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FIS and WSF hail landmark snowboarding pact

The International Ski Federation (FIS) and World Snowboard Federation (WSF) have struck what they claim is a historic agreement for the global unification of competitive snowboarding.

Under the partnership, the FIS will recognise the WSF as the authority for the development of amateur snowboarding and development of young riders through grassroots programmes, events and other activities. These responsibilities will be detailed in a service agreement between the two bodies.

Meanwhile, the WSF has agreed that snowboarding will benefit from FIS’ status as the unique, representative governing body, providing athletes with a clear international pathway to the winter Olympic Games, where the discipline debuted at the 1998 event in Nagano, Japan. The two bodies said there will be ongoing collaboration between WSF and FIS where the “breadth of opinions” can be brought together to focus on strengthening the sport.

The agreement also covers future custodianship of the World Snowboard Points List (WSPL), recognised as the most comprehensive and authentic ranking of international snowboard athletes in the events of halfpipe, big air and slopestyle. Ownership of the WSPL will transfer to FIS immediately.

In addition to the WSPL, talks are underway for further harmonisation, including event calendars and sanctioning. A joint FIS and WSF Working Group will oversee the transition announced on Saturday.

Dean Gosper, FIS Council member and chair of the federation’s Snowboard, Freestyle, Freeski Committee, said: “Unification ensures an unambiguous pathway for athletes and nations.  The collaboration in reaching this historic outcome provides the foundations for the vision behind the agreement.

“I commend all involved who persistently returned to what is best for the sport and its athletes, not just organisations. Our responsibilities have not changed, but our tools to implement focused programmes for competition and grassroots snowboard have.”

Satu Järvelä, World Snowboard Federation president, added: “This unique collaboration helps the WSF to continue to be able to provide resources for all nations to help promote the sport of snowboarding as a healthy activity for everybody.

“We will still be dedicated to all nations both governed and independent, and as well to the independent events and supporting the sport through a more unified platform. The care and upkeep of the WSPL is supported now in FIS through the snowboard nations and allows the WSF to focus helping to grow up the next generation of riders.”