please do not contact board members via their personal emails and social media. USPSA personnel and Directors have been advised to only respond via USPSA email. USPSA wants to encourage open exchange, but must maintain ongoing management of official communication records beyond the terms of those in office.