Otepää, a winter sport town in South Estonia, was recommended by the IBU Executive board as its preferred candidate ahead of competitor Kontiolahti, Finland. The Congress voted in favour of the Executive Board's selection. The election of the 2027 World Championships host was one of a number of important decisions taken on the opening day of the Ordinary Congress.
The Congress also voted in favour of the IBU Executive Board recommendation to maintain the suspension of the Russian Biathlon Union and the Biathlon Federation of Belarus until certain conditions are met. The decision was taken by secret ballot with the Congress voting 40 in favour and 1 against. Moreover, it also followed the Executive Board’s separate recommendation not to allow the participation of any Russian or Belarusian athletes or officials at its international events until further notice including non-sports events organised by the IBU in order to guarantee the safety and integrity of such events. The Congress voted by secret ballot, with 39 in favour and 2 against. The decision was taken by secret ballot by the Congress w. Prior to the vote, both the Russian Biathlon Union and Biathlon Federation of Belarus exercised their constitutional right to address the Congress. The Ukrainian National Federation also took the floor in the debate after the virtual contribution by the suspended members. Congress also empowered the IBU Executive Board to monitor the implementation of the conditions and to provisionally lift the suspensions imposed until the next Congress if it considers that the above-mentioned conditions have been fulfilled by RBU or BiFB. The Executive Board had made it clear earlier in the year that the membership suspensions will be maintained until both national federations demonstrate their full commitment to support and promote the purposes and principles of the IBU, for example clearly distancing themselves from the war in Ukraine and ensuring that none of their officials or athletes are actively involved in the Russian military or take any part in the war effort. The Congress also confirmed the updated budget for 2022/23 and the budget frames for 2023/24, 2024/25 and 2025/26. The Congress will continue tomorrow (17 September) and see the elections of the IBU Executive Board and IBU Technical Committee. The Congress can be watched live on youtube under https://youtu.be/Brm6wKy_spE