Gian-Franco Kasper explained at the FIS Alpine Forum in Soelden that restrictions being placed on the spectators amongst other things will cut the number of spectators available to view the alpine events live. having recently come back from the Russian resort, … Kasper explained that while there are some 60,000 people working on the venues at the moment, he has no worries about the venues not being ready come February. The Alpine and Cross-Country venues are already ready but the freestyle and ski jumping hills are causing a few problems.
For Kasper, the main worry about reducing the number of people able to watch the Olympic Games live is that it will reduce the atmosphere of the events. Already the restrictions imposed have seen a 50% reduction two years ago and recently another 35-40% reduction. It is thought that the finish area will bear the brunt of these reductions. Despite all the problems with numbers and the building issues, Kasper is amazed at what the Russians have achieved in the last five and a half years since the Games were awarded to Sochi.
The growing conflict on the horizon is the one with FIFA. Kasper genuinely does not believe that FIFA and its General Secretary Sepp Blatter care about the winter sports. Kasper, who also sits of the IOC, feels that if FIFA move their World Championships to November or December then there will be no issue. If it is moved to January it could cause huge issues as the conflict between FIS holding Wengen, Kitzbuehel and the Ladies races in Cortina would mean FIS would be 100% against FIFA holding the World Cup then.
Kasper does not feel it is just two organisations against each other, there are other factors to bring into the equation that he does not feel that FIFA have thought about: How will the media be able to cope with so many big events on at the same time? Does FIFA think that the NFL in America will move the Super Bowl to accommodate the football World Cup? Kasper does not think so. America does hold a big card in the game when it comes to the hosting of events.
With a new IOC President in place after the retirement of jacques Rogges, Kasper already knows the new incumbent of the most powerful job in World sport: Thomas Bach. Although Bach comes from a fencing background, Kasper has spent time with him over the years and feels that he is a supporter of winter sports.
While Blatter has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism from Gian Franco Kasper, Kasper is looking out for the winter sports that FIS govern. A few years ago there was a very interesting cartoon featuring Kasper and Blatter both wearing boxing attire and ready to go to fight. Are things heading that way?