Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and - despite the ongoing vaccination campaigns - the continued critical developments world-wide and the travel and entry restrictions and quarantine requirements for Thailand and other countries, the ISU Council concluded that maintaining the 2021 ISU Congress on the planned dates of May 31-June 4, 2021 was not viable.
After the cancellation of the 2020 ISU Congress only the Minutes of the previous Congress, Financial Statements and Budget were considered as urgent and essential. However, the situation evolved and the pandemic development would lead to a four-year interval between full Congresses. The ISU Council therefore decided that besides the 2020 Financial Statements and the 2021-2022 Budget, some motions from ISU Members, the Technical Committees and the Council would be submitted to an online vote by ISU Members.
Online voting took place between June 15-22, 2021 on the Proposals included in the summary of Proposals from ISU Members, the Council, the Sports Directors and Technical Committees for changes in the Constitution, General Regulations and Special Regulations.
Below is a summary of the key decisions voted online by the ISU Members:
Constitution and General Regulations
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2016©International Skating Union (ISU)
- Change from ‘Ladies’ to ‘Women’ throughout ISU Rules: the change in terminology from ‘Ladies’ to ‘Women’ throughout the Special Regulations and Technical Rules of all ISU sports is in accord with the recommendation of the IOC Gender Equality Review Project that there be a fair and balanced portrayal (i.e. how women and men are presented and described) in all forms of communication and official documents, including rules and regulations.
- An Athletes Commission member to be elected by the ISU Congress to join the ISU Council with full voting rights: these amendments aim to fulfil the IOC recommendation in line with Good Governance principles that an International Federation’s Athletes Commission should be represented by its Chair or another Athletes Commission member who is also an athlete on the International Federation’s Executive Board (Council) and the Athletes Commission representative should have the right to vote within the Executive Board.
The Athletes Commission members will continue to be elected by the Skaters during the respective ISU World Championships or the Olympic Winter Games (or World Cup for Speed Skating). Since there is a legal requirement under Swiss Law that the election of a Council member can only be made by the Association’s General Assembly (ISU Congress), it will be necessary that one of the elected Athletes Commission members shall subsequently be elected by the ISU Congress as an ISU Council member with full voting rights. The Athletes Commission member sitting on the Council must not be of the same Branch as the President and, if possible, not of the same citizenship and nor from the same ISU Member as any other member of the Council (Art. 16, paragraph 1).
- Provisional allocation of ISU Championships up to 4 years in advance: this will enable the ISU Council to introduce a better medium-term planning which will help the organizing ISU Members in their planning and preparations and with the marketing and promotion of the ISU Events.
- Various housekeeping issues to get the statutes up to date with new developments and current practice: the ISU Council submitted a number of Proposals with the objective to better reflect the current situation, challenges and common practice and needs. The update of the relevant provisions in the ISU Statutes will ensure a clear structure with clearly assigned responsibilities and will allow the continued stable and efficient management of the ISU. The proposals are related in particular to Articles 8, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 35 and 38.
- Advertising markings and trademarks on racing suits and team uniforms: the goal is to unify the rules for Speed Skating and for Short Track Speed Skating and allowing advertising markings on helmets and head gear.
ISU World Cup Speed Skating 2021©International Skating Union (ISU)
- Venue requirements for ISU World Championships held in the Olympic format: to unify the venue requirements for the Olympic Winter Games and ISU World Championships held in Olympic format (Single Distances). The venue is to be fully enclosed within a heated building to protect the field of play from wind and changing weather conditions.
- Adjustments to the Olympic qualification rules: the IOC is the decision-making body when it comes to the Olympic Qualification Systems. Therefore, various amendments were voted to reflect and clarify this.
- Safety measures and padding solutions: amendments to enhance the safety of Skaters at ISU Events and Olympic Winter Games.
- Starting order at Allround formats to be skated in reverse order of the ranking order of the Competitors after three distances: to improve the presentation and reinforce the suspense in the final part of the Championships by having the two leading Skaters compete in the last pair.
- Rearrange basic racing rules: to create a logical order by restructuring a number of rules to improve readability and give a more consistent presentation of the racing rules.
Short Track Speed Skating
ISU Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2021©International Skating Union (ISU)
- Further specifications on padding solutions: amendments to enhance safety of Skaters in accordance with measures presented in ISU Communication No. 2365.
- Mixed Team Relay as a new event in the Olympic program: adjustments to the ISU rules on qualification for Olympic Winter Games were necessary due to the introduction of Mixed Team Relay and to reflect that the IOC is the decision-making body when it comes to the Olympic Qualification Systems.
- Mixed Team Relay included in the World Cup program: ensure that this new Olympic event is included in the ISU World Cup, which can serve as Olympic qualifying competitions leading up to the Olympic Winter Games.
- Limit the number of Skaters per race at the Olympic Winter Games: adjustments to the scheduled number of skaters per race at Olympic Winter Games (for quarter finals and semifinals in 500 and 1000 meters) to be in line with the ISU Events.
- Introducing specific racing rules for the Mixed Team Relay: as this is a new format that will be introduced into the Olympic program, racing rules had to be introduced and were written based on experiences gained through the ISU World Cup season 2019/20.
Single and Pair Skating, Ice Dance and Synchronized Skating
Team Marigold Ice Unity (FIN) at the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)
- Competition music: all Competitors shall furnish competition music of excellent quality in a format and means declared in the announcement of the competition, which may now be in formats other than CD.
- Number of Olympic entries: the maximum number of entries for the Olympic Winter Games as well as the respective number of best placed Competitors to qualify for the Free Skating/ Free Dance, shall be in accordance with the IOC Qualification System for each edition of the Olympic Winter Games to reflect that the IOC is the decision-making body when it comes to the Olympic Qualification Systems.
- Online learning modules for ISU Officials: adjustments to include online learning modules, in the already existing seminar and webinar options.
- Additional opportunities to Officiate in Ice Dance and Synchronized Skating: to increase the number of Judges, Technical Controllers and Technical Specialists, particularly in countries where there are limited number of Officials
- Extension to submit reports: the ISU Secretariat can extend the 14-day deadline following the competition for the Referee and the Technical Controller to send their respective reports, upon a well-grounded request.
- Evaluation of Service by Officials: restructure of rules in order to make it easier to read and to clearly separate technical mistakes and disciplinary violations. It describes in detail the work of the Officials Assessment Commission, evaluation of anomalies in the Judges scores at the main Events, issuing Assessments by the Technical Committees for confirmed errors, addressing cases of identified (national) bias to the Disciplinary Commission, evaluation of decisions of the Technical Panel and the Referee etc. The proposal also describes the system of penalties for unacceptable officiating.
The full summary of results of mail voting on Proposals in replacement of the 58th Ordinary Congress 2021 are available in ISU Communication No. 2403.