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2008-12-08 01:30 - Alisher Usmanov - New President of FIE
Posted by Brillmartmore from same (International)
InternationalAlisher Usmanov defeated Rene Roch in the election of FIE president today by a vote of 66-61. The member nations of the FIE (International Fencing Federation) each had one vote and chose to change from the incumbent leadership of Roch.

From Fencing Net - Written by Craig Harkins  Saturday, 06 December 2008

More click here.
The mood after the vote was announced was one of shock as existing FIE staff are left to wonder what, if any, role they will have under the new administration.

Usmanov had run for the FIE presidency before and lost to Roch. This time Usmanov gained enough votes to overtake Roch and the FIE presidency.

In his nomination statement, Usmanov pledged to spend additional funds promoting fencing throughout the world, especially in less developed nations that currently lack the funding to send their athletes to World Cup events and develop a national fencing infrastructure.

Usmanov has also detailed plans for increased sponsorship of fencing, promotion and training of more coaches, and increased publicity for the sport. His entire address (letter sent out at time of nomination) can be found here.

Alisher Usmanov, candidate for president of the International Fencing Federation (FIE)

Manifesto for the future of fencing

The choice for the future

In this presentation, I would like to share with you my plans – my intentions – the things that I will realize if you should entrust me with the position of President of the International Fencing Federation.

Above all, we need stability, and we need an intensive focus on developments to ensure a healthy future for fencing. I believe this is something that we all know – we must move forward. We must make use of the best ideas, and we must bring new people in to that end. That’s the way to overcome the stagnation that is in the sport that we all love.

There are positive things happening in fencing: there is a growing number of National Fencing Federations. But with that we need good, steady, real growth in the numbers of fencers. We need to bring more spectators to the sport. We need to attract the mass media and we need to attract bigger sponsors.

That is achievable. We can do that. That is the attitude we must have.

Due to a lack of funding, many National Fencing Federations fail to pay membership fees, and they thereby deprive themselves of the right to participate and vote in the FIE Assemblies and Congresses. Some do not hold national championship events, or they do so but with only some types of weapons. One third of the national federations do not take part in international competitions and other FIE sponsored events.

A result of this is that the majority of world-class fencers are unable to compete at international level – through no fault of their own. And it’s rare to see a World Cup tournament without organizational and technical setbacks and refereeing failures.

In an attempt to promote fencing, the FIE management has made amendments to rules, and these amendments are often made just a week before major international competitions. The repercussion of this is that, effectively, athletes are losing the skills and mastery that they acquired in previous years. The logical accord between events at the strip and the decisions of referees is gone. Today it is difficult even to understand the difference between the types of weapons.

The International Olympic Committee likes self-supporting sports that draw big audiences. Unfortunately for fencing, our sport is not in that category: it is entirely supported by the International Olympic Committee. Currently, the 12 sets of Olympic Fencing medals are only a dream.

We need to make well-considered and responsible choices. But the choice between two candidates is not the issue here. The choice we have to make is a choice between two different systems of planning and management. Two very different approaches. One choice is for a back-handed policy. The other choice that we can make is a choice for transparency, a choice for dedicated management, and for democracy. We need to look beyond mere economic survival. We need a well-thought-out, strategic approach to the development of fencing worldwide. And that can only be done on a basis of sufficient financial resources, and a well-developed infrastructure.

Our choice was made long ago. We would like to invite you to join us. We want people who are ready, able, and willing to work intensively and honestly to develop the sport of fencing. We want those who want to see the FIE and each and every national federation performing efficiently and professionally. These are deserved victories. And we are determined to make this happen. We want to revive fencing, to bring it back to a leading position at the Olympics.

To this end, we have developed a detailed action plan. This is the plan:

First:

The FIE should ensure competent management

All international sports federations, including the FIE, are in place to develop and strengthen links between national sports federations. The purpose of the FIE is to bring together different points of view on fencing and to develop their general principles. Without the active role of the FIE, disputes cannot be settled, and without the FIE we cannot eliminate the possibility of political, racial and religious discrimination. Only joint, and well-organized efforts by our international federation can ensure fair support to all its members, without exclusion. Clearly understood and agreed-upon competition rules can be ensured only at the international level. The FIE can meet all those needs only if it is headed by a team able not only to take decisions competently, but able to implement them professionally.

For this reason, we are going to bring back the most respected experts in world fencing to the leadership of the Federation. Representatives of leading fencing federations, as well as representatives from developing countries will play an active role in FIE top management. We will also create a mechanism which will bring leading fencers, who are completing their sporting careers, into the solution-making process. Competent, professional managers will ensure that the mechanism of decision-making is effective and purposeful. And to this end, we will form an Administrative Board, which will engage in ongoing operational work on all continents, and will supervise the development of fencing worldwide, and will give assistance to National Federations.

