There won’t be any supporters present for the FIS competitions in Switzerland this winter. This is the decision taken by Swiss-Ski in conjunction with the various organisers of the World Cup races, in order to respect measures against the Covid pandemic, which is seeing a rise again all over.
For the two women’s World Cup downhills, scheduled for 23 and 24 January 2021 in Crans-Montana, there will therefore be no stadiums at the bottom of the Mont Lachaux piste, nor will there be a fan zone at Barzettes, awards ceremonies in the centre of the resort, nor a World Cup Party. There will only be an area set up for a limited number of sponsor and partner representatives, without any contact with World Cup staff and athletes. For these reasons, the live broadcast of the Crans-Montana races by the host broadcaster, the RTS, recognised as a reference in the domain, will be even more significant than usual.
This decision was taken in order to ensure that all ski competitions planned in Switzerland, including the European Cup (two downhills in Crans-Montana, on 16 and 17 January 2021) can still run smoothly, and to limit the risk of virus spread. The various organisers do however reserve the right to reevaluate the situation with the relevant authorities depending on the evolution of the crisis.
The Alpine Ski World Cup races in Switzerland will take place without an audience
Following a detailed analysis of the situation related to Covid-19, and in agreement with Swiss-Ski, the Swiss organisers of the 2020/21 Alpine Ski World Cup have decided that their competitions will, in theory, take place without an audience this year.
The principal objective of Swiss-Ski and the Swiss World Cup race organisers is to ensure that all events in Switzerland run smoothly during the 2020/21 season, despite the challenging situation. At the same time, it is necessary to minimise the health risks for all groups of people involved. For several weeks, the organisers of the World Cup and Swiss-Ski have been in intensive and constructive discussions with the various stakeholders, in particular with Swiss Olympic.
Due to the potential risks, it was decided that the Alpine Ski World Cup races and the Ski Jumping World Cup in Engelberg will take place without an audience. Only a few guests will possibly be able to attend the competitions in person, in special zones away from the teams.
There will be no grandstands erected in St-Moritz, Adelboden, Wengen, Crans-Montana, Lenzerheide or Engelberg ; the organisers will not be setting up fan villages or marquees in the finish area or in locations hosting the World Cup races. Prizegiving ceremonies and bib draws will also take place without audiences. Swiss-Ski and the Swiss World Cup organisers will continue to follow the evolution of the Covid-19 situation, and will remain in close contact with the national and cantonal authorities. They reserve the right to modify the concept relating to spectators, depending on the development of the pandemic in Switzerland.
The joint decision to theoretically not admit any spectators to the competitions offers the organisers a certain level of security in their planning in this relatively early stage. The majority of the construction costs for temporary infrastructure can therefore be economised. However, there will be a significant loss of revenue from ticket sales and VIP offers, as well as in local sponsoring.
The fact that, in the current situation, all of the World Cup races in the different disciplines can take place as planned in Switzerland despite the circumstances is largely due to the measures taken by the Confederation to stabilise the situation in Swiss sport. On the basis of a detailed stabilisation concept, Swiss-Ski and the organisers have shown Swiss Olympic the essential role that different World Cup events play in the global snow sports system in Switzerland.
Thanks to the protection concept that they have designed together, Swiss-Ski and the World Cup organisers are convinced that the various Swiss snow sport competitions will be able to run smoothly, from both a sporting and safety perspective. « We’re working really hard alongside the organisers, our host broadcaster SRG SSR and all of the relevant stakeholders to offer snow sport fans and our partners and sponsors a high-quality audiovisual product for different platforms. We would also like to involve fans with new digital services, such as the FIS E-Game and a prediction game (Predictor Challenge), and allow them to contribute in their own way to the fascinating world of snow sports », explains Diego Züger, Swiss-Ski co-director of Marketing. « Thanks to the great understanding between stakeholders and the commitment that they are all showing, in particular our sponsors and partners, it will be possible to successfully manage this difficult World Cup season together ».