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Briton joins Gailhaguet in standing to become new President of International Skating Union

Great Britain's Christopher Buchanan has become the second individual to officially declare his intention to stand to replace Ottavia Cinquanta as President of the International Skating Union (ISU).

Originally from Edinburgh, the Scot is a former national level ice dancer who started judging in 1982 and served as the British judge at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

He has served as chairman of the ISU Synchronised Skating Technical Committee since 2010, his first position as an office holder within the world governing body.

Buchanan, currently attending the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Debrecen, is also finance director of the National Ice Skating Association of Great Britain.

Away from sport, he has spent over 30 years in the investment banking, commodities and financial services industries for a variety of leading banks and financial institutions.

This has included spending over 12 years living in Germany and Hong Kong.

"My outline plan is to bring reform to the structure and operation of the ISU to ensure transparency of all aspects of the operation of the organisation and clarity on expenditure and budget processes," he told insidethegames today.

"Facing the challenges of the new digital age and the means by which we deliver our product or the market place as well as the expansion of our franchise to incorporate new disciplines that will offer a wider range of participation options to our Member Federations."

Christopher Buchanan is chair of the ISU Technical Committee in Synchronised Skating.

Buchanan's candidature follows that of French Ice Sports Federation (FFSG) President Didier Gailhaguet, whose bid is considered controversial by many due to him having returned to the sport following a three-year ban for his involvement in a judging scandal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. 

Gailhaguet, most associated with figure skating out of the ISU disciplines, has released a manifesto, entitled Change or Be Changed, based around modernising and reforming the governing body.

It includes revamping ISU events and considering new formats, updating the international calendar and bringing together different disciplines so a festival-style event will work better for broadcasters.

If elected, Buchanan could become the sixth Briton to lead an Olympic International Federation and the second to become head of a winter sport.

He will join Sebastian Coe as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Brian Cookson at the International Cycling Union and Peter Dawson at the International Golf Federation.

Kate Caithness is President of the World Curling Federation. 

In addition, Bill Beaumont is the only candidate standing to replace Bernard Lapasset as head of World Rugby and is expected to be elected on May 11. 

Both Cookson and Coe employed London-based consultancy Vero Communications to support their campaign, who have received support from UK Sport to help British officialscampaign for international sporting leadership positions.

There will be no chance of Buchanan benefiting from this, however, as Vero are already leading Gailhaguet's campaign.

France's Didier Gailhaguet is the only other individual is the only other person who has said publicly he plans to stand to become the new President of the International Skating Union.

Candidates have another month to confirm their intentions ahead of elections due to be held at a five-day ISU Congress in Dubrovnik starting on June 6.

Two other potential candidates are The Netherlands' Jan Dijkema, the ISU vice-president for speed skating, and György Sallak, the ISU development coordinator and director general of the Hungarian National Skating Federation, who is most associated with short track.

Dijkema has told insidethegames he is "considering this [standing for President] seriously however, [has] not yet finally decided".

Sallak has not yet responded to requests for clarification over his intentions.

Sallak was originally planning to confirm his candidacy during the World Junior Championships.

insidethegames understands, however, that he has now postponed the announcement until the World Synchronised Skating Championships due to be held in Budapest on April 8 and 9.

The deadline for candidates to declare is April 25.

Another possible candidate is Patricia St. Peter, President of US Figure Skating from 2009 to 2014.

If St. Peter does opt to stand, she would be aiming to break a stranglehold on an ISU Presidential post which has been the exclusive domain of European men in the organisation's 120-year history.

Both Cinquanta and Norwegian predecessor Olaf Poulsen, who led from 1980 to 1994, were from the speed skating community, meaning no figure skating individual has led the body for 36 years.


Published: 21st March 2016