Ski Chief Kasper Re-elected; World Champs Awarded

(ATR) Gian Franco Kasper will become one of the longest-serving IF presidents.

(ATR) Gian Franco Kasper was re-elected for a sixth term by the FIS Congress on Friday.

There was a standing ovation for Kasper to confirm his mandate as president for another two years; he was unopposed. First elected as head of the international ski federation in 1998, he is only the fourth president in the history of FIS since its founding in 1924.

"I would like to thank the FIS family for continuing to put their trust in me and I thank you all for giving me the honor to continue to serve as the FIS president," Kasper told delegates at the federation’s annual congress in Costa Navarino, Greece.

Kasper, 74, will become one of the longest-serving IF presidents.

Anders Besseberg currently holds that title. He enjoyed a 25-year reign as president of the International Biathlon Union until stepping aside last month amid an investigation into his alleged involvement in a Russian doping cover-up.

Rene Fasel, head of the International Ice Hockey Federation, may soon surpass Besseberg’s time in office. First elected IIHF president in 1994, he was re-elected for a sixth term at the 2016 IIHF annual congress in Moscow.

Another dinosaur of the federations world was Sepp Blatter. The disgraced former FIFA boss presided over the world football federation from 1998 to 2015 when he was suspended and later banned for financial mismanagement.

Sites for World Championships

On Thursday, the FIS Council elected the organizers of the 2022 and 2023 world championships.

Norwegian resort Vikersund was elected as host of the 2022 Ski Flying World Championships. "There is strong interest and strength and depth in the sport in Norway, backed by a traditional venue," said Kasper.

Also unanimously elected was Bakuriani, Georgia to host the 2023 freestyle ski and snowboard worlds – the first time the country has ever hosted a skiing world championship.

Kasper said the choice of Georgia "shows the far reach and global appeal of the sport… These are our youngest disciplines, so it seems only fitting that a new, enthusiastic host nation steps in to welcome the world championships".

Two first-time bids went head-to-head for the 2023 Alpine worlds, with Meribel-Courchevel, France edging Austria’s Saalbach with nine votes to six for hosting rights.

The 2023 showpiece will be the first time since 2009 that France has hosted the FIS World Championships, when Val d’Isere staged the Alpine events.

"The bid of Courchevel-Meribel was very appealing with two top-level resorts offering essentially men’s and ladies’ venues, which is sure to facilitate scheduling and logistics," said FIS chief Kasper.

The Slovenian town Planica was successful in its fourth bid for 2023 Nordic World Ski Championships, besting Trondheim, Norway by a nine to six vote.

"Planica has put a massive investment into their facilities, which now boasts perhaps the most state-of-the-art Nordic Centre facilities anywhere on the globe," Kasper said. "The athletes will truly have a chance to live up to their fullest potential at these world championships and the passion of the Slovenian people for winter sports will create a memorable atmosphere."

Reported by Mark Bisson

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