FISA Council and European Rowing Board Meet in Budapest
The World Rowing Federation, FISA Council had its three-day annual meeting last weekend, from 31 January to 2 February 2020 in Budapest, Hungary.
Hosted by the Hungarian Rowing Federation and the State Secretary for Sport, the European Rowing Board also had a one-day meeting. The key outcomes from the meetings were:
FISA’s Strategic Plan – The Council reviewed the current strategic plan here, and approved the proposal to change goal five from being focused only on the environment, to also include sustainability which encompasses the environment along with economic and social sustainability. This revised plan will be published shortly.
2019 Key Performance Indicators – The KPIs for 2019 were presented by the management for discussion and review by the Council. This report can be found at this link here.
FISA’s Olympic Strategy – The Council reviewed the latest developments with the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games (see update on Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games below). Masakuni Hosobuchi, Co-opted member of the Council, made a report. Hosobuchi stated that the rowing regatta at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is on track in terms of preparations. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) individual sport evaluation system, used since London 2012, was reviewed and the media team’s plans to work strategically were introduced. FISA will organise a means for National Rowing Federations to be informed and contribute to this effort for the sport.
For the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the IOC has recently issued a questionnaire to International Sports Federations seeking to add a new discipline or event to the Paris 2024 Olympic Programme. The Council re-confirmed their intention to propose to the October 2020 FISA Extraordinary Congress an Olympic Programme which includes three boat classes of coastal rowing. This questionnaire has a deadline of 28 February 2020 for submission but may be adapted following the Extraordinary Congress in October. Generally, for rowing, the preparations for Paris 2024 are proceeding well.
For the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, the Council received the latest update on the possibility of moving the rowing venue to Long Beach, the 1932 Olympic rowing venue. After a recent site visit, it was determined that the only possibility at Long Beach would be a 1500 metre, seven-lane regatta course. Due to the bridge and other significant issues, it is not possible for a longer course. FISA is still studying a few more issues before a final decision will be taken.
2022 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), Dakar, Senegal – On 3 December 2019, the IOC confirmed that Coastal Rowing Beach Sprints will be an official event at these Games. The IOC approved an athlete quota of 120 rowers (60 men, 60 women) and five boat classes (men’s and women’s solo, men’s and women’s double sculls and mixed double sculls: CJM1x, CJW1x, CJM2x, CJW2x and CJMix2x). FISA is now preparing a draft qualification system for the event (in close cooperation with the IOC) and will be proposing qualification opportunities through a 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Championships and a series of continental Beach Sprint regattas in 2022.
Coastal Rowing – To help teams prepare for the Dakar 2022 YOG qualification, the Council has decided to add the same five junior category championship events to the 2020 World Rowing Beach Sprints Finals, scheduled for October 2020 in Oeiras, Portugal. Complete information will follow in the event bulletin which will be published soon.
FISA Continental Representative for Asia – During last year’s World Rowing Championships in Linz, Liu Aijie, Continental Representative for Asia, announced that he would step down due to his work responsibilities in China. After consultation with Member Federations and an internal selection process, a number of very qualified candidates were identified. Following interviews with the shortlisted candidates by the Executive Committee, the Council voted to appoint Fay Ho from Hong Kong, China to serve as FISA’s Asian Continental Representative. This appointment takes effect immediately, to complete the current two-year term ending in December 2020. Fay Ho will continue as Chair of the Para-rowing Commission through the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and an election for her successor will be held at the FISA Congress in October 2020.
Event Attribution – The 2019 European Rowing Extraordinary General Assembly empowered the European Rowing Board (ERB) to attribute the two remaining events needing hosts, following the Strategic Event Attribution Process of 2019. Three well-prepared bids were received for the 2024 European Rowing Championships; Linz-Ottensheim, AUT, Sabaudia, ITA and Trakai, LTU.
