The International Federation of Cheerleading (IFC), based in Tokyo, Japan, is a registered non-profit international federation, recognised as the world governing body of cheerleading by a membership of over 40 members across 5 continents.
In recent years, the International Cheer Union (ICU) emerged to claim governance of the sport of cheerleading.
At the SportAccord General Assembly in Quebec, Canada, on 25 May 2012, the membership application of the International Cheer Union (ICU) is expected to be an item on the meeting agenda.
Is ICU really the right organisation to represent cheerleading in SportAccord…? Consider these facts;
- Both the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) and the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) have formally objected to the ICU application. IFC has been in discussions with WDSF since 2010 with regard to IFC becoming an associate member of WDSF. Those discussions are on-going. Furthermore, other sports such as American Football, Basketball and Ice Hockey have long established connections with cheerleading.
- IFC was established in 1998, ICU in 2007.
- ICU has close personal ties with the commercial cheerleading entity Varsity Brands, Inc. in the United States, whereas IFC operates completely free of similar ties.
- IFC has organised 6 (six) World Championships around the globe since 2001 as follows;
- 2001: Tokyo (JPN) – Broadcast by Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) o 2003: Manchester (GBR)
- 2005: Tokyo (JPN) – Broadcast by NHK
- 2007: Helsinki (FIN) – Broadcast by YLE
- 2009: Bremen (GER) – 10,000 spectators in attendance and broadcast by Sport1/DSF
- 2011: Hong Kong (HKG) – Broadcast by Hong Kong TV International Media Group (HKSTV) o 2013: Bids received from Chinese Taipei, Ecuador, Singapore and Thailand
- ICU organises its World Championship every year at Disney World, Orlando (USA) since 2009.
- IFC has strong political support; The Parliamentarians’ League for Promoting Cheerleading was established in July 2003 to help spread awareness of the sport of cheerleading worldwide. The League is chaired by Mr Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister of Japan and member of the House of Representatives of Japan. A member of the Imperial Family of Japan also regularly attends IFC cheerleading events.
- IFC members in 11 countries are recognised by their National Olympic Committee or Highest Sports Authority including France, Germany, Japan and Russia.
- WADA: IFC is recognised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as a signatory to the World Anti- Doping Code.
- TAFISA: IFC is the only international cheerleading federation registered as a member of TAFISA (The Association for International Sport for All).
IFC is a relevant international federation for the sport of cheerleading. ICU cannot claim to be the only governing body of cheerleading in the world, therefore ICU is not eligible for membership with SportAccord. IFC’s opinion is that if ONE International Federation should, at some point, be accepted by SportAccord, it shall be IFC since IFC has a proven track record of more than a decade in the development and promotion of Cheerleading as a non-profit sport.