46th Cape Town (RSA) 2008
Close to a record number of 1’150 delegates representing 65 FIS member nations gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for the 46th International Ski Congress at the end of May. Staged during a full week starting on Sunday, 25th May 2008, the 2008 FIS Congress was the first one to take place on the African continent.
The biennial Ski Congress is a critical milestone for the global ski family, providing an opportunity for the officials of the National Ski Associations to meet with their counterparts, with the members of the Technical Committees, representatives of the partner and sponsor organisations and with the staff of the FIS administration.
The Congress Week entailed more than 400 hours of meetings of the FIS Council, the Technical Committees, along with countless official and unofficial gatherings. The informal highlights of the week included a FIS Meet and Play on the Steenberg Golf Course, the first FIS Ladies’ Seminar and a Congress excursion the Stellenbosch Winelands with visits to different vineyards with wine tasting and lunch at the extraordinary Moyo restaurant where Bedouin tents and gazebos create a setting similar to a nomadic African village.
FIS World Championships 2012 and 2013
On Thursday, 29th May 2008, following the final presentations by the record number of thirteen candidates for the 2012/2013 FIS World Championships, the FIS Council elected the organisers of the 2013 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle, Nordic and Alpine World Championships as well as the 2012 FIS Ski Flying World Championships.
Stoneham (CAN) and Voss (NOR) were unanimously elected as hosts of the 2013 FIS Snowboard and Freestyle World Championships, respectively. The host of the 2012 FIS Ski Flying World Championships is Vikersund (NOR) which beat Harrachov (CZE) 11-5 in the first ballot.
Schladming (AUT) was elected as the host town of the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. With 10 votes, Schladming achieved an absolute majority in the first ballot against Beaver Creek/Vail (USA, 4 votes), St. Moritz (SUI, 1 vote) and Cortina d’Ampezzo (ITA, 1 vote).
The Nordic World Ski Championships will be hosted by Val di Fiemme (ITA) which will take on the task for the third time after 1991 & 2003. The Trentino venue won the election against four competitors, Falun (SWE), Lahti (FIN), Oberstdorf (GER) and Zakopane (POL), in the third ballot.
As one of its main decisions, the FIS Congress, or General Assembly, on Friday, 30th May, elected the FIS Council for the upcoming two-year period from 2008-2010. No presidential election took place since FIS President Gian Franco Kasper was unanimously re-elected for his third four-year term by the 45th International Ski Congress in Vilamoura (POR) in May 2006. The 16-member FIS Council saw no change in the nations represented despite welcoming three new members as Alain Methiaz, Giovanni Morzenti, and Werner Wörndle replaced the previous representatives Michel Vion for France, Gaetano Coppi for Italy and Peter Schröcksnadel for Austria, respectively. All Council Members were elected in a secret ballot that included 20 candidates. The former FIS Council Member Geoff Henke (AUS) was appointed an Honorary Member of FIS.
Solid finances and new rules for change of license
Notably, the Congress approved the accounts with the best financial result in FIS’s history with a positive balance of more than CHF 25 million (CHF. 25'106'318.59). This also allowed the Congress to approve a special distribution to the members from the result of the previous period result as well as financial support for the 2008-09 period totaling CHF 21.25 million, which will be paid out over the next two years.
New regulations in regard to a change of license were also approved. According to these regulations, an athlete 1) must possess the citizenship and passport of the country they wish to compete for and 2) must have their principal legal and effective place of residence in that country immediately prior to the date of request expect where the athlete is born in the territory of the new country or whose mother or father is a national of the new country. However the FIS Council reserved the right at its discretion to grant or not to grant the request of license given exceptional circumstances (such as refugee status). Moreover, the Congress commissioned FIS to negotiate marketing and sponsoring agreements for the timing and data inserts for the FIS Alpine World Cup by 2010. Any income gained through these agreements will be provided to the benefit of the National Ski Associations and their organisers.
The Cape Town Congress formally affiliated Serbia as Full Member and Montenegro, Lesotho and Malta as Associated Members bringing the total FIS membership to 110 members. Kosovo's affiliation is pending recognition of the state by the United Nations. In the meantime, participation of skiers from Kosovo is permitted at FIS/level and children's races. The membership of the Grenada International Sports Foundation, already suspended by decision of the FIS Council as of 17th November 2006, was suspended indefinitely.
Growing the sport worldwide
One of the key themes deliberated by the 2008 Congress was options for growing the sport worldwide. As a key concept, FIS unveiled a campaign entitled "Bring Children to the Snow." This marketing and activity campaign will involve projects designed to generate passion for snow activities among the younger generations. The initiative was launched by FIS President Gian Franco Kasper to grow participation in skiing and snowboarding worldwide in partnership with the National Ski Associations. Working together with Munich, Germany-based promotional agencies CNC and Heye Group for the initial campaign development, FIS will roll out pilot projects over the next year along followed by an introduction of a toolkit to help National Ski Associations integrate projects and messages in their countries.
The FIS Congress also reviewed FIS's activities in relation to the environment and its plan for the long-term sustainability of its sports. It reiterated its no tolerance policy for doping, unanimously accepting the World Anti Doping Code valid from 1st January 2009. An update to FIS rules regarding television rights was also developed to recognize "new media," including Internet and other electronic means of transmission .The new media updates were accepted on a two-year trial period during which the FIS Council will establish a working group to monitor changes and work closely with the National Ski Associations and secondary rights holders.
Finally, the Congress heard reports from the organizers of the successfully concluded 2007 and upcoming 2009 FIS World Championships. The 2009 title events will be held in Val d’Isere (FRA) for the Alpine events, in Liberec (CZE) for the Nordic events including the medal debut of the ladies’ Ski Jumping, in Inawashiro (JPN) for Freestyle and in Sungwoo, Gangwon Province (KOR) for Snowboarding. A strong report was received on preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver along with the first formal presentation from the newly selected 2014 Olympic organizers in Sochi, Russia, that reported on progress on venue construction and validated a test event schedule that will begin in 2010.