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  • Top Story Replay: Winter Sport Federations Show Progress in Governance Review


    The 2019 IIHF World Championship was in Bratislava. The 2020 edition was canceled due to COVID-19. (ATR)
    (ATR) The International Ski Federation (FIS) leads the way among the seven winter sport federations in the independent 2019-2020 IF Governance Review.

    FIS achieved a total score of 170 points out of a maximum 200 points to reach the top tier A1 group. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) was next placing within the A1/A2 group.

    The five remaining federations – International Luge Federation (FIL), International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF), International Biathlon Union (IBU), International Skating Union (ISU), and World Curling Federation (WCF) – all ranked lower in the B category.

    The third comprehensive study of its kind involved a self-assessment questionnaire of 50 indicators commissioned by the Association of International Winter Sport Federations (AIOWF) and conducted by the London-based I Trust Sport consulting agency. The results and analysis were released on Tuesday.

    Criteria for the 30-page report included the categories of Transparency, Integrity, Democracy, Development and Control Mechanisms.

    AIOWF and FIS president Gian Franco Kasper with reporters before pandemic. (ATR)
    “The Governance Review is an important exercise for all of our members – it gives us important feedback both on what we are doing well and areas where we can improve,” said AIOWF and FIS president Gian Franco Kasper. “We take this process very seriously as good governance is a keystone of any International Federation. We are pleased with the progress since the last review.”

    Based upon the overall scores, improvement was demonstrated among all seven winter federations from the previous evaluation study in 2018. The mean score for the AIOWF members was 140 out of a theoretical maximum of 200, compared to 109 in 2018, an average increase of approximately 31.

    “The analysis of the governance of the AIOWF members shows substantial progress by all of the sports since 2018, which is to be commended, but there are significant differences between the strongest performers and the weakest,” the report stated.
    Crans Montana was the final women's FIS World Cup of the 2019-2020 season in late February. (ATR)

    However, notable topics of concern include gender balance on IF Executive Boards and safeguarding work and action on environmental sustainability. Analysis in the report suggests “progress has been relatively limited since 2018, but there are projects now underway which should lead to further improvements soon.”

    The FIS joins six summer federations – badminton, cycling, equestrian, football, rugby, triathlon – that also were classified in the top tier A1 ranking in an identical study released by the Association of International Summer Olympic Federations (ASOIF) on June 16.

    “While there was another notable improvement by FIS in the IF Governance Report and our standing in the Olympic Movement, governance throughout the organization requires sustained actions to progress and set further standards,” said FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis.

    “FIS is committed to improve its score in future editions and play a leading role,” Lewis added.

    The report determines that important steps forward should include: “the publication of audited financial accounts by more of the winter sports, more formalized and independent ethics committees, a trend towards the adoption of term limits for elected officials, and increased transparency of development expenditure.”

    A final acknowledgement and conclusion of the IF evaluation states: “Dealing with the enormous disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, including the need to postpone Congresses, has rightly been the priority of the IFs in recent months.

    “It is to be hoped that work to improve governance will be acknowledged as an important and necessary component of the recovery process for all sport, which will help IFs be more sustainable and resilient, reaching the high standards that the public and sports community have the right to expect.”

    Written by Brian Pinelli

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