Legal Challenge to Re-Election of FIS President
21st June 2022
Last modified on June 25th, 2022
Four national ski associations have filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after Johan Eliasch won an election last month. There was no option on the ballot paper to vote against him. At the centre of the dispute are his plans to centralise the marketing of FIS World Cup events. UPDATED
Germany, Croatia, Switzerland and Austria are taking the case to sport’s highest court.
The International Ski Federation said it is confident the election was run correctly and according to the rules.
The Swedish-born billionaire businessman Johan Eliasch won another term in the election last month.
He is only the fifth president in the organisation’s 98-year history.
The four nations claim that “procedural motions that were obviously formulated according to democratic principles and correctly submitted or brought forward were not admitted by the external FIS legal counsel”.
“For this reason, we have decided to have the proceedings of the FIS Congress 2022 reviewed by CAS as a precautionary measure.”
He ran unopposed in the election.
There were 47 were abstentions out of a total 117 votes able to be cast, as we reported at the time on PlanetSKI:
“FIS is confident that the proceedings of the FIS 2022 Congress were held in strict compliance with the FIS Statutes and Swiss law, as confirmed by FIS legal advisors,” FIS said in a statement.
“Furthermore, FIS believes that the allegations put forward by the four National Member Associations are entirely without merit or substance.”
At the heart of the matter is opposition to Eliasch’s plan to centralise the marketing of FIS World Cup events and taking away these rights from member associations.
Currently National Ski Associations hold the rights to FIS events hosted in their countries.
Most associations sell these rights to Infront Sports and Media who then make deals with broadcasters around the world to air these events.
President Eliasch wants a new deal FIS would own and distribute the rights.
The potential windfall of income to FIS by retaking control of the media rights would be substantial, but the National Associations would lose the money from Infront.
President Eliasch also wants to improve the TV coverage and give more right to athletes over use of images and videos.
An athlete is currently unable to post videos of themselves racing as it would infringe copyright.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued a statement:
“The four national federations seek the annulment of the Challenged Decision on the grounds that the election was faulty,” the CAS statement read.
“A CAS arbitration has commenced.
“The parties will exchange written submissions while an Arbitral Panel is appointed to decide the matter.
“It is for the Panel, once appointed, to issue directions with respect to a hearing.
“At this time, it is not possible to indicate when the final decision will be issued.”
The four nations want CAS to review the proceedings of the FIS Congress 2022 as a “precautionary measure” and felt that “procedural motions that were obviously formulated according to democratic principles and correctly submitted or brought forward were not admitted by the external FIS legal counsel”.
Here at PlanetSKI we will be following the case as its outcome will have significant consequences on the future of World Cup snowsports events over the coming years.
It could significantly change how FIS presents the sport and funds the athletes.
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