“There has never been such a failure”
The internal disagreements that plagued the Russian biathlon throughout the current season have not subsided even after its end. A number of distinguished athletes and coaches, functionaries and representatives of the judiciary called on the president of the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) Vladimir Drachev to leave his post. In a collective letter, experts said that the functionary did not justify the trust placed in him.
“In the two years during which you headed the RRF, not only the promises that you declared in your keynote speech at the reporting and election conference were not fulfilled, but the old problems were aggravated, for the solution of which you were elected to a high post,” text of the letter TASS.
Drachev is charged with the fact that the Russian biathlon still needs serious sponsorship, which he is not able to provide, unlike his predecessors - businessman Mikhail Prokhorov and sports functionary Alexander Kravtsov.
“The Board of Trustees, which you mentioned at the conference, did not take place even at the level of an attempt at a formal institution. As a result, the budget of the RRF remains the “budget of survival" for the second year, and even at this level it is kept only thanks to the personal donations of some members of the board, ”the experts noted.
In addition, Drachev was accused of the inability to build productive relations with the International Biathlon Union (IBU), the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation, as well as the Russian Olympic Committee. This was once again shown by searches at the location of the national team at the World Championships in Anterselva and the beginning of an investigation against Alexander Loginov and his personal coach Alexander Kasperovich, the letter said.
However, problems exist not only at the administrative level, but also within the national team. Inconsistency in decision making, inability to take a tough stance and objectively assess the situation led to the crisis and the emergence of an “unhealthy atmosphere”. This includes unsuccessful work of the coaching staff and constant conflicts that have a negative impact on the results of athletes.
Summing up, experts called on Drachev to voluntarily resign. Otherwise, they will have to initiate an extraordinary meeting and express him a vote of no confidence. At the same time, the functionary was offered to reserve membership in the board of the SBR.
“We respect your sports achievements, we consider you an active and capable politician. Working in contact with other biathletes deputies in the State Duma, you are able to bring significant benefits to our sport, which has many problems just because of gaps in Russian law. Having decided on such a step, you will not only not lose credibility in the biathlon family, but, on the contrary, strengthen it. By leaving the post of president of the RRF, you will do better for both yourself and the Russian biathlon, ”the report says.
It is reported that a total of 23 people supported the resignation of Drachev. Among them are former President of the RBU Alexander Tikhonov, the head of the Biathlon Federation of St. Petersburg Dmitry Vasiliev, two-time Olympic champions Anna Bogaliy and Olga Medvedtseva, ex-coach of the men's team Vladimir Alikin, Kasperovich and others.
Later, some of them explained their position. So, Kasperovich expressed the opinion that Drachev did not have enough experience to lead such an organization.
“I went through almost all the presidents, starting with Igor and Yevgeny Novikov, but there has never been such a failure. Constantly organizational problems, logistics is changing, nothing is clear. And although I left the team, but my athlete was there. I constantly contacted him, and I am aware of all these events, ”RIA Novosti quoted Kasperovich as saying.
It turned out that some of the allegedly signatories of the letter did not actually do this. So, Bogaliy said that she was sent a text, but she did not sign it. The ex-biathlete emphasized that she advocated an open dialogue in which all interested parties would participate. To understand the situation, she intends to contact the Ministry of Sports.
“We need to understand what we all have done in recent years to make biathlon better. I would very much like that there was a different development of the situation, but I am outraged when everything happens behind me. It does not paint us, nor our country. We must fight honestly. I want to understand who wrote and posted this letter, ”said Bogaliy.
Nevertheless, a letter addressed to Drachev will be one of the topics of the next meeting of the RRF Board, which will be held on April 6.
“Absentee Relationship Clarification Unacceptable”
The reaction of Drachev was not long in coming. He assured that he did not intend to resign.
“We always have a lot of people who want to enjoy the failures. It would be better if they helped, because everyone rejoices at successes, and as something does not work out, everyone steps aside and says that we have nothing to do with it, but other people are to blame for everything. Only the problems that they voiced were not brought by Drachev, ”said the president of the RRF.
Drachev was elected president of the SBR in May 2018 after Kravtsov left this post, having decided not to be elected for a second term. Thus, his authority expires in 2022.
It is worth noting that many openly criticized the current president of the organization even before the letter appeared. So, Bogaliy announced financial problems due to the lack of sponsorship, Tikhonov accused the leadership of excessive conservatism, and two-time Olympic champion Anatoly Alyabyev complained that many campaign promises remained words.
At the same time, well-known commentator Dmitry Guberniev said that such statements by the initiative group were untimely.
“Very on time, dear veterans and biathlon trainers! At that moment, when the country is fighting for the lives of people, riot has ripened! Now everyone does not care about biathlon, we need to survive! In the near future there will be no sponsors in sports, smart people understand this! ”, Guberniev wrote in his Telegram channel.
Three-time Olympic champion Anfisa Reztsova chose to take a neutral position. She partly agreed with criticism of Drachev, but noted that he still has time to fix it.
“We need to consider the leadership of Drachev more globally, and the members of the federation should also report what they did and what they contributed to the result of the national team. As far as I know, there are people on the council who are not related to biathlon at all. But the President of the RRF is also not all right, since such a tear. And the results generally depend on the work of the team, ”Reztsova said.
A similar position is held by the three-time world champion Olga Zaitseva. According to her, it is impossible to dismiss one leader, while not having suitable candidates for replacement.
“Or then let him finish it, just change coaches, for example. It is necessary to find some constructive solutions to the problem. It is not a fact, after all, that a new person will correct the situation. Or then remove everyone, and in their place recruit completely new people. Then, maybe something will change, ”Zaitseva quotes“ Sport day after day. ”
Concern about the letter and the disagreement that arose in the Russian biathlon was also expressed by Minister of Sports Oleg Matytsin. He emphasized the need for an open dialogue.
“We consider it necessary to emphasize that the correspondence clarification of relations and the presentation of claims are absolutely unacceptable. Today, in an unprecedented international crisis caused by the spread of coronavirus, everyone involved in sports should show solidarity and mutual assistance, ”Matytsina said in a statement.