The World Rowing Federation, FISA Council gathered in Lausanne at FISA Headquarters for its annual three-day  meeting to prepare for the year ahead and discuss several long term, strategic issues. The meeting included a visit from International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and IOC Sport Director Kit McConnell. As well, a reception was held in the FISA offices for sports leaders present in Lausanne.

The Council reviewed the achievements in 2018 and the objectives for 2019 of the specialist commissions (at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/about-fisa/joint-commissions-meeting ) and continental representatives, reviewed the goals and objectives of the current Strategic Framework document (at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/mm//Document/General/General/13/08/49/2018WR-Strategicframeworkv3(002)_English.pdf ), had a presentation on the Key Performance Indicators for 2018 (at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/publications/fisa-circulars ).


Key decisions were the following:

1.    Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – The Council accepted the Tokyo 2020 proposal for a maximum spectator capacity at the Olympic regatta of 16’000 and the Paralympic regatta of 12’800. As well, it adopted the proposal of Tokyo 2020 to slightly change the Olympic finals programme to avoid a clash in scheduling between finals in Swimming and Rowing (link: http://www.worldrowing.com/events/2020-olympic-games-regatta/event-information ) . The 2020 Paralympic Games schedule has also been confirmed ( link: http://www.worldrowing.com/events/2020-paralympic-games-regatta/event-information ).The third point discussed was the testing of the wave attenuation system forecast for the coming months leading to the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships and Test Event this August in Tokyo.

2.    Joint Korean Team to attempt qualification for Tokyo 2020 – The Executive Committee, after consultation with the IOC, has agreed to allow joint crews from PRK Korea and the Republic of Korea to compete and seek qualification at FISA qualification events during 2019 and 2020 only in six boat classes; the Men’s and Women’s Fours, Quadruple Sculls and Eights (link: https://www.olympic.org/news/ioc-considers-request-for-unified-korean-teams-to-enter-qualification-for-olympic-games-tokyo-2020 ). If they qualify as unified COR crews, they would also compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic competition as a unified crew.

3.    Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games – The Council was presented with a proposal to study an alternative venue for the LA2028 Olympic Games. The bid proposal was to stage this regatta at Lake Perris, a reservoir on the east of Los Angeles which would require a satellite Olympic Village. LA2028 proposed that an existing venue in Long Beach, California be considered. The Long Beach Marine Stadium was the Rowing venue for the 1932 Olympic Games and would allow the athletes to stay in the main Olympic Village at UCLA. The Council agreed to proceed with more detailed studies on the tide impacts on fairness and the possible reduction of the race distance.

4.    Youth Olympic Games 2022 – Following the IOC’s decision to stage the 2022 Youth Olympic Games in Dakar, Senegal (https://www.olympic.org/news/it-s-time-for-africa-see-you-in-senegal ), FISA has considered the options for rowing. The Council was presented with the results of a recent site visit to Senegal by FISA’s Development and Events Team. After hearing the information from the site visits, the Council agreed to propose Coastal Rowing to IOC  as the official rowing discipline for these Games in 2022, as no suitable traditional “Olympic” rowing venue was identified in or near Dakar.

5.    2019 World Rowing Regatta Schedules – The Council approved the 2019 World Rowing Event Schedules that had received approval from the organising committees, the host broadcasters and the rights holding television companies. Before final publication on 5 March 2019, these schedules are now available to all national federations for their comments at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/publications/fisa-circulars

6.    2021 World Rowing Championships in Shanghai CHN – The Council was presented with an update on the progress in preparation of the 2021 World Rowing Championships in Shanghai, China. It decided on provisional dates for the event as 3 to 10 October 2021 but awaits confirmation of the dates of the 2021 Chinese National Games to avoid a clash and create an acceptable interval between the two. A final decision on the date will take place in July.

7.    FISA Continental Representative for the Americas – After consultation with national federations and an internal search process, a number of very qualified candidates were identified. Following interviews with the shortlisted candidates by the Executive Committee, the Council voted to appoint Victoria Aguirregomezcorta from Argentina to serve as FISA Americas Continental Representative, effective immediately, for a two-year term ending in December 2020.

