UEG Congress - Vienna/AUT 2003
Executive Committee Meeting
The Executive Committee meeting (EC) was held for the last time under the Presidency of Klaus Lotz. The preparation of the Colloquium and the General Assembly of October 10 and 11 were the main topics of the agenda. The decision to confer the organisation of the European Championships 2004 (June 7 to 12 in Sofia) in Trampoline to Bulgaria was adopted. The Youth Festival Eurogym 2006 will be held in Belgium (Brussels). In order to fill in a vacancy in the Technical Committee of Acrobatic Gymnastics, the EC elected the Russian candidate, Irina Nikitina.
A look at the presence of the UEG during the Gymnaestrada in Lisbon enabled to realise that the open air stage EUROPA knew a clear success. The area had sometimes to be closed down in view of the large number of spectators. The information stand also received many visitors interested by the UEG activities in the field of General Gymnastics. The presence of the UEG during this event is considered as being indispensable since 90% of the participants come from European countries (other Continents: America 6%, Asia 3%, Africa and Oceania 1%).
Events 2003 (second Semester)
The last preparations for the European Championships of Aerobics (Debrecen) and Acrobatic Gymnastics (Zilona Gora) as well as the European Cup for Clubs (Charleroi) are in progress. The television retransmission is being assured in the organising countries and some summaries are already planned on several channels inside and outside of Europe.
Collaboration with the FIG
The meeting of the Presidential Councils of the International Federation (FIG) and the UEG has been held during the Lisbon Gymnaestrada; these debates and exchanges are very fruitful and should be institutionalised. Similar exchanges will happen at the level of the Technical Committees which can only benefit the evolution of gymnastics.
Training camps were organised in Artistic Gymnastics, Acrobatic Gymnastics and Aerobics and gave entire satisfaction to the technicians who intend to reorganise the same next year. The Trampoline camp which was announced too late this year will be offered again in 2004. The 3rd coaches course in Rhythmic Gymnastics will be held in 2005.
The gymnastics seen by the Eurovision, the new competition formats, the new competition programme for artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics and the international calendar of competitions were all subjects approached during the three hours colloquium. A colloquium to prepare all the voting subjects of the general assembly.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with its headquarters in Geneva, is the European Institution which includes about 70 national companies of public law, 35 sports disciplines and assures 30000 hours of sports transmissions per year. Mark Jörg, Co-Ordinator of Sports at EBU was invited by UEG for this colloquium. He tried with success, and showing many numbers to define the place of gymnastics within the sports covered by the Eurovision. He noticed that the popularity of gymnastics depends mainly on aesthetic aspects, but the sports with scoring are decreasing. If the basis of the movement with its 10 millions practising in Europe is solid, the viewing figures don't correspond to this potential mass.
For the Sports Co-ordinator of the Eurovision, it is unavoidable to render gymnastics simpler with clearer competition formats and a comprehensible scoring. The spectator has to easily understand who are the athletes, how they qualified, who won and how. The competitions have to continue and be somewhat dramatic with suspense, and allow an identification with the competitors.
Mark Jörg recommends the responsible of gymnastics, to get the means which will allow their sport to face the increasing competition which exists between the sports disciplines. UEG has already made a long way and has to maintain now the next steps in this direction.
It is now Georges Guelzec, member of the executive committee to present in the name of the technical committees artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics in an explicite and detailed manner the proposals which are submitted for approval to the federations, at the general assembly.
A task which responds to the precise criteria enumerated by Manfred Kucht, Director of marketing and prepared since beginning of 2002. Gian-Franco Marzolla, president of the men’s technical committee, completed these information explaining the new competition programme and its integration in the FIG calendar as well as the integration of juniors in these programmes.
The discussion allowed the representatives of Denmark, Portugal, France, Germany and Romania to take the floor and present the arguments for or against these proposals. Bruno Grandi, President of the FIG and Mrs Mme Jeanne Beaume, honorary member gave their respective opinions. In order to respond to certain questions ,Georges Guelzec insisted on the fact that the overcharge of the athletes would not be more important (12 days of competition in two years, as it is now) and that the number of competitions in the cycle of four years remains the same (cancellation of the European Team Championships, one replacing competition) .
With 27 votes against 15 for his adversary Manuel Boa de Jesus (POR), Dimitrios Dimitropoulos (GRE) has been elected at the head of the European Union of Gymnastics, UEG. He succeeds Klaus Lotz (GER), who chaired the umbrella organisation of the European gymnastics since 1993, and will manage the UEG until the general elections, to be held during the 21st Congress in 2005.
