The International Ski Federation, parent of the World Cup circuit, agreed Saturday to study U.S. Ski Team demands to reform alpine racing competitions, national team officials said.
The FIS Council, meeting in Oberhofen, Switzerland, named an eight-member working group to make recommendations by January "for creative and constructive changes for the future," said Thomas Weisel of the U.S. Ski Team."It looks like we're making significant progress," said Weisel, chairman of U.S. Skiing, the national governing body for the sport.
Two months ago, the U.S. team had indicated it would not hold World Cup events in the United States, beginning with the 1991-92 season, unless the FIS reformed the management of the ski racing circuit.
The national team had a list of concerns, including scheduling of World Cup races on weekdays, when it has little chance for U.S. television coverage, and the World Cup's refusal to hold races in the United States except at the beginning or the end of each season.
"We're extremely pleased with the direction the FIS is taking," said Weisel. "FIS President Marc Hodler seems to be embracing this wholeheartedly."
The FIS action came after Hodler's decision to investigate concerns expressed last May by the U.S. delegation at the FIS Congress in Montreux, Switzerland, and by its September boycott statement.
Hodler presented his findings at Saturday's meeting of the 17-member FIS Council. And U.S. Skiing Chief Executive Officer Howard Peterson presented a list of eight specific proposals.
Peterson said, "There was a great deal of discussion on the World Cup. But it seems that everyone is in agreement that the World Cup has to adapt to changing times in order to better our sport."
The FIS said the working group will meet Dec. 6 in Geneva, Switzerland. The group is expected to present its formal proposal by the 1991 World Alpine Ski Championships at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, beginning Jan. 21.
In a statement, the FIS Council said it unanimously agreed the World Cup needs to be better adapted to modern views concerning the development of sport, marketing, media and image.
"The timetable seems good," said Weisel. "I think, as long as we can have a definitive new program by the spring, that it will be enough time."
The members of the special working group are: Hodler, Peterson, Erich Demetz of Italy, Janez Kocijancic of Yugoslavia, Arnold Koller of Austria, Odd Seim-Haugen of Norway, Fritz Wagnerberger of Germany, and FIS Secretary General Gian-Franco Kasper.