Jean-Christophe Rolland, New President of FISA in July 2014

Jean-Christophe Rolland (FRA) ©Igor Meijer/FISA

In a press release from yesterday, the International Rowing Fedaration, FISA, writes that its member federations elected Jean-Christophe Rolland of France as the future President of FISA on the first ballot at the 2013 Ordinary Congress in Chungju, South Korea. Rolland received 117 of the 179 ballots cast. The required absolute majority was 90 votes. Other candidates John Boultbee (AUS) and Tricia Smith (CAN) received 50 and 12 votes respectively.

Rolland holds a Master Degree in electrical, electronics and communications engineering and has worked for EDF, one of the world’s leading electric utility companies, since 1993. At first an engineer, then a regional Deputy Director, he was appointed the Human Resources Director of his business unit. Rolland managed EDF’s sponsorship programme with the London 2012 Olympic Games Organising Committee.

 Rolland participated in three Olympic Games, winning bronze in Atlanta and gold in Sydney. He has five World Championship medals, including two gold medals. Appointed to FISA’s Athletes Commission in 1994, Rolland served as Chair of the Commission between 2002 and 2011 and served on FISA’s Executive Committee from 2004 to 2011, at which time the FISA Council appointed him as a co-opted member.

Rolland will assume the presidency in July 2014, when the current president Denis Oswald will step down from the position. Denis Oswald, FISA president since 1989, announced earlier this year at FISA’s 2013 Extraordinary Congress that he would seek re-election but only for a transitional period of six to eight months. The FISA Council decided to stage the election of Oswald’s successor at the same Congress in order to assist the newly elected ‘president-elect’ in the transfer of knowledge and introductions to the international sports world.

The Congress also elected Tricia Smith (CAN) as Vice-President, winning 98 of a possible 178 votes. Smith was running against the incumbent Vice-President Anita DeFrantz (USA). In addition, Michael Williams (GB), the current Treasurer, was re-elected unopposed. The final elections that took place were for the three commission chairs who also serve on the Executive Committee. The Council had to wait for the outcome of the election for the President and Vice-President elections before proposing the remaining three members of the Executive Committee: Mike Tanner (HKG), John Boultbee (AUS) and Lenka Wech (GER). The delegates voted to approve the proposal. Wech, the only new member of the Executive, is the Chair of the Athletes’ Commission.

Denis Oswald, FISA president since 1989, is retiring next summer, and will be succeeded by Jean-Christophe Rolland.

At the end of the meeting, the Congress unanimously adopted a proposal of the FISA Council to name Denis Oswald ‘FISA Honorary President for Life’, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to rowing over the past 36 years.

Three World Rowing Championship regattas were attributed by the Congress with unanimous decisions: the 2017 World Rowing Championships to Sarasota, USA, 2018 World Rowing Championships to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and the 2015 World Rowing Under-23 Championships to Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The FISA Council also announced its decision to award the second World Rowing Cup of 2015 to Varese, Italy, and the third World Rowing Cup to Lucerne, Switzerland. Lucerne will host the second World Rowing Cup of 2016 along with the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, and the third and final World Rowing Cup of 2016 will be held in Poznan, Poland.

Bids for the first World Rowing Cup of 2015 and 2016 had been requested from outside Europe, but following a review of the World Rowing Cup in Sydney in 2013 and 2014, it was decided that bids from within Europe should be considered, so the Council announced that these events would not be attributed at this Congress. Bidding has therefore been reopened and both events will be awarded in December 2013.

Three additional events were attributed by the FISA Council: the 2016 World Rowing Masters Regatta to Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2017 World Rowing Masters Regatta to Bled, Slovenia and the 2015 World Rowing Coastal Championships for Clubs to Lima, Peru. The latter marks the first World Rowing Championship event to be awarded to South America, and the first time that the World Rowing Coastal Championships will take place outside of Europe.

Five new national federations were admitted as members of FISA: Benin, Botswana, Mali, Saudi Arabia and St. Vincent & Grenadines. This brings the total number of FISA member federations to 142.

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