Dimitrios Dimitropoulos was elected during the second round by 27 votes against 15 for Manuel Boa de Jesus (Por), the same result as in the first round.
In his first declaration, the new president assures that he wants to work in the continuity and progress; he expresses his thanks to the leaving president for all he has taught him until now. To his unfortunate adversary he says «I do not consider myself as a winner, you must not consider yourself as a looser; together, with the executive committee and the technical committees, we will work for the future of the European gymnastics".
Portrait of the new president:
Name and surname: Dimitrios Dimitropoulos, Patras (GRE),
Age: 53 years old
Family situation: married and father of two children
Profession: gymnastics and sports teacher, qualified with the diploma of the University of Mainz/GER,
Functions: coach of the Greek national team in men’s artistic gymnastics since 1996, founder and president of the Greek Federation EGO.
• UEG:1993-1997 member of the Control Authority, 1997 à 2001 member of the executive committee and since 2001 vice-president.
Vice-presidency: election of Georges Guelzec (FRA)
In order to replace the post occupied until now by D. Dimitropoulos, the general assembly has elected the French Georges Guelzec, former member of the technical committee and member of the executive committee since 2001. He obtained 29 votes against 10 for the second candidate Hans-Christian Bjerg (Den).
In order to succeed G. Guelzec in the executive committee, the delegates have elected with 26 votes Silvio Kroll (GER), former world champion (parallel bars and vault), actual president of the Control Authority. Jiri Kubicka (CZE) and Franz Fetti (AUT) have received votes.
Despite a preparation of two years and an excellent presentation during the colloquium, accompanied of well considered arguments, the delegates of the 42 federations have not followed the recommendation of the executive committee; the proposal to introduce new competition formats and a new competition programme for artistic gymnastics has been postponed by 15 no against 14 yes and 4 abstentions. However, the same proposal for the rhythmic gymnastics has been approved.
Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain have exposed their reservations regarding the new proposals during the colloquium. During the general assembly Switzerland, in the name of the three federations, has proposed as a compromise, that intensive consultations should be made right away with the FIG, that the UEG organises its European Championships 2005/2006, but that for the competitions as from 2007 on, the programme will be accepted during the congress 2005. This proposal has finally been retained by 18 votes against 12 and 4 abstentions.
Among the other decisions taken, we can underline the provisional suspension of the European Team Championships (artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics). This competition should have been replaced within the new competition programme. The decision has been taken to introduce a European Cup for clubs for trampoline, Aerobics European Championships for juniors (with the seniors) and to change the title of the competition EUROTEAM into Team-Gym. These proposals as well as a few modifications of the technical regulations have been approved.
Regarding the finances, the delegates have approved the accounts 2002, the budget 2004, and have taken notice of the financial situation of the year 2003 and the financial planning 2005.
With a very emotional ceremony, the delegates of the 42 federations present in Vienna, the 60 members of the UEG Authorities and numerous guests took leave of Klaus Lotz who was responsible for the destiny of the UEG for the lasts 10 years. A long standing ovation preceded the presentation of the insignia. Klaus Lotz was nominated Honorary President, as already Pierre Chabloz, the founder of the UEG.
The 20th UEG Congress ended with a very emotional ceremony during which Klaus Lotz and his wife Ute received well-deserved honours. Walter Nyffeler, UEG Vice-president, explained the engagement of Klaus Lotz within the European organisation by underlining his wish to carry out necessary reforms, to give new impulses but all the while acting with the characteristic caution of a businessman; a businessman who knew how to consolidate the finances of the UEG and make its administration more professional. His qualities as a leader and profound humanity made Klaus Lotz an unanimously appreciated President.
A video film realised by Manfred Kucht and Klaus Aulitzky presented the career and life of Klaus Lotz, who practised gymnastics already as a child. Pictures full of emotion and sometimes nostalgic for those who have shared the beginnings of the UEG or other – often very happy – moments with Klaus Lotz.
Several friends and personalities, among them the honorary president Pierre Chabloz and the representatives of Longines and Swiss timing, took the floor to thank Klaus Lotz who had decided, one year ago, to retire but not to leave gymnastics. "I leave with the conviction that I have fulfilled my tasks. During my presidency, I have visited nearly all federations and I have come to know their worries. I have tried to give the UEG the means to face the future with serenity. I will always be present in the world of gymnastics, only in another form".