This means that the current inefficient, and authoritarian structure will be replaced by democratic practice, with responsible team leadership. The FIE President will no longer interfere with the affairs of operational management. The President’s priorities will be to ensure the effective performance of the team and to ensure effective and strategic planning is behind each and every process within the organization.

All innovations will be implemented gradually, step by step, and will be accompanied by a comprehensive analysis of the consequences. As we bring in new policies to the different aspects of fencing, we will ensure that the outcomes are only positive.

In the period 2009 – 2012, the FIE will play a leading role among world sports federations.

Fencing development through FIE extended funding

Only sums of money in the thousands – and the millions – can attract athletes, and, respectively, audience, media, and sponsors.

We will provide this prize fund, not only for official competitions, but also for the newly-organized commercial tournaments – such as the annual Masters tournament, in which are invited eight athletes in each weapon category with the highest score either in international ranking in the previous season, or at the world championships and Olympic Games of the preceding four years.

It is likely that these tournaments will be held at the end of the season, and the finals may be organized in places where the sport will truly be in the public eye: in theatres, business centers, and shopping and entertainment centers. We will organize a first in world fencing commercial fights: “Battle for title of Absolute World Champion”. This will be a fight between the current World Champion and the World Champion of the preceding year (by weapons types). The competitions will take place in the most prestigious commercial and entertainment centers worldwide – in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Paris, London, Tokyo, and other major cities.

The budget for world fencing will significantly exceed the current FIE budget. Over the course of four years, from 2009 to 2012, we will bring USD 50 to 60 million through sponsorship deals, which will mean the FIE will have an annual budget of USD 12 – 15 million.

Improved organization, training, and finance of National Fencing Federations

Clear and transparent rules will be implemented to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all national federations in respect of their activities and participation in international competitions and FIE events.

A program of priority assistance to the new and developing national federations of 50 - 60 thousand dollars annually for each federation will be drafted and approved. The program will include all federations. Assistance to these federations will be provided publicly, transparently and systematically, rather than on the basis of random, subjective individual preferences. The budgets of these federations will be formed on an equal basis with regard to the FIE budgetary standards, charity funds and other revenues. Moreover, a special system will be developed of assistance for sports federations, for appliances and equipment acquisition, upgrading the skills of coaches, and participation of federation athletes in the world championships and other competitions. The program will include the arrangement of special tournaments between the representatives of developing national federations. Such regular competitions will significantly promote prompter accumulation of competitive experience by beginners and professionals.

At the same time, we will establish an international department for coaches at one of the existing higher sports institutions. Herewith, 40 students will be able to obtain higher education each year. The learning process will take one and a half or two years, after which the student will receive a diploma of Professional Coach. Thus, after two years, world fencing will be replenished with 40 professional trainers. After three years – with 80. After four years – with 120.

On an equal basis, all national federations will be able to send their athletes to the international competitions, as well as to academies and training centers to participate in joint sports events prior to major international competitions. At continental academies and fencing centers, there will be joint-training get-togethers organized for young fencers and members of national teams from different countries.

We guarantee the participation of three athletes from each national federation in the world championship among the adults or in the world championship among juniors at FIE expense.

All Assemblies and Congress will be attended by Presidents of the National Fencing Federations: this will be financed by the FIE. This will enable the presidents to make decisions at the international sports forums through personal engagement with the issues at hand.

Public promotion of fencing

We will make fencing a widely popular sport, using innovative tools and techniques.

We will announce a tender for development of an integrated program on TV fencing promotion. The program will meet the demands for enhancements in competition procedure to account for methods and techniques of TV camerawork, production, and broadcasting. The program will offer routes to cooperation between fencing and television to achieve success with the audience, whilst not neglecting its principled positions.

Competition winners will receive a substantial prize. The tender committee, consisting of prominent world-class fencers, will select the most interesting and talented projects and submit them for the discussion at the FIE Congress. The winner or winners will be declared at the FIE Congress. Originators of all original ideas will receive promotional prizes. Any legal entity, or individual, social organization, or any other interested party will be able to take part in the tender.

The FIE will be the leading organizer of a regular international open air fencing festival. The project will celebrate fencers of different trends, not only sports, but also artistic, historical and oriental arts. Celebrations of the various fencing trends will be arranged by high-class fencers from across the world, including Olympic Champions. This colorful, dynamic festival will bring fencing to media attention, and will attract the sponsors that we need to our sport. Actually, fencing will become to be seen as spectacular, and will build a new following of fans.

An important part of fencing promotion will be a change in the concept of «Escrime» magazine. This magazine is a high-value product of the FIE. It should become a real forum for the world community of fencing: a forum open to discussions on all relevant issues of development of our sport. Members of the Editorial Board of the magazine will be elected under recommendations of the FIE Executive Board, Continent Confederations, and National Fencing Federations.


