Editor's Note: The FIS has not responded to questions from FasterSkier.com regarding how limits on the number of teams could affect cross-country skiing. We assume that such limits would be confined to teams that the FIS considers “exotic.”
In May 2007, the International Olympic Committee advised the International Federations (IFs) that the Qualification and Participation Criteria for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games would be analyzed by the IOC at the end of August. Due to logistical, organizational and financial problems facing the Vancouver Organizing Committee with accommodation notably in Whistler, the IOC is obliged to introduce maximum team numbers for all sports, and not just for some sports as has been the case until now.
Even though the IOC alone will take a final decision in regard to the regulations for the National Olympic Committee's participation in the Olympic Winter Games, FIS has undertaken extensive analyses in regard to implementing the Principles defined in the IOC documentation.
Regrettably, it has not been possible to consult all National Ski Associations and the FIS Committees on this subject, due to the short time given by the IOC. Furthermore the situation is more complex for FIS than the other IFs due to the fact that we have six entirely unique disciplines that have to be looked at independently. In this respect, each FIS Technical Committee can (and may) only be concerned about its own discipline, and each National Ski Association is rightly concerned about how the quota system affects its own opportunity to participate in the Games with as many athletes and officials as it would like in the National Olympic Committee's delegation.
In view of this an analysis of possible qualification criteria to conform to the IOC's maximum number requirements was submitted to the FIS Council for review. The FIS Council's task is to look at the picture from an international and multi-discipline perspective, and not only the specific, yet merited arguments from the six FIS disciplines and 108 National Ski Associations. For the IOC, the problem is multiplied even further with each of the seven International Federations and 205 National Olympic Committees presenting different arguments defending their sports.
With the deadline to communicate back to the IOC by 31st August, the position of FIS is to strongly request the IOC to retain the exact same qualification criteria and procedures that were in place at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino.
It is the philosophy of FIS that both the world's top athletes as well as qualified competitors from as many nations as possible will have the opportunity to participate in their National Olympic Committee's team in the Olympic Winter Games and we can assure you that this position will be clearly represented in all discussions with the International Olympic Committee.