IBU adopts Code of Ethics, considers bidding proposal for World Championships

The Executive Board of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) has continued on its path of reform by approving an amended Code of Ethics, while a proposal has been put forward for a new bidding model for its World Championship.

An Executive Board meeting held at the weekend adopted the amended Code of Ethics as presented by the IBU Legal Committee. The enhanced Code of Ethics includes the establishment of a new Ethics Commission which would consist of three external members, one member of the Legal Committee and one IBU elected auditor.

An independent ethics and compliance officer would also be installed. The Code will now be presented to the Congress for adoption at its meeting scheduled for Porec, Croatia from September 5-9.

In June, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) moved to suspend all direct financial payments to the IBU until a series of demands are met concerning reform of the body. The IOC’s Executive Board acted after the IBU earlier detailed that a contest will be held to determine its next leader.

Elections will be conducted at the IBU Congress. The IBU has named two candidates to become its next president, including Baiba Broka, head of the Latvian Biathlon Federation, and Swedish Biathlon Federation leader Olle Dahlin, a current Executive Board member of the IBU.

The IBU is seeking a new president as Anders Besseberg in April said he would stand down after confirming that an investigation into the world governing body was focused on “doping issues”. Austrian Federal Criminal Police conducted a raid on the IBU headquarters in April, with secretary general Nicole Resch requesting a leave of absence amid an investigation into herself and Besseberg.

The IBU has not specified what the Austrian Federal Criminal Police was searching for during the raid, only that the investigation was “focusing on” Resch and Besseberg, who had led the world governing body since its formation in 1993. Senior leadership at the IBU are alleged to have accepted $300,000 (€254,000) in bribes in return for adopting a favourable stance towards Russian athletes caught up in doping infringements.

The IOC has requested three governance reform reports by September 10, with a summary presented to the IOC Executive Board for consideration at its meeting on October 3-4.

Meanwhile, the three bidders contesting hosting rights for the World Championships in 2021 and 2023 have called on the 2024 event to be assigned at the same time, with a view towards none of the candidates missing out.

Pokljuka in Slovenia was seemingly poised to land the 2021 World Championships at September’s Congress after being confirmed as the only candidate in June. Hosting rights for the 2023 Championships were to be contested by Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic and Oberhof, Germany.

Without taking a decision, the IBU Executive Board has discussed the joint proposal by the German Ski Federation, the Ski Association of Slovenia and the Czech Biathlon Union, as well as their respective bidding committees, to not only award the World Championship for 2021 and 2023 but also for 2024.

Finally, a proposal made by the Athletes Committee to adapt the distribution of prize money was approved. Starting from the 2019-20 season the first 20 athletes in World Cup races will be awarded prize money. The distribution for the upcoming season remains unchanged.