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Denise Wattles about WAF / IFA >>>

Denise Wattles about WAF / IFA # Armwrestling #

For those that may not know, I was a member of the WAF Congress for many years. I was very active in the decisions and have a lot of personal inside information. I am now the General Secretary of the IFA. ()

1. In the late 2000's Assen and Igor were business partners. I have no idea what happened but they had a falling out.

2. After a very successful 2010 WAF World Championship in the U.S. the WAF Congress voted and confirmed in 2011 that the U.S. would host the World Championship again in 2015. Keep in mind the normal sanctioning fee is $3,000.

3. Starting in 2013 WAF/Assen started jerking Bill Collins, the USAF and the U.S. around about the event in 2015 adding extra requirements and expenses that had not been included in the original agreement. Unknown to us, Assen was shopping around for a country that would pay more money to host the event.

4. In 2013 at the WAF World Armwrestling Championship in Poland, Assen insisted that Leonard Harkless alter the WAF rules that are spelled out in the constitution. Assen wanted Leonard to only use Top-side referees with no downside. Threatening that he would have Leonard removed from the event and evicted from his hotel and sent home without payment on agreed expenses. Quote from Assen to Leonard, "You are like my Son, I am the Father, you will follow my rules, or you are out."

5. At the 2014 WAF Congress meeting a Motion was brought forward, and passed, that the WAF Head Referee could only be removed by a vote of the entire WAF Congress. REMEMBER THIS.

6. The 2014 WAF World Championship was held in Vilnius, Lithuania. During the event the event was postponed for many hours because the power was shut off at the venue. This happened because the host (Lithuania) was not able to pay the bill. If a host has financial problems during an event, it is the responsibility of the sanctioning body (WAF) to ensure that their World Championship continues. Remember, WAF had already collected the sanctioning fee and all the entry fees at this point, so they had the money. Also, the host country receives a percentage of the entry fees and WAF had not paid the host country yet. In addition, the Host (Lithuania) had approved and ordered the awards from Mazurenko but the awards had not been paid for. Again, the host did not have the funds and WAF refused to cover the expense. I don't know if Mazurenko ever received payment.

7. At the WAF Congress meeting in 2014 WAF Congress confirmed that the 2015 WAF World Armwrestling Championship would be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and not the United States.

8. It wasn't until after the fact that I personally found out that WAF had charged Malaysia 150,000 Euros to sanction the event (see below), a little above the $3000 that was the norm. I wonder why Assen took the WAF World Championship from the U.S. in 2015?

9. In 2018 at the WAF World Armwrestling Championship in Turkey I had a private meeting with Igor and Kirill about URPA and having USAA use the system in the U.S. but I had and have no room in my schedule for extra work. (I am not crazy about "rankings" anyway). The URPA system was the brainchild of Igor Mazurenko and Kirill. At that time, URPA would charge a $50 membership fee for the athlete to be included in the URPA ranking. I was told that Assen had approached Igor demanding that he should be paid a percentage of the profits.

Igor refused, Assen had no involvement in the development of URPA, why should he be paid a percentage? Then Assen threatened to take the 2019 WAF World Championship away from Poland (which had already been approved by the WAF Congress a couple years ago) if he didn't receive a percentage of the URPA memberships. Igor refused, SO the 2019 WAF World Armwrestling Championships was taken from Poland and moved to Bulgaria, Assen's homeland.

10. Assen alone, illegally moved the 2019 World Championship to Bulgaria without consulting with, or having a vote of, the WAF Congress.

11. In the years following the approval by the WAF Congress to have Poland host the 2019 World Championship, Poland had already spend a couple years planning the 2019 WAF World Championship and incurred many expenses to host the event. This is why the event was held in Poland.

12. It was also in 2018 at the WAF World Armwrestling Championship that Leonard was removed as the WAF Head Referee, a position that he had held since 2002. It was another disagreement between Assen and Leonard about Leonard wanting to follow the rules in the constitution and Assen wanting the rules to be altered. Leonard does not make the decisions about rules. The Referee Panel makes the decisions. Congress does not make the rules, the Referee Panel does. Assen has NO SAY in the rules.

13. The most interesting part of Leonard's removal in 2018 is that the subject of his removal was never was brought forward at the WAF Congress meeting. Remember, at the 2014 WAF Congress meeting a Motion was brought forward and passed that the WAF Head Referee could only be removed by a vote of the entire WAF Congress. In 2018 during the World Championship Assen called for an emergency meeting of the Executive Board the last day of competition with 7 individuals making the decision to remove Leonard. It was my understanding that Simon abstained from voting. The rest of the Executive Board are "Yes Men'" who are afraid of Assen.

14. Assen (not WAF Congress) started with his revenge on Igor and PAL with banning all WAF referees and Armwrestlers from participating in the Zloty Tur and all PAL events. Assen also banned PAL’s (and WAF’s) professional Emcee, Anders Axklo, who was the President of the Sweden Federation, from working at any PAL events.

15. Since 2019 Assen has done everything within his power to discourage support of any organizations including PAL, IFA, KOTT, etc. banning staff, referees and most of all Armwrestlers the freedom to pull where they want. Penalizing anyone who wants to "return" to WAF with fines and requiring them to sign documents denouncing the IFA.

16. Unfortunately, WAF controls who officiates and competes in East vs. West. I sympathize with Engin in the position that WAF has put him in. He is a great man, a great athlete, a great promoter and a great friend. Is this promoting and improving Armwrestling?

17. Assen/WAF are threatened by associations that allow freedom to participate. I wish that WAF Congress had the fortitude to get rid of Assen and Mircea and return WAF to a Democratic Association. Until they do, WAF also shares the blame for what has happened.

18. Now you know the TRUTH about why there is an IFA! IFA is open to all athletes and all referees. We do not ban, or otherwise threaten anyone. IFA is a non-profit federation registered in Switzerland under the same legislation as most international sports organizations.

Denise Wattles

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