Skiing: World ski chief claims he was misquoted by newspaper over 'dictator' remarks, daily reacts by releasing audio transcript

International Ski Federation chief Gian Franco Kasper had appeared to say in an interview he preferred countries run by dictators to host major sports competitions.
International Ski Federation chief Gian Franco Kasper had appeared to say in an interview he preferred countries run by dictators to host major sports competitions.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ARE, SWEDEN (DPA, AFP) - A Swiss newspaper has released audio data of an interview with International Ski Federation (FIS) chief Gian Franco Kasper after he said he had been misquoted in an interview.

Kasper had said the comments - made in reference to the awarding of the 2022 Winter Olympics to China - in which he appeared to say he preferred countries run by dictators to host major sports competitions, were not accurately reported by the Tages-Anzeiger daily.

"We have to face the facts and we have to see what I really said - not what came out later," Kasper told German broadcaster ARD on Friday (Feb 8).

The newspaper subsequently released audio data of the comments and said: "In an interview with the TV channel ARD the FIS president says he was inaccurately quoted. That is not correct."

Kasper, the president of FIS, had been quoted by the German-language Tages-Anzeiger as saying "dictators can organise (big) events... without asking the people's permission" and that "from a business point of view, I say: I just want to go to dictatorships, I do not want to argue with environmentalists".

The 75-year-old Swiss official had also told ARD he "of course" did not make the comments or that he had denied that global warming existed. However, he said he did not want to join "speculation" on forecasts that "there won't be any snow in 10 years".

Kasper later apologised in a statement issued by the FIS which added that "as these comments were not meant to be taken literally but this was not clear in the final story".