The FIS (federation international de Ski) is the world wide ski organization that controls all aspects of international ski racing. Sort of like how Bernie Ecclestone controls F1 Car racing.
There are tremendous amounts of money coming to the FIS from members, license fees, race fees, race organizers, national dues, sponsors, logo rights, TV rights, etc. Where does all this money go? It is difficult to ascertain how it comes back to the athletes, except for the fact that the FIS does maintain and publish a complicated ranking and points system.
The FIS does not organize or run the races, it doesn't pay athletes, it doesn't support training, so what does the FIS do with all this money? It does sanction events, but that is just a stroke of the pen.
It also makes rules, in many cases rules that are unpopular and unjustified in the view of athletes, coaches, manufactures, ski resorts, and spectators. Does something smack of a total authoritarian organization here?
The scary part is that the FIS also can arbitrarily change rules, about course setting, skis, length of courses etc. Often these rules directly impact the safety of racers and even spectators.
In the most reset situation the FIS has mandated a change in Giant Slalom ski, side cut or shape, which directly effects how racers ski or can ski a course. This in turn affects the speed, and trajectory of the skiers. The FIS maintains the new rules make GS skiing safer, everyone else disagrees, yet they are still going ahead with the changes.
Everyone presently associated or formerly associated with the sport has expressed their displeasure over the new ruling. Those in the know, including the athletes, say the new rules make the sport more dangerous, less fun to watch and less elegant; this ex-racer and coach agrees with the athletes.
The battle is ragging and the athletes are speaking out in their defense. In response the FIS has instituted a gag order on athletes; if they speak out, they are fined or sanctioned. Now is that democracy in action?
How can a respected company like "Audi Auto Corporation" and the other sponsors want to be associated with such Tyrannical organization?
Stay tuned for more to come on this subject.