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Dispute escalates: ÖSV wants to sue FIS

Dispute escalates: ÖSV wants to sue FIS
Dispute escalates: ÖSV wants to sue FIS

Johan Eliasch

Since then, the ÖSV has been seeing red, with the consequence that the Austrian Ski Association will sue the world association. ÖSV General Secretary Christian Scherer fears damages running into the millions.

If the FIS has its way, the valuable international media rights in winter sports will be marketed centrally from 2026/2027 – similar to Formula 1. This centralization was one of the election promises of the controversial FIS boss Eliasch, who wants to implement his flagship project under all circumstances – and apparently made a decision at a meeting of the FIS Council. The international competition rules were changed with the approval of the FIS supreme authorities.

Passage “almost violently” changed

The passage that assigns media rights to the national associations was changed “almost violently” in the Council, as Stefan Schwarzbach, board member of the German Ski Association (DSV), put it in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. This interpretation coincides with that of the ÖSV. The change in the rules is seen as a means of exerting pressure.

The associations are not fundamentally opposed to the idea of ​​centralization. However, they are bothered by the way the FIS is proceeding and by the fact that the future right to have a say is unclear. Eliasch’s assumption that the central marketing outsourced to the Swiss agency Infront for eight years from 2026 could generate an increase of more than 100 million euros is also controversial. A pure redistribution of funds without simultaneous product development will probably not bring the glorious future propagated by Eliasch, according to the association.

“Market restricted”

“With this decision, the FIS board has restricted competition on the market. This is already having an impact on the ÖSV, which is facing potential damage in the seven-figure range,” Scherer explained the ÖSV’s legal opinion. “We and I, as managing directors of a corporation, have no choice but to defend ourselves and take legal action.” The lawsuit will be filed with an Austrian commercial court.

The latest development is special for the ÖSV in that it is the only relevant ski association that does not have a contractual relationship with the Infront agency with regard to international media rights, but has existing contracts with IMG and Eurovision Sport as well as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). According to Scherer, an ongoing contract is being affected. The domestic rights are held by the ORF.

  • also read: Power struggle in the ÖSV: This scenario would be a small disaster for President Stadlober

Ultimately, Eliasch’s peculiar management style also includes leaving the associations in the dark time and again. To date, no minutes have been received from the board meeting in question, only the text of the resolution, said Scherer.

He wants to explain “these developments, which are directly damaging the ÖSV” to the participants of the association’s country conference on Friday. In Feldkirch, the amendment to the statutes that has already been decided will also be approved, which will appoint Scherer as chairman of the management board. In future, he will head the association full-time with Mario Stecher (sports affairs). Roswitha Stadlober is expected to remain honorary president for another three years. The re-election of Stadlober, who turned 61 on Wednesday (today), is considered a formality. She is the only candidate.

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Source: Nachrichten

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