Enhancement of behavior patterns, rules, and schedules of international competitions

For their consideration and approval, we will offer to the FIE Congress a detailed and well-developed procedure for individual and team competitions. The project will be undertaken by a team of specialists of the highest level, taking into account the wishes of all of the national federations.

Any changes in the rules and procedures of prominent competitions will be possible only after repeated and careful testing.

Amendments to the rules will be introduced in line with the requirement to improve aesthetics. Herewith, a balance will be drawn between enhancing aesthetics, and maintaining a diversity of technical and tactical fencing skills. The attempts to unify all types of fencing will be ceased.

Particular attention will be paid to video-replays in arbitration. First of all, mechanisms should be developed to protect the competitors and referees from «the supervisor at the monitor». These mechanisms should take into account the essential difference between the perception of the bout by the arbitrator and its reflection on the monitor. We will offer a broad, open discussion of the technical requirements of the procedure of video-replay.

We will significantly improve the schedule of international competitions, for which purpose a targeted working group will be formed. It will review options for enhancement to the international schedules for adults and juniors, and development of the international schedule for cadets. Moreover, we will consider the possibility of postponement of the World Championships, European and other continent championships, so that those tournaments will not overlap with the biggest competitions in other sports.

Referee selection enhancement

We will have extensive discussions before approving a new method of qualifying examinations for FIE referees. In particular, we will offer to resume the practical part of the exam «on line», without video-replays, and to introduce the procedure examination for continent confederations. The successful candidates, selected in their home continents, will be sent by the continent confederations to pass exams in the FIE; a quota should be introduced for the number of FIE referee licenses issued from the continent confederations. Referees from the continent confederations should participate in subordinate tournaments, as well as competitions among cadets and juniors. A rule should be introduced to suspend the licenses of referees who do not have enough practice refereeing (at least two tournaments in the season), as well as for the re-examination or referees who wish to renew their license.


Participation in equipment and appliances production

The FIE will become a major customer and investor in the development and introduction of new technologies – not only of sports equipment and appliances, but also IT systems, supporting training, and competition processes. To ensure quality and reliable solutions, leading research centers and experts will be involved for their development. Thus, through the use of modern technology, fencing equipment will become more sophisticated, and less costly, which means it will be more easily available to any national federation.

The advanced technology, and multiple testing of new fencing gear and equipment will result in a fair and unbiased winner.

All fencing types should be included in the Olympics program

First in terms of importance is the issue of inclusion of all fencing disciplines in the Olympic program, with 12 sets of Olympic honors. We will get to the core of this issue primarily through increasing the credibility of fencing, its status and popularity.

We have all the resources to address this critical challenge to our sport. Full-scale participation of fencing in the Olympics is one of the main priorities of our election program.

What has been done up to now:

We have accumulated considerable experience in creating a favorable environment for the successful and dynamic development of fencing on all continents across the globe.

Our team approached European Fencing Confederation management and attracted approximately USD 3.5 million in sponsorship funds for its support. Sponsorship allowed improvement of the organization of work significantly, it allowed the holding of European competitions at top international level, the allocation of significant prize funds for all major tournaments, the organization of activities to upgrade the referee qualification, and the improvement of fencing promotion.

We have also established the International Charity Fund «For the Future of Fencing», which has provided charitable assistance to more than half of the National Fencing Federations. For this purpose, the Fund allocates USD one million annually, and half a million in the current year. Since its foundation in March 2005, the Fund has contributed over four million U.S. dollars to fencing worldwide.

Thanks to the Fund’s assets, a quarter of all National Fencing Federations were equipped with tools and appliances, and over half of the National Fencing Federations took part in seminars and joint international sports events, organized by the Fund’s active members, on all four continents. Academies and representing offices of the Fund are established on all continents, and here events for athletes, coaches, and experts are organized, and a special system of participation has been developed for athletes of the low-budget national federations in international competitions.

We have proved that the development of fencing in the modern world can be implemented only by a team: a team that is capable of combining the three essential components of success: democracy in decision-making, performance management strategy, and the ability to attract considerable financial resources through sponsorship.

Our record is the basis of our absolute credibility in the world fencing community. That is what instills assurance in us. We can confidently say to all National Fencing Federations, that in voting for us, you can trust the development of international fencing to responsible and competent professionals.

Genuine dialogue is the means to progress

The new FIE management team will be working in a mode of consistent constructive dialogue with the fencing community. We are ready to take the responsibility for development, and we are ready to bring the FIE into the position it absolutely needs to be for the good of world fencing.

We are absolutely prepared and able to meet the challenges that world fencing faces today, and we are able to provide the solutions that will restore fencing to its rightful place, as a sport for top athletes, with resources accessible for everyone, and as sport that is appreciated and followed by many.

We propose a new era for fencing.

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