Sarah Lewis (56) has decided to take up the fight for the presidency of the International Ski Federation (FIS) – six months after she was expelled from the same federation.
Lewis was long seen as an obvious candidate to replace incumbent FIS President Gian Franco Kasper (77), but in October last year came the surprising news that Lewis had to resign his position as the union’s general secretary.
In a press release, FIS made it clear that a majority of the board had decided that Lewis had to leave as a result of “total mistrust”.
Neither FIS nor Lewis has subsequently refused to comment on the background for the mistrust.
According to Nettavisen’s experience, however, last year’s surprising decision does not prevent the British from wanting to return to the International Ski Federation.
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Announced after Easter
On June 4, a new FIS president will be elected and Nettavisen can now reveal that the 56-year-old Briton will stand for election.
It was long expected that Lewis would be one of the presidential candidates, but last year’s dismissal led to uncertainty about what the British would do.
Now Nettavisen is informed by sources that the 56-year-old will try to become Kasper’s heir and that her candidacy will be announced just after Easter if everything goes as planned.
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77-year-old Kasper from Switzerland has been in the chair of FIS since 1998 and was re-elected no later than 2018. His current presidency actually lasts until 2022, but already in 2019 it became clear that the Swiss would not sit out the period.
It was therefore planned to hold a new presidential election in connection with the FIS Congress as early as 2020, but the corona pandemic has led to several postponements.
On Thursday, however, FIS decided that the congress will be held digitally to avoid further delays.
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Lewis can expect a tough battle for the presidency.
Three candidates have already been nominated.
The Swiss Ski Federation has announced the former alpinist Urs Lehmann as their candidate. The online newspaper has spoken to several sources who see the Swiss as one of the favorites to replace compatriot Kasper.
Recently, Swedish Mars Årjes was nominated by the Swedish Ski Association as their candidate. Årjes is currently Vice President of FIS and President of the Swedish Olympic Committee. It is expected that the Norwegian Ski Association will give their support to the Swede, but a final decision has not yet been made.
In addition, the British Ski Association has nominated billionaire Johan Eliasch. He is the owner of the ski and equipment supplier Head.
Lewis is not nominated by his own
Each national federation can only nominate one candidate each for the presidential election.
Since the Swedish-British Eliasch has been nominated by the British, Lewis has had to find another association that can nominate her.
And as far as Nettavisen knows, one of the other 132 member countries will announce Lewis as their candidate just after the Easter holidays.
If Lewis were to be elected, she would be the first woman to become president of the International Ski Federation.
Before she was fired by the FIS board in October last year, she had served for over 20 years as general secretary of the association.
Now it remains to be seen how it reacts when the 56-year-old tries for a comeback in FIS.
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