The International Ski Federation’s (FIS) president Gian Franco Casper has said comments he made that appeared to mirror President Trump’s views on climate change, and that dictatorships were easier nations in which to stage ski races, were taken out of context.
The comments made in a Swiss newspaper have caused outrage in many circles of winter sports with the global winter sports organisation that campaigns against climate change, Protect Our Winters (POW), yesterday launching a campaign calling on Mr Casper to resign.
In a statement released on FIS.com, Mr Casper said,
“Recently, a report surfaced in the Swiss media with several controversial comments attributed to me. First and foremost, I would like to apologise as these comments were not meant to be taken literally but this was not clear in the final story. I take full responsibility for this misunderstanding and am sorry it has taken attention away from our athletes competing in the FIS World Championships.”
In the comments in Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger Mr Kasper appeared to say that climate change wasn’t happening, saying that temperatures got as low as -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) during the first few days of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“To everyone who approached me shivering, I said ‘Welcome to global warming!’ There are always some winters that are cold and others warm,” he told the newspaper.
In another comment he said, “Dictators can organize events such as this without asking the people’s permission. For us, everything is easier in dictatorships.”
The FIS statement does not explain in which context the comments were intended to be taken.
Mr Kasper, who turned 75 last month, became Secretary General of the FIS in 1975 and has been the world governing body of skiing’s president since 1998.