Gábor Gelencsér, president of the FIFG was invited to the FootGolfos live show on Monday. He spoke about the new situation caused by the coronavirus, the World Cup and World Tour plans for the future. We summarized his thoughts by topics.
"The most important thing is to stay home and be safe, I am at home with my family also. This is what we have to do in Hungary like in a lot of countries."
"We stopped the World Tour now and we are going to continue it hopefully in the summer. We had a few tournaments yet, and will see - with all the members -, how can we go forward in this situation. The qualification threw the WT will go on as well in the future. If we can not continue it in the summer, we have to review it again. Before the final decision, we will ask all the members of course. It was done before also and most of the feedback suggested a pause on the World Tour."
World Cup 2020
"We had so many meetings with the Japanese organizers in the last weeks. Only one decision has been made as you know: the World Cup is not going to be held in 2020. The target is to analyse the situation for 2021. It is so fresh now that the International Olympic Committee announced the same dates for the Olympics in 2021 in the middle of the summer. We will see what Japan can offer in this new situation, but there is no decision yet. I hope we can have an answer until the 1st June."
"All the qualified players have their place in the next World Cup. We will discuss the situation of the seniors, because of the age limit."
World Cup 2022
"We know, USA is going to bid for hosting the 5th World Cup. Now, it is a tricky question. First of all, we have to see what is going to happen with the 4th World Cup. We can only make decisions just after everything will be clear. The possibilities are to postpone the 5th WC for a year or keep the original idea to have it in 2022. Right now, our focus is on the following World Cup."
"The US and the UK have already used it. I hope everybody will see it soon, how great this system is with new ranking, leaderboards and some many functions like live scoring or interesting stats about the players. The application can be downloaded or the website is reachable to get familiar with it until we will use it on the tournaments in the future."
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the government of Japan today agreed new dates for the games of the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021. They also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be celebrated from 24 August until 5 September 2021.
The leaderships of the key parties came together via telephone conference earlier today, joined by IOC President Thomas Bach, Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshirō, Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko and Olympic and Paralympic Minister Hashimoto Seiko, and agreed on the new schedule.
This decision was taken based on three main considerations and in line with the principles established by the IOC Executive Board (EB) on 17 March 2020 and confirmed at its meeting today. These were supported by all the International Summer Olympic Sports Federations (IFs) and all the National Olympic Committees (NOCs):
1. To protect the health of the athletes and everyone involved, and to support the containment of the COVID-19 virus.
2. To safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport.
3. The global international sports calendar.
These new dates give the health authorities and all involved in the organisation of the Games the maximum time to deal with the constantly changing landscape and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new dates, exactly one year after those originally planned for 2020 (Olympic Games: 24 July to 9 August 2020 and Paralympic Games: 25 August to 6 September 2020), also have the added benefit that any disruption that the postponement will cause to the international sports calendar can be kept to a minimum, in the interests of the athletes and the IFs. Additionally, they will provide sufficient time to finish the qualification process. The same heat mitigation measures as planned for 2020 will be implemented.
In a call on Tuesday 24 March 2020, based on information provided by the WHO at the time, IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō concluded that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 would be held in their complete form and not later than summer 2021. The Prime Minister reiterated that the government of Japan stands ready to fulfil its responsibility for hosting these successful Games. At the same time, IOC President Thomas Bach stressed the full commitment of the IOC to successful Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Following today’s decision, the IOC President said: “I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days. I would also like to thank the IOC Athletes’ Commission, with whom we have been in constant contact. With this announcement, I am confident that, working together with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Government and all our stakeholders, we can master this unprecedented challenge. Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”
Andrew Parsons, the President of the IPC, commented: “It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games. The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world. When the Paralympic Games do take place in Tokyo next year, they will be an extra-special display of humanity uniting as one, a global celebration of human resilience and a sensational showcase of sport. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games 512 days away, the priority for all those involved in the Paralympic Movement must be to focus on staying safe with their friends and family during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
The President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, Mori Yoshirō, said: “IOC President Thomas Bach and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee held a conference call today to discuss in detail the revised dates of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Hashimoto Seiko and Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko joined the call. I proposed that the Games should be hosted between July and August 2021, and I really appreciate that President Bach, having discussed this proposal with the various international sports federations and other related organisations, kindly accepted my proposal. A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable. In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021. Notwithstanding the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time in history, and various other issues that have already been highlighted, the event schedule is the cornerstone of future preparations, and I am convinced that taking this decision promptly will help speed up future preparations. I would like to thank all the stakeholders, including the host city Tokyo and the Government of Japan, for their hard work during this short period. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will continue to work hard for the success of next year's Games.”
