· Sports Minister Postpones Legalisation and Recognition
The Polynesian Federation of Wrestling and Associated Disciplines (FPLAJDA) has been recognised by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), with its membership announced at a press conference on Friday 11 November in Tahiti.
Hosted by the FPLAJDA as part of its bid for national sport recognition, the press event was part of a one-week programme of seminars and conferences about MMA, its safety, social impact and regulation, featuring specialists that included doctors and sociologists. IMMAF President Kerrith Brown was in attendance along with Bertrand Amoussou, French Comity President and Board Director of IMMAF, and Gosha Malik, IMMAF’s Member Relations Manager.
At an earlier press conference on Tuesday 8, the French Polynesian Minister for Sports, Christelle Lehartel, announced that she will extend the time period for the legalisation and recognition of the sport, for which FPLAJDA has applied to be its official national governing body. The extension is to enable further study of the management of the discipline and also to reassure the public.
Polynesia is an overseas territory of France. This year on June 24, the French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu initiated the process towards the legalisation of MMA following the recommendations of a cross-parliamentary report. Various recognised combats sports federations are due to submit their bids to adopt the sport within their structure on 27 November, with the Sports Minister’s announcement of the successful applicant anticipated at the end of December.
Meanwhile, in French Polynesia, the FPLAJDA is the only federation to have applied for government recognition as the governing body for MMA.
“We have to be clear, there is no competition with France. We work in a partnership with the Minister’s office in Paris. But at a given time, Polynesia will have to make its position clear, but I am more reassured with each passing day and our champions invited me to watch their demonstration. We have to be serious about MMA now. I see the visit of this IMMAF delegation as an excellent way to reassure the population and our youth about MMA.”
If the FPLAJDA’s application is successful, the “legalisation” of MMA in Polynesia will still need to be granted by a public service delegation (DSP), with local decrees voted on at the Ministry Counsel. However, a ruling could intervene during the next renewal of the DSP after October 21 or when recognition of the Polynesia’s national governing body for MMA is announced by the Sports Ministry on 1 January 2020.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:
“We are delighted to welcome another member federation to IMMAF. It shows the global appeal of amateur MMA and I have been very impressed by the approach by the authorities here. While the sport is already very popular with their young population, they are keen to ensure that the governance is exemplary. We will support the FPLAJDA’s application in any way we can.”
Main image: Various MMA and combats sports demonstrations featured in the one week programme