IBU announces fluorine wax ban to come into effect for 2021/2022 season
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) today announced that the ban on all fluorine wax will be introduced for the 2021/2022 season to allow more time to test and refine the Fluorine Tracker device that is currently under development.
The IBU has been actively represented on the Working Group Fluorinated Waxes Prohibition, which was established together with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is responsible for developing the Fluorine Tracker – a hand-held device that will instantly detect the presence of fluorine wax on skis. The Working Group had aimed to have the Tracker ready for the upcoming season. But, the development of the prototype has been delayed and the device needs further testing, adaptation and calibration after several initial tests.
As a result, to ensure fair and consistent application of the rules across all IBU events and to provide clarity on the applied rules for the upcoming season, the IBU will allow the use of fluorine waxes, in line with the EU regulations, at its events in the 2020/2021 season.
IBU President Olle Dahlin said:
“The IBU fully supports the decision of the Working Group Fluorinated Waxes Prohibition to introduce the fluorine wax ban in the 2021/2022 season, by which time we will have a Fluorine Tracker that can guarantee the integrity of our competitions which our athletes deserve.
“Bearing in mind the apparent health risk and environmental concerns connected to fluorine waxes, we remain fully committed to eliminating all fluorine wax from our competitions. From next season onwards, we will go beyond the EU requirements and ensure we are upholding the highest standards of environmental protection, which is why we will completely ban fluorine waxes.
“Equally, we also have a duty to protect the integrity of our competitions and provide a level playing field. Given the short time until the Season Opening, the Fluorine Tracker in its current stage cannot guarantee the consistent accuracy and reliability we demand. We must therefore delay its introduction.”
The IBU plans to have a seminar with the National Federations’ wax technicians at the end of the season 2020/2021 to introduce the new device to all teams.