Recent History of European Wushu
30 June 2021
Abduction of Europe, by Valentine Serov, 1910
Currently, there are two organisations in Europe each claiming to be the Continental Member of the International Wushu Federation (IWUF). The dispute between them is likely to be handled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) but in the meantime and regardless of the outcome, it might be useful to analyse the historical background of the current dispute and the reasons for its evolution from misunderstanding to full-scale confrontation.
The documents used in this report are in public domain or were obtained from reliable sources. The authors will accept no responsibility for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of any information included in the material obtained from third parties nor for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of links or references to information sources (including Internet sites).
The IWUF Constitution (2009) did not explicitly prescribed the procedure of approval for Continental Members but, according to general formalities, an organisation was supposed to apply for its membership to the IWUF Secretariat providing, apart from a written application, its constitution, a report on Wushu activities in their relevant area, completed questionnaire and a prescribed application fee (note: it was not required to provide a proof of formal registration of the organisation). The application was supposed to be considered by the Executive Committee and, if approved, the applicant would become a Provisional Member until it is approved by the Congress after which the Full Membership would be granted.
The IWUF Constitution (2013) contained additional requirement: “… a federation must submit a letter of recommendation or a certificate of recognition endorsed by the National Olympic Committee or Sports Authority of its nation or region.” However, there are still, to the best of our knowledge, no explicit requirement for Member Organisations (either National or Continental) to be formally incorporated in their respective legislation although it is included in their so called “responsibilities” which are not clearly enforceable:
“… 5.2 Each Continental Federation shall be registered as a non-profit organization in accordance with the laws of where it is registered.”
IWUF Constitution 2015
The importance of formal incorporation is often underestimated which leads to messy organisational structures, incompetent and irresponsible management and neglect of both the companies’ rules and general corporate legislation.
These unfortunate phenomena are clearly illustrated by the timeline of European Wushu development since 2011. Only formally incorporated organisations are considered here. The period before that time appears to be completely free of any corporate formalities.
- 11 March 2011: Following the alleged enquiries from the National representatives regarding the formal status of the European Wushu Federation, a non-profit organisation Europese Wushu Federatie was registered by Patrick Van Campenhout, then IWUF and EWUF Treasurer / Secretary General (?) in Belgium. Accordingly, the accounts of both IWUF and EWUF were connected to the newly created organisation.
Source: Crossroads Bank for Enterprises, Belgium –
- 17 March 2011: Almost simultaneously, another organisation was created by Mr Raymond Smith (the EWUF President) – EWUF LIMITED (NZBN 9429031181099) in New Zealand. Mr. Smith was (and still is) the sole Director and Shareholder of this company.
- 21 March 2012: Dr Raymond Smith registers another Private Limited Company, this time in the UK – EWUF Grading Limited – Company Number 08000243 – with himself as the sole Director. The company’s fate was to remain dormant until it was dissolved on 26 January 2021 following the application to strike the company off the register lodged on 29 October 2020.
- 27 December 2012: Yet another Private Limited Company – EWUF LTD – Company Number 08341673 – was incorporated in the UK. The registered officers were:
- Dr Raymond William Smith, Director, resident of NZ (27/12/2012 – current)
- Robert William Eagle, Director, resident of England (04/04/2014 – 02/09/2015)
The company is about to be dissolved (Application to strike the company off the register was lodged on 10 May 2021).
- 10 April 2013: A historic event – EWUF Congress 2013 – was held in RIN Grand Hotel, Bucharest, Romania.
“Many important issues were discussed including the creation of a new advisory body called the ‘EWUF Executive Council’. The aim of this Council is to help improve the work of the federation. It will allow more people to be involved in the decision-making process of the EWUFʼs strategy and tactics for our future development.”
Source: EWUF Newsletter 2013 –
The entire Executive Board was re-elected following resignation of Mr Van Campenhout from the post of the EWUF Secretary General leading to some surprising results.
Another important decision was an amendment to the Constitution allowing EWUF officers and EC members to be elected on a personal basis.
Congress discussed serious discrepancies in EWUF accounts previously managed by Mr Patrick Van Campenhout, and it was decided to carry out an in-depth audit of the accounts for the period in question. It was also decided to move accounts to the UK, close the Belgium organisation and replace it with an international Non-Profit Organisation in the UK. The EWUF President Raymond Smith was given the authority to proceed with the registration formalities. The newly elected second EWUF Vice-President Mr Petru Grindeanu was appointed as an administrator of Europese Wushu Federatie, presumably to control the transition of the accounts.
