The Beach Volleyball Major Series - Swatch Major Gstaad has established a new management team with additional independent persons.
As was announced last year, the Gstaad Beach Volleyball Tournament got into financial difficulties in recent years. At the municipal assembly of Saanen on 6 December 2019, the voters showed enormous solidarity and spoke CHF 1.3m to come to terms with the past and secure the future of one of the biggest events in the Saanenland.
The financial support was subject to certain conditions. Sport Events Gstaad, the organizing body of the tournament, was ordered to set up a new management board with additional independent persons and to inform the authorities of the municipality of Saanen at regular intervals in an open and transparent manner about the development of the company and the tournament.
The shareholders of Sport Events Gstaad have restructured the management of the company. Ruedi Kunz (previous sole managing director), Thomas Kernen (independent entrepreneur), Markus Lehmann (long-standing managing director of the Lauberhorn races) and Philippe Wingeier (member of the Frutiger Group management board) form the new management team. Silvia Henchoz (from Henchoz Treuhand AG) will closely accompany the management in the function of a controller.
The backbone for the successful staging of the tournament have been and will remain the numerous volunteers, who continue to stand behind the tournament in a united and motivated manner.
Short- and medium-term measures
Despite the financial support from the municipality of Saanen, the financial situation remains tense and challenging. The management is currently working on the framework conditions for a financially stable operation of the next tournament. In the medium term, strategic adjustments and additions will have to be made in order to put the tournament on an economically successful and sustainable footing.
Due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the International Volleyball Federation FIVB has cancelled all tournaments until the end of July 2020. Previously, the Major Tour – to which the Gstaad tournament has belonged since 2015 – had already cancelled its tournaments in Vienna and Hamburg. For the first time in 20 years, there will be no beach volleyball tournament in Gstaad this summer.
It is clear that the cancellation of this year's tournament comes at a very inconvenient time. All difficulties that come an interim year without a tournament have now been added on top of the great challenge of the financial restructuring.
Based on AvS/Sport Events Gstaad