The 2019-2020 FIS World Cup season has officially come to a close and I think we can all agree that is was certainly not the way we had envisioned ending the season.
While we all adapt to the new norm with unprecedented measures, regulations and restrictions imposed globally, we can say that we had luck in an unlucky situation.
While there are many serious implications for FIS, the member National Associations, Organisers and all stakeholders, as well as winter tourism, we should remain thankful that that the main global impact of the Coronavirus only struck the FIS competition circuits in late February. Fortunately we were able to manage the situation together with the Organisers and National Associations and get the athletes and teams back to their respective homes safely before major restrictions were imposed.
Of course, behind every silver lining, there is a dark cloud and there are many consequences for many stakeholders that will be felt both short-term and long-term, some of which we may not yet be fully able to imagine. There are certainly deep financial consequences, but also the uncertainty for the sporting industry is sure to be a serious topic in the near future.
But one thing is certain – we the ski family must stand together in the upcoming months to support one another, in order to ensure that our sport and industry gets back up to full strength as quickly as possible, to try to minimise the consequences of the Coronavirus as efficiently as we can.
Over the past weeks and days, we have worked extremely closely with the National Associations, Organisers and teams and other stakeholders to provide as much support as possible 24-7 during this dynamically changing period and we wish to commend all parties and persons involved for their responsible approaches. If the teamwork we have seen in the last two weeks is any indication, then it is clear that the ski family can come together in tough times to overcome adversity. I thank everyone for their flexibility, commitment and patience through these turbulent times.
The next major event scheduled on our calendar is the FIS Congress in Royal Cliff (THA) from 17th to 23rd May 2020. There will be no update announced before the end of March since the Coronavirus developments are evolving continually. I have convened a Council Meeting conference call at the end of this month to address the situation, after which we will communicate a FIS Congress update.
Despite the truncated season, the majority of competitions were staged across the globe in many memorable FIS World Cup competitions. The globe winners will be celebrated and for those who could not be officially presented with their awards, we are preparing the distribution of the crystal globes and medals and appropriate presentation opportunities.
We are all dealing with an unprecedented situation and extraordinary times. This is not only a challenge, but also an opportunity for every community, including our ski family, to rise above the adversity. Until we are all on the slopes again, stay safe, stay healthy and be good to one another.
FIS President Gian Franco Kasper
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