IBU cancels Summer Biathlon World Championships 2020 and reschedules Congress

IBU cancels Summer Biathlon World Championships 2020 and reschedules Congress

The IBU Executive Board (EB) today announced the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Biathlon World Championships and the postponement of the IBU Congress after it was agreed that the events could not be staged as planned due to concerns over participation and safety.

The decision was made during a two-day meeting of the IBU EB via videoconference. The Summer World Championships had been scheduled to take place in Ruhpolding, Germany on 19-23 August. However, following the decision of the German government to cancel all “mass events” in Germany until 31 August 2020 and in light of the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the German Ski Federation and the Organising Committee in Ruhpolding decided to withdraw from hosting the event and return the rights to the IBU. After evaluating options to reallocate, the IBU EB agreed that given the widespread challenges caused by COVID-19, the ongoing restrictions on international travel and the limited available window in the biathlon calendar to reschedule that it was in everyone’s best interests to cancel the event.

In regards to the IBU Congress, which was scheduled for 10-13 September in Prague, it was agreed to reschedule the event to 13-15 November 2020.

IBU President Olle Dahlin said:

“It is with great sadness that we have had to cancel this year’s Summer Biathlon World Championships. We understand that it will be a great disappointment to all the athletes who have been training for the event and the fans who have been looking forward to it. We fully understand and support the decision by the Organising Committee in Ruhpolding and the German Ski Federation to return the hosting rights. We are committed to delivering fair and safe competitions but with the challenges and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 it was agreed that it was not possible to hold the event this year. We look forward to seeing the return of the Summer Biathlon World Championships in 2021 in Nove Mesto na Morave."

The IBU is also working with National Federations and Organising Committees to prepare for different potential scenarios for the IBU events caused by the COVID19 virus for the upcoming winter season.

The EB also confirmed that fluorinated ski wax and other fluorinated products for ski preparation will be banned by the IBU from the 2020/21 season onwards to respect the EU regulations coming into effect in July 2020 and reduce any possible human and environmental impact. The EB formed a working group in November 2019 to consider eliminating the use of fluorinated wax and develop efficient control systems that will allow for fair conditions and reliable testing. The IBU and the International Ski Federation (FIS) are jointly developing a test device to detect the use of fluorinated ski wax that will be tested over the summer. Once these tests have been completed, the IBU will announce new rules including details on thresholds, procedures and sanctions in due course. Such thresholds are being developed to ensure that very small amounts of fluorine existing in well-cleaned bases of skis or existing in the environment will not result in sanctions.

The IBU also announced that the following bids for the IBU World Championships Biathlon were received ahead of 1 May 2020 deadline:

2024: Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
2025: Lenzerheide, Switzerland; Minsk-Raubichi, Belarus; Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic

The hosts of both events will be selected at the 14th Ordinary IBU Congress in November according to the new transparent and accountable bidding process set out in the new IBU Constitution.

The EB also heard reports on the implementation progress of Target 26, governance, and the establishment of the Biathlon Integrity Unit. An update was also provided on the progress made by the Russian Biathlon Union in fulfilling the 12 criteria required for full-membership reinstatement.

The next EB meeting is scheduled for 29-30 July 2020.