Why I am Standing?

I believe I am not alone in thinking that today’s ISU should embrace the well-known maxim  “change before you get changed”.


Before I considered running for the position of ISU President, I gave the matter a great deal of thought and asked myself if I had the relevant skills and the appetite to fight for positive change for our sport and our International Federation. I realised that my passion for sport and skating in particular, in all its forms, remains undiminished.


I have already spent several months meeting leading figures from every country, testing the vision for the ISU for 2016-2022 against the realities that our Member Federations face.


This is a particularly enriching experience for me, as the opportunity to listen to the people that make up the ISU – the Presidents of its Member Federations – has helped me to develop a Manifesto to bring the ISU into the modern age with a realistic and much-needed programme of actions and reforms.


Having consulted many in the ice sports family and willing to continue to do so, my desire to modernise the ISU and unite our diverse members is fundamental to my vision. And for me success must be collective or we will have failed.  It is this approach that underpins my Manifesto.


About Me


I have a passion for all skating sports and skaters and my capacity for hard work and a track record of success, as seen through my work as President of the Federation Française des Sports de Glace (FFSG) is, I believe, clear.


The son of an international rugby player and a piano-playing mother, I discovered late and by chance the magic of ice skating.  What I have experienced in life has made me who I am – a man who has what it takes to bounce back and focus on the future.


I dedicated myself to ensuring the French Federation, which my predecessors left mired in 10 million Euros of debt, to recover. I reshaped it into a nationally credible federation that has earned the respect of the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee, where I am a member of the Administrative Council.


I have a reputation as an ideas man with the ability to see things through, as my role in planning the creation of the Grand Prix both for senior skaters and subsequently for juniors, as well as the idea of the Challenger Series and the ‘Top Jump’ competition has shown. During the same period, I created the first high-altitude national centre for speed skating in Font-Romeu (Pyrenees) and, in a country where short track had become all but non-existent, three years ago France started winning medals, including in long track events.


Being elected to the position of president of the ISU is a responsibility. It is a mandate, a contract that ties the President to the people who elected him or her; more than anything, this means being duty-bound to deliver the Manifesto that the successful candidate stands for and to raise the ISU to a higher level. I want to create unity solely on the basis of concrete plans, not on promises of positions or roles.


To achieve this, I am ready to commit my unrelenting drive, my deepest convictions and experiences and all my time to support you and our great sport in all its forms.  And this includes my commitment to spend a minimum of three days per week at the ISU’s Lausanne HQ.


Lastly, in the interests of transparency and given the very short initial two-year term involved, I commit to a plan that would bring us to 2022 together and with this in mind, I am not simultaneously seeking any other elected position, as I am passionate about and motivated by only one – being your President.



My Vision for the ISU


I wanted to write a Manifesto with an accompanying programme of clear actions. This programme is designed as a humble assessment of the current situation we face but also provides policies to drive global growth in all ISU sports and disciplines into the future.

The vision that I am keen to establish for our illustrious federation is based on five key themes that are underpinned by a raft of concrete proposals for the ISU to implement.

I hope to meet every ISU Member Federation over the coming weeks and months and look forward to the opportunity of improving my ideas by listening to your views and thoughts.

I want to unify people’s aspirations and combine people’s talents to reform our glorious organisation and to bring it into the modern age by 2022.  This is my vision that, with your support, I would be honoured to help deliver.


How can we all work together efficiently



Focusing our efforts on athletes and skaters



Fighting the threats that the ISU family faces



Modernising ISU event presentation



Optimising commercial growth of the ISU and its members


Over-Arching Vision for the ISU


Whatever form it takes, skating is magical. People who have not, at some point in life, experienced the unique sensation of gliding across ice, the feeling of having mastered speed, an angled blade edge, a jump on a surface incorrectly deemed ‘treacherous’, do not know what they are missing. Our sports’ purity is a wonderful asset that we need to start communicating more clearly.


In June 2016, the Congress of the International Skating Union will elect a successor to President Ottavio Cinquanta. It will be a historic moment given the outstanding contributions made by successive past ISU Presidents, especially M.Olaf Poulsen and, of course, M.Ottavio Cinquanta – in particular for the recent purchase of ISU headquarters in Lausanne as this provides concrete proof of the organisation’s stability.


In an ever-changing environment, however, we cannot simply assume that what we have built up will last forever. We must acknowledge that the ISU’s traditions and values on their own will not stand up to the issues affecting modern sport and the challenges of the future.


Unity is also a major challenge for us. It is alluded to in our organisation’s name – the International Skating UNION – but not always apparent in the facts. The Member Federations including the small ones need to be placed at the heart of our organisation.


A united body will be the ISU’s strength, not its weakness. I believe that in an effort to ensure balance it is vitally important, given thirty-six consecutive years of leadership by people whose background lies in speed skating that the ISU will benefit from a President with a proven history at every level and position in figure skating. In any case, our organisation will be successful when it works as a collective, or it won’t be successful at all.


