From immediate season preparations to the principles governing the sport in the years ahead, the International Biathlon Federation (IBU) discussed the organisation’s and the sport’s future in two key meetings this week. The Executive Board (EB) met on 9-10 September ahead of a Presidents’ meeting in Munich over the weekend in which the leadership of 50 National Federations participated on-site and virtually.
The IBU has announced that as of today the 2021/22 season will go ahead as scheduled. The IBU will keep its trimester approach to confirm events and make adjustments when needed to protect the health of athletes and event participants during the COVID-19 crisis.
Following the expert advice of its Medical Advisory Group, the IBU will rely on vaccinations for its events. The IBU notes how the vaccination of athletes and officials will be critical to the safety of events and urged all those who have not done so already to get vaccinated.
Event participants who have not been vaccinated, or have not recently recovered from COVID-19 will have to provide several PCR-tests at their own cost to enter and stay in the event bubble. The IBU will work with its event organisers (OCs) to provide local/regional testing stations for unvaccinated participants, but will no longer travel with its own mobile labs to the event sites. In addition, the IBU has decided that any IBU officials (Executive Board, Staff, Referees etc.) travelling must be fully vaccinated.
The IBU will keep working closely with the Medical Advisory Group and OCs to ensure events are held safely. Detailed Covid-19 event guidelines will be published in the coming weeks to inform all stakeholders about the event setup and rules. Depending on future COVID-19 developments, the guidelines may be updated during the season. In addition, the IBU will always follow governments’ COVID-19 rules and regulations.
The EB further decided to create an IBU Organising Committee Award for Excellence in Sustainability. The purpose of the award is to further promote the concept and activities in the area of sustainability, as well as to share examples of best practice throughout the biathlon family. The meeting closed with a joint board meeting of the IBU and Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU), in which the BIU updated the federation on current topics such as investigations into the Moscow Laboratory LIMS database, updates to the Integrity Code, follow-up work on the findings of the External Review Commissions and the BIU’s strategic approach to fight doping.
Following the EB meeting, the National Federation (NF) Presidents’ meeting took place, which focused on updating national biathlon leaders on the work done in their International Federation. The IBU department directors updated the delegates on the implementation of the IBU Sustainability Strategy, of the IBU Gender Equality Strategy, of the IBU Digital Strategy and current sports technical topics. Budget frames and contributions to National Federations for the next five years were set together with the NF Presidents.
During the meeting, the future vision for the biathlon family and the sport was agreed. The delegates defined that the future of the sport must rely on the principles of Innovation, Sustainability and Integrity.
IBU President Olle Dahlin said:
“It was very important to be able to meet our National Federations again. We have given ourselves a plan at hand how to develop over the next ten years with measurable objectives on sports development, financial growth, gender equality and sustainability. At the same time, we have not only defined Strategies and Visions, but we are also working towards making sure that our members can implement programmes on a national level. From improving governance to securing athlete development, the IBU as an international federation, has to provide strategic guidance to our members and facilitate implementation for the good of our sport.”
The week of biathlon stakeholder meetings will be continued next weekend when all biathlon Organising Committees will meet in Bled, Slovenia.