The ERB reviewed all aspects, including a comprehensive risk assessment, and awarded the event to Sabaudia. The same applied to the 2021 European Rowing Under 23 Championships. Three quality bids were received: Krefeld, GER, Kruszwica, POL and Sabaudia, ITA. The ERB awarded this event to Kruszwica, POL. Due to the awarding of the 2024 European Rowing Championships to Sabaudia, the first World Rowing Cup of 2024 remains open for bidding and any interested member federations may contact FISA to express interest.
2020 Provisional World and European Rowing Event Programmes – Following consultations with organising committees, television broadcasters, and member federations, the 2020 Provisional World Rowing Event Programmes, subject to entries, are confirmed for the following events:
1. World Rowing Cup I, Sabaudia, ITA
2. European Olympic and Paralympic Continental Qualification Regatta, Varese, ITA
3. World Rowing Cup II, Varese, ITA
4. Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta, Gavirate, ITA
5. Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, Lucerne, SUI
6. World Rowing Cup III, Lucerne, SUI
7. European Rowing Junior Championships, Belgrade, SRB
8. European Rowing Championships, Poznan, POL
9. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, JPN
10. World Rowing Senior, Under 23 and Junior Championships, Bled, SLO
11. Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, JPN
12. European Rowing Under 23 Championships, Duisburg, GER
These regatta programmes can be found at this link here.
2021 to 2024 Long Term Planning Calendar – Following consultations, the above-mentioned calendar was approved in terms of dates. This can also be found at this link here.
Preparation for the 2020 FISA Extraordinary Congress – The Council has now prepared draft “three-column” proposed changes to the FISA Statutes and Rules of Racing for consultation by the member federations. These are intended to be the main changes that will be proposed by the Council on 15 August 2020, two months before the Congress. These documents will soon be available in the Circular section of the website.
2020 Statute and Rules Bye-Law Changes – Due to the requirements of compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code, a new WADA Athlete Data Consent Form will have to be signed by all rowers at FISA Events starting in 2020. The new form is found at this link here.
Finances – The Treasurer made a review of FISA’s financial situation and proposed budget changes for 2020. The Executive Committee had approved 2019 additional expenditures of an estimated CHF 621,000 against estimated additional income of CHF 951,000. For 2020, the Executive Committee has approved additional expenditures of CHF 870,000 with an expectation of approximately CHF 425,000 of additional income. The current estimation on long-term reserve is CHF 3,800,000 for the end of the 2017 to 2020 four-year cycle.
Safeguarding from Harassment & Abuse in Rowing - Education and Awareness Programme
Following the launch of the FISA Safeguarding policy in February 2019, FISA has introduced a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the policy and educate rowing communities on the subject of safeguarding. This includes the publication of a comprehensive web page with links to additional resources, the introduction of Event Safeguarding Officers at World Rowing events and an education programme.
In 2019, several education sessions were held for staff, coach educators, Commission members and member federations. This approach continues in 2020 and at the Council meeting in Budapest, a specifically designed session for Council members was held and facilitated by Anne Tiivas, Chair and Director of Safe Sport International. The session provided the opportunity to discuss the role of the Council with respect to safeguarding, to discuss a number of example scenarios and possible approaches/outcomes.
The session also highlighted the crucial role of the member federations in ensuring that at a national level there are policies, procedures and a designated responsible person, as well as local education and awareness programmes. FISA and the member federations must work together in cooperation to help ensure a safe environment for all involved in rowing.
Thoughts - The Council held a moment of silence in memory of the passing of Honorary Council member Borge Kaas-Andersen, who passed away in December 2019. The Council members also sent their best wishes to Olympian Pete Reed of Great Britain who is recovering from a spinal stroke and to Olympian Filippo Mondelli of Italy, World Champion in 2018 in the Men’s Quadruple Sculls, who, after complaining of pain in his leg, was diagnosed with stage four Osteosarcoma and is having ongoing chemotherapy treatment.