IBU makes important calendar and sports decisions amid Congress preparations
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) has set the dates for the IBU World Championships Biathlon in Pokljuka 2021 and Oberhof 2023, and decided to establish a new Season Opening from the beginning of the BMW IBU World Cup season 2020/2021.
At its meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, the IBU Executive Board also approved the extension of prize money distribution from the Top 15 athletes to the Top 20 at all World Cup events and at the World Championships Biathlon starting from next winter. In what marks a significant increase for athletes, the prize money for every (non-relay) competition in the World Cup and World Championships Biathlon will be raised by more than €400,000 from next winter. This equals an increase of 10% per competition in the World Cup and World Championships.
The EB decided that the IBU World Championship Biathlon 2021 will be held from 10-21 February in Pokljuka, Slovenia, whilst the 2023 edition will take place in Oberhof, Germany from 8-19 February.
The EB also confirmed the venue of the Extraordinary Congress, which will be held in Munich, from 18-20 October 2019. The EB received updates on the major projects that will be discussed and reviewed at the Extraordinary Congress in October, such as the Strategic Plan, important elements of the new constitution and the Biathlon Integrity Unit.
The EB approved a new approach to the Season Opening. The first change to the opener will be made in seasons 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 when the actual opener will be held on a full weekend before the first World Cup. There will be World Cup and Nations Cup points as well as prize money awarded.
Speaking after the EB meeting, IBU President Olle Dahlin said:
“The decision to alter the Season Opening reflects our desire to ensure we establish a more modern and entertaining format. The new Season Opening in 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 reflects a two-step approach taken by the IBU towards moving to a new opening setup. Since the World Cup events have been awarded up until 2022, the new calendars are a smaller update with minimal logistical implications. The exact competition programme for the Season Opening in these two years will be announced in autumn this year. Our aim is to kickstart the season with a full weekend of competitions aimed at having the best possible mix of athletes from all qualified nations, using the most thrilling and entertaining biathlon formats and guaranteeing a world class field competing.”
Furthermore, the EB decided that every athlete intending to participate at an IBU event starting in season 2019/20 is required to provide a certificate confirming that they have completed an anti-doping education program.
The EB also received an interim report by the External Review Commission (ERC), a further status update report by the IBU Independent Working Group on anti-doping as well as an update on the criteria follow-up regarding the Russian Biathlon Union’s (RBU) reinstatement.
The next EB meeting will be held in Znojmo, Czech Republic, from 13-14 July 2019.