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During October 1998, the Malta Kennel Club began discussing the issue of joining the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). It was felt that although Malta had strong links with Britain, it’s strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean called for links to our neighbouring Countries.

Letter to the FCI
In November of that same year, the Malta Kennel Club wrote to the FCI requesting membership. Obviously the FCI wrote back requesting proof that the MKC was the Main canine governing body in Malta. This was expected, since this is the major criteria, which is used by the FCI to recognise a canine organisation in any one country.

Meeting in Malta
Mr Jorgen Hindse Madsen, the European delegate of the FCI, then set up a meeting in Malta, which was scheduled for the 3rd March 1999. Mr Hindse Madsen called on the officials of the Malta Kennel Club. He reviewed the present system of the Club including registrations, Pedigrees and Certificates, and stated that he would be putting forward his own recommendations. These would eventually be put forward to the General Assembly of the FCI to be held in Mexico on the 30th May 1999. Mr Hindse Madsen was in Malta for only a few hours, but before his departure, he assured the Committee of the MKC that he found no valid reason why the MKC should not be awarded membership into the FCI.

Underhand tactics
However, some weeks after that same meeting, unbeknown to the officials of the MKC, some kind of meeting took place between officials of the Canine Society and the FCI. The Canine Society, at the time was an affiliate to the MKC, and as such were duty bound to follow the rules of the MKC. Notwithstanding, these officials tried to paint the MKC in a bad light. It was merely an ego and power struggle. The officials of the Canine Society were seeking membership into the FCI by trying to undermine the MKC.

A letter was eventually sent to Mr Jorgen Hindse Madsen to explain that it was indeed the MKC that was the Main Canine body that governed canine activities in Malta. The Canine Society were merely an affiliated body to the MKC, who had on a number of occasions tried to take over the 48year old reciprocal agreement which the Kennel Club and the MKC enjoyed – but to no avail.

Despite the damage caused by the CS, the FCI finally responded that the General Assembly held in Mexico voted in favour of the Malta Kennel Club’s acceptance as associate members of the FCI.

Extraordinary GM
In July 1999, the officials of the Malta Kennel Club called an Extraordinary General Meeting for all its members to approve this membership. The meeting was well attended. Officials of the MKC explained in great detail all the benefits of membership into the FCI. A scatter group of some 20 members were not in favour of joining the FCI. These members were mainly committee members of the CS who had, some time ago, tried to take over the membership into the FCI for themselves. It must certainly have been a case of "sour grapes".

Motion passed
The Officials of the MKC continued to explain thatmembership into the FCI would prove to be beneficial to all members and their dogs. They also stressed that if the membership into the FCI were to be approved, this would not be at the expense of the long-standing reciprocal agreement with the Kennel Club. There was an overwhelming response, and finally this item was put to the vote. All voted in favour, none against, with no abstentions. The motion was passed.

Towards the end of 1999, in their quest for this power struggle, the CS together with another affiliate of the MKC – the German Shepherd Dog Association, set up a Federation of Clubs. They quickly formed another two Clubs - namely the Obedience and Agility Club and the Ladies Club. These four clubs made up this newly formed Federation. The vast majority of members within each club are also members within each of the other Clubs.

Reciprocal agreement
This Federation later (as done numerous times in the past) requested affiliation within the Kennel Club. They were granted a provisional reciprocal agreement, despite their few months in existence.

The Malta Kennel Club cannot understand the reasoning behind this agreement. The Committee feel that this goes against all that democracy stands for. We know of no precedent where the KC recognised two Clubs in one single Country – especially on such a small Island as Malta.

We now have a situation where the Federation holds a provisional reciprocal agreement with the KC, whilst the MKC also holds a similar agreement, but is also an associate member of the FCI.

Dogs in Malta are now being registered in two separate clubs. Affixes can also be registered in two separate organisations, with the obvious mix-ups. Additionally, the MKC is not clear in respect to the Maltese Junior handler representative. All in all this dual agreement with the KC is creating anxiety and increased friction. This is certainly not conducive towards the well being of our members and especially their dogs.

The Right Track
Notwithstanding these difficulties the Officials of the MKC are continuing in their efforts, knowing full well that the road that the MKC has embarked upon is definitely the right one. The MKC will never give up its membership status with the FCI, and will continue to strive hard to re-obtain sole recognition with the KC, similar to other members of the FCI.

The MKC has to date already held 3 CAC Championship Shows. At first all members were wary of the change from a British system to the system adopted by the FCI. However with the constant education being relayed to its members, the MKC has seen a steady increase in the number of show entries, besides a steady increase in the number of registrations. Members are realising that in order to maintain high quality dogs, a strong breeding co-operation with Europe (besides England) is necessary. Members have in fact already imported dogs from the Continent – including France, Italy and England. But more important, breeders are also exporting dogs to the Continent, including Italy, Germany and Denmark where these dogs were not previously recognised, and consequently not allowed registration. FCI membership now allows this – for the benefit of our members and their dogs.

Donated by The Malta Kennel Club

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