Dear friends, In 2005 I was elected President of the International Roller Sports Federation and an exciting time, full of constant motivations has begun for me. These four years have been challenging and full of work, in which my only goal was to let our beloved sport reach efficient organizational levels. That all of our disciplines are wonderful and engaging sport, we already know! But in those four years I have worked so hard, so that the rest of the sporting world could become aware of the value of roller sports, such as a sport with perfect athletic movements and catalyst for media enthusiasm.
When I was elected, I found a Federation with economic and organizational problems and almost unknown in the wide landscape of the International Federations. Therefore, first of all, I concerned to continue the ongoing economic recovery, but the path is still long. Only in this way it was possible to begin to implement economically challenging projects for the diffusion of roller sports with programs targeted to international coaches, efficient facilities and recruitment of young athletes.
Secondly, I have focused on a management-type organisation of the International Federation, creating a staff of qualified professionals, to pursue projects in the medium and long term to enable the FIRS to make headway at international level and to be known and recognized everywhere as a representative of a qualified and increasingly widespread sport.
The FIRS is now a structure in which managerial areas with different activities, roles and responsibilities have been created, in order to optimize the work of all and give each of you the opportunity to have contact with qualified and responsible people for your needs. In the international scene is now time for the FIRS to live and build its own sport in a management way!
I established in the Rome headquarters the General Secretariat, which is composed of a staff capable of providing to all National Federations of any information and assistance they require.
The visibility and diffusion of our sport through all media channels have increased exponentially due to a Communication Department present in real time in all the major world sports events. I wanted to give a greater impulse to the internet communication because the web is today for girls and boys, the most widespread mass media. Youth is our future and to attract their attention, we must speak their language. For this reason the "RollerTV" was born, which allowed us on many occasions to give visibility to the world championships. But in this area there is obviously still much to do: I think, for example, at the enormous potential for interactivity of the network.
The interest in the new communication ways has not reduced the relevance of the traditional media: this is evidenced by the presence of FIRS in magazines and television broadcasts and in the creation of a dense network of relations in order to support worldwide the Roller Skating.
In addition to all this the creation in recent years of a Marketing Department, that has allowed to obtain, through a careful and thorough work, strong synergies with the industrial world, which led to the creation of a board in which the world's largest producers of skates and accessories take part. Goal of the Board is to finalize effectively , with the support of businesses, projects aimed at the promotion and development of skating. This event, unthinkable few years ago, is opening the way for further important collaborations with other industrial sectors. The managers of this office, have also been and will be present in all international sports events, as well as to every world forum, allowing the development and consolidation of trade relations.
Another new area has been created in the headquarters in Rome, capital to the management setting out, that I wanted to give to FIRS: the sector of facilities. This area is able to provide all technical information needed for the construction, restructuring and establishment of sports facilities, both open air and indoor. I believe that the future of our sport is strongly linked to the development of sports facilities and for this reason it is essential to have spaces and facilities, that fully meet the needs of athletes, youth and all those engaged in athletic activities, offering, at the same time to the public the best image of skating at all levels. The development of sport facilities is an essential factor for the progress of not only competitive but also educational, recreational activities, which represent moments of social gathering and especially approach to the sport by the youngest people.
You understand that there are many projects on which the FIRS is working, but there is one, that more than anyone else, at this precise historical moment, I consider important, exciting and creative: the Olympic project. It is a project in which I believe very much and in which we are putting commitment and passion: we have created an identity, a logo and promotional campaigns to show to the IOC, that it is time for roller sports to become part of the Olympic family. We have a lot to give to the Olympic Games: our freshness, our appeal on young people, our fair play, the strength of an entire world of skaters, who love and practice this sport in all its disciplines. Several occasions have enabled us to meet representatives of the IOC and other important appointments await us in 2009, until October, when, in Copenhagen, we will know whether our dream has become reality.
If this goal will be reached, each Federation, each club will reap huge benefits. Our beloved sport will find easier all the subsidies and the visibility that today, unfortunately, are in part still lacking.
But even if this does not happen, I regard a great success that our sport has been selected by the IOC among the seven sports candidates to become Olympic. But above all, I consider a great success to be able to say that when we arrive to the voting in Copenhagen in 2009, all IOC members will have had the opportunity to know and appreciate our sport personally, during the world championships, or by promotional material that we have sent to them. All IOC members will vote knowing exactly the athletic and media potential of roller sports. Until a few years ago this would have been unthinkable, and this means that our work, our efforts and our sacrifices have been recognized and rewarded.
All this fills me with pride and urges me to continue with enthusiasm on this way for a number of projects, that are still under development and will need the work of the next years to become reality.
The support and appreciation of all the Federations will be for me an indispensable condition for achieving this in the best way, to do with all of you a great progress in strengthening FIRS, its image and its spread in the international sport world.
I hope to discuss and share with you all this and, counting on your trust and your support, I look forward to meet you in Rome on the 7th February 2009 for the FIRS Congress..
A sport hug to the whole world of roller skating,