Through official information, MASTKD found that the registration fee for the PATU continental qualification for the Pan American Games was up to US$98 more expensive than in Europe. Why? We do not know; the president did not answer.

In the official 2023 World Taekwondo calendar there are three official and continental multisport events where Taekwondo has participation.

They are the European Multisport Games, African Games and Pan American Games. All of them are G4. However, at the moment, in the same official calendar, only Europe and Pan Am have a qualification event to access the final phase.

While in Europe the best 13 placed in the ranking of each category qualify directly and, in the Qualification, only one spot per division is available. In Pan Am there are last minute changes with respect to what was agreed and there are no direct qualifications, except for the TK3.

These events are immovable in the sports planning of the different national federations, since many of the future resources to continue in the road to reach the Olympic Games depend on the results.

Practically all the national federations attend these qualification events to try to catch a place in the final phases and to harvest the longed-for 40 Olympic ranking points.

However, even though the qualification events should be of common access, there is a fact that is not minor and calls the attention: in the Pan American area the registration fees are up to US$98 more expensive than in Europe, which is the other continental union where a qualification event is scheduled. Africa does not have one.

Las federaciones nacionales de Panamérica pagaron hasta US$250 para competir en el Clasificatorio de Juegos Panamericanos. Foto: Claudio Aranda.

In addition, in the Pan America Taekwondo Union (PATU) there are three different types of registrations, early, regular, and late; while in the European Taekwondo Union (ETU) only early and late registration.

In percentage terms, and at the exchange rate of this April 11, the early registration in PATU is 35% (US$70) more expensive than in ETU. In Pan America the payment should have been US$200, while the same item in the Old Continent is US$130.

In the case of late registration, each athlete paid US$250, while the ETU fee is US$152 (39% less).

In PATU, coaches had to pay registration fees, also US$250. In Europe, registration is free in both qualification and ‘open’ events, ETU responded to MASTKD.

The costs seem to contradict the economy and reality of each region, since the average GDP per capita in Pan America is 50% lower than in Europe, according to official World Bank information gathered by MASTKD.

El gráfico de desigualdad presentado por Statista, representa las diferencias socioeconómicas entre países de todo el mundo. Infografía: Statista

The Gross Domestic Product per capita is, theoretically, what each citizen produces in his or her country’s economy. It is a relevant macroeconomic data since it is directly linked to the average wealth of each person in a country or region and even defines aspects such as poverty lines or economic growth. It is so important that poverty in each country is an item that is even used by GMS – the entity in charge of competition licenses – to define the cost of the GAL (Global Athlete License).

MASTKD conducted research with official data available on the World Bank website where it used the average GDP per capita of the countries affiliated to each continental union and determined that the most updated average (2021) in PATU is US$18,687, while in ETU it is US$37,833.

What does this mean? That although in PATU the economies generate less income, they had to pay more, with respect to ETU, to compete for a quota for its Multisport Games, in this case Santiago 2023. For PATU, this is since the qualification events ‘are not profitable’, even though usually this type of event is accompanied by an official open after the regional qualification.

MASTKD requested official answers from PATU president Juan Manuel López, but he did not reply to messages.

Coincidentally, one hour and 14 minutes after writing to him, PATU issued a press release where it assures that it will modify the cost of registrations fees for official events.

“We have agreed with the presidents of the Organizing Committees of the host countries of PATU events and the administration, to analyze the readjustment of fees that favors athletes and coaches mainly, always aiming in favor of the Pan American Taekwondo family,” says the press release.

“There are events such as the qualification events for the multisport games in which an increase in fees was authorized, since they are events that are not self-financing and that few countries have the capacity to organize,” continues the letter.

President López Delgado was asked six very specific questions:

  1. Who regulates the fees for PATU qualification registrations?
  2. What is the methodology to define the costs?
  3. Why is it justified that PATU fees are higher than ETU fees? Where the economic reality of PATU members is very different from that of ETU members and even the European economy is much higher than the Pan-American one, according to World Bank data.
  4. Are the fees approved by WT, PATU or any other council before publishing them?
  5. What plans do you have to equalize the fees with respect to other continental unions?
  6. During the qualification for Santiago 2023 there was a registration fee for coaches, based on what criteria are they charged? Why do they pay the same amount as the athletes?

Below average

According to World Taekwondo (WT) website, PATU has 44-member national associations, only ten of which have a GDP per capita that exceeds or equals the average. These are: Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Martinique, Puerto Rico, United States, British Virgin Islands and US Virgin Islands.

Realistically, of these countries, the most active countries participating in official events are Aruba, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

For its part, ETU has 19, out of 42-member national associations, which exceed the average GDP per capita in the region. The Faroe Islands and San Marino are perhaps the least consistent in terms of participation in official events and are below average in this area.

MASTKD sources in WT informed that the entity requested PATU to equalize the fees for its official events, since they were out of line with other regions. At press time, this could not be independently consulted or corroborated.