The reforms were approved by 93.85 per cent of voting delegates at the World Sailing AGM ©World Sailing

Governance reforms have been approved at the World Sailing Annual General Meeting (AGM) which President Quanhai Li has claimed will "modernise the sport's decision-making".

World Sailing's structure and process will now start to change and additional elements be established with a view to full Implementation from the 2024 AGM.

The changes were approved by a 93.85 per cent majority at the AGM held at the World Sailing Annual Conference, exceeding the 75 per cent required.

World Sailing said that the changes would enable it to "be more efficient and increase transparency in line with the requirements of a modern global sporting body".

Under the changes, the General Assembly is set to meet annually, and the Council is expected to meet at least once in-person and up to four times throughout the year.

These meetings are to feature an emphasis on debating and deciding policy, which falls under the Council's remit.

The Board will continue in a non-executive capacity to monitor World Sailing's activities, consisting of the President, the Athletes' Commission chair and seven elected directors.

Constitutional changes require the President and elected directors to consist of four men and four women.

Staff and the executive management team are led by World Sailing's chief executive, who may be granted authority to make operational decisions by the Board.

World Sailing President Quanhai Li said that the reforms have
World Sailing President Quanhai Li said that the reforms have "united the World Sailing family" ©World Sailing

Other changes include the enhancement of a Regional Development Committee to target growth in emerging sailing nations and the creation of a Specialist Sailing Committee to promote cooperation between the sport's major events and advise on non-Olympic top-level events.

An independent Disciplinary Tribunal is set to replace the Judicial Board and Ethics Commission to rule on breaches of a revised Code of Ethics.

Existing Committees, Sub-Committees and Commissions are to be carried over into the new structure.

Li, who was elected as President in November 2020, welcomed the reforms.

"This is a decision which has united the World Sailing family and marks an important step in our journey," the Chinese official said.

"I am very pleased that we have seized this opportunity to modernise the sport’s decision-making.

"As we have grown, and will continue to grow, we require a structure that is designed with the future in mind.

"I am grateful to the tireless efforts of the Board, Executive Office and Board Governance Sub-Committee, chaired by World Sailing vice-president Philip Baum, and to the Member National Authorities for trusting us to lead the sport into a new era."

The enhancement of a Regional Development Committee is among the changes approved by the World Sailing AGM ©Getty Images
The enhancement of a Regional Development Committee is among the changes approved by the World Sailing AGM ©Getty Images

Baum said that World Sailing would remain flexible in the next two years during the implementation of the reforms.

"The new structure promotes collaboration and supports richness of discussion by bringing more voices into the process at an early stage," he said.

"We now have two years to prepare for integration and deliver the new structure.

"During this time, we will continue to listen and adapt to the needs of our members and ensure there is the flexibility required to be successful.

"This decision is a vote of confidence for our growing way of working together and our increasing capacity to collaborate for the benefit of the sport."

Chief executive David Graham added that the changes would "enable us to deliver a better service for our members".

National Federations had unanimously backed the proposals at a virtual Extraordinary General Meeting in July, although proposals on appointed directors and staggered elections failed to reach a majority and were not passed.