The first World Grappling Committee (WGC) official meeting took place at the FILA headquarters in Corsier-sur-Vevey on 11 January 2008. More than 50 representatives of the National Federations took part in the various presentations on WGC's projects and objectives. A large part of the meeting was devoted to a study of the regulations and requirements for the organisation of international grappling competitions, as well as to the 2008 licence procedure. The candidates for 2008 grappling tournaments also presented their projects and the dates of all international tournaments and championships will soon be posted on the FILA website. WGC exclusively showed the homepage of the FILA-grappling website that will be launched in spring. This website will be a major information and education platform for all National Committees, grapplers and grappling fans around the world. WGC also took the opportunity to annouce its decision to include gi-grappling in its competition programme. In the afternoon, the participants could take part in three round tables to discuss the problems that they face in their country and to suggest new development ideas. The round table devoted to marketing and communication was led by Mr. Alex Fernandez (WGC member) and discussed the communication strategies to implement through the grappling website and to find corporate sponsors. The round table on refereeing led by Chris Carlino (WGC instructor) went over the dangerous techniques that should be forbidden in grappling and worked a training program for referees out. Lastly, the round table on coaching directed by Jason Townsend (WGC member) thought about the implementation of a certification system for grappling coaches and of retraining courses for wrestling coaches. The creation of an education program by levels that would allow a worldwide unification of the discipline was also discussed.
The WGC meeting was followed by a referees' course on 12 January that was led by Chris Carlino (USA). This course was divided into a classroom study of the grappling regulations and a case study on the mat. At the end of the course, a test was held and 28 participants successfully passed it. These new grappling referees are now allowed to officiate at their national competitions and at all international competitions organised by FILA. The third day was devoted to a coaches' course that was led by the following instructors: Jason Townsend (USA), Florentin Amorim (FRA), Francis Abramson (BRA), Antonio Morales (ESP), and Ebe Ghansah (GBR). These instructors came from very varied backgrounds and were able to converge their experience to show the universality of grappling. A specific grappling training method is taking shape and it will be presented to the next FILA/WGC courses. FILA and the World Grappling Committee would like to warmly thank all participants for their involvment and high spirits that highly contributed to the success of these courses.