Governor Koike Yuriko said: “In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain timeframe before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators. Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport. Therefore, I believe that celebrating the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 23 July 2021 is ideal. The athletes, volunteers, torchbearers and local municipality governments have been concerned about the situation. Since we now have concrete new dates to aim for, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will commit all its resources, and work closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the national government and other stakeholders to fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure.”
It has previously been confirmed that all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged. This is a result of the fact that these Olympic Games Tokyo , in agreement with Japan, will remain the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, The FIFG World Cup will not take place during 2020, and no FIFG tournaments will take place until June 1st.
WORLD CUP 2020
On March 26th 2020 the FIFG Board met with the Japanese FootGolf Association (World Cup organizers). During the meeting the JFGA authorities stated that the situation is getting worse every day with the COVID-19. On top of this, the IOC decided to postpone the Olympics for 2021. Therefore, the JFGA authorities declared their intention to postpone the World Cup. Minutes after that meeting, the FIFG Board received a formal letter from Mr. Shinpei Matsuura, President of the JFGA, expressing their intention to postpone the World Cup to the year 2021.
“The situation has been changing dramatically day by day in the world. Since the Olympics are going to be postponed to the next year, it would be rational to postpone the FootGolf World Cup to the next year as well. We believe that the most important thing is to keep FootGolf families and all the people in the World safe, healthy, and in peace at this moment. We do hope that everybody is trying to be extremely careful in keeping good shape and conditions during this difficult time…”, declares Mr. Matsuura in his letter.
In line with this reasoning, and with the recommendations received by most member countries, the 4th FIFG World Cup WILL NOT take place during 2020.
During the next few weeks the FIFG Board will monitor the situation in order to evaluate all the alternatives. For instance if the World Cup is going to be moved to 2021, there is a need to know the new dates for the Olympics.
WORLD TOUR 2020
Due to the pandemic situation with the COVID-19, and in compliance with the World Health Organization’s recommendations, and in line with the majority of the suggestions submitted by some member countries, the Federation for International FootGolf decided to reschedule all FIFG tournaments effectively as of today and through May 31st 2020. This means that NO FIFG tournaments (50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000) will take place until, at least, June 1st.
“We all know that this is a very dynamic situation, which changes every day, so the FIFG Board will monitor the situation very closely to see whether it needs to make further decisions, such as rescheduling again or modifying both the World and Regional Tours and Rankings. In this regard, by May 15th the FIFG Board will assess the situation, make an update and release another announcement accordingly”, said Javier de Ancizar, Vice President of the FIFG.
The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach and the prime minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The FIFG is arranging a meeting instantly with the Japanese organizers of the FIFG FootGolf World Cup originally scheduled for the end of September.
As an international sport organisation, FIFG is committed to protect the footgolfers all around the world. Anything is more important than life. In a situation we have never been before, the FIFG is monitoring the situation and started discussions with it's members about this season.
“We are facing an unprecedented health challenge globally. We believe, collective response is needed. We have to understand this situation and have to follow the guidelines and rules, what the different governments order all around the world.” said Gábor Gelencsér, president of the Federation for International FootGolf.
He added: “The FIFG is discussing the situation with the member countries, the Japanese World Cup organizers, the IOC and the GAISF.” Also, the Board is monitoring the WHO statements every day.
“We know, the governments’ action plans are different in the world as the spread of the coronavirus is at a different level. There are countries, where the FootGolf tournaments can be held and others, where there are strict restrictions: staying home is saving lives. We will discuss the way ahead for the 2020 World Tour with all country members and will keep the world of FootGolf updated. In the meantime, please stay safe and well.”
