On Saturday 20th March 2021 the FIR held its annual AGM online. The meeting saw an excellent turn-out with 25 member countries represented with a range of topics discussed and a number of important updates announced. Here is our AGM report.
In particular, we were delighted to officially welcome Norway Racketlon as the newest member of the FIR. Based out of a new racket centre in Mysen (about an hour from Oslo), Norway Racketlon will be run by Roar Fundingsrud (from Mysen Rackethall) and Joel Durston (who moved to Oslo from the UK a few years ago). Regular Racketlon activities had already started at Mysen Rackethall towards the end of last year, with plans to expand that activity through 2021 before hopefully hosting a Challenger on the World Tour in 2022. It’s fantastic to finally have Norway join the other traditional Scandinavian powerhouses of Racketlon!
FIR World Championships & World Tour 2021
An update on the 2021 World Tour was given amidst the continued uncertainty brought by COVID-19. With much of Europe still under various lockdown restrictions, there is obviously still some doubt about which planned world tour tournaments (between June and December) will be possible.
It was announced that a final decision about the World Championships in Vienna and Graz would be made 4 months prior to the tournament, which is on April 20th.
For the other world tour tournaments, plans and ideas were discussed to make some existing tournament regulations more flexible in order to give tournament directors a better chance of still being able to stage their tournaments. Furthermore, new regulations will now also be discussed to allow new world tour tournaments to be organised at short notice – to allow the FIR to take advantage of any relaxing of restrictions in certain countries at different times. We hope to make announcements about this in the next month.
It was generally agreed at the AGM that being able to restart any tournaments was crucial to the sport and so every effort should be made to hold tournaments wherever and whenever that becomes possible. Whilst this may inevitably mean that some players from some countries may not be able to play at some world tour tournaments (due to ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions), it was agreed that this far from the ideal situation was far outweighed by the many positives of just having some world tour tournaments back in action.
Even while tournament activity has stopped, the meeting was told that the marketing and promotional efforts of the FIR through social media had been continuing to create a lot of exciting results.
A number of different venue owners (in the Middle-East, Egypt, Sweden, Singapore etc) have recently discovered Racketlon and have been in contact about how they could run some Racketlon activities.
An exciting contact in Peru has led to an opportunity to promote and establish Racketlon across South America.
Work and conversations the FIR has been having with Wilson and some sports management companies, led to Stefanos Tsitsipas talking to his millions of followers about Racketlon (and likewise Jo-Wilfred Tsonga through his contact with Racketlon France).
It was announced that a plan to launch an official Racketlon ambassadors programme (using high profile pros and ex-pros across the 4 sports such as Tsitsipas and others) would begin as soon as tournaments could return with regularity.
Junior Development Programme
Encouraging results were announced to launch pilot Racketlon programmes in schools, with UK Racketlon, in particular, using its contacts within schools to introduce the programme during the upcoming summer term. With a plan to learn from these pilots to then expand the programme into more schools in more countries from September onwards.
New Council Member
Jean Michot was announced and formally voted onto the FIR Council at the AGM. With France now one of the FIR’s biggest and most successful member countries, it was important to have France represented on the FIR Council. Jean has been a key member of the Racketlon France team which has grown the sport so successfully over the last few years and is also a very active member of the international Racketlon community and so will add a lot of important value and experience to the Council.
All further details from the AGM can now be read in the published minutes from the meeting here.
Duncan Stahl / FIR President