Special report: Dieter Massin double-dips, violates WMA rules

Dieter Massin

Dieter Massin, the German president of the Eurovets, is openly defying newly approved rules in World Masters Athletics while sitting on the WMA Council. Not good. Conflicts of interest have always been banned by WMA, but previous presidents have flouted the group’s Constitution by joining the board of the International Masters Games Association — which runs the World Masters Games.  As founder and president of the European Masters Sports Association and organizer of the first European Masters Games (2008 in Malmo, Sweden), Dieter has been skating on thin ice for years. But now he’s gone whole-hog. In August, the General Assembly of WMA approved Motion 4 of the “bye-laws” — toughening anti-conflict laws with this provision: “Council members may not hold organizational positions with organizations that promote events not sanctioned by WMA.” 

On Monday, I sent email to Dieter and other top WMA officials noting that his federation, the EVAA, is promoting the 2011 European Masters Games in Italy — apparently not sanctioned by World Masters Athletics — on its events calendar.

I asked Dieter these questions:

  • 1. Do you still hold office in EMSA?
  • 2. Are you involved in organizing the 2011 EMG?
  • 3. Has WMA sanctioned the 2011 EMG, or does it plan to vote on this eventually?
  • 4. If you have an EMSA or EMG involvement, will you step down from the WMA Council as stipulated in Motion 4?

His reply?  Nothing, nada, zippo.

He’s apparently decided to ride out any bad publicity since his patron, WMA President Stan Perkins, isn’t likely to do anything. Stan himself has a masters games background. He helped organize the Pan Pacific Masters Games and was a principal of Gold Coast Events Management until 2002.

In March 2003, masters publisher Russ Haines said this about Stan, his fellow Aussie:

We have an unusual situation in our AMA president (Perkins) being manager of one the biggest Games held in Australia and also charged with the responsibility to promote the national championships.  As I said, the interstate athlete has to choose.  To me this is a conflict of interest that wouldn’t be allowed in public companies or in politics.  To be fair to Stan, I have never seen him use his position to promote the old Asia Pacific Games.  But, on the other hand, we are not going ahead in over-age athletcs and the Games seem to be winning.

So Stan isn’t likely to discipline the man who helped get him elected president (by a single vote) last August.

So why should anyone care about this?

Conflict-of-interest rules exist for a reason — to assure that the leadership of WMA is laser-focused on its mission of putting on the best possible world and regional championships.  Being on the WMA Council (as an area rep), Dieter should not have competing interests. And trust me, the 2011 European Masters Games in Italy are a concern.

Even though the 2011 EMG will be held in mid-September — two months after Sacramento worlds — the event represents a potential drag on turnout for WMA’s flagship meet.

So it’s up to someone else in WMA to call Dieter to account.

He has a simple choice: Separate himself from the masters games or quit the council.

Dieter can’t have it both ways.  And neither should masters athletes abide this.


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December 3, 2009

5 Responses

  1. Anthony Treacher - December 3, 2009

    This nonsense has gone on long enough. WMA and IMG are two organizations that must be friends. We live in a small world with a finite number of masters events and a finite number of efficient volunteer organizers – there is bound to be overlap. It may even be beneficial. So WMA must either sanction (in the positive sense) IMG events, or abolish the rule that “Council members may not hold organizational positions with organizations that promote events not sanctioned by WMA.” And Ken, we are all free agents, including Dieter Massin. Dieter Massin must be allowed to apportion his time and energy to whatever he wants.

  2. stefan waltermann - December 4, 2009

    Please, consider the FACT that participation in all EVAA (European Veterans Athletic Association) events (for example, the European Masters Championships) are reaching levels of participation that can no longer be managed. It is only natural that progressive and forward thinking managers like Dieter Massin promote an organization that gives access to the thousands of masters athletes that would otherwise choke EVAA events. Where we in the US have the strong need to attract athletes from the National Senior Games to USATF events, the Europeans simply need the European Masters Games to help managing the overwhelming numbers of masters who want to participate in track & field meets. Yes, most of the athletes who participated in the first European Masters Games did not participate in the European Championships, they will not participate in Sacramento as well. Also, unlike our dear USATF events, the EVAA events demand athletes to meet minimum standards thus excluding many of the athletes who participate in the Masters Games. Dieter does the right thing. Promoting the European Masters Games is good for EVAA, good for WMA if the WMA would be smart about it. For me the real issue is much less a question of stupid rules, by-laws, and chiefdoms than a question of working on behalf of us athletes. Dieter is a good guy and one of masters’ best friends in the world. Last not least, don’t forget the WMA needs the EVAA much more than the EVAA needs the WMA. Ken, if you like your reputation as a rebel, try to be more sympathetic to other rebels. You fight your own little fights in San Diego with gusto but want other rebels to bow to the mighty and live by rules that do not make any sense? Yes, you can also be a rebel working from within an organization…

  3. Tom Phillips - December 4, 2009

    Ken, I very much disagree with you on this. I don’t see a conflict between these meets. The first EMG in Malmo came a matter of weeks after the last Eurovets in Slovenia. I don’t think anyone could possibly claim that the small turn-out in Malmo drained talent from Ljubljana’s excellent and well-supported meet. Far from it.
    The situation might be different in 2011 if some Europeans choose not to go to Sacramento for the WMA Champs, (on the grounds, for example, that they can’t afford it, might not be able to get insurance cover, etc) and then decide to go to EMG in Italy instead. But isn’t that legitimate personal choice? What would anyone have them do – sit at home and just miss out on both competitions?
    Can we really say that WMG Sydney damaged WMA Lahti numbers? No evidence of that. The world economy did that job better.
    How can we Masters complain about a lack of competitive opportunities and then shoot at those who try to arrange them for us? I’d far rather see Dieter Massin free to use experience gained in WMA/EVAA to help ensure good EMG/WMG options, and vice versa. It strikes me as unbelievably arrogant of WMA to appear to think that they have a captive group of athletes who should, in effect, be deprived opportunities elsewhere. If people want to choose one over the other, that’s fine with me. If they choose both, that’s fine too. For many of us, and for many more younger Masters, the bulk of their competition in a year comes at meets that don’t have, and don’t need, WMA sanction anyway.
    A crunch is going to come in 2013, of course. I don’t think it will only be European Masters who will remain completely unconvinced by what Port Allegre will offer, and will fall for the charms of Turin and the WMG event. You pay your money and you make your choice. Why shoot at Dieter Massin on this?

  4. Tom Phillips - December 4, 2009

    Hi Stefan. I missed your post first time. It hadn’t appeared when I wrote mine.
    Most of what you say, I agree with, but I need to correct what you say about EVAA events. I don’t think there are any minimum standards. They are just like every other Masters event in that respect.
    In Malmo, I wouldn’t go as far as saying “most” people in EMG were not at Ljubljana a few weeks before, though it’s true that many were not there. That’s not because theu didn’t feel they were competent to run in EVAA. Look at the number of Malmo performances that were close to, or even better than, top EVAA performances in Slovenia.
    The Brits I know who were in Malmo and not Slovenia were people who couldn’t get to Ljubljana due to time constraints, or the higher cost.

  5. Bras - January 7, 2010

    Cool, there is actually some worthwhile ideas on here some of my readers just might find this relevant, will send a link, thank you.

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