The first Major of the season scheduled for the end of March has been cancelled, because of the worldwide virus. The most important is the health of the participants, it would be irresponsible to continue with the organization of any sporting event when there are significant risks and uncertainty.
The Coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic is affecting normal routines and all kinds of scheduled activities around the world, including sports. Flights between the United States and the European Union were suspended. This measure is severely affecting global air transportation, including Mexico.
The Mexican government announced today that the 45th edition of the Tianguis Turístico - the most relevant event in the Tourism Industry - scheduled to take place in the state of Yucatan, on the same dates as the Cancun FootGolf Open, has been suspended.
After analyzing the world panorama, the Federation for International FootGolf, consulted the situation with the Mexican FootGolf Federation and after several communications with national, regional, local, health and sports authorities, all agreed that it is impossible to guarantee the safety of anyone, athletes, visitors and the general public. Nor can it be guaranteed that air transport services will be available in the coming weeks to get to and from Cancun, or any other city the country.
We remain alert to the global emergency. We are hopeful this crisis will be overcome in the coming months and the organizers can set a new date for the tournament.
The safety of our players and their families is our top priority; it would be irresponsible to continue with the organization of any sporting event when there are significant risks and uncertainty.
With any questions, please contact the Mexican federation, as the organizer of the Major.
Gábor Gelencsér, the president of the FIFG informs the FootGolf society, because of the spread of the coronavirus, the final decision about the World Cup must be made until the end of April. In the interview he underlined the importance of using a new scoring system from 2020 to step forward and make progress for the bright future of the sport with BlueGolf.
What are the fresh news about the coronavirus and the World Cup?
It is not a secret. The WHO says: in the past two weeks, the number of cases outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. There are now more than 129,641 cases in 114 countries, and 4,749 people have lost their lives. We are monitoring the situation daily and keep in touch with the Japanese organizers, embassies, the International Olympic Committee and the GAISF. We will inform every president and player, if we can make a safe decision about the World Cup and the World Tour. After a lot of meetings with experts, the final decision must be made before the end of April. We also got good news from Mexico, the first Major of the year is going to be in Cancun as it was in the original schedule.
After closing the 2019 season and already started the new one, what should the players know about their World Cup qualification?
We follow what it was in the World Tour rules. Every single player, who won qualification through the 2019 world ranking, has to be registered for the 2020 World Cup by his or her FIFG member country and also needed a valid (2020) World Tour licence to participate in Japan.
The World Tour ranking system moved to BlueGolf. Why?
It was one of my first steps after my appointment last year. We all know, the GolfTab did not run smoothly and I wanted the perfect solution. We checked a few possibilities and chose BlueGolf, a company running golf series like the PGA more than two decades. FIFG is planning the future and we believe we need a system like this. It was tested by the US and the UK in the last few years and contains more than we ever imagined. We have to learn it and that’s why we offer the organizers online lessons to make the process easier. As they are professional in golf and have experience in FootGolf, BlueGolf exactly knows what we need. Of course as it is in the other part of life, it is not free. The FIFG, the members and the players pay it together. We will see until the end of the season how it is working and will evaluate the system.
Is it just the beginning?
I hope so. Do not forget, we are still a very young sport and make progress from day to day. It is a long way, and we do our best to build this unique sport step by step. For instance, a new website will be launched this year.
Jordan Godrey won the Nevada Five Hundred in the US last weekend. It shows he remained in good form after a strong year ending in 2019. He wants to feel again lifting the World Cup title in 2020 and not just in the team competition.
How do you rate your first big tournament of the year?
I was really excited to get back playing again. I love the venues they chose. We had the opportunity to play at a new facility in Pahrump called Mountain Falls Golf Club which is always a treat. Our final round was played at Chimera Golf Club in Henderson where we have had events in the past. I went into it with a certain level of comfortability due to past successes at Chimera. Both courses ended up being shorter than what we are used to playing so I knew the field would be condensed and my length would not necessarily guarantee success. I was really pleased I was able to make the come back on the final day because I proved to myself I can win on shorter courses where other aspects of your game, besides length, are tested.
