CCA won't take blame for Paisley flop

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- Canadian Curling Association executives took exception to the notion their organization and Ford of Canada were to blame for the early woes of the world women's championship. World Curling Federation president Roy Sinclair said earlier this week that his organization felt pressure from the CCA and its sponsor to split the world men's and women's championships.

The fact that the world women's championship here in Paisley has been a flop was largely the result of a change in circumstances with the sponsor, Sinclair said.

But CCA chief executive officer Dave Parkes said yesterday Sinclair was telling only part of the story and was making the suggestion the split was all Canada's doing when there were many other mitigating factors.

"It wasn't as though the CCA was in the room forcing people to flip their hands up," Parkes said of the WCF vote to make the split. "The decision was made on the basis of some pretty logical arguments."

Parkes maintains there were five reasons for the split:

- The CCA believed if the worlds were in Canada annually they would have a better chance to get a title sponsor.

- Splitting the worlds allowed the WCF to get double the television exposure.

- Having an annual event outside of Canada provided another opportunity from a sponsorship perspective.

- The event could be held in appropriate-size venues overseas.

- The split allowed the WCF to add two teams, one each from Europe and the Pacific Rim.

"To blame Ford is absolutely wrong," Parkes said.

Sinclair felt the WCF was hamstrung when Ford insisted on getting some exposure at the world women's championship as well as the men's event in Canada. The WCF was unable to sell a title sponsorship for the women's event as a result, and that led to an on-the-cheap championship in Paisley.

"We went to the WCF and said this is what Ford wants, and we are prepared to give you something in return -- a spot for whatever sponsor you get in the Season of Champions," Parkes said. "The WCF's marketing agent was happy with it. So this is more about missed opportunities on their part."

Parkes added the CCA pays the WCF $250,000 annually for the right to market the worlds in Canada.

"The implication is the CCA is the sole benefactor in this," Parkes said. "It's not us on the other side of the ocean taking, taking, taking, taking.

"We are giving back an awful lot here."

Parkes believes the split will work, given time.

"It's only the first year of the split, and I think it will make consummate sense as this thing moves forward, as long as the opportunities are taken advantage of," he said.


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