How ISU could be reformed

U.S. system as a model for ISU

By Vladislav Luchianov

The amount of criticism of the current leadership of the International Skating Union is increasing every year. At the same time, we can observe quite sad things as half-empty stands in events and reducing television ratings. Transparency of decisions taken by the current leadership of ISU also raises many questions. There is hardly a solution to all problems, which would suit absolutely everyone. But I think that the most people of the skating community would agree that changes are needed.

The author of this article does not claim to be a pioneer. However, I would like to express my personal views on some issues. For example, some vision on a set of democratic reforms in the ISU. We can change the administration, rules or invent new amendments but without fundamental reforms of the entire structure of ISU almost any action will have only a very minor effect.

So how ISU could be reformed? The question is simple and complex simultaneously. Today I re-read the structure of the United States political system and thought that some points of it might well be copied and applied to reform the ISU.

I understand that the ideal system, in which everyone is satisfied and happy, just do not exist but the basic and time-tested principles can be successfully used in reforms of different organizations. The following system is only partially copy the political system of the United States. I will describe a number of general provisions and my readers, among whom there are many people with much more in-depth knowledge of management, could add their own amendments (Wow! Just like in the U.S. Constitution!:-).

Let’s start with the opinion that the basic structure of the new ISU should be based on the principle of separation of powers. This means, that through new reforms should be created the most mutually independent executive, legislative, and judicial (arbitration) branches of power. The entire system must be organized with checks and balances. This eliminates the absolute concentration of power in the hands of anybody.

Executive power. Executive power is exercised ISU President and his/her deputies. ISU President is elected for a four-year term and may not hold the office more than two terms. The President is elected by the ISU Congress through direct and transparent elections. He has the right to initiate legislation, as well as the right to veto decisions of the ISU Congress. Congress can overcome presidential vetoes by ISU Court. The Congress has the right to terminate the powers of the President by a direct and open voting. The President has the right to appeal the decision of the Congress in the ISU Court.

Legislative power (ISU rules, regulations and so on). Legislative power is exercised the ISU Congress, whose members are elected every six years by direct and open vote within (inside) its own national federations (very difficult issue;-). Each representative of the ISU Congress may hold the office no more than two terms. Every member of ISU Congress has its own voting percentage, which depends on the following factors: the number of athletes participating in major international competitions (World championships, Europeans, Four Continents and Olympic Games) in all four disciplines of figure skating OR/AND the presence of athletes achieving good results in international competitions (for example: Top 10 at Worlds and so on).

For example. A representative of a country A has skaters participating in international competitions in all disciplines. His percentage for voting in Congress is equal to 1.00 (100% or 1 vote). The representative of the country B has only one skater, but he/she shows good results in international competitions (Top 10). His voting percentage will also be equal to 1.00. A representative of a country C has just one skater and he/she is not in top 10 of the major competitions. His voting percentage reduces to 0.5 or 0.75.(50% or 75% ). Note: This is all very approximately. The main point is that countries which are currently at the stage of development of figure skating will not have an equal voice at the time of making important decisions which require deep knowledge and experience, in comparison with already developed countries. But their voting percentage will grow in direct proportion to the growth success of their athletes. Thus, all member countries (taking into account prospects of potential growth of so-called “little skating members”) have fair and well-deserved opportunities.

Judicial power. Judicial power is exercised ISU Court, headed by its Chairman. Members of the ISU Court are elected by the ISU Congress and the Chairman is appointed by the ISU President and must go through the procedure of approval of the Congress. The main function of the ISU Court is the solution to all disputes arising between the administration of the President and ISU Congress. Members of the ISU Court should be elected for a strictly scheduled time of execution of its powers.

Absolutely all branches should be open to the public and media. They also must periodically publish reports on their activities. Implementation of public feedback should be mandatory.

As I said, this is just personal opinion of the author about the reforms needed to the current ISU. Of course, this is only the skeleton of a general system, which I have tried to describe as much as possible in simple language. Any criticism is welcome:)

Maybe it’s a rather romantic or idealistic view of the reforms, but I think better to have such opinion than nothing.

A bit of humor. American health care reform proposed by the U.S. President Barack Obama called Obamacare. I will not mind if my version of the proposed reforms will be called Vladcare or something like that:)

P.S. I would like to congratulate in advance all my American readers with the Independence Day!

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