Italians want Schladming thrown out; Austrians talk lawsuits


Italians want Schladming thrown out; Austrians talk lawsuitsFollowing the timing problems at the Schladming night slalom on January 25, the president of International Ski Federation (FIS), Gian Franco Kasper, says that the credibility of the sport is in danger and that the results from Schladming could potentially be thrown out. Meanwhile the president of the Austrian ski federation, which hosted the race, says that he has a legal basis for a lawsuit against the FIS.

“It doesn’t matter to me myself which company is involved, and which company is not involved,” said Kasper in Bormio for the 2005 alpine World Championships. “But the moment athletes, media, spectators and so on do not trust timing, then we have a big problem for the future. Timing is really the basis for our competition.”

The FIS has launched an investigation into what happened at Schladming following an official protest from the Italian federation. In the next several weeks, a panel of independent experts will examine materials related to the race. Names of the judges have not been disclosed, but they are from the United States, France and Scandinavia.

“We hope to have their answer as soon as possible,” says Kasper. “In any case I hope we can have it done before the draw for the slalom races because this might have an impact on the starting lists.”

Meanwhile the president of the Austrian ski federation, Peter Schoecksnadel, says that his federation could sue the FIS based on written promises the FIS made to the Austrians in October.

“We could sue them anytime,” Schoecksnadel told skiracing.com. “We don’t do this because we don’t do that kind of thing, but if in the future there is a fight, I’ll fight it.”

Schroecksnadel says that the Austrian federation could, if pushed, bring a lawsuit against the FIS itself based on promises broken in October. Schroecksnadel says that a representative of the FIS confirmed in writing that the FIS would provide data processing service to the opening race of the FIS alpine World Cup at Soelden, Austria.

Some of these documents were made available to Ski Racing magazine after the Schladming races. “As I told you on the telephone, the data service will be made like in the last season from Swiss Timing/Swatch,” says an apparently authentic e-mail dated October 11.

Based on that promise, and the subsequent refusal of Swatch to provide data service to Austria, Schroecksnadel says that problems arising with timing and data processing at Austrian races are not entirely the fault of the Austrian hosts.

Swatch pulled back from providing services to the alpine World Cup in December. Skiracing.com first reported on this controversy in late October.

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