Fendt extends FIL presidency, criticises Pyeongchang 2018 legacy

Josef Fendt has been re-elected as president of the International Luge Federation (FIL), extending his long-running tenure as head of the organisation.

The 70-year-old has been at the FIL helm since June 25, 1994 and he will now serve another four-year term as president. The German was the only candidate standing for the post during the FIL’s Congress meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia on Saturday.

The Congress also elected Latvia’s Einars Fogelis as secretary general. Fogelis will replace the retiring Svein Romstad in the role.

Addressing delegates at the Congress, Fendt (pictured) criticised South Korean officials for a lack of communication over plans for the luge venue that was used during the Pyeongchang winter Olympic Games back in February. Fendt praised South Korea for the quality of the Alpensia Sliding Centre during the Games but has called for clarity on legacy plans for the facility going forward.

“There is no doubting that we had a great winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang and that all those in charge did their best,” he said. “However, when it comes to the efforts concerning the track’s reuse, we are very disappointed.

“Unfortunately, we still don’t have a Korean organisation or association who we can talk to about future competitions on the Olympic track in Pyeongchang. This is unacceptable and does not correspond to the Olympic idea.

“Particularly in light of the fact that the next winter Olympic Games are taking place in Korea’s near-neighbour China in 2022, we would be willing to keep using the Pyeongchang Sliding Centre with our competitors. However, the conditions at the track would have to be right and the track would have to be run properly with trained technical staff.”

Prior to being elected permanent president of the FIL, Fendt held the position in a temporary capacity following the death of founding president Bert Isatitsch in February 1994. Itatitsch had led the FIL for 37 years, from its creation in 1957 through to his death.

Fendt is the second longest-serving president of a winter sports federation, with René Fasel, head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), having been elected shortly before Fendt took up his role with the FIL.