IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN IRKUTSK, FIB PRESIDENT MR. BORIS SKRYNNIK GIVE US HIS ESTEEMED OVERVIEW OF THE WORK AND FUTURE OF THE FEDERATION OF INTERNATIONAL BANDY!
Federation of International Bandy has recently celebrated its 65th Anniversary, women’s World Championship has been played in Oslo, World Championships for Men B are played right now in Irkutsk and World Championship A is right ahead of us!
- Mr President, how would you evaluate the FIB progress?
-To begin with, on this auspicious anniversary, I would like to congratulate all FIB members and all those who for many years have worked for the development of world bandy! To be able to mark 65 years of service to international bandy is a special landmark in its history. As for summing up results, for my part it would be more correct to evaluate what has been done by the FIB since 2006, when I became the head of the organization.
- What is your picture of how FIB has grown since 2006?
-The facts and figures speak for themselves. In 2006, the FIB included 14 countries, and today there are 33. It is great that representatives of two new continents have joined us – Africa and South America. At the 2006 World Championship, 12 national teams played, and at the 2019 WCS in Vänersborg, 20 teams, and that was a record in the history of bandy tournaments.
- You also want FIB to give special attention to women’s bandy?
-When I became the President of the FIB, I immediately initiated the decision to have women’s world tournaments every season since 2006. However, more recently these tournaments have been held every second year, but now we are working towards reinstating the women’s WCS once again every year. In addition to the men’s and women’s championships, tournaments for junior and youth teams are held regularly. Their organization is financially supported by the FIB on a commensurately regular basis. It is important that all tournaments are held at a very high organizational level.
- FIB have a strong feeling that bandy should be included in the Olympic movement. Why is that important for the sport of bandy?
-Bandy is the second largest winter sport by number of athletes. Bandy should have a strong place among all the other sports. One of the major breakthroughs for the entire world bandy community was the participation in the competition programme of the Winter Universiade in 2019 in Krasnoyarsk. Already in August 2017, our sport was officially recognized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and bandy made its debut in the Asian Games programme in 2011. Of course, our common global goal today is the inclusion of bandy in the Winter Olympics programme. Everyone knows that since 2004, bandy has been officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Over the past years, we have studied in detail all the nuances of interaction with the IOC and have fulfilled all the requirements for participating in the Winter Olympics. At the moment, our representatives are constantly working towards this goal in cooperation with the IOC. The participation of bandy in the Olympics is important, obvious and natural in the same time.
- How do you think the World Championship B should be developed in years to come?
-We have already discussed with the FIB Development Committee and it is agreed that the Open European Cup will be played in the autumn of 2020 in Slovakia. These competitions, with the participation of the national teams of Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other teams, have been held since 2015. Today, by the way, there is a request for a similar tournament for women’s teams. I want to emphasize that I proposed introducing a system of special grants to support and motivate countries in which bandy is only taking its first steps or starting to develop seriously.
- What do you think is the most important task today?
-One of the most important tasks today is to find a director for European development. This should be a person who is not only interested in the development of bandy, but a person who will have great independence and, at the same time, serious financial opportunities.
- You talked earlier about promoting women’s bandy. What is your vision of the future?
-I have no doubt that women’s bandy has been systematically and steadily developing in recent years. Of course, we want this to happen even more dynamically. We are well aware that to facilitate entry into the programme of the Winter Olympics, the development of women’s bandy is necessary. Therefore, a lot of work, and finding new additional opportunities and resources are needed in this direction. Real steps and effective methods are needed, not just empty words. As for the development of the group B team pool, for women’s bandy we need a person who is really interested in bandy progress.
- World Cup for club teams has been held in Sweden since many years. Should we expect any changes in international club bandy?
-As you remember, in 2008 the World Cup was forced to move from Ljusdal to Edsbyn because of weather conditions. From 2009 to 2019, the tournament was held in the indoor arena in Sandviken, where ideal conditions were created for teams and fans. For this, I would like to express sincere gratitude to the organizers in Sandvikens AIK. But at the same time, it is not a secret that over the last few years’ spectator interest in the World Cup has noticeably decreased, and the situation requires a new approach.
New indoor arenas were also built in Russia, and in order to attract new fans to bandy and raise the prestige of the World Cup, it needs to be played in other countries. I am sure that, for example, in Russia, the World Cup will attract capacity crowds. So there are other options that are now being worked out with representatives of the different national federations.
- Back to women’s bandy, Mr. Skrynnik. Female referees have begun to be involved as referees of matches on high level. What are your thoughts about that?
-Some time ago, this topic became one of my initiatives in a working conversation with the Chairman of the FIB Rules and Referees Committee, Olle Modin. I suggested that female referees should participate in both national and international tournaments. And today it works! Women serve as referees not only in the Championships and World Cups for women and girls, but also in matches of the men’s World Championships B-group. In the near future, I am sure, that they will make their debut in the tournament of group A. For example, in Russia, women and girls are already involved as referees at the men’s Super League matches, and their work receives positive reviews. I would like to note the very serious ongoing work carried out by the FIB Rules and Referees Committee on the training of referees and raising the level of refereeing.
- Finally, what would you like to add to this interview, Mr. Skrynnik?
-Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank everyone with whom we have worked together over these years. Finally, on behalf of the Federation of International Bandy, I would like to say and emphasize that for all, who want to contribute to the development of bandy and cooperate with the FIB, our doors are always open. Only by real joint efforts and daily painstaking work for the benefit of world bandy can we achieve our planned goals.
- Thank you!