8.    2019 FISA Statute and Rules Bye-Law changes – The Council approved a number of changes in the Statutes, Rules and Event Regulations to take effect immediately. These changes can be found in the three-column format at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/publications/rule-book

9.    Initial Proposed 2020 Statute and Rule changes – The Council reviewed the proposals for 2020 changes received by the Governance Working Group and the Rules Working Group. These ideas will be studied over 2019, discussed at NF Meetings held at World Rowing events and detailed wordings will be presented to the NF Conference this November in London. These proposed changes will be the basis of discussion and voting at the 2020 FISA Extraordinary Congress in October 2020. A presentation of the initial proposed changes can be found at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/publications/rule-book

10.  Safeguarding policy and procedures – The Council approved a new Safeguarding policy that applies to all FISA activities along with the procedures for reporting and investigating alleged incidents. These documents will be posted shortly.

11.  IOC Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration – The Council was presented with the IOC Athletes Declaration by FISA Athletes Commission Chair Lenka Dienstbach-Wech, a member of the working group tasked with authoring the Declaration. This is a document created through extensive consultation with athletes and stakeholders from all sports and over 180 countries around the world. The FISA Council acknowledged it and has placed it in the FISA Rule Book as a Bye-Law to Article 59. A working group will now study how it can be integrated into the FISA Statutes and Rules for the 2020 Extraordinary Congress. This Declaration can be found at this link: https://www.olympic.org/athlete365/athletesdeclaration/

12.  Water Quality Guidelines – The Council reviewed and approved the new FISA Water Quality Testing Guidelines, which have been drafted with the intention of protecting the health and safety of rowers at FISA competition venues while taking a pragmatic approach to assessing, monitoring and addressing water quality issues at these venues. The Guidelines define the procedures for assessing water quality from the bid stage through to the competition period, and can be found at this link: http://www.worldrowing.com/environment/fisa-environmental-policy/

13.  Anti-Doping / Russian Rowing Federation – The Council reviewed the situation with Russia and its anti-doping agency (“RUSADA”), and noted that WADA has now determined that RUSADA is compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code. Following the course of action taken by FISA regarding rowers of the Russian Rowing Federation (RRF) in 2016, 2017 (example: http://www.worldrowing.com/news/stage-two-2017-russian-rowing-participation) and 2018, whereby eligibility was carefully assessed, fees were charged for additional anti-doping controls, Anti-Doping education was mandatory and the RRF was required to declare all rowers who may compete in FISA event of the year by February of 2017 and 2018, the Executive Committee decided that no further exceptional requirements would be imposed on the RRF in 2019. However, this does not exclude the prosecution of any possible cases exposed by the McLaren report of 2016 and 2017, for which the data received in January 2019 might indicate Anti-Doping code offenses.

14.  Para Rowing – The Council has made a preliminary decision, after reviewing the Para Rowing standard boat research study conducted by the Wolfson Institute of Southampton, Great Britain, to continue for the next four-year period (2021 to 2024) with the FISA standard Para hulls for the PR1 single and the PR2 double. The full report of the Wolfson research study has been published on www.worldrowing.com/para-rowing/ along with an executive summary. 

The Council will make a final decision on the status of the standard Para hulls at its meeting in Rotterdam in July 2019. Additional considerations are the possible lowering of the minimum weight of these boats, and reviewing the shape and volume of the pontoons; decisions will be taken on these aspects at the July meeting as well. A consultation period will start now and carry through until the FISA Council meeting on 15 July 2019. Meetings will be held for rowers, coaches, federation leaders, and equipment manufacturers at FISA events during this period to obtain their feedback. These events include the Gavirate International Para Rowing Regatta, World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, POL, and World Rowing Cup III in Rotterdam, NED.

15.  Lightweight Rowing – The Council has made a preliminary decision to continue to study the future and position of lightweight rowing in World Rowing, studying the entries at the international level and the national level, leading to discussion and proposals at the 2020 Extraordinary Congress in October 2020 in London, Great Britain.

It was also decided that two options for the Olympic programme of Paris 2024 need to be developed concurrently, one being the status quo of Tokyo and the other substituting Coastal Rowing for the two lightweight events. Discussion during 2019 and 2020 will centre on the IOC’s position on rowing’s events and competition categories, the quota reductions announced for 2024 and its decisions impacting the Olympic Games related to Olympic Agenda 2020 and the IOC’s “New Norm”.

16.  2019 World Rowing and International Event Juries – FISA just released the lists of International Umpires selected to serve on the event juries of the main rowing events in 2019. Details on their participation at these events will follow sent directly to these selected umpires. No flight bookings should be made until the jury member is contacted by FISA (link: http://www.worldrowing.com/fisa/publications/umpiring ).

These subjects will be addressed in greater detail in the FISA Circular No. 1 of 2019 to be released shortly.

Please address any questions to info@fisa.org