by George Rossano
(12 June 2012) By a vote of 74-35-1 the ISU Congress has approved extending the terms of the current office holders two more years. Under this plan the next election for office holders will take place at the 2016 Congress. Office holders elected that year will serve two year terms instead of four, with election for full four year terms then occurring in 2018.
The most immediate consequence of this vote is that the ISU will be led for the next four years by an aged upper level management that appears, based on track record in recent years, at a loss for how to stem the decline in the popularity of figure skating throughout much of the world. The vote appears to say that for nearly three-quarters of the ISU members, the status quo is good enough. It also means that ISU members are on their own for at least the next four years in figuring out how to develop and promote figure skating within their individual countries until some new blood comes along at the ISU with new energy and new ideas.
It would be interesting to know how the vote broke down for speed skating vs. figure skating. We would not be surprised if the vast majority of the speed skating votes were in favor of the extension, as speed skating has not been going through the identity crisis for the past few years that figure skating has, and thus might be more satisfied with the status quo than figure skating. But as far as we know, votes are not tabulated that way.
With this vote, figure skating vice-president David Dore is out of the running as a potential successor to president Cinquanta (had Dore wanted it), as Dore will be age ineligible to run for any office in 2016. This solidifies the candidacy of Didier Gailhaguet as the front runner to succeed president Cinquanta. But four years is a long time and much can happen in the interim. Potential candidates for all offices now have the next four years to develop their personal strategies for election instead of two, unless of course the 2016 congress votes to delay elections again.
Additional Notes added 13 June 2012
According to sources, the U.S., Canada and Switzerland strongly opposed the proposal which was hotly debated. The proposal was accepted by one vote, but the vote had to be repeated because of a protest from Brazil and Malaysia who said that they had voted but their vote did not appear in the tally. In a second ballot, four countries that had abstained in the first ballot changed their votes. On the second vote the proposal was again accepted again by one vote only (this proposal required a 2/3 vote to pass). It is said France was in favour of it, which is odd since it delays the ability of Gailhaguet to run for president an additional two years.
The proposals to increase the age of the judges and of the Members of the TC, as well as one to reduce the number of Members in the TC, were rejected. This means that Alexander Lakernik, the chairman of the Singles and Pairs Technical Committee will not be able to run in 2016.
Delaying the elections will result in many current office holders being age ineligible for re-election in 2016. This will result in a large turnover in management that year. Aging out in 2016 are president Cinquanta; vice-president Dore; council members Howard, and Panov; and Technical Committee chair Lakernik.
We have also been told that preliminary rounds have been deleted from the ISU Championships. This will make problems for Canada because they have already planned for 2013 Worlds to include initial rounds, and this change will put an increased cost burden on Skate Canada, as well as introduce complications with TV contracts and tickets, which are already on sale.
Note added 17 June 2012
Due to the change in format for 2013 Worlds, Skate Canada has temporarily delayed sale of single event tickets.
The following pages tabulate the vote result for proposal 7. Only two countries with separate figure and speed skating votes split their votes. In all other cases figure and speed skating voted together.
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Copyright 2012 by George S. Rossano