FISA Executive Committee working on all fronts
FISA Executive Committee met again by tele-conference on Friday 27 March 2020. This meeting was held to discuss further the impact of the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on World Rowing.
After the announcement of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games last Tusday, FISA continues its close contact with the IOC and IPC to work out the next steps. FISA Executive Committee met again on Friday 27 March to discuss the latest information provided by the IOC and the IPC.
New dates for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
FISA joined the IOC video conference call with all International Federations on Thursday, 26 March 2020. The IOC President Thomas Bach explained some of the background to the decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to no later than Summer 2021. The IOC and the Japanese authorities are speaking to all stakeholders on the subject of new dates for the two Games, and we have been told that it will take then up to three weeks to make all the consultations required for such an important decision. As well, there are a large number of related issues and we are awaiting further information as the IOC works through all the issues. FISA is working closely with the IOC and will inform you as soon as this information becomes available.
Impact on Qualification for the Olympic Games
This information was received from the IOC on the evening of 27 March 2020:
Qualification systems and timelines - Confirmation of gained qualification places
We can reconfirm that athletes/NOCs that have already gained an Olympic qualification quota place will retain this despite the postponement of the Games.
Finalisation of the necessary adaptations
We will continue to work closely with each of you (IFs) on the necessary adaptations to the remaining elements of the Tokyo 2020 qualification systems. Our aim is to have these ready to confirm to athletes, NFs and NOCs by the time the revised Tokyo 2020 dates are confirmed, or shortly after this. To facilitate these adaptations, and reflecting the postponement of the Games, we are making the necessary modifications to the qualification system principles to include, for example, the relaxation of the maximum two-year period and amendments to the qualification deadlines.
Suspension of Olympic qualifier events
We greatly appreciate the fact that all IFs have suspended their Olympic qualification events. As discussed during yesterday’s conference call, this is important in terms of recognising the extraordinary challenges so many athletes are now facing with their training and preparations, as well as their own personal circumstances.
No further qualification events should be scheduled unless they can guarantee fair access and also fair and appropriate preparation for the competing athletes and teams. We would therefore urge real caution in confirming any upcoming qualification events in your respective calendars until the COVID-19 impacts can be assessed and restrictions reduced, with athlete health and considerations being our guiding principles. With the postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 until 2021, we have removed the pressure regarding the need to immediately reschedule the remaining qualification events, and we should collectively take the necessary time and be prudent in the rescheduling of these events.”
Impact on Qualification for the Paralympic Games
This information was received from the IPC on 27 March 2020:
“The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to an unspecified period in 2021 raises a number of challenges with regards to athlete/team qualification. You may have noticed that we already removed the official qualification regulations from the IPC website.
Once we have clarity on the way forward, we will contact each IF to work out any necessary modifications to your qualification criteria. The IPC approach here is to closely follow the principles the IOC will release on the subject matter so as to prevent any impression that Olympic and Paralympic athletes are not being treated equal. The IOC guidelines will come out within a few days.
One already agreed principle is that any qualification slot which has been obtained by now shall remain untouched. Further points (for example regarding the extension of ranking list deadlines for ongoing qualification) will be communicated to you as soon as possible. Of course, we all have to wait for a new Games period to be determined. And that will probably take a while. But we can already work in the background to define each sport’s approach to updating their qualification criteria, and then just drop in the new dates once they have been announced.”
Impacts on the 2020 Rowing Season
Given the decision on the postponement of the two Games and as the situation with the Covid-19 virus continues as a global pandemic, FISA is now working on clarity for the rest of the 2020 international rowing season. But there are no clear or easy solutions. FISA has asked that the president or secretary general of each member federation completes an electronic questionnaire to help appreciate what is happening at the national level and in the clubs, schools and universities, and the thoughts of the NFs about the second part of the rowing season. In order to try to move to decisions as soon as appropriate and possible, the NFs have been asked to complete an electronic form by midnight CET, Tuesday 31 March 2020.
Impacts on the 2021 Rowing Season
Analysis of the potential impact on the rowing season of holding the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2021 has started with a listing of the issues that will need to be considered. When the dates of the two Games in 2021 are confirmed, a comprehensive analysis of the 2021 rowing season will take place.
FISA has also been informed that the critical television rights payments to the International Federations are likely to be delayed which will have a major impact of the operations of FISA in 2021. This is being analysed at the moment and proposals will be forthcoming on how FISA can best prepare for this situation.
The next Executive Committee Conference Call is Monday, 30 March 2020.
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