|A joint meeting between the World Professional Powerboat Association (WPPA) and the UIM, the world governing body for watersports resulted here with yet another agreement between the two bodies. Per Benson and Sami Abu Shaikha, two hand-picked officials had been deputed by the UIM in an attempt to arrive at an amicable solution with the breakaway WPPA.
The meeting in Oslo was not the first in attempting a solution to the long stand-off between the International Offshore Teams Association (IOTA), the drivers and teams themselves and the WPPA as the organizer of the new Class One world powerboat championships.
The Working Group has Benson and Abu Shaikha representing the UIM and senior officials Saeed Hareb, Rory Power, Sid Bensaleh and Marco Sala acting as the face of the WPPA.
The parties have in the past met in Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, with the second meeting in Dubai [on February 24] coming up with a joint statement regarding the future of the new body keeping in mind the interest of Class One. The Working Group had also decided on a March 9 deadline for the UIM to get back to the WPPA, failing which they would go ahead with the organizing of the current world championships.
The world governing body did not get back either to the WPPA or the IOTA and the new world championships went ahead as scheduled with the 2007 season starting in Athens in June.
"The new draft of the agreement is nothing new. It is just a more elaborate statement between the two parties," stated WPPA Chairman Saeed Hareb.
The Working Group met again on Thursday night and then again with a specially constituted sub-committee the following day. The sub-committee consisted of WPPA members Jose Jesuita and Mohammad Al Jaidha, WPPA Secretary General Sid Bensaleh and WPPA's legal counsel Jimmy Haoula.
"This new draft will now be presented before the Executive Council of the UIM and it is left up to them to get back to us," Hareb stated. "The two UIM members have promised to get back to us as soon as they can take some sort of decision of the draft agreement. Till then, we will go ahead with the races on the 2007 season," Hareb said.
"We have shown a lot of good will to reach this stage through open discussions. And whatever we have done has been done keeping the interest of Class One at heart."