The Congress report paints a remarkable picture. First, the primary concern of the EB members was not about the status of their organisation, its proper legal registration and functioning, but rather technical details of where the accounts are. They were not bothered by the fact that they actually do not have legal rights to be the members of the Executive Board as it is normally formed from the company directors and none of them were directors except Raymond Smith. They were not bothered by the fact that Raymond Smith is the director of at least four other companies (one of which is registered in New Zealand which is not the closest part of the globe to Europe). They did not have a feeling that they are supposed to be managing the company and be aware of what company it was. They operated as if they were still an unincorporated community organisation.
The Newsletter is opened by Voice of the President where it was proudly announced that “a company called EWUF Limited was established in readiness for Congress who accepted it. As a result of the decision of Congress EWUF Limited exists and trades as the European Wushu Federation.” Note that EWUF Limited is a NZ company, whereas European Wushu Federation and European Wushu Kungfu Federation were yet to be incorporated almost two years later.
- 06 March 2015: Almost a year later, Mr Raymond Smith finally proceeded with implementation of the Congress decision to register an International Non-Profit Organisation in the UK and registered a new Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital – European Wushu Federation (Company number: 09474491). The registered directors were:
- Stewart Gordon Beckett (resident of the UK)
- Raymond William Smith (resident of the UK)
On 19 March 2015 (two weeks after registration), Raymond Smith resigned from his post but returned on 6 May – as a resident of New Zealand.
The company appeared to be dormant and is about to be dissolved (Application to strike the company off the register was lodged on 10 May 2021). Remember this date – 10 May 2021!
- 27 May 2015: As if 5 (Five)! EUWF Organisations were not enough, another new Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital – European Wushu Kungfu Federation (Company number: 09609005) – was created. The registered directors were:
- Stewart Gordon Beckett (resident of the UK)
- Raymond William Smith (resident of the UK)
On 11 August 2015 (two weeks after registration), Raymond Smith resigned from his post but returned on 20 June 2016 – as a resident of New Zealand.
- 20 June 2015: As a final step in implementation of the EWUF Congress 2013 decisions, Europese Wushu Federatie was dissolved. It is unclear which of the five organisations under Mr Raymond Smith became the accounts holder but most likely, it was the European Wushu Kungfu Federation.
Maybe because it had a magic “Kungfu” word in it?
- 19 September 2019: The Wushu Federation of Bulgaria (WFB) requested the IWUF to declare the EWUF nominations for the IWUF Executive Board invalid due to the fact that the EWUF was never approved by the IWUF Congress as a Continental Federation. The letter signed by the President of WFB Mr Stefan Kolev also contains criticism of EWUF policies:
“… Bulgaria calls on the IWUF President to declare invalid the EWUF nominations for the IWUF executive board members (term 2019-2023). In the meantime, due to unfair, undemocratic, illiberal and non-transparent policies perpetrated by the EWUF, Bulgaria also requests an exception of the IWUF Constitution (to be accepted by the upcoming IWUF Congress) that allow the European National Wushu Federations to send their nominations for the positions of Vice Presidents and additional members for the IWUF Executive Board members (term 2019-2023) regarding the Continent of Europe.”
This letter seems to be a part of a greater plan designed to trigger the chain of events leading to destabilisation of the EWUF and, due to its significant role on the world scope, the International Wushu Federation in general.
- 13 December 2019: A new non-profit company – European Wushu Federation (EUWUF), was registered in Belgium:
Source: Crossroads Bank for Enterprises, Belgium –
The registered board of directors contained mostly familiar people:
- Abdurrahman Akyuz
- Stefan Kolev
- Petar Turkovic
- Patrick Van Campenhout
It is very interesting to note that Mr Patrick Van Campenhout, the President of this new body, and Mr. Petar Dragoev, the other instrumental person in this affair, retained their positions in the IWUF Marketing and Development Committee and the Traditional Wushu Committee respectively which is a direct violation of the IWUF Constitution:
“… 11.4 Recognize the IWUF as the only worldwide governing body for wushu in all its forms and ensure that none of their Executive Board members and officials participate in, hold any official positions in, or support in any way or take part in the activities of other conflicting international organizations.”
IWUF Constitution 2015, article 11: Responsibilities of Continental Federations, NFs and Associate Members
It would be reasonable to expect some swift disciplinary actions undertaken by the IWUF Executive Board as a reaction to such a bold violation of the Constitution. The actions have been undertaken indeed but not against those expected (see below).
- 04 January 2020: The First General Assembly of EUWUF took place in Brussels.
