The re-election of Brett Elias to the IIF Congress is likely to have legal consequences. Violent allegations also come from Allgäu.
The general weather in international skiing is threatening. For weeks now, low after low has been gripping the international skateboarding family, which has been hailed as harmonious so far. The cause of thunder and lightning between the World Ski Association Fis and its largest member national federations was introduced by powerful president Johan Elias, who was elected to the highest position in skiing just a year ago – succeeding Gian-Franco Kasper, who died just 35 days after his resignation at the age of 77 . The elderly Swiss led the association for 23 years, calmly, without any major scandals, but at the end of his tenure in office he was not very progressive. So it was no surprise that the original Swede Elias, as his career changer, defeated three contenders in the first round of the election. In the app’s ten-minute video, the 60-year-old sporting goods manufacturer Head, with an estimated fortune of US$600 million, not only listed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Lindsey Vonn and Franz Klammer as supporters but also praised himself – As a wraparound wrapper and repairer with the best connections in business. He also wants to open new horizons in terms of communication and transparency. Stefan Schwarzbach from Betzigau near Kempten is a board member of the German Ski Federation and looks back intently: “A year ago, we were promised a well-established and modern association in the most dazzling colours. Now we have to realize: these are the dark ages, in terms of communication and association leadership ” .
Algäuer Schwarzbach talks about a ‘farce’
All the dark clouds were supposed to disappear at the Fis conference a week ago in Milan. For the first time since the pandemic, people met in person high up in a 200-meter-high glass office tower, and Iliash spoke of a “bright future” for skiing and “unlimited growth.” But when it came to his re-election, everything erupted in a severe diplomatic storm. Despite numerous objections, above all from Croatian Vedran Pavlac and Iliás and election officer Stefan Nitzel, legal advisor to the League of Switzerland, that in presidential elections you can only vote “yes” or abstain. Things began to get tumultuous in the hall, and Pavelac announced that he did not want to vote under the circumstances and left the hall. Many delegates joined this province, including delegates from the large federations from Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. “An election that can only be voted yes is inconsistent with our understanding of the law and is a farce,” Schwarzbach asserts in an interview with our editors.
Eliasch has the fewest votes on the Fis Board of Directors
It was chosen anyway. Elias is serving his second term with 56 percent approval, with support from Ghana, Lebanon and Costa Rica. With 70 out of 115 votes, the man who is supposed to lead the way in the so-called council, the FIS board of 19 members, four women and 15 men, had the worst result. Fiona Stevens, of New Zealand, came in 19th with 78 votes, barely making it onto the board, but getting eight more votes than Eliasch. DSV President Franz Stein, who was voted king last time with Norway’s Erik Roest, got just 92 votes this time. For Schwarzbach, an indication that there is opposition to large associations in the background. He writes because of his tactics, calculations, and apparent show of force the timeSome officials may have Eliash behind closed doors Donald Trump from skiing.
Read our report from June 2021 here: The Skating Association remains a men’s club.
On Friday, the German, Swiss and Austrian ski associations gathered again in a larger group, including a number of lawyers who must carefully examine the chances of an electoral challenge. Schwarzbach only revealed a lot: “We need a few more days to clarify the final details and get more comments from the other National Societies.” Swiss law of associations has been classified as “incorrect”.
Eliasch’s goal is centralized marketing
Schwarzbach doesn’t want to anticipate that, but inner circles are clear: Elias’ critics have no choice but to run, push for a new vote – and possibly introduce an opposition candidate. Because while everyone agrees that Eliasch’s massive plans for centralized marketing based on the Formula I or tennis model “are not wrong,” according to Schwarzbach, there is also broad agreement that “the way you deal with bypass member associations, is not outdated. That the work in the FIS is carried out by one person or by its governor, the Secretary-General, alone.”
Eliash’s unreasonable behavior at the conference would have opened the eyes of many. So the stormy weeks of skiing continue.