The Board of the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) has decided to convene an extraordinary report-and-election conference. It will address a number of issues regarding the future organization and its leadership. In particular, we are talking about the election of a new president.
“In connection with the need for further development of the RRF and determining ways out of the current crisis situation, the board at today's meeting decided to convene an extraordinary reporting and election conference,” the statement said on the union’s official website.
The date and time of the conference will depend on the epidemiological situation in the country. It is only known that Victor Maygurov, the Acting Executive Director of the Union, will take up the preparation.
The current president of the RBU, Vladimir Drachev, whose powers expire only in 2022, admitted that he had learned both about the meeting of the board and about the convening of the conference from the media. In this regard, he did not comment on the appropriateness of this decision, but declared his intention to verify its legitimacy.
“As far as I know, according to the charter, reporting conferences are convened by the president or two-thirds of regional federations. The board can do this, but only at the written proposal of the president or regional federations. So while there can be no extraordinary conference, this is the decision of only a part of the board members, ”said Drachev TASS.
At the same time, Sergey Chepikov, vice president of the RBU, denied the statement of the functionary that the board held a meeting without his knowledge. His words were confirmed by three-time world champion Ivan Cherezov.
“The meeting was scheduled three days ago. Maigurov wrote a message in the general chat of the board: on April 23, a meeting will be held to discuss current issues of the RRF. Most board members have confirmed their participation. Vladimir Drachev read the message, but did not answer. There were no offers of transfer from him either, ”Cherezov told Izvestia.
Given the tense situation around the RRF and its head, such a decision can hardly be called unexpected. In early April, a number of reputable athletes, coaches and other specialists called on Drachev to voluntarily leave his post. He was blamed for the low results of biathletes, the reluctance to carry out reforms and establish contacts with both regional and international organizations, as well as numerous financial problems.
It is assumed that the last straw was the president’s remarks about the new coaching staff of the team. Drachev initially opposed the candidatures of Vladimir Korolkevich and Robert Kabukov for the posts of mentors of male and female teams. However, the day before he harshly criticized the head coach Valery Polkhovsky.
“You can talk about the professionalism of trainers for a long time, because everyone has pros and cons. But at the moment, the most important factor is that the SBR is not restored in rights due to doping scandals, which were also under Korolkevich, under Polkhovsky. If we want to return during this period, then please, let us build clouds over the union before the Olympics. Maybe we don’t want to participate in the Games? ” - quotes Drachev “Match TV".
Statements by the head of the SBR surprised both Polkhovsky himself, who called his actions strange, as well as other specialists. So, Cherezov expressed confidence that the current situation will not benefit the Russian biathlon.
Two-time world champion Dmitry Yaroshenko holds a similar position. According to him, the biathlon authorities should work together. Otherwise, someone needs to leave their position.
“His pride is now wounded, a new round of conflict begins. Just in time for this extraordinary conference, I think certain materials will come from the audit about Drachev, ”suggested Yaroshenko.
Given the circumstances, few decide to talk about specific candidates for the place of Drachev's successor. Former SBR President Alexander Tikhonov only stated that he did not intend to re-elect for this position, but he had a suitable candidate for his attention.
In turn, Yaroshenko suggested that Maigurov could become the successor to Drachev.
“This is a competent, good manager, a person who will not rest until the last and find compromise solutions. Biathlon in crisis. Some of the steps taken by management looked illogical. It’s not difficult to find a common language, but many’s ambitions prevent them from finding these compromises, ”said Yaroshenko.
It is worth noting that the decision to hold early elections also has opponents. 2017 world champion Anton Shipulin emphasized that this is not the time for radical changes in the Russian biathlon.
“We are all focused on our own health and the health of those around us; we need to think about how to minimize the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, including in sports. Nevertheless, the decision to hold the conference was made by the board within the framework of the charter, which means that the people responsible for the work of the federation considered this step a necessary measure, ”Shipulin said.