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FIS President Re-elected as Some Ski Nations Boycott Vote in Protest

In an uncontested election the current President of the International Ski Federation Johan Eliasch was voted back in, but there was no option on the ballot form to vote against him. Some nations, led by Croatia, walked out in protest. Austria, Switzerland Germany and others refused to participate in the vote with 40% of delegates abstaining. UPDATED

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Some delegations claimed the election was not truly democratic because it guaranteed that Eliasch would win.

The only options were for delegates at the International Ski Federation Congress in Milan, Italy, to vote for him or abstain.

It was not possible to vote against him with a ‘No’ vote.

Eliasch received 70 votes from the 117 members, meaning 47 delegates abstained.

Croatia walked out in protest and some others followed suit.

It is reported that there is disquiet about Eliasch’s plans to centralise marketing rights for the World Cup which would reduce the influence of some Member Associations.

Eliasch has promised to change race formats and presentation, and by centralising marketing rights in-house he will bring FIS more control and revenue.

Some of the organisations protesting are reluctant to give up marketing control of their events and worry about their slots in the racing calendar.

The managing director of Swiss Ski, Bernhard Agger, said legal action to invalidate the vote is now being considered.

Eliasch was voted in as president last year in a battle against three other candidates.

The Swedish businessman won the election to complete the term of Gian-Franco Kasper as we reported on PlanetSKI at the time:

He will be at the helm of FIS until after the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics in Italy.

Eliasch now has his own term of 4-years in office, pending any legal action.

He is only the fifth President in the 98-year history of the FIS.

“I want to thank the FIS Family for their support and trust,” said Eliasch after the vote.

“The past year has shown that this can, and must, only be the beginning.

“I am grateful and excited for this clear mandate to continue our path to lead snow sports into a bright and successful future.”

His supporters claim he is ensuring the welfare of all associations and members of FIS not just the large powerful ones.

There is no mention of the dispute and walk outs in the voting process in the version of events reported by FIS on its web site.

There are already changes next season with a new cross-boarder downhull race that start in Zermatt, Switzerland, and ends in Cervinia in Italy.

Plus there are to be more races in the USA.

We reported on the developments earlier on PlanetSKI:

Earlier at the 53rd FIS Congress in Milan the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana was awarded the 2027 Alpine Skiing Championships.

We reported on it on the day and the other venues for future World Championships.

Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland

Crans-Montana, Valais, Switzerland – image © Mark Urban

At the Congress other decisions were taken:

New FIS Council elected

18 people were voted on to the Council for a 2-year term. 23 candidates put themselves forward.

The Russian Cross-Country Ski Association President, Elena Vyalbe, was voted off the Council.

She has voiced support for President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

FIS Name change

The new name of the organisation is the International Ski and Snowboard Federation.

The acronym of the organisation will remain FIS.

FIS to take over governance of Para Snowsports

The delegates approved that FIS would take over the governance of para snow sports from the International Paralympic Committee.

Athletes’ Commission term length

The FIS Athletes’ Commission term length was increased from two years to four years.

It is to give the representatives more time to fully integrate into their roles.

Upcoming International Ski Congresses

The FIS Congress will now take place every year, instead of once every two years.

The odd numbered years will be held online, while the even number years will be held in-person.

FIS SnowKidz Award 2022 Results

The winner was  Sweden’s Campaign ‘Everyone on Snow’

The FIS “Bring Children to Snow” international campaign to engage and encourage the younger generations to take part in winter sports.

The International Ski Federation. Image c/o FIS.

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