As stated in the recently published bulletin 2 for WOC 2016, the embargoed area in Strömstad City will have a full embargo from 1 Nov 2015. Due to a large number of questions which have been raised by this decision the IOF is issuing this explanatory statement to give better background information about the decision.
The decision was taken in August, after the subject had been raised at a meeting between the Organizing Committee (OC) and the IOF Event Advising (EA) team in June. With a number of potential WOC athletes living close to the embargoed area, the organiser and EA team felt that some athletes would be able to gain an unfair advantage compared to other athletes, and therefore opened the previous embargo decisions made for new consideration. The issue was discussed between the organiser and the EA-team from June to August, with the intention to find the best solution for the fairness of WOC 2016, to be included in the bulletin 2. The decision has been reviewed and supported by the entire EA team and the IOF Foot Orienteering Commission.
The conclusion from the discussions was to implement a full embargo on the sprint area from 1 Nov 2015, basically based on the following points:
1) Preparations will be more fair when athletes living near to Strömstad cannot access the area at all times prior to WOC.
2) The quality of the competition will be better when no athletes have had access to the area for the 10 months prior to the competition.
3) Preparations for the organiser will be easier with an embargo. With athletes living so close by, it is almost impossible for the organiser to do course testing/planning and so on, as they could never know when there might be athletes around.
Due to the fact that some teams visited Strömstad in spring and summer, and some teams had planned training camps in autumn, we found it necessary to keep the area open until Nov 1st. This also to give all athletes who may participate next year a fair chance to visit this autumn.
For fairness to the teams and athletes who do not have the possibility to travel in advance we found it necessary to open the area for three hours the day before the race.
We acknowledge that it is not an ideal situation to change an embargo at this point of time prior to an event, but in this case it is our opinion that this solution will improve the quality and the fairness of the event by giving athletes a more equal access to the competition area.
The IOF Foot Orienteering Commission is currently working on establishing clearer guidelines for embargo of areas for high level sprint events. This to make embargo guidelines more consistent across all IOF events and to meet the needs of athletes and coaches to have consistent rules to follow in their preparations for future events.