Is it a morale boost for the whole season?
I am very pleased with the successful start and can’t wait to consistently get back out there. I had a very strong finish to the 2019 season with some positive results so it was a shame it came to an end. I hope to continue into 2020 with the same focus I had at the end of last season and hope to improve locally and internationally.
Is the World Cup in your mind as it is the year of the biggest event?
Yes and I have qualified last year through the World Rankings. It is nice to have this accomplished early for planning purposes and so I can compete with a little bit more freedom. My objectives for the World Cup have always been to win it again as a country and at some point individually. We have some serious talent on this side of the world and it is just a matter of taking the right team. We proved that in 2016 winning the gold and made a nice run in 2018. I know individually it will always be difficult because it is like golf and certain things have to just fall your way. I hope to peak at the right time and we will see what happens. 8th is my highest individual finish at a World Cup so improving on that would be a bare minimum objective.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED
The Mexican Anjuli Landron won the first FIFG 500 tournament of the year, the Nevada Five Hundred in the United States. Her goal is to be there in Japan and on all of the Majors in 2020.
How hard was it to compete in the US among the ladies?
The level of the ladies category has grown tremendously. I remember when I first played two years ago in the United States on my first US Open. Now, for example with the experience of the World Cup in Morocco, I can confirm that the level of the ladies is becoming more competitive every time. There are more players, new ones have arrived with a lot of potential, and those who already in the FootGolf business, became much better. We have all evolved and gained experience. So it was a tough competition from hole 1 to hole 36. To summarise, of course I am happy with the result. It is my first win in a tournament outside of Mexico.
What’s your plan for 2020?
I hope that this season is the one where I can enjoy more tournaments. I am working hard to plan this year, and I hope to have money and time to include the World Cup in Japan. I play at local level, the League of Morelos once a month, which serves as training for international tournaments, so since the end of January the FootGolf started in Mexico. I am very motivated, and I hope that in December I can make a positive count of all the objectives that I am considering.
Will you be there in Japan?
I have not qualified for the World Cup yet. I had a break in the second half of 2019 and I let many points that have moved me away from the qualification, but I still have these months to look for it. Without a doubt, my first goal is to be in the World Cup. When I reach it, I can think of some more "landed" goals than I would like to achieve in Japan, but right now I am focused on qualifying.
In which part of your game are you working now?
I noticed that in the tournaments I had a great day and another that must fall in oblivion, so I am working on being constant. Playing well constantly, I think that's the key.
The next Major is in Mexico, what is your plan for the other FIFG 1000’s tournaments?
I have a crazy idea to attend all the Majors of this year. But well, one thing is to dream it, and another to make it happen, but nothing prevents me from trying.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED
Darrin Karuzas is the first over 45 player, who has collected 500 World Tour points after winning the Nevada Five Hundred in the United States. After finishing in the top 10 in Morocco in 2018, he wants to improve his position in Japan.
How do you rate the first serious event of the year?
The first FIFG 500 had a very competitive field. It was nice to see players from around the world and catch up on life and FootGolf with them. Both courses were very diverse and quite challenging. The hosts of each course were very professional and welcoming. Anyway, It is always a bonus to play in Las Vegas, Nevada. The senior category competition came down to the last few holes. I’m proud I was able to pull out a victory over the field, especially being in the final group against de la Garza, Adair and Mills.
What are your plans for the season?
This should be a thrilling 2020 season which has events all over the world. As FootGolf continues to grow, the competitions and challenges are becoming tougher. My goal for this year is to prepare and improve all aspects of my game.
As a qualified player to the World Cup, what is your goal for Japan?
I was able to qualify for the World Cup with a Top 20 finish in the World Ranking last year. I had a Top 10 finish in Morocco (World Cup 18), but would like to improve on that. I love this sport and the many personalities in it and get excited for every tournament and competition.
NEVADA FIVE HUNDRED