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Czech News in English » News » National » FIS World Cup dealing with marketing disputes

FIS World Cup dealing with marketing disputes

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FIS World Cup Liberec 2009 arouse disputes (ČTK)The 2009 FIS World Cup in Liberec is generating controversy. (ČTK)
Statement against statement. Time is running out and the problems are escalating. Such is the current situation surrounding the world ski championships that will take place in Liberec from 18 February to 1 March 2009. Aside from the lack of snow and funding problems, further problems are surfacing as the championships approach.

The most prominent one is probably the “absence” of the official carmaker that would provide services to contestants, officials, sponsors or media. Stefan Seykora, a representative of the marketing licence holder for the Liberec championships, the Austrian company AFP, says that the error occurred on the side of the Liberec organisation committee (LOC) led by former skier Kateřina Neumannová. “It was well known already during the candidacy that the operation of a car fleet is to be taken care of by the organisation committee,” Seykora says. He also finds it surprising that such a prominent event does not have a carmaker sponsorship deal two months before its start. Zdeněk Soudný, the event spokesman, says AFP is wrong. “Official cars are provided by AFP as part of the marketing deals,” Soudný says. According to him, International Ski Federation (FIS) President Gian Franco Kasper said he would push AFP on this particular point when visiting Liberec in October. Seykora denied this, saying he refuses to comment on such statements from the Czech side and repeated that the cars have to be provided by the organisation committee alone. Soudný says that LOC is currently holding talks with a foreign carmaker but that nothing has been decided yet and so he cannot say more. “We are ready for the situation even if these talks do not end in agreement,” Soudný says.

The fact that the situation between AFP and LOC is tense on a number of issues can also be seen in the verbal battles concerning the national sponsors. Both parties agree that those belong to the LOC agenda but have to be approved by AFP. In order to improve the financial situation LOC has asked earlier for so-called national marketing rights on the Czech market. APF and LOC signed an agreement about the transfer of national marketing rights to LOC in January 2007 under the condition that AFP gets to approve each sponsor so that FIS and AFP sponsors do not lose their exclusivity. “The main local sponsors include SSŽ, ASA, AlpinePro, SynotTip, Czech Railways, Budvar or Prague Airport,” Soudný says. But AFP says something different: “LOC has not presented us with a single contract until today and has failed to inform us on the management of the rights,” Seykora says. Despite this, Soudný says “it is necessary to discuss these sponsors with AFP. The contracts require it.”

Who is telling the truth? There are only 65 days to go before the world cup starts.

Translated with permission by the Prague Daily Monitor.

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