Honesty and transparency is at the heart of my Manifesto and I propose a wide range of measures to ensure the ISU establishes and adheres to the best and most robust governance procedures.  This will include embracing important changes to the constitution at the 2018 Congress to give the ISU the structure of a company with a governing board and a supervisory board with specific roles. 



Olympic Agenda 2020

It is vital that the ISU addresses the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020 as a matter of urgency with one specific priority – to increase the universal appeal of skating. One of the major issues that we face is to attract more countries to our competitions and championships, and to develop new competition formats that are more appealing to the public. We need to combine universal appeal and elite performance in what we do, and I believe that both are achievable. We will need to be creative as we take action to ensure that skating retains its status as the defining sport of the Olympic Winter Games.


Currently, across all sports, only around 20% of the ISU’s seventy-one member countries are in a position to qualify for the final stages of the World Championships.  This does not suggest we have universal appeal. While some countries have made significant progress, there is still much to be done. There is now the opportunity to ensure that medium-sized, geographically isolated and new federations are given – or returned to – a central position in ISU discussions and activities.



Attracting the Next Generation

Most importantly, we will need to foster a change in attitude, retaining a steadfast commitment to attracting newcomers and young skaters to our sports and into our ice rinks – temporary and permanent alike – while structuring what we do around our greatest champions, who are role models for young people.

These are not empty words. Coming from the country that saw Baron Pierre de Coubertin establish the modern Olympic Games, I know what ‘participation’ means. In order for young people to participate in what we do, the most important thing is that we understand what motivates their generation, what distances them from us and how we should change to reach them. The ISU has to change the playing field, seek out young skaters and people from more impoverished areas and focus on urban ice skating events by making use of the hundreds of mobile ice rinks set up throughout the world in winter months.



Enhanced Credibility

The loss of credibility that figure skating disciplines have undergone, linked to the increasingly outdated nature of our events and poorly understood judging systems is something we need to address.  I am, for example, determined to abolish anonymous judging in figure skating.  Alongside this need for credibility and the need to change in order to remain current, I support the increased semi professionalisation of judges and referees across all our sports.


We are a business with an annual budget of more than US$45 million, and US$230 million in the bank, and will need to find the resources to move forward in the interests of skaters and our members. In this respect, negotiating future ISU commercial contracts should be a matter that everyone takes an interest in.



A Tailored Approach

I hope that the changes I am proposing will be widely supported – we will need to build on the strategies and programmes that President Cinquanta and his Vice Presidents, Dijkema and Dore, have put into place. However, while globalisation currently encourages a centralised, all-encompassing approach, the various geographic markets that skating covers – from television to marketing rights – are quite diverse. The facts are straightforward – the Asian market has developed quickly, the North American market has stagnated, Europe has diminished significantly and both Oceania and Africa clearly have a great deal of room for growth.

My proposals are based on an individualised approach in which the best professionals from each area are selected, and I will help every member to enter the television market by focusing on continental and national contracts.



Member Federation Development

The IOC gives us a significant (and, contrary to what some people have claimed, not decreasing) sum of money. I propose that half of this revenue – US$10 million, rather than the current US$5.5m – is allocated to a highly ambitious development project to support Member Federations.  This doubling of the money for the development plan will cover a biennial assessment of each federation’s needs (athletes, judges, coaches, events, facilities and memberships) with the objective of making clear progress over a six-year period – which will be reflected in a funding contract with every Federation.



Prize Money

I also propose that all prize money awarded to skaters at ISU Championships (World, World Junior, Four Continents and European) is the same across all five ISU sports.



ISU International Academy

I will create an International Academy of Ice Skating, a permanent site that brings skaters together and trains both coaches and judges, as well as hosting regular training sessions and seminars as part of the development plan – all overseen by a group of experts. The aim is to create a central hub that the ISU owns and is accessible to all.



Maximum Age Limit

We should not be scared of the future and it is vital that we believe in change while respecting our history and the people that have shaped it. With this in mind, we should establish a uniform maximum age for all those serving in ISU functions.  I believe that a uniform maximum age of seventy-five could be appropriate but I am extremely open to a debate about this limit.


Integrity and Transparency

Honesty and transparency is the fundamental basis of this Manifesto, and it links to three key areas:


  • Development Plan

If you elect me, this will incorporate assessment procedures that are based on specific evaluation criteria that analyse each member’s progress.


  • Awarding Major Championships

 Everyone should be informed of which member countries submit bids and the reasons why a particular host city is chosen, as well as the shortcomings of cities that are unsuccessful.


  • ISU Accounts and Budget

These should be published on the isu.org website every year. In addition, the decision-making process behind contracts with significant financial potential (those worth more than US$100,000) should be a transparent process that everyone is aware of.




Key Themes and Detailled Proposals





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