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'No confidence' vote in BSS pair

Representatives from all sectors of the British skiing community have voted overwhelmingly for the removal from their posts of two of the sport's most senior officials, Konrad Bartelski and Paddy Mortimer.

Organisers characterised the mood as "angry and frustrated" at what they described as an unprecedented meeting organised hastily after Herald Sport revealed last weekend that Mortimer, head of performance at British Ski and Snowboard (BSS), had been forced to apologise after claiming Alpine racing world rankings were "blatantly rigged".

The public meeting was called by training provider Ambition Racing. Held in the northern Italian town of Bormio, it reportedly attracted about 80 people including representatives of clubs, academies, competing skiers and parents who are there for the English Championships, plus members of BSS, the sport's governing body, the chairman and CEO of Snowsport England and the chair of British Alpine Racing Ski Clubs.

Yet organisers said a vote of no confidence in Mortimer and Bartelski, who is chairman of the BSS Alpine, Speed and Telemark Committee, attracted no opposition, with 80% in favour, with 20% abstaining.

Malcolm Erskine, chairman of the British Ski Academy, initially called for the meeting because he believes the reputation of the sport has been damaged by claims about what equates to matchfixing in skiing having so far gone unpunished.

He said the strongest feeling was aroused by Finlay Mickel, the Scotland team coach who competed at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics.

Erskine said: "Mickel explained that while all the athletes knew the criteria required [for selection for Sochi] it was the fact they had been denied support to get those results that was the determining factor. He is sure that if TJ Baldwin and Dougie Crawford had been supported, the results would have come."

Erskine added that had Glasgow's Crawford made it to Sochi, he would have been among those wearing bibs numbers one to seven in the Olympic downhill in conditions where early starters had a significant advantage.

The message was reinforced by Ross Green, Mickel's fellow Olympian, who pointed out that on the current criteria he would not have qualified for Salt Lake City 12 years ago, when he finished 15th in the combined event .

Marc Telling of Ambition Racing told the meeting the policy being pursued by BSS was effectively a betrayal of the legacy of the London Olympics which had promised to inspire the next generation.

"Sending only two athletes to the Games is hardly inspiring for young people," he said. "Current racers have no faith in those running the sport."

Organisers claimed that another, more vaguely worded motion calling for change in the sport, received unanimous support from among those in attendance at the meeting.

Meanwhile, there was further confusion last night over the response to the situation of Snowsport Scotland (SSS) whose director, Gordon Ritchie, first raised the question of the BSS selection policy with Herald Sport.

Their chairman, Bill Aitken, issued a statement on their website on Friday claiming there were inaccuracies among Ritchie's comments. Asked to explain what they were, he could not and, after of pressure from within the Scottish skiing community, the statement was removed from the website the following day.

It had been understood a full meeting of member clubs would be held along with next week's scheduled SSS board meeting in Perth in order to clarify matters.

However, Jane Campbell Morrison, the SSS chief executive, said last night: "At present there has not been a request from any club to have a full meeting of the Snowsport Scotland member clubs next Monday as far as I am aware, therefore no invitation to a meeting has been sent out."

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