“… 4 January 2020 was a historic day for European wushu sport.European wushu federation that has been the recognised member of IWUF till 2014 is now reinstated in Brussels. The first General Assembly of the reinstated federation was held on January 4th in the offices of Pharum Legal in Brussels. 12 national federations and 1 regional federation, founders of the European wushu federation (EUWUF), were represented on the meeting by their delegates or by proxy votes.
The founding countries of the EUWUF are: Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey and Balkan wushu federation.
From two countries, observers were present: from Spain, Juan Peres, and from Portugal- Pedro Ferreira.
The General Assembly was constituted and the statutes of the EUWUF were accepted by the delegates.
Upon the candidacy proposals – Patrick Van Campenhout was proposed and elected for the President of the EUWUF. The president then proposed a list for executive members which was accepted by the GA.”
- April – May 2021: The letter from the IWUF Secretary General Zhang Qiuping of 16 April 2021 came as a shock to the entire European (and World) Wushu community. The letter informed that the IWUF Executive Board decided to follow the recommendation of the newly established (just in time!) Ethics Committee in connection with an ongoing investigation of the EWUF activities and,
“… in accordance with Art. J.3 of the IWUF Code of Ethics and Art. 36 of the IWUF Constitution, to impose the following provisional measures on the EWUF effective immediately:
- The recognition of EWUF as Continental Federation for the European Continent in the meaning of Art. 4.1 of the IWUF Constitution is provisionally suspended.
- The provisional suspension of the recognition of EWUF as Continental Federation shall not prohibit any European IWUF member nor any European athlete to continue to be a member of IWUF and/or continue to participate at any competition supported, approved or organized by IWUF and/or its members.”
No particulars were given as to why so drastic measures were necessary. In their News Update, the EUWF Executive Board assured the EWUF Members that there was no wrongdoing on its part and the Board intends to resolve the dispute in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Another letter from the IWUF Secretary General of 10 May 2021 confirmed that:
“The IWUF Ethics Committee is currently investigating actions and behaviours of several individuals related to EWUF and that seem to have committed serious violations of the IWUF Constitution, of the IWUF rules, and possibly also of applicable state laws.”
This letter triggered the series of actions by Mr Raymond Smith who immediately lodged the applications to strike off 2 out of 4 remaining companies under his care: European Wushu Federation (registered on 16 March 2015) and EWUF LTD (registered on 27 December 2012). They will be dissolved in July-August 2021, but will it resolve the problems with the IWUF and the Ethics Committee with their high moral standards?
European Wushu Fractured
In the meantime, the new (or, as Mr Van Campenhout prefers to say, reinstated organisation seems to be gathering momentum and looks confident which is not surprising at all. Their corporate structure is relatively clean (at least, if compared to that of the EWUF) and their optimism and resolution are unshakeable. However, the time and time only will show who is right.
Mr Urs Krebs, former IWUF Treasurer, who knows a thing or two about IWUF internal politics, gave the following prognosis:
“For the moment, the IWuF looks like the winner. Even they stated that the European members are still members and they and their athletes still can participate at IWuF events. But Europe will face disadvantages. The Asian and specifically the Chinese leaders have no opposition now. Together with the Panamerican and Oceanian Federations they have a majority that they can push their agenda without any resistance of the European EB members. The IWuF will be a totally Chinese Federation again. A sweet victory? It looks like, but when we look closer it’s a pyrrhic victory. Because IWuF will lose the case in CAS. In court you need facts, not antipathy. For a suspension you need a transparent procedure f.e. like a published Code of Ethics. And you have to give the other party the right to be heard. If a decision is made there should be the possibility for an appeal. Things that are obviously not happening. And we not even mentioned that the real problem is the secession of some European countries that should have been provisionally suspended and investigated (with correct procedures though). So, at the end the IWuF will lose the case at CAS. But they will not only lose the case. They are losing the rest of unity of the Wushu society. Maybe there will be even a split because: Who wants to work and cooperate with a Federation that is ruthless in such a way by bullying inconvenient members and only works for taking personal advantages of some of its staff? So, with the process the IWuF started here they started their own downfall. The IWuF will become obsolete. And the Olympic dream? Destroyed with their own actions. Fanned away with Taiji fans (another incomprehensible decision, choosing an event for the Youth Olympic Games that never have been an event on a Championship before). And when we will look at what happened some years later, we will ask ourselves: How could they be so stupid to dig their own grave?”
(Source: “The Last Prophecy” by Urs Krebs)
Above is the European Wushu map. It always starts from the Balkans, doesn’t it?