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Skiing's Sepp Blatter?
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«In dictatorships it is easier for us»
Gian Franco Kasper is 75 and since 1998 president of the International Ski Federation FIS. Before the start of the World Cup in Åre, the Engadin expressed doubts about climate change.
Ski boss Gian Franco Kasper is a man of clear words and does not shy away from provocative opinions. Photos: Urs Jaudas
The World Cup begins: Who is still looking for ski races?
Especially people over 40. It is interesting that this age remains the same for years, contrary to all claims.
What about alpine ski racing?
In Switzerland it is said that he is on the way down. Concerning television ratings this is not true. Nevertheless, the slogan, everything is skiing, is no longer valid. The second generation of immigrants has almost nothing to do with skiing, there are hardly any ski camps left.
Do you see a need for action?
It's not easy to get more viewers on this huge range of electronic games and I know everything.
The FIS is sedate, so the sport comes as 50 years ago.
Look at what we have today, just on the screen with the data. We can discuss race formats, only: In the future we will continue to drive from top to bottom and not vice versa.
Would not it be possible to generate much more money with a good marketing strategy than in other sports?
We do not care about making as much money as possible. Marketing to generate money for sports? At any time! But to generate money from sports, we do not do that. We are first and foremost advertising agency for winter tourism.
How hard is this?
Skiing in Switzerland is too expensive, a family with three children can hardly afford it - on the other hand, flights to the Caribbean cost almost nothing.
"To anyone who came to me shuddering, I said: Welcome to the global warming."
And much more polluting are not such holidays. Do you hear critical voices?
I hear that we are no longer driving on artificial snow and should no longer transport things by car, that is pollution. All the people who travel to Adelboden do not do the environment well. You are allowed into the football stadiums, but not into nature.
According to their sarcastic tone, they do not take the voices seriously.
Not at all. All the discussions about artificial snow or wasting water: that just does not stop. Although not a single drop is lost. The energy needed for that is different, but in terms of wasting water: spraying the garden, the water is not gone once and for all. Such things should speak against skiing. And then there is the so-called climate change. , ,
, , , so-called?
There is no proof. We have snow, sometimes very much.
Also, because it gets warmer and snowing in places where it used to be too cool.
I was at Olympia in Pyeongchang, at the beginning it was minus 35 degrees. To anyone shuddering toward me, I said: Welcome to the global warming.
No one has been freezing in Adelboden for a long time.
There have always been cold and warmer winters.
Do you claim that it is not true that the temperature has been rising globally in the last 100 years?
It got colder every year in the 60s and 70s. But I believe in global warming, of course.
We hear that irony again.
It's like the bark beetle. If it were up to the media and public opinion, we should not have any forests left. 20 years ago, the bark beetle raged, it could no longer stand a tree.
Are you a friend of Trump?
Not at all, but a friend of scientists and green activists, who are looking for a bark beetle by all means and just can not find it. , ,
Skiing is not a madness about the environment?
From a young age, I asked myself if I wanted to run through the deep snow to the kindergarten, or if I go down with the skis.
We see the problem more at startup.
Man became more comfortable. But yes: our sport uses a lot of energy. But I think people are doing other stupid things than going to nature and skiing.
"In Switzerland, skiing is too expensive": Gian Franco Kasper
What is the FIS doing for the environment?
We try to protect the environment when building new pistes. We spend a lot of money on studies. But not all of us think the same way: If 10,000 trees are felled in Norway, everyone says thank you. For us, a single tree is a disaster. Every ten years we have our Mainau Forum, a manifesto almost at the Nobel Prize level. It talks about the capacities of the environment. We will not change the world - but we try.
As in Pyeongchang, where 100,000 trees were felled for the downhill slope?
These were bushes rather than trees. But it was a huge deal, no question.
In a nature reserve.
Do you shrug it off?
The Olympic Committee has awarded the games to South Korea. For us it would have been no problem to make the departure in Japan. Only I understand the Koreans, who ask why not they too should have the right to tourist ski slopes.
Will it be worse in Beijing in 2022?
Everything is already there. This is not a problem.
That's why it's not a problem?
China has a huge mountain range, there it now has a swath. Why should not millions of people in Beijing also have access to a ski resort?
Everything for skiing, no matter with what impact?
Not at all. Only every country has the right to give their own people access to ski slopes.
Do you stand behind Olympic Games in countries like China?
No, but if these countries do something for skiing and the mountain people there, I do not mind.
They always emphasize that you are a miner. Do not you hurt such blights of nature?
But. But we can not dictate to foreign countries what they are allowed to do and what not.
«We can no longer find Olympic candidates, it's too expensive, too big - what's needed there!»
As a former member of the IOC, however, you determined who was awarded the contract.
We had the choice between China and Kazakhstan. I can understand that there are people who say that we need to harness the potential of China. What is being built in China is pure madness. Only: In Switzerland that was also done, only it took us 150 years. If the countries make it in five years, of course, it will be noticeable. The 51 billion euros invested in the games of Sochi are crazy. But that was not cheaper with us.
Does it look like we are in the mountains in Sochi?
The ski resort Rosa Chutor runs like crazy. But down in Sochi, in the Olympic village, nothing works, it is catastrophic.
Is Olympia, this colossus, still up-to-date?
The gigantism is huge. That's why we no longer find any candidates, it's too expensive, too big - what's needed! There are too many sports, it all costs a penny.
Will there be another Olympics in Switzerland?
I dont believe in it anymore. Almost everywhere in Europe you will not win a referendum for such an occasion.
Would you not be FIS President: Did you think the Olympics was a good idea?
Clearly. The interest in sports is increasing, Olympia provides for entertainment. The joy and sadness, the patriotic - it makes the games unique.
So, have people in Europe become too rational, which is why the IOC has to resort to unreasonable countries?
If you like, then that's true. Dictatorships can perform such events with left, they do not have to ask the people.
And you accept that?
What do you want to do about it?
You could say, here is the limit. Or are not they?
It's about the sport where it takes place, is secondary in a sense.
All the trappings, human rights abuses, you do not care?
It's just that it's easier for us in dictatorships. From the business side, I say: I just want to go to dictatorships, I do not want to argue with environmentalists.
So there is no limit?
Not everything that is reported is true. The sport can also be a door opener, maybe we made a contribution to the opening of North Korea in Pyeongchang with the united team Korea. But: I do not want to go to a country, invest in skiing there, while the population starves, I draw the red line. If Qatar announces tomorrow for the Olympics, then I am against.
Do you have more scruples than the footballers, handball players and cyclists who held or hosted their World Cup there?
I'm not about political stuff. In Qatar, there is simply too much sand on the snow.
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