WFTDA Publishes Open Letters to FIRS and the IOC on the Governance of Roller Derby

October 7, 2015

In a letter issued today to the Fédération Internationale de Roller Sports (FIRS), the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) reaffirmed its position as the official governing body of roller derby, contrary to any claims by other organizations. At the same time, the WFTDA issued a letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asserting its position, presenting its partners in the governance of the sport, and rejecting any claims by FIRS or other bodies claiming to govern roller derby. The Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA), a partner of the WFTDA, also issued a statement supporting the WFTDA as the governing body of roller derby because of the WFTDA’s decade of dedication to developing the ruleset, structure and governance of the sport.

Established in 2005, the WFTDA has functioned as the governing body of women’s flat track roller derby for 10 years, and has the credibility and expertise necessary to manage the sport, its rules and standards, and its competitions. As the oldest and largest governing body in roller derby, the leagues, skaters and officials that participate in the sport globally — including women’s and men’s roller derby, adult and junior derby — universally acknowledge the WFTDA as the dominant governing body for the sport.

“The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has spent the last decade building and nurturing roller derby, growing the sport to cover six continents, 415 member leagues and more than 20,000 skaters worldwide,” said WFTDA Board of Directors President Amanda Hull. “We are thrilled to see other organizations recognize our success. We have demonstrated our commitment to the sport and athleticism on an international stage over the past 10 years, while maintaining the self-governed membership model that makes roller derby so distinctive.”

The WFTDA and FIRS have engaged in a series of conversations over about a year discussing roller derby’s evolution and expansion, ruleset, governance, competition, and aspirations for further growth. After returning to its membership to explore various partnerships and collaborations with FIRS, the results were clear: WFTDA’s member leagues overwhelmingly wish to remain autonomous, with the WFTDA continuing to facilitate membership, governance and rules with a derby-first mentality, as it has for the last decade.

Although the WFTDA has not ceded authority to FIRS, it has not eliminated the possibility of further collaboration, including offering to license the WFTDA ruleset to FIRS should it choose to host roller derby games as part of its tournaments.

To impress upon the International Olympic Committee the WFTDA’s unique dedication to democratic principles and to having athletes drive decision-making, the association sent a letter outlining the history, guiding principles, successes and the community support the WFTDA has built over the last decade.

The decision to maintain organizational independence from other organized roller sport federations does not indicate a total rejection of the Olympic model, but rather asserts WFTDA’s dominance and leadership in the sport. The WFTDA will continue to create and maintain the rules, safety standards, officiating standards and — most importantly — a membership community. Additionally, the WFTDA will continue to serve as an independent, democratically managed, governing body for the sport, working directly with the MRDA, Junior Flat Track Derby Association and other roller derby organizations that align with and adopt WFTDA’s mission and athlete-governed membership model.

Read the text of both letters below, as well as the letter of support from the Men’s Roller Derby Association:

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.