– It's a joke – NRK Sport – Sports news, results and broadcast schedule

– It's a joke – NRK Sport – Sports news, results and broadcast schedule

– It's a joke, frankly, what they suggested.

This is what Johan Eliasz, President of the International Ski Federation (FIS), said clearly, in an exclusive interview conducted by NRK in cooperation with the Swedish SVT and the Finnish YLE.

And now it has become clear that there is an open struggle between the strongest ski leaders in the world.

In this interview, Eliash communicates with some of the member states of the Islamic Salvation Front. The reason is the ongoing conflict between the Islamic Salvation Front and the “Snowflake”, a group consisting of seven of the largest ski nations in the world.

Now Eliash is attacking countries like Norway and revealing new details about the conflict.

-Snowflake just wants to transfer ownership and management to itself. In this case, Snowflake will become the new international ski association. Eliash says: Then the Islamic Salvation Front will become just history.

  • You can read the Norwegian Ski Association's response on this matter.

Different versions about the protracted conflict

The conflict, which in this interview takes a new turn, has set fire to the minds of many leather nations. Because the conflict revolves around large sums of money and power over this money.

The background is as follows:

On Friday, April 26, the FIS's board of directors decided that they had to move forward with a controversial agreement.

Until now, countries, including Norway, have sold their TV rights themselves, but now the FIS will sell them on behalf of all member countries.

The way it is happening is causing Norway and Germany, among others, to react sharply.

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The Islamic Salvation Front now works from top to bottom. They no longer work for unions. “We feel they have lost their original goal,” Stefan Schwarzbach said at the DFB in April.

Johan Eliach (right) with Ragnhild Moenkel (from left), IOC President Thomas Bach and Kaisa Wieckhoff-Lee during the women's downhill during the Alpine World Cup in 2023.

Photo: Liz Aserud/NTB

In fact, the conflict dates back to August last year. At that time, the Islamic Salvation Front sent out a press release about the agreement it had concluded with the rights company Infront.

The Agreement means, among other things:

  • 30 million Swiss francs will be distributed equally to all 75 member states of the Islamic Salvation Front.
  • In addition, you should get money when organizing World Cup races. Here you are guaranteed a 10 percent increase in income over eight years.

According to Eliash, there is a guarantee at the bottom of the agreement with Infront that guarantees the organizers a 20 percent increase over current agreements. In addition, the organizers will receive 85-88 percent of the money if you manage to sell the rights for an amount higher than what is included in the guarantee.

– Therefore, I believe that this agreement is a “no-brainer,” he asserts.

But the Snowflake Group disagrees. They prefer to give more money to the smaller branches of the FIS, which consists of a number of different ski disciplines.

They also want:

  • A smaller portion of the funds will go to the FIS Center and to the rights company Infront
  • More money goes to national ski federations.


Answer: Johann Eliach has received severe criticism in recent months. Now take countermeasure.

Photo: Daniel Grevey/SVT

There are two different stories about what happened since August, when the FIS issued the press release.

According to the Snowflake group, they have repeatedly provided feedback and requested meetings with FIS management.

Now Eliash, head of the Islamic Salvation Front, responds. According to him, Snowflake has not provided any comments on the agreement and has not come up with a concrete alternative to the agreement.

We sent them a draft nine months ago and they refused to comment. It was only a small group that disagreed, while others expressed their comments. It's a strange way to fight the agreement, but at the same time refuse to have an opinion, Eliash says, and believes the FIS will be a thing of the past if Snowflake gets what they want.

– It's nonsense

On the other hand, Snowflake believes that they did not receive enough information about the content of the agreement itself. Therefore, they wanted to participate in the discussions on the agreement, in order to provide their input.

-You have to ask yourself if they need to get that information. Sorry to say that, but it's complete nonsense.

– Why is it ridiculous?

– It's ridiculous because we work with something very measurable, i.e. specific events where they can ask for feedback from TV companies, from third parties and come up with a proposal. They never did, Eliash says.

– They had nine months, but they didn't come up with anything. Sorry to say it, but this is bullshit.

Eliash in an interview with NRK.

Interview: Johan Eliach during the interview with NRK, SVT and YLE at the five-star Bernardine Hotel in Portorož.

Photo: At Hosu/YLE

– The economy is not good enough

On the other hand, Norway stands side by side with countries such as Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.

Terje Lund leads the work at the Snowflake Group on behalf of the Norwegian Ski Association. He strongly disagrees that the agreement now on the table is a good agreement.

We do not believe that it has good enough governance principles. We don't think its economics are good enough, as it relies on a model that treats all branches equally, Lund explains:

Terry Lund

Snowflake: Terje Lund leads the work on the Snowflake group by the Norwegian Ski Association.

Photo: Halvor Ekland/NRK

There is great variation in the income potential of the various branches of the Islamic Salvation Front. We have launched a model through Snowflake where the rich must give a little more to the poor and they must support to a greater extent than specified in the FIS's outline. Small branches, so they have a greater chance of survival in the future.

Regarding the claim that Snowflake is merely trying to secure power in the FIS, Lund responds as follows:

– We didn't talk about it at all. We are trying to centralize market rights in the Islamic Salvation Front in close cooperation with the Islamic Salvation Front. We've already said that from day one.

You did not reach another agreement that could be compared to the agreement on the table, why not?

Once this agreement is launched and expires, there will be no other players to bid again. But we have a good dialogue with other actors there, I can confirm that and we have also confirmed that to the Islamic Salvation Front.

Lund believes that it would not have been possible for them to have any concrete input into the agreement on the table because they had not seen the agreement itself.

We still have not seen or have an agreement that we can comment on. “We commented a lot on the drawing that was created, both through letters and meetings, so we really tried to have a dialogue over a long period of time,” says Lund.

Controversial board decision

The decision was made after a secret vote where no one knew who voted for what. Eliash is happy to answer why the vote is secret:

The reason is that members of the Governing Council must vote without any pressure from the countries that nominated them for Council membership. They must, or must, act in the interests of the Islamic Salvation Front. This means what is best for the sport and the athletes, and not for any political reasons, Eliash tells NRK.

FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup - Men's Alpine Combined

Defends board treatment: Johan Eliach has no doubt that it was right to hold a secret vote on the FIS board.

Photograph: Dennis Balibus/Reuters

NRK understands that many Board members were moved by the fact that they had to vote on this matter at the Board meeting. When asked if the board had been informed of the vote in advance, Eliash responded as follows:

– Everyone has been informed. We have discussed this matter in several board meetings after we reached an agreement with a marketing company that guarantees a certain payment and has a deadline. It was a critical time to make the decision at that time,” Eliash says.

-So they knew there would be a vote?

-This has been a topic that has been discussed and debated. We had a board meeting scheduled.

– Who made the decision that a vote should be held? Was that yours?

– These are internal operations in the Islamic Salvation Front, so I cannot answer that.

  • Watch the full interview with Eliash in the video below:

05/08/2024 at 4 pm

08.05.2024 at 16.02

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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